How To Maintain Shipping Containers

Owning a shipping container comes with a fair share of responsibilities. One of the most important parts is maintenance. Thanks to their simple design, keeping containers in clean order isn’t too difficult. However, there are several tasks you need to carry out to ensure they remain in good working order.

Shipping containers tend to last for approximately 15-20 years. Nevertheless, the years will be determined by how well the container is looked after. This blog will outline the steps you should take to keep your container in the best possible condition.

Inspect The Condition Of Your Container Every Year

Jot down a note in your calendar every year to make sure you dedicate time to inspecting your container. A look on the outside and inside will give you an indication of the health and condition. Rust is an important feature that you should look out for as this can get worse without treatment.

For example, if the 20 ft container is frequently shipped on vessels, you will need to keep an eye out for the seals. These seals may have been robust to begin with, but over time they will become brittle and lose their water-tight sealing. Re-sealing faulty seals of essential for proper function.

Much like any problem, dealing with it early on will save you time and money. Where the container is stored will also influence the risk of getting damaged. If you are based in an area that is moist or freezing, you can expect the metal to deteriorate a lot faster. Conversely, a warm and dry climate is the ideal environment for a shipping container to be stored.

Avoid ‘Container Rain’ Or Moisture As Much As Possible

The term ‘container rain’ refers to the process by which water droplets can actually start to fall from the roof of the container. This happens due to the moisture build-up in the container which then condensates at the top. Shipping containers in Auckland are likely to have this issue due to humidity. Too much ‘container rain’ can accelerate the oxidation process which leads to increased rusting.

There are three ways you can decrease the moisture condensing in the shipping containers:

1. Reduce the humidity within the container

Reducing humidity is the obvious solution when it comes to decreasing moisture. There are a few tools you can use to eliminate the wetness.

  • Install a vapour barrier
  • Add a dehumidifier or air-conditioning unit
  • Place large silica gel packs on the walls

2. Increase ventilation with a whirlybird or vent

Fitting your containers with the appropriate number of whirlybirds or vents can really help with circulation. Instead of allowing humidity to build up inside, the passing of air in and out of the container will decrease the moisture. Without the moisture, the container will rust at a far slower rate.

3. Only store dry items within the container

Obviously, it’s difficult to be picky with what goes inside the container, but dry items will have less moisture in them. Please note that even items like wood can have a very high moisture content which will release it into the air if it’s warm enough.

Additionally, try and avoid placing moisture-sensitive items in the container. Anything like paper, cardboard or cork. If the water droplets from the condensation land on these surfaces, the water will be absorbed. Soon, you’ll have the issue of mould on your hands which make the container a potential health hazard.

How Do You Prevent Rust On A Shipping Container?

Rust is what happens when iron reacts with the oxygen in the air. Manufacturers of steel apply many materials to the metal to ensure that corrosion won’t occur. However, even with layers of this coating, rust is still eventually going to occur.

Buying a brand-new shipping container will give you the best defence against rust for a short period. However, if you purchase a used container, you’re going to need more preventative maintenance. It’s important that if any rust is present, you sand it down to the bare metal. Here, you can apply a new coat of a rust-inhibiting primer to continue your prevention of rust in the future.


At ContainerCo, we pride ourselves on providing an extensive range of shipping containers for hire or purchase. Our range of 10ft, 20ft and 40ft containers can be used for various purposes, including shipment, storage or construction, to name a few. Featuring more than just containers in our product range, we also sell accessories and parts for shipping containers to ensure your container can be maintained and repaired after prolonged use. 


Offering specialised containers along with dry standard variations, ContainerCo’s containers include refrigerated, dangerous goods, high-ball, open-top and side-opening options. As a fully-established shipping container company, we also have the facilities to modify purchased shipping containers. Our specialised team can assist you with altering containers into workspaces, cafes, tiny homes or construction site offices. 


We can serve Kiwis across the country with facilities operating in Auckland, Tauranga, Christchurch, Wellington and Waikato. So next time you require a shipping container, make sure to hire or buy yours at ContainerCo today! 


Contact us on 0508 732 873 or request a free online quote today!

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