While steel is commonly used to manufacture standard ISO containers, aluminum also happens to be another metal that is used to make ISO shipping containers. However, shipping containers that are made out of two different metals will be different not only in terms of structural integrity, but also in terms of functionality. Generally, dry and refrigerated shipping containers are used to transport international cargo. Steel shipping containers are commonly used to carry dry cargo and they come as open top and flat rack containers. The evolution of today’s sturdier steel containers can be attributed to the thorough process of sandblasting and heavy duty coating that not only adds to the metal’s strength, but also makes it corrosion-resistant. Earlier, some cargo manufacturers used aluminum to make dry boxes, but ultimately, the industry replaced aluminum with steel after it realized that steel had more strength to endure the weight of heavy cargo.
Refrigerated containers, also called reefer containers, are required to carry lighter objects and they are often made out of aluminum. Such containers come with thick insulated walls and they are lighter in weight compared to their steel counterparts which makes them an ideal option for the transportation of frozen or temperature-sensitive items. Besides, aluminum shipping containers are also noted for their thermal efficiency. Notably, once the refrigerated containers lose their cooling functionality after their service-life, they can be used to carry frozen as well as dry cargo or anything that needs to be insulated from the external elements. To sum up, steel containers are ideal for transporting dry goods whereas aluminum containers can be used efficiently to carry frozen items.
However, if you need to address your general portable storage needs, you may need to consider a number of factors including maintenance, lifespan, and function while choosing between steel containers and aluminum containers. It is a pricy job to repair aluminum containers as you will need to invest considerably in welding processes. Additionally, aluminum containers have shorter life-spans compared to steel containers. You may consider using aluminum containers if you need to protect temperature-sensitive products from extreme external environment. On the other hand, it is quite easy to implement general modifications in steel containers and they can be repaired in a cost-effective manner as well. Steel containers are stronger and diverse and they can be used for various purposes. Steel containers are noted for their architecture, creative structures, and adaptability to modifications and this explains why they have emerged as the most popular ocean freight options.