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Tips for Using a Shipping Container for Storage

With a surplus of new and used shipping containers, many people are repurposing them into strong and durable storage units for residential and commercial use. These containers are extremely hardy and can withstand severe weather and even fires, keeping your possessions or inventory safe year-round. They’re also cost-efficient and portable, which means they can be transported to virtually any location, provided there’s enough space for the truck carrying it to maneuver.

Before purchasing a storage shipping container, there are a few things you should consider to ensure that your items stay safe and in good condition with minimal maintenance.

1. How it will be delivered

Shipping containers are usually delivered using one of two types of trucks: a tilt-bed or roll-off truck or a flatbed truck. Flatbed trucks are usually more affordable than their counterparts, but you must also have a forklift on site to place the container.

If your location is far from the container depot — more than 100 miles — then you should consider the cost of hiring a forklift locally. If the total cost is very high, then using a roll-off truck will eliminate the logistical hassle.

2. Do you need any permits?

Generally, you don’t need a building permit for any structures that don’t have a permanent foundation. This would mean if you intend to set your storage shipping container onto concrete footings or railroad ties. If you’re setting up a barn or shed, you may be required to get a permit.

3. Setup and maintenance costs

While the upfront costs of buying a shipping container are quite high compared to building a concrete or wood-frame structure, the total costs of building a structure and the time taken might be more than simply getting a container. Building involves construction costs, transporting materials, and labor expenses. In addition, these structures may not be as durable as a shipping container that can withstand even the harshest weather conditions.

4. Set up a solid foundation

To maximize the life of your storage container, you should prepare some kind of foundation for it to sit on. Letting the container sit directly on the ground will affect moisture drainage and ventilation, leading to corrosion and decay on the underside.

Common low-cost foundation options include railroad ties, concrete piles, or slab-on-grade. The container can then be secured with bolts or fixtures set in the concrete slab itself.

5. Do you need to stack the containers?

If you’re considering getting several storage shipping containers, consider stacking them to save on space. Generally, you should not exceed 7 containers stacked on top of each other, but the strength depends on the entire steel framing or structural integrity of the underlying containers.

To prevent deformation, you should consider welding steel guardrails to the interior of the structure for additional stability and support for the container. The amount of reinforcement required depends on how high you intend to stack the containers.

6. Secure your containers

New shipping containers come fitted with lockboxes as a standard feature, though the same does not apply for used containers. Consider adding a bolt-on lockbox if your container does not have it, to prevent access to the lock on all sides except the bottom. This helps to boost security as it’s virtually impossible to cut the shank.

7. Is it well ventilated?

If your region has fluctuating day and night temperatures, then you will likely have a problem with condensation building up inside your container. This can damage any valuables stored inside the container. As such, you should make arrangements to install some kind of ventilation system that will facilitate proper air circulation. Common options include fixed vents and a basic HVAC system.

8. Interior odour

If you notice any kind of smell inside the container due to the cargo that was shipped, you should spread some instant coffee around the inside of the container and then shut the doors for a couple of days. Coffee naturally absorbs smells, leaving the container with a faint smell of coffee.

9. Size of container

The common container sizes are 20-feet standard, 40-feet standard, 40-feet high cubes, and 40-feet super-high cubes that offer a varying amount of storage space. To get the most value for commercial storage, you should first determine the price per square foot of each container, then you can choose the size that gives you the best return on investment. For residential storage, you should also consider the amount of space available on site to place the container.

10. Don’t buy cheap

While you need to find a container that fits your budget, the cheapest unit may put the items in storage at risk of damage. There are several different types of containers, including new, refurbished, and ‘As is’, all of which come with a different cost that matches their condition.

It’s important to choose a container that is in good condition, with as few defects as possible, but is still within your budget. Used containers vary considerably in both condition and price, so you can find a good fit for you with a little research. Otherwise, new containers are essentially standard in terms of features and options.

Keep in mind that there are several types of shipping containers in the market, for different purposes. For instance, a reefer container is best for storing perishable items that need refrigeration. An open-side container, on the other hand, can be ideal for organizing cargo of different shapes/sizes, like machinery.

Make sure to find a reliable supplier, who can guide you to the best container for your needs. Shipping containers are a great, cost-effective option for homeowners and businesses looking for a portable storage solution. They’re easy to set up fast and affordable, which makes storage shipping containers a great alternative to setting up concrete or wooden structures.

Finally, check if your supplier offers a price-match guarantee. Many suppliers promise to offer the best deals on the market. This means that if you can find a better price for the same size and condition of a shipping container from a competitor, they may be willing to beat that lower price to uphold their reputation.

Experts in Warehouse Storage Solutions

At PFC, we provide a variety of industrial storage equipment. From our simple solutions to our specialty offerings, we truly have a solution for every square foot. If your needs include combating the constant increases in labor costs or if you’re looking to store material in a high seismic area, we have a product for all of that and more. Learn more about our simple, dense, picking, and specialty solutions to see how we can customize a plan to fit your ongoing facility needs.

At Post First Class we offer a seamless, unparalleled level of service for our landside operations. We understand that the ability to store cargo and containers is crucial for our customer’s supply chain.

Warehouse Storage Solutions Explained

There are a number of warehouse storage solutions out there, and while a couple of these may ‘work’ for your operation, there’s likely one that is the most beneficial. Identifying and utilizing this ideal storage solution will ensure optimized density and selectivity, increasing efficiency, and ultimately profits.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • Features, benefits, and ‘how it works’ for warehouse rack systems selective, pallet flow, carton flow, push back, and drive-in/drive-through.
  • Features, benefits, and ‘how it works’ for warehouse automation solutions pallet runners, pick-to-light and put-to-light, voice picking, and conveyor systems.

Warehouse Rack Systems Explained

To get started, check out this infographic that details the various features of different types of warehouse storage solutions, including pallet rack and pick modules:

Pallet Rack Comparison Chart

Selective Pallet Rack Overview

Selective pallet rack enables direct access to all stored pallets or cartons without the need to move others, making it a highly selective solution where it is necessary to have a wide variety of products stored.

selective pallet rack Numerous aisles are required to accommodate this high selectivity, making it a lower density option compared to other types of rack systems.

Selective rack is ideal for warehouses or distribution centers with continuous product circulation or that require access to all palletized items simultaneously.

Selective rack is for first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management. Pallets are loaded and unloaded from the front. Double deep selective rack is also available for a last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory management option. More about selective pallet rack.

Pallet Flow Rack Overview

pallet flow rack In pallet flow rack systems, the rack supports inclined rollers or wheels allowing pallets to glide from the back (loading) aisle to the front (picking) aisle. When the front pallet is unloaded, the next automatically glides into the picking position. Brakes can be included for speed control.

Pallet flow systems can be configured up to 12 lanes deep, providing excellent volume utilization and high-density storage.

Pallet flow rack is ideal for date-sensitive products such as food and beverage storage as well as freezer or cold storage applications. More about pallet flow rack.

Carton Flow Rack Overview

In the carton flow rack, the rack supports inclined rollers or wheels allowing cartons to glide from the back (loading) aisle to the front (picking) aisle. Individual lane guides and tilt trays located at the discharge end can be added to allow for easy access into the top of a case or tote for piece-picking.

carton flow rack Carton flow systems provide excellent volume utilization for high volume case pick or piece pick applications. It is ideal for products varying in size, date-sensitive products such as food and beverage storage, and freezer or cold storage applications.

The carton flow rack is for first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management. Cartons are loaded from the back of the system and glide to the front for picking. When the front carton is unloaded, the next automatically glides into the picking position. More about carton flow rack.

Drive-In & Drive-Through Rack Overview

drive-in and drive-through rack In drive-in and drive-through racking, pallets are stored on support rails that are attached to uprights and are accessed by a lift truck that drives into the system with the load elevated to the height of the rail and placed in the selected storage location. This provides high storage density by eliminating picking aisles but offers low selectivity.

Drive-in and drive-through racking systems are ideal for storing large quantities of homogeneous products, products with long life spans, or products that require large, one time moves.

The drive-through rack allows a lift truck to enter through both ends of the system for loading and unloading allowing for a FIFO storage option but requiring an additional aisle.

Drive-in rack requires the lift truck to load and unload by entering through the front of the system and then backing out, making it a LIFO option. More about drive-in and drive-through rack.

Push Back Rack Overview

push back rack In push back rack, the rack supports carts that move along inclined rails. Push back systems utilize the warehouse cube to reduce required aisle space and maximize product storage, making it a high-density pallet storage solution.

Push back systems are ideal for warehouse and distribution centers that require access to multiple groups of SKUs simultaneously, as well as freezer and cooler environments.

Push back racking is for last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory management. Each pallet is loaded from the front of the system on to a cart. Using the next pallet, the first is slowly pushed until it is aligned with the next available cart. When the front pallet is unloaded, the next pallet slides to the front for picking. More about push back rack.

Warehouse Automation Solutions Explained

Pallet Runners Overview

Pallet runners are semi-automated deep lane storage that delivers the product via a cart that runs on a track within the racking system. The carts can be outfitted to suit a wide variety of pallet designs. The pallet runner can deliver the product at a higher rate and provide more density than typical drive-in racking.

Pallet runners eliminate the need for wider picking aisles, allowing the entire volume of your warehouse to be utilized. Pallet runners are ideal for operations with a high number of pallets that make up a low number of SKU’s,

In a system utilizing pallet runners, pallets are loaded into the system by a lift truck then transported and placed on the rack by an automated cart.

The process of unloading is the same: the cart collects and transports pallets out of the system while an operator moves between the lane and the shipping dock or other destinations. More about pallet runners.

Pick-to-Light and Put-to-Light Systems Overview

Pick-to-light and put-to-light systems are comprised of lighted displays attached to the pick face of each SKU. Pickers can scan bar codes to be directed to the item location. The message display and indicator light informs the picker of the quantity to be picked or placed (put).

Pick-to-light and put-to-light are ideal for high-density fast mover product picking applications requiring 300-500 lines per man-hour pick rates. Distribution centers that have a team-based approach to order fulfillment, like zone picking, can also benefit from pick-to-light and put-to-light.

Pick-to-light and put-to-light have relatively low hardware and install cost compared to other automation options, especially when you consider some of the other advantages:

  • 99.9% accuracy.
  • Shortened order fulfillment cycle times.
  • Reduced Labor costs.
  • Reduction in picking and placing errors.
  • Low Pick-to-Light Hardware and Installation Investment

Voice Picking Systems Overview

Voice picking systems enable hands-free, single-touch pick, and pack operation. Voice picking can be much more efficient than picking via paper or RF transmitters since the operator does not have to ‘look down’ to reference their next steps. This results in higher accuracy as well as seconds saved with each step the operator must make (which quickly adds up!).

With voice picking, the operator is directed by the voice command via a headset for each step in the process. The voice command can be customized to each company’s specific operation.

For example, the voice command will tell the operator that they are to ‘cart pick’ (as opposed to fork truck pick). The operator lets the voice command know once they’re at the cart pick location. The voice command will then direct them to put box size A in position 1, box size C in position 2, and box size D in position 3 on the cart. The operator will confirm once completed. The voice command will then direct them to go to the pick locations for each box, providing the optimized pick path.

Benefits of voice picking include:

  • Increased pick accuracy – up to 99.99%!
  • Increased pick volume per worker.
  • Increased accuracy in picking, with a reduction in repeat work.
  • Can eliminate packing operators.
  • Integration of picking and fulfillment processes, yielding greater efficiency from pick to shipment

Conveyor Systems Overview

Conveyors allow for products to move from location to location within your warehouse. There are many options when it comes to conveyor types, so finding the correct conveyor type for your warehouse is important. There are three main types of conveyors to consider – transportation, accumulation, and sortation.

  • Transportation Conveyors
    Transportation conveyors move pallets or cartons from point A to point B. Transportation conveyor options are available to accommodate requirements such as desired speed and product handling procedures. Transportation conveyors include gravity, belt, and live roller conveyors. More about transportation conveyors.
  • Accumulation Conveyors
    Accumulation conveyors move loads from point A to point B, allowing them to accumulate when necessary to allow time for equipment or other material handling resources to become available down the line. Accumulation conveyors include zero pressure, zero contact, and minimum contact conveyors. More about accumulation conveyors.
  • Sortation Conveyors
    Sortation conveyors are used to direct products from one conveyor line to another. These are tailored to each operation to properly identify, track, and transport products to expedite the order fulfillment process. Sortation conveyors include shoe sorter, pop-up wheel, right angle transfers, arm (or pusher) style, narrow belt, tilt tray (or loop sorter), and cross-belt. More about sortation conveyors.

Looking for a Warehouse Storage Solutions that Works for You?

Now that you have a better understanding of warehouse storage solutions, we’d appreciate the opportunity to help you further, whether that be more information or a quote. Fill in the contact form to get in touch with a PFC representative.

PFC Storage Systems offers all racking and automation options mentioned in this article. We know your options and will make sure your system is the best fit for your SKU profiles, space, and growth projections. We work with you to provide a turnkey system. From engineering, design, product procurement, subcontractor management, install, and permitting support, PFC handles it all for you.

PFC has 17 in-house project managers and engineers, all highly experienced in the material handling industry. These people know this industry inside and out.

So don’t settle for an inadequate warehouse storage solution. Instead, call or email us and get an awesomely efficient material handling system.

This is why we consistently focus on warehousing and distribution. Through establishing a global network of warehouse and storage facilities, we are proud to offer a door-to-door logistics service to our customers, enabling them to move cargo anywhere in the world.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3292″ img_size=”700*300″ alignment=”center” css_animation=”bounceInUp”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Container and cargo storage with Post First Class (PFC)

PFC’s warehousing allows us to offer our customers greater speed, efficiency, and flexibility for their supply chains. Our network of warehouses, adding up to millions of square meters around the globe, means that we can offer a broad range of services with door-to-door cargo integrity.

Many of our warehouses are able to provide comprehensive pick/pack, de-stuff / palletize, bulk stack and storage services and facilities. As a result, PFC will not only transport your goods quickly and safely, but we can also help play a key coordinating role in your distribution network. You get to release your goods when and how you desire.

Our available facilities also allow us to ensure the smooth transition of your cargo through every phase of the transport cycle. This is combined with our outstanding levels of customer service and our tailor-made, flexible solutions.

Even in countries where PFC doesn’t have its own warehousing facilities, we are still able to offer unrivaled expert guidance on finding/arranging cargo storage solutions.

In addition to our many operational benefits, using PFC’s warehousing services will also save you money in terms of:

  • Reduced inventory.
  • Lower container storage costs.
  • Lower demurrage bills.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”Get in contact” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-envelope-o” color=”orange” add_icon=”true”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css_animation=”fadeInUp”]For more information about how our warehousing and storage solutions could benefit your supply chain, contact your local PFC (Post First Class) warehousing expert today.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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