5 Popular Uses for Side Opening Shipping Containers

New 20ft side opening shipping containerSide opening shipping containers are exactly as described – they open from the side. The longer side of the container opens along its full length giving much easier access to what is inside.  Side opening shipping containers are available in 20ft or 40ft, they are not commonly used for shipping, and are not as easy to find as a traditional shipping container that opens at either end.

Side opening shipping containers are often in high demand which can mean a higher price tag, but they are ideal for specialist container conversion projects so if you find one, we recommend snapping it up before somebody else does!

Here are 5 popular uses for side opening shipping containers that could inspire your container conversion project;

Accessible Storage

Using shipping containers for storage is not a new concept, but using side opening shipping containers to store your goods or equipment quite literally opens up the possibilities of what you can store, and how easily you can access it!

If you need to get to your stock or rotate it regularly then having to dig around from one end of the container to get to something in the centre is going to be an issue. If you could open the entire side of the container, you could see all of its contents laid perfectly before your eyes – a huge time saver.

You might have large equipment that won’t fit easily through the cargo doors of a container – farm machinery, or vehicles for instance – so side opening doors would make loading and unloading a much simpler process.

This clip shows a great example of side opening container storage by our customers Marine Department who store their diving and filming equipment in 2 customised side opening containers supplied by yours truly! (Full case study here)

Exhibition Stand or Tourist/Events and PR Office

Opening the entire side of your container can create an exciting and accessible event space for PR events or exhibitions.  Outdoor events are likely to become even more popular following the Covid pandemic as more people seek to be outside when in busy places, and a container that fully opens on one side can create a smooth in/out flow for visitors with plenty of air circulation.

A few years ago we supplied a custom-painted 20ft side-opening container to a Cardiff design agency who converted it into a visitor information point for the UEFA Champions League Final in the city.  Visiting fans were able to pop into the container to ask for tourist information and grab a map or leaflet.

We also supplied a customised container to another events agency for the same final.  Rather than using a traditional side opening container, this customer opted for the more cost-effective option of having the entire side of the container removed.  The container was painted in Nissan branding and used as an interactive exhibition stand for the event.

Read more information on these projects here.

Pop-Up Cafe or Bar

We talk about container cafes and bars a lot, mainly because we like visiting them! But also because this is a fantastic (and very current) way to convert a shipping container.  Once again, Covid has changed the way we are likely to visit hospitality venues for a while and we have recently seen a rise in requests for container bars for beer gardens, and outdoor event space.

A favourite discovery was this container bar at The March Hare Inn in Broughton Hackett who installed it in their beer garden during the lockdown in spring 2020.

Retail Unit / Shop

The beauty of a shipping container shop is that you can pack it up and move it to a new site when you need to move on.  Obviously, we appreciate that simply picking up your container and moving on is not that simple, but it is often much easier and more cost-effective to arrange this than buying a bricks-and-mortar premises, or paying rent on an expensive retail unit!

A side opening shipping container can be custom painted to your brand colours and fitted inside with lining, lighting, and electrics to create your own bespoke retail unit!  Simply open the side and invite your customers in!  Retail is such a tricky industry that is evolving very quickly so many people see a shipping container shop as a unique way to start out, that carries less of a risk.

We love the look of this ‘Bike Rental Shop in a Box’ – Quik Byke is a solar-powered e-bike rental shop in Nebraska, USA which uses a customised side opening shipping container.

Outdoor Performance Stage

Live music and theatre are set to resume in summer 2021 but once again, the outdoors will be playing a big part in their return. And of course, shipping containers can play a part in this!

Side opening shipping containers are an excellent option for a pop-up outdoor stage.  By opening the entire side of the container, a band or theatre group can perform for an audience with minimal obstructions. A shipping container stage could be moved to various locations, and because containers are built to last, they could be re-used for multiple events.

Alternatives to Side Opening Shipping Containers

Side opening shipping containers are not commonly used for shipping and are produced in much smaller numbers than standard (end-opening) containers. This means that they were more expensive and in short supply even before the Covid pandemic caused chaos in shipping across the world and created more demand and higher prices for containers than the industry has ever experienced (read Why Are Shipping Containers So Expensive Right Now? to learn more about this).

Therefore, you might like to consider an alternative option to a side opening shipping container which could save you some time and money. Our experienced team can advise you on some suitable solutions, you can also find a few ideas in this article on Alternative Options to Side Opening Shipping Containers.

At the same time we pride ourselves in offering the widest possible range of side opening shipping containers. You can read more about the different types and sizes available in our article detailing the different types and sizes of side opening shipping container available to buy. 

If you would like to discuss a shipping container conversion or source a side opening shipping container for your next project we would love to help!

Budgetshippingcontainers.co.uk offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale, which also includes our ranges of flat pack sheds, container canopies and more. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 7pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).


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