Shipping Container Conversions or Bespoke New Builds

What is the best option?

At Pod Tech, we are often asked which is the best option, shipping container conversion, or bespoke new build? Normally, this usually means, what is cheaper? Sounds straightforward right? Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

The first question we tend to ask is what the container will be used for. This normally dictates the end product and therefore the price. For example, if the container is to be used as a storage container and the overall finish doesn't have to meet perfection, then it may be feasible to source and purchase a second hand shipping container and make any alterations necessary for its intended use. Second hand shipping containers can come in all sorts of conditions however, they are built to last in sometimes, some very challenging conditions. Within reason, imperfections can be rectified but if the price is an issue and the condition is not, we can leave it well alone. It is important with a store that it is weather tight and dry inside. Not only protecting against the wet weather we suffer in the UK but also from internal condensation.

We also tend to ask what the contents are likely to be and what size the container should be. For a small store, say 10 foot by 8 foot, it may be more cost effective to fabricate the container from scratch. Yes we can cut down a shipping container to any length you require, but the cost of the rectification work on top of the cost of the shipping container tends to push the overall price over what can be achieved with a new build for a unit of this size. On top of that, a new build will be brand new and in pristine condition.

What about a brand new shipping container?

Due to the vast amount of connections we have in the industry, it is possible for us to source brand new 'once shipped' shipping containers, normally from China, and then convert them into whatever our clients require.

This option is normally best if the end product is not 'too bespoke' and a higher spec end finish is necessary. We recently took a once shipped 40 foot shipping container where several side access doors where required. For this unit, we essentially cut out one side of the unit and installed shipping container doors along it's full length. It was necessary to have a high quality finish for our client and due to it's size, it worked out more cost effective to purchase a 40 foot shipping container and modify it to suit it's end use. Needless to say, our client was very happy with the work we completed and we anticipate further orders in the future.

Bespoke New Builds

At Pod Tech, we receive many enquiries for bespoke new build projects. Such projects tend to fall outside of the size constraints that shipping containers limit. For example, for transport reasons, shipping containers are all 8 foot wide and usually either 40 foot long or 20 foot long. For logistical reasons, these international standards are accepted by shipping companies worldwide. Haulage companies are able to take containers of these dimensions and easily load and unload them from their vehicles and shipping companies are able to easily stack them on their ships maximising capacity and therefore profit.

There are normally 2 standard heights with the most common being 8'6" followed by a 'high cube' shipping container at 9'6" when additional internal height is required. If any unit is requested to be any higher than 9'6" or any wider than 8', a bespoke new build is normally the way forward.

For example, a recent project we have completed was for a client who required an internal height of 10.5 foot. This container also needed full side access with removable support struts for easy access. The opening was to be covered with a mammoth tarpaulin on a track, again, for easy access.

The only way forward was to fabricate this unit from the ground up. And at 3.5 metres tall, this is by far the largest container we have built to date.

The answer...

As you can now understand, there is no quick answer as to what is the right option for you.

At Pod Tech, we are fully dedicated to exploring your ideas and providing options for you to consider. From an initial enquiry we will of course have our own questions. Once these are answered we can provide the most suitable option and therefore the best price available for each job in turn.

Timing is also a factor to be considered. It is well documented that the steel industry suffers massive fluctuations in terms of cost. This in turn has an impact on the cost of new or used shipping containers and therefore an impact on the right option for you at the time of your enquiry. These factors are unfortunately out of our control but what we can control is providing the right option for you at the time and our dedicated team will endeavour to provide the most suitable container at the best possible price.

For more information, continue to browse our website or simply email info@pod-tech.com to discuss your project in full.


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