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What Happens to Used Shipping Containers?

What happens to shipping containers once they have been used? After all the contents have been emptied and they are no longer needed for the job, where do they go? Are they recycled or reused? China manufactures and exports just about every kind of items and ships them in Steel or Aluminum shipping containers. The United States takes in these goods at an outstanding rate, but it exports very little back to China leaving a huge surplus of empty shipping containers.

The life of a shipping container typically ends after a few uses.

The term intermodal refers to a container’s ability to be loaded onto a ship, rails, or truck with a special stackable chassis. It is Inter-Modal, meaning the cargo stays in the box as it transverses from land to sea, back to land, and finally to its destination. The box/container goes from one mode of transport to another with ease.

Containers are often left to rust, creating an eyesore for neighboring communities, and are a pollution hazard and a cause of decreasing property values. Empty shipping containers are not good for communities or the environment.