It is estimated that there are somewhere in the region of 11 million unused shipping containers lying in harbors and other storage areas across the globe. Some have reached the end of their useful life while others are simply excess stock that was the victim of the economic slowdown in the early 2000’s and is now beyond use due to it’s been lying dormant for so long.
This is a startlingly large number and represents an opportunity to make use of assets which are currently not serving any useful function.
One of the ways that these containers are being used is to provide material for the building of homes across the globe. Container homes cost a fraction of the costs of erecting a traditional brick and mortar residential unit – or even one made of wood – and some of the designs are simply spectacular.
However, these containers have also been re-purposed for more humanitarian use – as shelters.
There are a number of companies that are today taking old shipping containers and converting them for use in areas that have been affected by natural disasters. The ingenuity shown by the designers is simply breathtaking. Using extremely clever design some of these containers can now provide bunk beds for up to 18 – 20 people at a time. However, the creativity does not stop there. these containers are in effect miniaturized homes. Although they do not feature open areas they do feature a small kitchen, as well as a bathroom.
They are delivered to the area affected by disaster ready to be hooked up to the local electricity grid – or if that is not available to a generator which provides power to lights and in some instances allows other equipment to be plugged into wall sockets.
The availability of these shelters can often mean the difference between life and death for those who are affected by the disasters. In situations where shock and even injury has taken place, it is essential that the victims are provided with shelter as quickly as possible.
The steel construction and the inherently watertight nature of the shipping containers make them ideal as shelters for coastal regions that are affected by hurricanes and are susceptible to the continued effects of high wind and potential water damage. Some manufacturers also claim that the design of the shipping containers means that when anchored correctly they can withstand winds of in excess of 140 miles an hour.
They are also incredibly versatile and some units can even be stacked to create multi-story shelters – saving on space that is required by other elements of relief and emergency teams.
Once then the situation is under control and the emergency is past these shelters can then be quickly converted to other uses. IN fact, in many parts of the world these container shelters are now being used to house the homeless – so they are an excellent investment for local governments, cities, and towns which are in search of value for money solutions to societal problems.