Tips for Keeping Rust out of Your Shipping Container

Keep your shipping container in shipshape, don’t let rust take over the landscape.

Do shipping containers rust? Even high-quality shipping containers are susceptible to rust. Rust degrades the overall quality of shipping containers over time, and makes them increasingly prone to damage, especially through the harsh conditions of shipping and handling. Since rust can cause the metal to corrode, it is important to take care of your shipping container. In this article, we highlight the damaging effects of a rusted shipping container and preventative maintenance to increase the longevity of your container.

What causes shipping containers to rust?

Although many shipping containers are windproof and waterproof, they are never 100% safe from rust. Understanding what causes this corrosion is important as it helps us take measures to reduce the risk and prevent a knock-on effect of pernicious consequences.

Here are some of the reasons why shipping containers rust:

  • Exposure to moisture
  • Salty air
  • Chemicals and other environmental factors
  • Scratches, dents, and other physical damage to the container’s surface
  • Lack of proper maintenance and protective coatings


Overall, it is a combination of environmental factors, physical damage, and lack of maintenance that causes shipping containers to rust over time.

The Impact of Rust and Corrosion on Shipping Containers: Risks and Consequences.

When it comes to shipping containers, rust is the number one enemy. Rust, once formed, corrodes the metal and causes a loss of structural integrity. This can bring danger to all things associated with the container, especially during handling heavy machinery and people involved. Even non-structural (surface level) rust may not seem concerning, however, can lead to further damage if left untreated. It’s important to address any rust or corrosion on a shipping container promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the container remains in good condition.

What measures can you take to prevent a rusted shipping container?

Regardless of the age, size, and condition of your specific shipping container, there are always ways to prevent the formation of rust and accumulative damage of your container. Remember, rust is inevitable, you can’t get rid of oxidation. However, treating your container can slow down the process of rusting and leave your container in an overall better condition.

Here are some easy and accessible ways you can prevent a rusted shipping container:

  • Keeping it dry

From time to time, the point at which a rusted shipping container reaches a precipitous moment of decay and decline is heightened by the prevalence of excess moisture in the air. This is a simpler fix than you may think: keeping the container dry and well-ventilated is, to us, the most important preventative measure you can take. One way is to use desiccants, such as silica gel packets or calcium chloride, which absorb moisture and prevent condensation from forming inside the container. Another method is to use insulation, which helps regulate temperature and humidity levels. Additionally, ensuring proper ventilation and sealing any gaps or leaks in the container can also help maintain its dryness.

  • Using a rust inhibitor and painting your container

Rust inhibitors are substances that are used to prevent or slow down the formation of rust on metal surfaces, including rusted shipping containers. Rust inhibitors work by forming a protective barrier on the surface of the metal that prevents oxygen and moisture from coming into contact with the metal. They are commonly used in industrial applications such as manufacturing and come in many different types of rust inhibitors, such as oil-based and water-based formulas, to protect a wide range of metal surfaces, including shipping containers that have already started to rust.

  • Using a cover to prevent a rusted shipping container

Customers often ask us, “Do shipping containers rust?”. The answer is yes, but one of the ways to prevent it is using a shipping container cover. This is a great way to maximise the safety and longevity of your and can be a very affordable option for those with a budget. Different types of covers can be considered. Those which are custom-made and those which can be universally applied to containers.

  • Identifying the source of the rust

Identifying the initial cause of the rust is a great step in preventing a rusted shipping container. This is because if you can fix one problem, it can help stop the knock-on effect of other problems. For example, fixing a leak can stop the pernicious consequences of extensive water damage, leading to more rust. Fixing the initial problem can also save a lot of money and time and help you gain a deeper understanding of how to look after your container.

  • Removing rust from the container

Another easy way to prevent damage to containers is to use sandpaper and/or wire brush to remove rust from the container. This will ensure any rust inhibitor that is applied, will be applied effectively for maximum protection. Removing rust will also maintain the value of the product to ensure that it can sell for the maximum amount.

We’ve answered the question, “Do shipping containers rust?”. Rust degrades the quality of the container and can lead to loss of structural integrity. Identifying the source of the problem and fixing the source is important, as well as maintaining the overall condition of the container. Overall, preventative measures are key to decreasing the risk of a rusted shipping container.

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