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  • How long can you expect a shipping container to last?

    If properly maintained, the lifetime of a shipping container is practically indefinite. If left to the elements the container roof will start rusting and holes may appear after 5 years. Maintenance is very simple. Treat any rust spots and elevate the container on base blocks, and even outdoors, a container could last 40 years. If the container is placed under a roof or in a warehouse, there are no limits.

  • How heavy is a shipping container?

    The tare (unloaded) weight of a 6 m steel container is 2.4 tonnes. A 12 m steel container is 4 tonnes, and a 12 m Hi-Cube container is 4.2 tonnes.

    A 6 m aluminium refrigerated container weighs 2.8 tonnes, and a 12 m Hi-Cube refrigerated container is about 4.3 tonnes.

  • What are the dimensions of the shipping containers that Big Box supplies?

    We provide steel dry cargo and aluminium containers in two lengths – roughly, either 6 or 12 metres. We also supply cube containers, which are higher than the standard containers.

    These are the exact exterior dimensions of our containers:


    6 m steel dry cargo containers 6.058 m x 2.438 m x 2.591 m (imperial: 20′ x 8′ x 8’6″)
    12 m steel dry cargo containers 12.192 m x 2.438 m x 2.591 m (imperial: 40′ x 8′ x 8’6″)
    12 m Hi-Cube steel dry cargo containers 12.192 m x 2.438 m x 2.896 m (imperial: 40′ x 8′ x 9’6″)
    6 m aluminium refrigerated container 6.058 m x 2.438 m x 2.591 m (imperial: 20′ x 8′ x 8’6″) Nominal cubic capacity: 28 m3
    12 m Hi-Cube aluminium refrigerated container 12.192 m x 2.438 m x 2.896 m (imperial: 40′ x 8′ x 9’6″) Nominal cubic capacity: 66.27 m3


    Our Gauteng branches also offer smaller, 3-metre containers and rental of construction sheds.


  • Why use converted shipping containers?

    Some of the typical benefits are:

    • significantly lower costs than traditional construction
    • much faster delivery time and less on-site disruption than building “brick and mortar” facilities
    • portability – containers can easily be moved
    • flexibility – if you need more space, simply add more containers
    • security – containers are weather-resistant and tamper-proof
    • “up-cycling” a container is good for the environment.
  • For what purposes can Big Box convert containers?

    We’re experienced in converting containers for a wide range of uses, including event spaces, offices, computer centres, ablution blocks, libraries, kitchens, spaza shops and more.

    Please note that we don’t handle complex projects, like building container homes, on our own. However, we’re happy to work with other professionals, from architects to electricians and plumbers, to meet customers’ specific needs.

  • About how long would it take to have a container customised for a special use (for example, as an event space, computer centre or ablution block)?

    About 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the specifications.

  • Can I rent a container that’s already converted for a special use, for example as an office?

    Yes. We offer various kinds of converted containers for rent. These include offices with various specifications (some with air conditioning), ablution blocks, kitchens and general stores. We don’t make up rental units specifically for one client – although we do handle custom conversions of units for sale.


  • Can a refrigerated container be placed in a warehouse?

    Yes, but airflow must not be constricted. There must be an open space of about 1 metre at the back of the unit.

  • What are the electrical requirements for a refrigerated container? (What power is needed?)

    A refrigerated container can use a normal power linkup to an existing distribution board. An electrician will need about 20 minutes to do this.


  • Can Big Box handle transportation to anywhere in the country?

    We handle transportation of containers near our Cape Town and Johannesburg facilities. For transportation elsewhere in the country or further afield, we use trusted sub-contractors.

  • How fast can I get a container? (How long before I can have it on my site?)

    You can order a shipping container and have it by the following day (once all administration is done). However, some conversion jobs require the use of rigging with specialised equipment, and more planning is needed in these cases.


  • How are transportation costs determined?

    Most transporters work out a rate per kilometre. Transportation costs will also depend on whether it’s necessary to use specialized rigging or equipment like mobile cranes.

  • How much does it cost to rent or buy a shipping container?

    Our costs vary with the rand/dollar exchange rate and based on the required specifications, but we make sure our rates are highly competitive. Please contact us for a quotation.

  • Can I rent a refrigerated container or do I have to buy it?

    We have several refrigerated containers for rent, as well as new and refurbished units for sale.

Refrigerated Containers

  • Do your refrigerated containers have any special features?

    Our cold store units are lined with stainless steel and feature aluminium T-Bar flooring for easy cleaning and even distribution of cold air.

  • What’s the capacity of your refrigerated containers?

    The 6 m refrigerated container has a nominal cubic capacity of 28 m3. The 12 m Hi-Cube refrigerated container has a nominal capacity of 66.27 m3.

  • What range of temperatures do your refrigerated containers (reefers) support?

    Anything from -20 to +5 degrees Celsius.