How to Stop a Used or Old Container From Rusting

Rusting of shipping containers is an inevitable part of their aging. When buying a used shipping container, know in advance how do deal with it. Find out how to manage corrosion, prevent serious damage and extend the life of your container.

Most shipping containers are made of Corten Steel also known as weathering steel, which is also used in bridge and building construction. Weathering steel forms a protective layer of surface level rust, similar to a scab on a wound, which provides protection against structural or severe rust. So some rusting on a used shipping container is normal and not always a bad thing. However weathering steel can’t eliminate the risk of shipping container rust becoming deeper, it simply delays it. Which is why it’s important to regularly inspect your used shipping container for signs of structural rust where the corrosion starts to disintegrate the metal. Significant structural rust can render a container unusable. Holes can appear which will let water in and cause damage to the contents of your container, as well as speeding up further damage with the inside being constantly wet.

  1. Keep it off the ground – sit your container on a concrete base, or wooden railway sleeper. This keeps the bottom of the container away from ground moisture and helps it drip dry after rain.
  2. Keep it under a shelter – although not always possible or convenient, if you do have a sheltered spot to put your container in, then use it. Alternatively cover it with a tarpaulin sheet, especially if you don’t need frequent access to it.


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