Tips

How to keep your shipping container off the ground (and help extend it’s life) with a railway sleeper.

Railway sleepers ( or suitable treated timber equivalent ) and shipping containers, especially when used for storage, are a great combination. The underside of a container is sometimes the weak link of a box because water is most likely to come into prolonged contact with it, which can create a great environment for rust. So you need a way to keep your container off the ground and help prolong it’s life for as long as possible! Water makes metal rust more quickly, so you want to keep your container as dry as possible – or at least reduce the amount of time that it is spent wet. The cross members, which hold the floor up are a key part of the container and if heavily rusted, will mean that a container has to be scrapped.

A sleeper may seem like a strange partner for a container, but it’s ideal for holding the container above the ground giving it a better chance of staying dry, away from the wet ground. Two timber sleepers cut in half are needed. Simply place half a sleeper at each corner of where the box will be when it is lowered into place. Make sure that the container is level, especially at the door end. Containers sit on castings at each corner so there is already some protection from water, but grass, soil and mud can get the better of it and more elevation is needed especially if your are not keeping your container on concrete or asphalt.

5 advantages of using sleepers with containers

  • Better airflow under the container means it will dry more quickly.
  • The underside of the container is less likely to get wet by being off the ground.
  • Leaks can be identified more quickly as drips can be seen. Even small leaks can cause condensation problems.
  • Being raised off the ground means that the doors can be easier to open on an uneven surface.
  • The container will be easier to move with it being up off the floor.
  • Sleepers are available from many local DIY stores or garden centres, it’s a small but worthwhile investment to make for your shipping container.

How to open and close a shipping container door.

  • The right hand door is the first door you open, swivel the custom catches up, there’s one on each handle.
  • You’ll notice that your container is fitted with lock rods which run all the way from the bottom of the doors through to the top. At each end of the lock rod is a cam and a keeper which engage to allow the door to lock.
  • Lift up the door handles and twist slightly to make sure the cams and keepers are dis-engaged.
  • Next take hold of the inner door handle first and pull out slightly followed by the outer handle and then pull them in tandem.
  • Closing the doors is just a reverse process of course, start with the left hand door, engage the cams and keepers and then twist both handles. Finally swivel the custom catches down.
  • And that’s how you open and close a shipping container door!

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