Do Shipping Containers Rust Easily? Tips to Prevent Rust.

Yes, shipping containers do rust easily, especially when they are exposed to harsh environmental conditions. The reason for this is that shipping containers are made of steel, which is prone to corrosion. However, container manufacturers have been able to address this issue by using steel that has been infused with anti-corrosive properties. Despite this, rust will still develop over time due to the exposure to moisture and other harsh weather conditions. Here are some reasons why shipping containers are susceptible to rust:
  • Because they are usually made of steel which is prone to corrosion
  • They are exposed to harsh weather conditions such as moisture, saltwater, and extreme temperatures
  • They are often placed on uneven surfaces, which can cause moisture to accumulate underneath them, leading to rust
  • Shipping containers are often transported by sea, and the salty seawater accelerates the corrosion process
  • To minimize rusting of shipping containers, it is essential to perform regular maintenance such as repainting and applying anti-rust coatings. Additionally, storing the containers in a dry place away from areas with high humidity will also help prevent rust from forming.
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    The Composition of Shipping Containers

    Shipping containers are typically made of steel, which is an iron alloy. These steel boxes come in different sizes and variations, but the most common dimensions are 20 and 40 feet. The steel used in these containers is typically recycled, making them an environmentally friendly option. The steel used in shipping containers is thick, durable, and can withstand heavy weights.

    Understanding Corrosion and Rust

    Despite the durability of shipping containers, they are still susceptible to corrosion. Corrosion is a natural process that occurs when certain metals, like steel, are exposed to oxygen and water over time. When steel corrodes, it loses its strength and eventually breaks down. Rust, in particular, is a result of corrosion. Rust is a reddish-brown coating that forms on steel surfaces and is a clear indication of the presence of corrosion.

    The Role of Marine Grade Steel

    Steel used in marine grade is infused with anti-corrosive properties, making it resistant to rust and other forms of corrosion. This type of steel is specifically manufactured to withstand the harsh marine environment, which includes exposure to saltwater, moisture, and constant movement. Marine grade steel is more expensive than regular steel, but it is necessary for shipping containers that will be used for transporting goods by sea.

    Factors Contributing to Rust

    While marine grade steel can prevent rust to some extent, shipping containers are still prone to rust due to various environmental factors. Some of the factors that contribute to rust in shipping containers include:
    • Exposure to saltwater and moisture
    • Extreme temperatures and weather conditions
    • Scratches and dents on the surface of the steel
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    Risks of Not Addressing Rust

    Rust can cause serious damage to shipping containers if left unchecked. If rust is not addressed in a timely manner, the steel can weaken and eventually break down, leading to costly repairs or replacement of the container. Rust can also compromise the safety of the cargo being transported, as weakened steel can result in cargo shifting or falling during transport.

    Preventative Measures for Shipping Containers

    Fortunately, there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of rust in shipping containers. These measures include:
    • Regular inspection and maintenance to identify rust early on
    • Regular cleaning and washing to remove debris and prevent moisture buildup
    • Painting the surface of the steel with anti-corrosive paint
    • Applying a rust inhibitor compound
    Note: It is important to note that while preventative measures can reduce the risk of rust, they cannot completely eliminate it.

    Updating Aging Containers with Rust Repair and Prevention

    For older shipping containers that are already experiencing rust, there are rust repair and prevention options available. These options include:
    • Removing the affected area and replacing it with a new steel plate
    • Welding a patch over the rusted area
    • Applying rust converters to stop the spread of rust
    In conclusion, shipping containers are susceptible to rust due to natural processes like corrosion. While marine grade steel can reduce the risk of rust, it cannot completely prevent it. It is important to take preventative measures like regular inspection and maintenance, cleaning, and painting to reduce the risk of rust. For older containers that are already experiencing rust, options like rust repair and prevention can help to extend the life of the container.

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