Boxpert Blog

Shipping Container Terminology Part 2: Materials and Components

Posted by Paige Welsh on Mar 21, 2018

In a previous blog, we covered the origins of shipping container names like conex box , ISO container, and sea can. It’s been one of the best received posts on the Boxpert blog, so we thought it deserved a part two. This week, we’re focusing on the materials and components that make up a shipping container. If you’re considering a modified shipping container for your business, you’ll probably encounter at least one of the following terms:

Corten Steel

Corten steel, also known as weathering steel, is the primary material in shipping containers. The corrugated walls, frame, cargo doors, and cross members are all made from corten steel. Container manufactures use corten steel because it possesses physical properties that make it weldable and rust-resistant. If a piece of paint chips off, rust will form at the surface but go no deeper.

Corner Castings

The reinforced corners on shipping containers are called corner castings. Corner castings have openings for twist lock connections to other containers or anchor points. They’re also designed to be strong enough for crane rigging, even when fully loaded.

Twist Locks

Twist locks securely connect shipping containers to anchor points or to other containers. The end piece of the twist lock fits into the corner casting and then pivots to a locked position, usually via a lever.

Cross Members

Beams, or joists, called cross members support the shipping container floor. The extra space between the ground and the flooring prevents moisture from seeping into the container from beneath. Cross members are part of the reason that many container structures like ground level offices don’t require a foundation.

Forklift Pockets

Standard 20-foot containers and many 40-foot containers come with two openings along the bottom edge called forklift pockets. True to their name, forklift pockets are reinforced slots designed for forklift tines. Please note that some shipping container modifications add enough weight to make lifting by forklift unadvisable, especially with modified 40-foot shipping containers.

Cargo Doors

The cargo doors are the two steel doors most often found at the end of the container. Some shipping containers have cargo doors on both ends, or even have cargo door side walls. Cargo doors were designed to prevent theft and weather intrusion on long voyages and offer formidable security for business assets. The door’s locking mechanism may be unfamiliar to new container users, so be sure to check out our video on how to open shipping container cargo doors.

CSC Plate

CSC stands for The International Convention for Safe Containers. This convention is a set of standards for shipping container design intended to prevent structural failure and protect human life. For example, shipping containers loaded with tens of thousands of pounds of cargo are often stacked several units high, and a collapse in port or at sea could be catastrophic to employees working below. The CSC plate certifies a qualified inspector has examined the container and confirmed that it can safely carry cargo.

Falcon Box Plate

The Falcon Box Plate is specific to modified containers manufactured by Falcon Structures and indicates that the container has met Falcon's own standards for high-quality and safe structures.

Marine Grade Plywood Flooring

Most shipping containers come with marine grade plywood flooring. The flooring is infused with a small amount of insecticides to prevent six-legged stowaways from joining the container’s voyage. As we’ve mentioned before, these insecticides do not aerosolize and are only a risk to hungry bugs. We even kept the original plywood flooring in the container-based Falcon Structures office.

Bamboo Flooring

The number of containers that use bamboo flooring instead of marine plywood has been steadily increasing thanks to lower costs and greater availability. If you can see a woven pattern in the flooring, the container has bamboo flooring.

If you have any other shipping container questions, you can always contact us at 877-704-0177 or

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Tags: How-Tos