Create extra space? Portable Buildings and Shipping Containers For Sale and Hire

Ten Innovative Uses For Shipping Containers

Many of our customers buy or hire shipping containers for secure on site storage but containers can be used for much more than that! To show you just how versatile containers are, we've put together a list of ten innovative uses for shipping containers from around the world.

We hope you find the list interesting and inspiring - and if you need containers or conversion services, please get in touch by calling 01626 833875 or email because we would love to offer our expertise.

Whether you need a single container or larger quantities, small scale conversions such as the addition of electricity, windows, heating, partition walls and generators or something more ambitious, we are your one-stop shop for containers.

Ten Innovative Uses For Shipping Containers

1. Shipping Container Architecture

'Cargotecture' describes a growing trend to use containers in the construction of homes, hotels, schools and trendy bars as an alternative to traditional building materials. For example, there is a hotel in Portishead near Bristol that is constructed from 28 shipping containers.

Shipping Container Homes

Shipping container are strong, durable, readily available and relatively low cost. They are produced in standard sizes and can be used for rapid construction of buildings.

Photograph by rolu dsgn (minneapolis) ( [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Powerful Computer Data Centres in Containers

Sun Microsystems are packing 20ft containers with servers and network equipment to provide advanced computing power at any location - in a third of the space and at a fifth of the cost of a traditional data centre.

Shipping Container Data Centre

Cooled by sophisticated water-chilled cooling systems, these data centres in a container give a new meaning to portable computing!

Photograph by NapoliRoma (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Swimming Pools Made From Shipping Containers

The Badeschiff in Berlin is a swimming pool created from recycled cargo containers and floating on the river Spree.

Shipping Container Swimming Pool

There are also 40ft shipping containers that have been converted into outdoor swimming pools; great for cooling down!

Photograph by Georg Slickers (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Portable Exhibition Stands

Shipping containers are designed to be transported so they make great portable exhibition stands.

Exhibition Stand made from Shipping Containers

They can be converted with windows, fold down walls and packed with marketing materials to promote your goods and services and have been used by companies like Samsung.

5. Portable Medical Centres

Shipping containers are being fitted with medical equipment and used as portable medical clinics. In Sudan there is a solar powered medical centre with state-of-the-art facilities.

Hospitals using Shipping Containers

In developing countries and disaster zones, they can replace bricks and mortar buildings or containers can house generators to supply power to medical equipment.

6. Training Facilities and Simulators

Many UK fire and rescue services use shipping containers in training exercises. Shipping containers are durable enough to withstand fire and can be re-used many times, providing cost effective, realistic training.

Shipping Container Simulator

Containers can also be converted into mobile simulators, such as this tug boat simulator.

7. Emergency Shelter

Shipping containers have been used in Brighton to provide temporary housing for the homeless and were transformed into self contained flats, complete with bathrooms and kitchens.

Haiti Earthquake Shipping Containers Used

Shipping containers have also been used to provide emergency accommodation in disaster areas, for example in Haiti after an earthquake in 2010.

Photograph by UN Photo/Logan Abassi UNDP Global [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

8. Modular and Transportable Factories

Factories can be constructed from shipping containers by joining them together to create modular structures. The containers can be delivered on site with the manufacturing equipment already fitted so the factories can be set-up quickly and easily.

Shipping Container Transport

Factories constructed in this way can be easily unassembled and shipped to new locations too.

Photograph by bilbobagweed (SPARKY) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

9. Pop-up Shops

Boxpark in East London claims to be the world's first 'pop-up' shopping centre and is made from 60 containers.

Shipping Container Shops


Container shops can be constructed quickly and cheaply. They are ideal for special events or seasonal promotions as the shops can be packed up and re-used elsewhere.

Photograph by IvoShandor (Author) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

10. Art Installations and Galleries

Shipping containers can be used as a blank canvas and in 2011 the Eden Project hosted one of fifteen containers that were used to showcase the work of local artists.

Shipping Container Art

A similar project was launched this year in Somerset, with containers used as art studios and exhibition spaces.

Photograph by Man vyi (own photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Portable Buildings and Shipping Containers in St Austell, Cornwall Portable Buildings and Shipping Containers in Heathfield near Newton Abbot, Devon Portable Buildings and Shipping Containers in Bridgend, South Wales Portable Buildings and Shipping Containers in North Devon Portable Buildings and Shipping Containers in Gloucestershire, Dorset, Somerset