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Shipping Containers, Storage Units, and PODS® – what’s the difference?

04.01.2013 - Posted by Updated On 04.01.2013    

Onsite storage comes in many shapes and sizes, and depending on what your needs may be there are many solutions available in today’s market.  The three most commonly discussed options are shipping containers, portable storage units, and PODS®.

Structural Differences: Shipping Containers, Storage Units, and PODS®

Shipping containers are designed and manufactured for intermodal, international shipping.  With this in mind, they need to be strong, secure, and able to take years of abuse while remaining wind and water tight.  The most common lengths of shipping containers are 10’, 20’ and 40’; however there are some other sizes available in the market.  In terms of weight, a 20’ shipping container can weigh nearly 5000lbs, while a 40’ container can weigh in close to 8000lbs.  Due to ISO requirements, shipping containers are built to very specific dimensions and sizes.

Storage Units are less specific in design and dimensions, as they are often purpose built.  They typically come in 10’ or 20’ lengths and are typically made of aluminium.  They’re designed to be transported easily, assembled and broken down as needed, and can often be made available for short term periods.  Storage units can either be rented or purchased depending on your needs.

PODS®, UNITS and other types of short terms storage solutions have grown in popularity in recent times.  These types of units are designed to be delivered quickly, and available for short and long term assignments.  The companies that operate these franchises are available nationally and can be found in almost any major city for roughly the same cost schedule.  The units are light weigh, wind/water tight and well maintained.  PODS® can only be rented, not purchased.

What Storage Solution is best for you?

While each type of storage, shipping containers, storage units, and PODS® have valuable features to them, they each serve a clearly visible market.  When making your decision there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself to help you decide:

  • How long will I need the unit?  If it’s a very short term, a POD could provide the ideal solution.  If your needs are long term it may make more sense to purchase a shipping container or storage unit.
  • How secure must the unit be?  It security is an important feature; a shipping container may be a better solution.  Designed for strength, shipping containers can be difficult for any intruder or pest to enter.  If you security is less a concern than the term and investment, the other solutions may be worth investigating.
  • Location:  Where will the unit be placed?  If there isn’t much room to navigate and a smaller unit is needed, a PODS® or storage unit may be the right fit, as they have a smaller foot print. If size isn’t an issue, or the unit will be placed in a remote area such as a construction site or oil field, a used shipping container may be the better option.
shipping container

There are a wide range of options available when it comes to on-site storage, and finding the right solution doesn’t have to be a challenge.  If you have any questions while looking for the right solution you can always contact with any questions that you might have.  While we do focus on shipping containers, it’s more important that our clients get the right piece of equipment for their needs.

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