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10 April 2008


I seem to recall thousands upon thousands of these hulks lying in ship yards worldwide. There is a whole bunch here in Vancouver. However, as steel costs keeps rising, melting them down makes more economical sense -ha - better start buying some up and sitting on them as an investment. Call Los Angeles, they have lots. I wonder if that article was written by a steel corporation?

The benefit of using containers, even as prices increase, is that you can dramatically reduce the numbers of trees cut down to make a home. Reduce the footprint. Reuse the commodities that we have sitting in our backyards. If abandoned government or community groups should buy them up and use them or store for later as emergency housing. Years from now when we *really* can't cut more trees down, metal and cement boxes will be the future of building.

There is cement cloth that two kids from England invented which could revolutionize the housing trades. Build a mobile frame and the cloth sets up overnight. Move the frame over and do another days laying cement cloth overtop and so on. In the end you have a cement house, impermeable , storm proof, and last 50% longer than conventional stick frame house construction.

We are doing some things with containers at
zigloo.ca and zerocabin.com

It is hard to believe that there are not enough containers, but it is not hard to believe that the empty ones are at the wrong locations. Some smart logistics expert needs to crank up his or her super computer and create a system for managing the movement and assignment of empty containers.

One type of export products, agricultural products, use containers extensively. For example this location in Ellensburg, Washington, exports alfalfa I think. In the link the image shows about 100 containers in their yard. The containers mostly arrive empty, hauled by a truck, from the Seattle area, about 100 miles to the west. They are loaded with bales of alfalfa and hauled back to the Port of Seattle.

Will there be a bidding war for empty containers? I am sure that manufacturers of other less "soft" products for export would be willing to bid up the the availability of a container to export something of greater value than alfalfa or soy beans, or similar products.

With the tripling of truck fuel costs in the past couple of years, it will take some hard thinking and hard choices for making empty containers available when and where they are needed.

Baltimore sun has the full text available online (for free) : http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-containers0414,0,3148058.story

I find it hard to believe that there aren't enough shipping containers in the US - a look at eBay reveals about as many listed there as there were a few months ago. Though they do seem to be concentrated on the coasts, this seems to be more a reflection of population and shipping centers.

Looking at the picture, my first thought is:

Does anyone make Shipping Container building blocks for kids/toddlers (and of course, I think of none in particular).

I think it'd be a crying shame, if Miel Lappin were to come of age, without a complete boat/blocks set, in her nursery room.

Ooooh! Another thought: when she graduates from her crib, and to a bonafide bed... some kids have stock-car beds: you could make her one from a stack of shipping containers! She'll be the coolest kid in town!

I had no idea there was a shortage. There seems to be shortages on things you never thought would have that problem these days.

Well 2008 was a bad year for shipping container prices but 2010 is probably the worst year in the history of the shipping container industry. Prices are up 200-300% since the Spring of 2010. You are even lucky if you can find shipping containers to ship with or buy. Utilization rates are upwards of 99% and the historic utilization averages is about 90%. The industry is a mess right now and I'm being told it will be like this for the next 12-24 months.

Keith Schmidt
Giant Lock Box

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