The Damage and Repairs of a Shipping Container

The Damage and Repairs of a Shipping Container

If you’re ever down at the Auckland waterfront, it’s common to see ship liners loaded with indestructible-looking containers. Surprisingly, however, they are prone to damage and sometimes the most insignificant damage can still lead to functional issues. As with most materials – wear and tear will lead to structural problems.

While the crates are built for endurance, a minor dent caused by a forklift tyne will begin the glacial process of rusting.

At ContainerCo, we sell and allow the hire of regular, refrigerated and side opening containers in NZ. We maintain and repair our containers to ensure the quality isn’t compromised.

The following article will outline the necessary steps to repairing a crate upon varying types of damage.

Rust Can Infect Shipping Containers

The older a shipping container is, the more likely it is to have been knocked around and have its preservative paintwork chipped away.

For example, those 40ft containers in Auckland are hauled back and forth around the world’s waters countless times. When that paint starts to fade and water seeps in, the chemical process of rusting begins.

The most common areas that are prone to rust are:

  • Door sections
  • Seams
  • Welds
  • Any dented area

Many years at sea is likely to bring minor surface-level rust. When the flaky paint is no longer protecting the container, the sea mixed with the sun will catalyse the rusting process. Sandblasting is required to remove these areas and be followed up with primer and repainting.

Severe rust that has manifested into holes will need more attention. These will need to be cut out and replaced with a new welded piece of steel. Alternatively, there is a patching method involving fibreglass reinforced polyester. Subsequent exposure to UV light will solidify the polyester into a metal-strength substance.

Door Seal Damage

Keeping the container free of water, air and any vermin is not possible without the door seal. When this seal is compromised, the items within are likely to be damaged.

The door seal failing to close is one of, if not the most crucial replacement to be made. Neither costly nor difficult, this is an easy fix that can be made by a professional.

Hinges are not immune to wear and tear either. When grease becomes old and dry, the hinge becomes stiff. Stripping the hinge of the old grease and applying a fresh layer of lubricative new grease will solve this problem.

It’s likely that if a door seal is broken, there may be damage to the door itself. If a door is warped, even slightly, an air-tight closure is strenuous. Thus, it would be best to check the condition of the door when replacing the broken seal.

Repainting the Container

Aside from aesthetics, there is a functional purpose of repainting after repairs. The paint gives enough protection from corrosion and the elements to delay another repair anytime soon.

The inside of the container is not exempt from damage either. An internal layer of paint would be wise as dings and scratches are inevitable with all the travel.

Refrigerated Container Damages

The refrigerated container (or reefer), unlike the standard, has more areas prone to damage. The reefer has a cooling unit. When this unit fails, a refrigeration mechanic will be required to repair it – this is not a DIY fix.

While not ideal, if there is a hole in a standard crate, it isn’t as detrimental as a hole in a reefer. When coolant is leaking out of the container during transit, energy inefficiencies and a higher power bill are inevitable.

At ContainerCo, we have refrigerated containers for sale in NZ that are maintained and refurbished to the standard that you require.


At ContainerCo we have shipping containers NZ wide in a range of sizes and configurations. Depending on your needs, you can buy or hire on a short or long term basis. 

Whether it’s one container or 20 containers, everyone gets the same quality service at ContainerCo. We supply whatever shipping container you require to any location around New Zealand. Your container purchase or hire is backed by our full after-delivery support. 

We have 10,20 and 40ft shipping containers for both sale and hire. We also have a dedicated and highly specialised team of in-house engineers. Providing strong and durable shipping container modification solutions. This includes site offices, portable buildings, open-top shippingside opening containers, etc.

Contact us on 0508 73 28 73 or request a free online quote today!

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