It wasn't long ago that cargo storage containers were just something that most consumers were vaguely aware of. They knew that goods from overseas arrived on shipping barges, stacked in big metal boxes.
It was only in recent years that cargo containers became a more interesting and even sought-after item since they are rugged and can be re-used in so many interesting ways. In fact, our company was originally known as "ABox4U" and we rented containers that were used mainly as temporary on-site storage in places like construction sites, and oil refineries. (Our parent company changed its name to RedGuard in 2005, and today, the container rental business is the SiteBox Storage that you know today.)
The cargo containers used for onsite storage are usually one-trip shipping containers. They're manufactured overseas and used to ship one load to the United States. Constructed of heavy gauge steel, these containers are rugged enough to stand the rigors of an ocean crossing and more. They're also water- and rodent-resistant to keep the contents free from contamination. Additionally, lockable swing-out cargo doors are fitted at one or both ends. These end doors permit easy, but secure access to the container. They are manufactured in 10-, 20-, and 40-foot lengths; they are 8 feet wide and 8.5 feet tall on the outside. Once offloaded and emptied, they're inspected and modified (if necessary) for their new life, often as an onsite temporary storage container.
Cargo shipping containers are arguably the sturdiest and most secure option for protecting gear and supplies on construction sites or other venues. With the variety of lengths available, they'll store and protect anything, like boxed or crated parts and supplies, and full-length conduits and piping. Usually, cargo containers can be rented, purchased or leased to own.
Another common name for these storage containers is Conex boxes. Additionally, you might hear them called ISO containers, intermodal containers, sea cans, or merely shipping containers. The Conex name is a mashup of "Container Express," a nickname given to them by the U.S. military.
The term ISO container signifies that these cargo containers are constructed to International Organization for Standardization requirements, particularly as they pertain to materials, construction materials, manufacturing specifications, and internal and external dimensions. The dimension requirements were put in place to ensure correct and secure loading of these containers on cargo ships and flatbed rail cars.
The benefit of having rigid specs on the external dimensions is that you know exactly how much room you need to place the container. With specific interior dimensions, it's easier to figure just how much material or supplies you can store in them. Both the square footage for floor space and the overall cubic footage are easily calculated.
Aside from onsite storage cargo containers, other types of temporary onsite storage are available, and each has its benefits. But most are constructed with sheet metal, skinned over a wooden or steel framework. These storage space options include trailers, pods, and mobile home-style units.
While fairly sturdy in their construction, these types of storage cannot always withstand the wear and tear often associated with the rough conditions and frequently inclement weather found on construction sites. However, converted cargo container storage boxes are well-suited to the rigors of job sites and any other location where they're used.
For example, they've often been used to house materials for emergency operations, providing a secure, weathertight enclosure for food, medical supplies, and rescue equipment.
Remember that container storage boxes started life as shipping containers, built to survive the high seas onboard ocean-going cargo vessels. They were specifically designed to keep the valuable goods stored inside the box safe, secure, and undamaged by the winds, rainstorms, and saltwater environment encountered during passage.
If they can keep products secure during transport on the Seven Seas, they can surely protect your tools, supplies, and more on the jobsite. One feature—their weight—is part of the reason they can weather your storms.
A 20-foot container weighs approximately 4,800 pounds, while a 40-foot container can weigh upwards of 8,000 pounds. So, it will take more than a huff and a puff to blow these storage behemoths over. And since they sit directly on the ground, the bottom of the container won't act as an airfoil, lifting the box off the ground during high winds.
Besides storage area capacity, the Conex storage box handles heavy loads with ease. Depending on the size and structure of the box, the net load could range from 57,000 to 63,000 pounds. A typical Bobcat skid steer loader weighs around 6,200 pounds, up to a little over 10,000 pounds.
That leaves one big question. And here's the answer.
Given the weight and dimensions of these containers, you don't just hook them to the back of your pickup and haul them down the street. If you're leasing them, the rental company will have tilt-bed tractor-trailer rigs to deliver them to your location. Once onsite, the driver will drop them off where you want them placed and level the box for you.
If it's not possible to drop them exactly where you need them, a crane can sometimes lift and place them to where you want them located. Remember, these were once shipping containers for cargo ships. They're tough enough and resilient enough to be lifted into place.
Now that you know what we're talking about when we say onsite storage containers, lets look at some of the top companies that rent onsite storage containers.