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Where Do Shipping Containers Come From?

cargo ship transporting shipping containers

When we tell customers, friends, and family about our day-to-day modifying shipping containers, they often wonder: Where do containers come from? To answer this question, we must backtrack, rewind time, and cross the ocean. Here’s what the life of a shipping container—otherwise called a conex box—looks like from beginning to end.

The Origins of a Shipping Container

Before containers arrive at our facility here at Falcon Structures and before we transform them into spaces for working, storage, and living, they’re used as cargo boxes. Each shipping container is created to export some type of good to travel across the ocean to another country. In fact, 90% of global goods trade is transported overseas, making shipping containers essential for international trade.

So, where are these containers created? Approximately 85% of all shipping containers are manufactured in China. In fact, out of the top ten largest shipping container manufacturing companies, the top five reside in China.

Consider for a moment how valuable this is for China. It has the largest labor force in the world that’s also one of the cheapest. The country houses some of the best manufacturing facilities in the world. Creating nearly all the shipping containers makes sense for China because they’re the top global exporter.

From Manufacturing to Shipping

cargo ship maersk line with shipping containers

Some container shipping companies you may recognize include Maersk, a Danish company; COSCO Shipping, a Chinese company; and Evergreen Marine, a Taiwanese company. Maersk, the largest container shipping company, has a total of 718 ships in its fleet with a total shipping capacity of 4.3 million TEU, short for twenty-foot equivalent units.

In just the first quarter of 2022, Maersk reported a 55% increase in revenue, and the growth isn’t stopping there. According to Allied Market Research, the shipping container market has a compound annual growth rate of 4.3% for the forecast period of 2020-2027. What was valued at $8.70 billion in 2019, is projected to reach $12.08 billion by 2027.

Reusing Containers After Cargo

Shipping Container Office with green stripe

Despite the reliance on containers for exchanging goods, some containers are abandoned at ports and others go unused due to the imbalance of importing to exporting for various countries. To make the most of these boxes, many people have turned to reusing containers outside of global trade.

This is where Falcon and other modification manufacturers step into the picture. Modification teams transform containers into unique structures that play off the existing durability and portability of the boxes. What was once an important vessel at sea can become a valuable office, storage unit, or equipment enclosure for a company.

From creation to recreation, the journey of a shipping container is impactful. Here at Falcon, we aim to build a better world by making a meaningful impact in the way we repurpose shipping containers. Learn more about shipping container construction here. If you’d like more information about modified shipping containers look at our resources.

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