An Auction and Marketplace for Shipping and Cargo Containers

Document Storage in a Shipping Container

05.12.2022 - Posted by Updated On 05.12.2022    

Document storage is a growing industry, and many people instinctively turn to shipping containers so serve as secure, onsite document storage units. Logically, it makes sense; however before you purchase a container and load it full of your important documents there are a few things that should be considered. Humidity, security, and storage features are three of the key items that need to be considered and addressed when using a shipping container as a document storage unit.

Humidity and Document Storage

Depending on where you live, humidity may be an issue with regards to document storage; and if you live in a humid area where there are significant shifts in the temperature between day time and night time you'll want to investigate more if a tightly sealed shipping container is the best place to store your documents. As the day and night changes, the air inside of a tightly sealed shipping container warms and cools, and as it does this any moisture that's in the air can be squeezed out causing condensation to form (similar to the way condensation can form on the inside of your car windows on a hot summer day when you turn the air conditioning on). This moisture can remain trapped inside of the container and damage and important documents that may be store inside of the unit.

The easy way to manage this is to install fans or additional vents throughout the container, but it's still best to consult with an expert on the matter.

Secure Document Storage

If you're storing documents, chances are they're pretty important. No matter if they have legal, historic, or sentimental value; the documents need to remain in a protected environment. If you decide to use a shipping container for document storage, you'll need to decide between a new or used shipping container. In terms of price, a used shipping container can easily save you over $1000, but due to the age and heavy use a used container can provide 99% security, but not that last 1% that you may need. First, used containers don't come equipped with a factory installed lock box; although one can be added on later. Second, used containers have low locking gear. This means that the handles on the locking rod are closer to the ground, and not waist high. Last, a used shipping container may age faster due to the ways that it's been handled and used. If rust develops in any area that could lead to holes and weak points in the shell of the unit. Later allowing air and moisture to enter and possible a starting point for thieves to attack at. document storage container

One last think to consider with any container is how level it is setting. If a container isn't sitting on a level surface, it may not be 100% water tight. The easy way to think about it is relating it to the doors and windows in an old house. As the house ages and settles, the doors and windows may fall out of square and creak and may not close and lock tightly.

Document Storage Features

Assuming you've addressed the first two issues and are still able to continue with your document storage conversion you'll want to consider adding features specific to documents, filing, retrieval, and reviewing; otherwise you'll have to stack your documents on the floor. While this method is possible, it may prove to be a challenge later on when files need to be sorted and retrieved.

Three of the most common features for document storage containers are shelving, lighting, and a folding desk or flat surface to review or organize the documents.

Shelving: Container shelving can be built from the standard types of kits available at Home Depot, or hanging container shelving can be purchased online at You'll want to make sure the shelving is strong enough to hold multiple boxes for long periods of time without sagging or breaking.

Lighting: Installing lighting can be as complex or simple as you need it to be. The most basic would be tube lighting powered by an extension cord, small solar panels, or even a generator. Complex lighting could be installed if the container needs to be tied into a power grid or off a large generator. If your container has multiple rows of shelving or areas in the rear of the container are excessively dark, you'll need to address your needs accordingly.

shipping container document storage

Desk Space/Work Area: If you intend to review, organize, or do any type of searching for specific documents inside of the storage unit you will want to consider installing some type of desk or table. Standing desks that hang and fold up into the wall can be installed, or you could simply find an unused table and chair to set up somewhere in the unit.

Shipping containers can quickly and easily be converted into secure document storage facilities. Provided you understand and manage around the risk of humidity and condensation, and make sure that the container is secure enough to protect the stored documents, you will be able to equip the unit with features that will make the facility incredibly convenient to use.

If you have any questions about document storage containers, or shipping containers in general, feel free to contact any of the sellers on through the active listing pages. You may also contact the staff at directly and we'd be happy to assist with any project that you may have.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Similar Articles