Barcelona Import
photo credit: papalars

Have you noticed the signs along the highway advertising cheaply-priced metal storage containers? Have you ever wondered what those are and where they came from?

Nearly every product imported into this country is transported via a ship in a metal shipping container. Once the ship arrives in port, the containers are removed from the ship via a large crane and transfered onto railroad cars and tractor trailers for transport into the interior areas of the country.

In the United States we have an overabundance of used shipping containers because of the economics of international trade:

1. We import more than we export.
2. It’s not very profitable to return the containers to their source country. In China, for instance, it costs $2,300 to manufacture a container. Shipping a container back from the United States to China costs over a thousand dollars. I need accurate numbers for returning a container to China. Anyone have some?

photo credit:


Luckily, for the entrepreneur, the large number of used shipping containers just sitting around makes for some interesting business opportunities. Used shipping containers can be used for storage, housing, offices and restaurants.

Further reading: The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger.

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on January 30, 2009 in Biz Ops / bizopy.


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