How To Maintain Shipping Containers

Tips On Avoiding Condensation Within A Shipping Container

Owning a shipping container comes with a fair share of responsibilities. One of the most important parts is maintenance. Thanks to their simple design, keeping containers in clean order isn’t too difficult. However, there are several tasks you need to carry out to ensure they remain in good working order.

Shipping containers tend to last for approximately 15-20 years. Nevertheless, the years will be determined by how well the container is looked after. This blog will outline the steps you should take to keep your container in the best possible condition.

Inspect The Condition Of Your Container Every Year

Jot down a note in your calendar every year to make sure you dedicate time to inspecting your container. A look on the outside and inside will give you an indication of the health and condition. Rust is an important feature that you should look out for as this can get worse without treatment.

For example, if the 20 ft container is frequently shipped on vessels, you will need to keep an eye out for the seals. These seals may have been robust to begin with, but over time they will become brittle and lose their water-tight sealing. Re-sealing faulty seals of essential for proper function.

Much like any problem, dealing with it early on will save you time and money. Where the container is stored will also influence the risk of getting damaged. If you are based in an area that is moist or freezing, you can expect the metal to deteriorate a lot faster. Conversely, a warm and dry climate is the ideal environment for a shipping container to be stored.

Avoid ‘Container Rain’ Or Moisture As Much As Possible

The term ‘container rain’ refers to the process by which water droplets can actually start to fall from the roof of the container. This happens due to the moisture build-up in the container which then condensates at the top. Shipping containers in Auckland are likely to have this issue due to humidity. Too much ‘container rain’ can accelerate the oxidation process which leads to increased rusting.

There are three ways you can decrease the moisture condensing in the shipping containers:

1. Reduce the humidity within the container

Reducing humidity is the obvious solution when it comes to decreasing moisture. There are a few tools you can use to eliminate the wetness.

  • Install a vapour barrier
  • Add a dehumidifier or air-conditioning unit
  • Place large silica gel packs on the walls

2. Increase ventilation with a whirlybird or vent

Fitting your containers with the appropriate number of whirlybirds or vents can really help with circulation. Instead of allowing humidity to build up inside, the passing of air in and out of the container will decrease the moisture. Without the moisture, the container will rust at a far slower rate.

3. Only store dry items within the container

Obviously, it’s difficult to be picky with what goes inside the container, but dry items will have less moisture in them. Please note that even items like wood can have a very high moisture content which will release it into the air if it’s warm enough.

Additionally, try and avoid placing moisture-sensitive items in the container. Anything like paper, cardboard or cork. If the water droplets from the condensation land on these surfaces, the water will be absorbed. Soon, you’ll have the issue of mould on your hands which make the container a potential health hazard.

How Do You Prevent Rust On A Shipping Container?

Rust is what happens when iron reacts with the oxygen in the air. Manufacturers of steel apply many materials to the metal to ensure that corrosion won’t occur. However, even with layers of this coating, rust is still eventually going to occur.

Buying a brand-new shipping container will give you the best defence against rust for a short period. However, if you purchase a used container, you’re going to need more preventative maintenance. It’s important that if any rust is present, you sand it down to the bare metal. Here, you can apply a new coat of a rust-inhibiting primer to continue your prevention of rust in the future.


At ContainerCo, we refurbish our containers to a high standard. Removing any rust and fixing any corrosion. Depending on the purpose of the container, you can hire for the short or long term. However, purchasing the container can offer a more permanent solution to your needs. We have 40 ft, 20 ft and 10 ft shipping containers for sale NZ-wide.

We also undertake container modifications in NZ for site office creation, break rooms and bathrooms and various other portable buildings. Dangerous goods, refrigerated shipping containers, and accessible containers with a side door offering full side access. Open-top containers can also be purchased through ContainerCo.

Our containers range from 10 ft, 20 ft and 40 ft containers for sale. We have containers for sale in Auckland, Tauranga, Christchurch, Wellington, Waikato and NZ-wide. Or try hiring containers in Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, and NZ-wide. Buy containers that are entirely suited to your individual needs.

Contact us on 0508 732 873 or request a free online quote today!

Scroll to Top