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6 Types of Shipping Container Doors and When to Use Each


Shipping container structures are known to be affordable, mobile, and secure, but a trait that is just as important—and yet often overlooked—is a shipping container’s convenience. Shipping container doors offer accessibility to the structures, so choosing the right door is a vital step in the design process. To start, we recommend you answer the following questions:   

  • How will my organization use this container?
  • How often will members of my organization need to access the inside of this container?
  • Will my organization be storing oversized items inside the container?
  • Will members of my organization be working or living inside the container?

Once these questions have clear answers, you will be able to select from the following options.

1. Shipping Container Cargo Doors

shipping container cargo doors open

Cargo doors are heavy-duty, weather-tight, and secure swinging doors located at the end of a container. They use a cam and lock system which ensures that the contents inside the container are protected against theft and environmental threats.

Use cargo doors if,

  • you need to place large items easily inside the container, even by forklift.
  • immediate convenience is less of a priority.

2. Shipping Container Personnel Doors

blue 20-foot shipping container office

Personnel doors are made of steel and are carefully welded into the wall of the container to ensure that the structure remains wind and water-resistant. The insulated core of a personnel door works to keep containers cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 

Additionally, these doors come with a deadbolt and steel lever handle, so opting for a personnel door won’t compromise the security of your portable buildings. Instead, personnel doors will help keep important papers and valuable items safe. If extra security is desired, consider adding a keypad entry.

Use a personnel door if,

  • the container is a portable office building, living space, or storage space.
  • there will be a lot of foot traffic.

3. Shipping Container Roll-Up Doors

red shipping container with two roll up doors

Shipping container roll-up doors, sometimes called overhead doors, are different from cargo doors in that they lift from the bottom and roll up inside the container. They are lockable, easily unlatched, and lightweight. Roll-up doors are also welded into the container wall and can be installed anywhere along the side walls or at the ends of the container.

Shipping container roll-up doors come in a variety of widths and styles including those that are extreme-duty and wind-rated for particular environments.

Use a roll-up door if,

  • the container will store large equipment.
  • the contents need to be frequently accessed, more often than cargo doors realistically allow.

4. Shipping Container Sliding Glass Doorsinterior shipping container with sliding glass doors

Sliding glass doors are the same height and width as double-wide personnel doors but are made of durable glass framed with vinyl. These doors come with secure locks that leave the interior protected, although they shouldn’t be considered as secure as the alternative doors mentioned since they are transparent.

Use a sliding glass door if,

  • the container is used as an office, storefront, or living space.
  • you desire a stylish design and natural light.

5. Shipping Container with Side Doors

40ft Dual Office with Half Bath

Shipping containers with side doors come with a variety of options. Sometimes people request personnel doors, roll-up doors, and occasionally cargo-style doors to add to the long side of a container. No matter where these doors are installed on a container they should be reinforced with proper framing.

Use side doors if,

  • you need access to the long side of a container.
  • you can narrow down which door option you want when talking with a container modification manufacturer.

6. Shipping Container Door Combinations

Exterior blue shipping container office with sliding glass doors

For larger containers, especially those that use a combination of storage and work space, it’s common to consider multiple entryways. Extra doors are one of the most popular modification options for shipping containers.

The design of a shipping container structure should fit the specific needs of that particular project. Whether you need to frequently access the interior of your container or move items in and out with ease, there’s a door option—or multiple—that can help.

Have questions about what door is right for your project? Reach us at, 877-704-0177 or to speak with our shipping container experts.

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