Types of Shipping Containers & How They’re Used

Types of Shipping Containers & How They’re Used

When you think of a “shipping container,” you probably imagine a large steel box floating through the Atlantic with cargo aboard. You’re not wrong—that was indeed the original purpose of the shipping container.

Today, shipping containers are much more than that. At Mobile Mini, we’ve been using shipping containers to house some of North America’s best portable storage and mobile office units, and for good reasons. The same attributes that make shipping containers perfect for long cargo hauls make them ideal for storage and temporary work sites. 

These durable, easily customizable, and highly portable containers offer our customers the versatility and reliability needed to keep their businesses productive, efficient, and safe.

But there is also more than meets the eye when it comes to these logistics kings. Different types of shipping containers can be used for different things, so it’s always important to understand shipping container types so that you can pick the right unit for your company. 

Types of Shipping Containers

We’ve already covered that shipping containers are diverse in use and function, but what are the different types of shipping containers? Since different types of shipping containers lead to different types of storage containers and mobile office units, it’s best to really understand what’s out there so you can make sure the unit you pick is the unit you need.

  • Portable Ground-Level Storage Containers: When looking at types of shipping containers, portable ground-level storage containers are your basic storage workhorses. Standard units give you the choice of 10’, 15’, and 25’ containers; extra-wide units give you 18’ and 25’ options. Extra-wide units offer 40% more storage space due to their width and shape.

    Standard and extra-wide units are perfect for commercial storage needs ranging from construction equipment and supplies to inventory, tech equipment, and electronics. There’s not much these units can’t hold. 

As an added benefit, ground-level storage containers are extremely portable; since there are no ramps or steps, they’re very easy to load and unload. At Mobile Mini, you can also choose to outfit your unit with some extras like shelves and blinds to make them more conducive to your work needs. 

  • Portable Ground-Level Offices: Just like there are different types of storage containers, there are also different types of temporary workspace. Ground-level offices come in two options: standard and extra-wide. Standard ground-level offices are either 10’, 20’, or 40’, and extra-wide units are 18’ and 25’.

    Ground-level offices are temporary workspaces that can be installed instantly, come with climate controls, and offer all the comforts of a standard office in a highly portable package. Since they are easy to move and even easier to set up, these office units are perfect for many uses, including:
  • Construction sites
  • Emergency & first aid
  • Bridging time between office moves and renovations 
  • Government administration field sites
  • Temporary classroom space

Since these offices are mounted at ground level, they are easy to access and can be reconfigured as your spatial needs change. 

  • Mobile Office Trailers: Mobile office trailers are the even more portable version of ground-level offices. One big distinction is that mobile office trailers do have ramps and steps, as the primary space is located slightly off the ground.

    Like their ground-level cousins, mobile office trailers are perfect for temporary office needs and are even more portable than ground-level units. These units also meet all national and state building, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing codes, making them safe for everyday use.

Mobile office trailers come in three primary options:

  • 8’ trailers: 8-foot wide trailers come in 24-36’ unit options. 
  • 10’ trailers: 10-foot wide trailers come in 36’-50’ unit options.
  • 12’ trailers: 12-foot wide trailers come in 44’-64’ unit options.
  • Office Storage Combo: Our office storage combo units blend the best parts of mobile office and storage. These units come in 20’ and 40’ options and give you space for mobile work and regular office storage.

    With features like drywall textured ceilings and walls and vinyl flooring, these units feel like a more permanent space. And since you can store items right in your workspace, you have easy, safe access to everything you need in one portable space. 
  • Modular Office Complexes: Modular office complexes are mobile office trailers boosted to the max. These complexes offer temporary workspaces with different “rooms” and segmented areas that allow you to house multiple employees, activities, and functions within one unit.

    In other words, you can be in one part of the unit tackling administrative tasks while your co-worker makes a client presentation in another area; neither of you will be interrupted by the other’s activities.

    These complexes come in the following sizes:
  • 60’ X 24’
  • 64’ X 24’
  • 64’ X 36’
  • 64’ X 38’
  • Modular Flex Workspace: In the world of shipping container types, modular flex workspaces are in a league of their own. These workspaces offer unlimited configurations and can accommodate teams of 5-500.

    Modular flex spaces use modular workspaces (ground-level office units) to create structures rivaling permanent sites. You can stack these flex spaces on top of one another for multi-level units, or arrange them alongside each other to build your own flex office compound. With windows, walls, and furnishings, these units look and feel like high-end workspaces and give you the flexibility to add more units as your teams and needs grow. 
  • Reefer Containers: Reefer containers are refrigerated portable storage units that are a lifesaver for people in the food, retail, event, and agriculture worlds. These containers are temperature-controlled, so you’re guaranteed cool and stable environments no matter what the weather looks like outside. 
  • Blast-Resistant Modules: When looking at shipping container types, we couldn’t leave blast-resistant modules off of the list. These modules are designed for the petrochemical, energy, and refinery worlds and can withstand blasts of up to 8 PSI and 200 milliseconds.

    Every blast-resistant unit we stock is Avetta qualified and meets API Standard RP-753 guidelines. These units can also be stacked to offer more space and are perfect for providing a safe and protected space to take breaks, handle administrative tasks, and give your employees a secure space to eat meals and handle non-site-related tasks.

    These units are highly portable, can fit teams of varying sizes, and can be installed anywhere. Our blast resistant units come in sizes like:
  • 40’ X 12’
  • 40 X 24’
  • 40’ X 60’
  • 40 X 156’

We also offer a 40’ X 24’ multi-level blast-resistant module and a 40’ X 12’ blast-resistant tool crib. 

Who Benefits From Different Types of Storage Containers?

A better question would be, “Who doesn’tbenefit from different types of storage containers?”

Mobile Mini takes pride in maintaining an inventory of portable storage and mobile office units that are versatile, durable, and portable enough to meet the needs of over 20 industries. Our units are designed to meet our customers’ needs even as those demands change, grow, and evolve. Some of the industries that we work with include:

  • Agriculture 
  • Automotive
  • Construction 
  • Education 
  • Government
  • Hospitality 
  • Medical 
  • Retail 

We’ve been providing efficient, reliable jobsite solutions for over three decades—for any industry, any need, at any time. 

Mobile Mini: We’ve Got Your Essentials Covered

At Mobile Mini, we’ve got all of the types of shipping containers covered, but we’re also a lot more than that. As a company, we were founded with the belief that storage and mobile office needs should be simple, cost-effective, and stress-free. We know that when it comes to your business, time is money, and we are not fans of wasting either of those resources. 

With Essentials, we’ve created an easy turnkey solution to all things workspace with one convenient phone call. Packages include office furniture, appliances, locking options, lighting, shelving, and even a protection plan to cover your unit and its content. This gives you everything you need to walk into your temporary workspace and start being productive—even on day one.

Safer, Better, More Secure 

When it comes to your business, there’s no such thing as “too safe.” Our portable storage units offer three locking options. When we started this company, we were dissatisfied with the security systems available for portable storage units like ours. Rather than settle for something less than perfect, we decided to make our own locks. Our tri-cam security system was born out of a desire to ensure that nothing and no one could penetrate our units. These locks are cut-, pick-, and hack-proof; they’re virtually 100% theft-resistant. When you rent with us, you can rest assured that the only way into your unit is with a key. Bad for thieves, perfect for you!

In addition to being theft-proof, our units are also weatherproof. Each mobile office and portable storage unit we stock is designed to withstand even the harshest storms and toughest natural disasters. Wind, rain, sleet, or snow—we’ve got you covered. 

The Mobile Mini Difference 

Mobile Mini has proudly held the title of North America’s largest and most trusted portable storage and jobsite solutions provider for over three decades. This honor was not bestowed on us by accident—we work hard to ensure that our customers receive the highest levels of service possible.

Our customer service team is not only award-winning, but they’re always ready to troubleshoot issues, answer questions, and help you with whatever you need to rent with ease and confidence. Our units are world-class, and everything we do is centered around getting you connected with what you need…without the stress.

Memorizing all of the different types of storage containers is tough. Storage and temporary workspace shouldn’t be. Check us out today and see how easy (business) life can be.