Powered Container Preparation

It is important that both electrical power and physical site requirements are met prior to receiving equipment. Site preparation work is the responsibility of the customer (renter/lessee) and should be coordinated and paid for by the same.

Electrical Requirements

It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that all electrical work completed on their property meets local codes. The customer should question any system requirements that are not understood. It is recommended that the customer contract a local licensed electrician to ensure power/service requirements are met by the facility.


Units operate on 460/480 VAC, 3-phase, 60 Hz power with a maximum electrical load, under rated operating conditions, not to exceed 18.75 kVA. The power consumption shall not exceed 15kW.

If 460/480 VAC is not available it is the customer’s responsibility to determine the power voltage available and communicate the same to you. You should dispatch equipment fitted with a step-up power transformer to meet the customer’s needs. Step-up transformers to accommodate either 208VAC or 230/240 VAC, 3-phase, 60 Hz power.
are recommended.

If the customer plans to invest in new electrical service in for this application, 460/480 VAC would be the more economical choice.

Phase Sequence

Since the compressor motor, which is the only 3-phase component on the refrigeration system, can rotate in either direction, having the proper “phase” sequence is not an issue. Fan motors are single phase.

Reefer Unit Circuit Breakers

FYI – These breakers are built into the reefer system.
460/480 VAC (25 amp) circuit breaker – must trip at 29 amps (standard) 230/240 VAC (50 amp) circuit breaker – must trip at 62.5 amps (optional) 208 VAC (70 amp) circuit breaker (optional)

Hardwiring vs. Use of Receptacles

There are two ways to connect the unit’s voltage power cable to electrical service.

1) Hardwiring – which typically requires that a licensed electrician connect each of 3 power legs and one ground connection to an electric service panel.

2) Receptacles – if the unit will be connected and disconnected frequently this may be the best method to connect the unit to power.

Electrical Plugs

There are two plug designs on the market that can be used with this equipment, a marine, and a domestic type plug.

Marine plugs CEE-17:

All refrigeration systems should be provided with a 460/480 VAC marine design power plug. If the customer plans on using 230/240
VAC power, then the 460/480 VAC plug is necessary, it connects to the unit’s step-up transformer, see diagram at right.

If the customer will operate on 460/480 VAC and plans to hardwire the same, they can have their electrician remove the supplied plug upon arrival at their site. This plug should be reinstalled when returned. Missing plugs should be charged back
to the customer for both parts and labor.

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Marine Plug Specifications:
For 460/480 VAC power use 380/440 VAC, 32 AMP, 3-Pole, 4 Wire plug For 208/230/240 VAC power use 250 VAC, 50 AMP, 3-Pole, 4 Wire plug

Plug/Receptacle source – ERO Electric Reefer Outlets http://www.eroinc.net,

Domestic Plugs:

Trailer refrigeration systems with electric standby typically use a domestic type of plug. If the customer requires a domestic plug they will need to arrange for the purchase and installation of the same.

Domestic Plug/Receptacle Source – HUBBELL http://www.hubbell-wiring.com The customer’s electrician should determine if Hubbell’s TWIST-LOCK® devices (3 Pole, 4 wire ground plugs and receptacles available in both 480VAC, 50A, 3φ, and 250VAC, 50A, 3φ) meets their local requirements.

Land Site Preparation

Grounded Operation

If the unit will be placed on the ground, without a chassis (wheels), note the following points:

• Ensure there is sufficient space for a tilt-bed delivery truck or crane to safely unload the container.
• The surface that the unit will be placed on must be level and free of accumulating water.
• The unit must be placed within 50 feet of a power receptacle or service box.
• Containers are designed to be supported by their (4) corner castings. If the container cannot be placed on a level concrete surface where only the corner castings are touching the ground, use railroad ties or paving stones to support the corner castings. Never attempt to support the container from any other points on the bottom of the frame.
• Position the machinery end of the container no less than 3 feet from a wall or other objects that may block the airflow.


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• Units have 4ft wide, bi- fold swing rear doors. Ensure there are no physical obstructions to prevent doors from opening fully before “placing” unit.
• Units should be operated in areas with ambient temperatures below 100oF, and never exceeding 122 oF.
• Save on energy expenses by placing the refrigeration unit in a shaded area.
• If planning to operate container indoors, defrost drain line may need to be routed to a pail or collection device to meet OSHA standing water requirements. Additionally, the space may need to be ventilated to control the ambient temperature and limit the heat load on the refrigeration system.

Wheeled Operation

If the container will remain on a chassis while in use at the customer’s facility, the unit can be treated like a trailer. The only caveat being, the container must be unplugged from its stationary electrical power outlet and the 60’ cable properly coiled up and secured before moving the chassis.

How to Open and Close Shipping Container Doors

So you just purchased or rented your first shipping container. It is offloaded from the truck and you are finally ready to utilize your new acquisition until you realize you have no idea how to properly open and close the doors. It might seem relatively simple to some, but there can be a few snags along the way if the process is not correctly performed.

It is important to note that the container must be on as level a surface as possible.  If it’s not on an even surface, you may be required to shim up a corner(s), to ensure the container is level.

Once the container is level, proceed with opening the right-hand door first.

CA Door


(1) Once you rotate the handle hinges (also known as catches) upwards you simply pull the handle up and then rotate them out and towards you or away from you (depending on the container) so they are perpendicular to the face of the door.

 (2) The long silver poles called locking rods that are attached to both handles and the cam keepers rotate and allow the door to open.

 (3) The cam keepers lock the top and bottom of the door of the container and seal it shut. Rotating the handles will disengage the keepers and break the seal. Once all of the keepers are disengaged you simply pull the door open and repeat on the opposite side.

The process gets easier the more times you are run through it. However, there can be some problems along the way that you want to eliminate before you begin. Always check for any torn or damaged gaskets (rubber seals around the doors), uneven surfaces, rusted door seals. Unevenly distributed weight within the container can also prove to be a headache.

We would be happy to help you with any other problems or concerns you might run into. Feel free to contact Container Alliance at (800) 386-2345 or info@containeralliance.com

Music Festivals and Containers

That time of the year is finally here, festival season. Tens of thousands of music fans will gather from all over the country for a chance to see their favorite acts in one location. Music Festivals have a long and amazing history that spans over 60 years. Once in a lifetime moments such as Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival, Rage Against The Machine protesting naked at Lollapalooza, and even witnessing a hologram of Tupac at Coachella is what these gatherings are known for.

Since so many new festivals are introduced every year, the bar for new and innovative ideas has been raised. Festival organizers are now introducing unique attractions and vendors to ensure that the overall experience is elevated to match the musical talent. A few festivals came up with great ideas of shipping containers and innovative uses to attract new attention.

Shipping Container Innovative Uses at Festivals

Pop-up Booth:

Containers are an easy way to have a pop-up shop or trade show booth on the go. They can be easily modified with windows, door, electrical packages, and even air conditioning to suit any custom needs. Since shipping containers are easily transportable, they are an excellent and eye catching option to showcase products anywhere in the country.



Containers have been used for stages in many different ways. Some have used them as the base to build their stage, while others have used each box to create a mini stage within. The Tim Festival in Rio de Janeiro chose to stack and stagger boxes to house performers and projection screens in the gaps. This massive wall of containers created a truly unique experience which allowed everyone in the crowd to have a view of the spectacle.



Containers can also be helpful for more practical uses, such as storage.  Due to the natural security and durability of containers, they can be a great place to store expensive gear and instruments while keeping them safe from inclement weather that may occur. Shipping containers can be easily moved and stacked on top of each other if needed, which makes them the perfect storage solution for big production events.


The possibilities are endless when modifying containers. They can be made into dressing rooms, dining rooms, VIP lounges, offices, and even bars. The Bravalla Festival in Norrkoping, Sweden created a gateway and meeting place by stacking shipping containers on top of each other and decaling them with the festival’s logo. This served as a “home base” for groups to meet up or relocate each other. Plus, it also provides a great background for memorable photos.

karlsson-bjork-bravalla-music-festival-sweden-designboom-02 (1)

Music festivals are built on the foundations of fun and imagination. It comes as no surprise that the creators of these events are coming up with these amazing uses for shipping containers. The need for reliable solutions, like containers, will continue to grow as festivals do. So when you are traveling from one stage to another, be sure to keep your eyes open because you never know where you might see a container pop up. For more information about containers and modifications call us at (800) 386-2345 or visit containeralliance.com

Curacao’s “My Voice Matters” Travels Cross Country


The Project:

Earlier this month Container Alliance modified a container for the retail department store chain, Curacao. We modified a 40″ High Cube Wind and Water Tight container to fit a mobile art display for our customer.

We added custom red paint and custom framing for eight 6′ clear tempered glass windows to start the foundation of their shipping container art space. Led lighting fixtures were added to the interior of the ceiling. An Interior mounted electrical panel and 3 breakers were also installed. A white partition was later added down the center of the container to display the art to the outside. Curacao later placed the container on their truck and outfitted the shipping container art space exterior with their decals so it was ready to display.

About The Company:

Curacao has a strong background of serving the Hispanic and Latino community through its #CuracaoContigo platform. Their multiple locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada feature bilingual staff and signage while also selling merchandise on credit to over two million private label cardholders.


The Movement:

Curacao’s newly launches campaign, “My Voice Matters” (Mi Voz Cuenta), is a social initiative that aspires to encourage and create positive action among Hispanic communities across the nation. Their reason for this project is very clear, “The daily and constant fear of losing a family member through deportation is often unbearable. We understand that our country needs security and safety. However, families should not be torn apart and human rights must be respected.”



The Curacao truck will be traveling across the nation from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. stopping at select cities along the way. In these cities, children and families create drawings reflecting how they feel about their life and how immigration affects them. Their pictures will be carried across America for each city to see. Along the way, there will be several artists to assist the children in these workshops to making their vision a reality.

These messages of love and unity will be presented in front of the White House as a symbol for the entire country to see. To become part of this movement or find out more information about “My Voice Matters” visit their website or follow the journey on Facebook. For any other needs or questions go to Containeralliance.com or call (800) 386-2345.



Benefits of Refrigerated Containers


What are the benefits of refrigerated containers?

Our refrigerated containers often called “reefers” are capable of maintaining a designated temperature range between -20 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ability to control the temperature provides precision and consistency to your perishable items. Our used refrigerated containers are dependable and in great condition. The refrigerated units come equipped with an all electric cooling system and are insulated as well. The containers are equipped with lockable double doors on one end, durable t-rail flooring, and offer a secure storage space along with easy access. These units are placed on ground level and are ready to store your cold items. The containers are durable and designed for outdoor use, but can be easily placed inside your warehouse for indoor cold storage. Refrigerated containers are a great alternative to diesel powered units!

Why would I want one?

  • Inventory Overflow Storage
  • Floral Industry
  • Commercial Kitchen Remodels
  • Restaurant Industry
  • Farming and Agriculture Storage
  • Chemical Supply and Manufacturing
  • Medical, Biomedical, and Pharmaceuticals
  • Vaccines
  • Meat Processing
  • Seafood Wholesale
  • Food and Beverage Distribution
  • Produce Storage

What kind are there?

Rentals and for Purchase
20′ Refrigerated Container
Cubic Capacity
1,010 cu. ft. (967)**
Tare Weight
Max Gross
Max Payload
40′ Refrigerated Container 2,051 cu. ft. (1959)** 9,700 67,200 57,450
40′ High Cube Refrigerated 2,380 cu. ft. (2,289)** 9,590 70,550 60,960


How can I get them?

Still not convinced? Let our knowledgeable container experts talk to you further about the benefits of refrigerated containers. Contact Container Alliance, and we can help you find the right storage solution that fits your needs. We can answer any questions you may have! Give us a call at (800) 386-2345 or fill out our quick quote form.

Thinking Inside the Box to Break Down Borders

If you were given the opportunity to have a one on one conversation with someone across the world, would you take it? Now I’m not talking about an online chat or FaceTime call but rather a new experience that actually lets you feel like you are in the room with another person. One company called Shared_Studios (a multidisciplinary art, design and technology collective) is using shipping containers to make this possible. 

Shared Studios

For the first time, people can have a fully immersive conversation with complete strangers living thousands of miles away. By outfitting gold colored 20’ shipping containers with state of the art audio and visual equipment, they have created a communication portal that can connect you with other modified containers all over the world. Countries such as The Unites States, Mexico, Afghanistan, Cuba, Syria, Rwanda, Germany, and many others can now utilize this unique experience.

(Barack Obama speaking to entrepreneurs through portals in London, Erbil, Seoul, and Mexico City)

(Barack Obama speaking to entrepreneurs through portals in London, Erbil, Seoul, and Mexico City)

These shipping containers are now responsible for facilitating global conversations, teaching various subjects such as language and history, allowing artists to design and create together, and even connecting family members. We now have the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of what it is truly like to live in another country that is not skewed by the media, stereotypes, and negative preconceptions.

Shared Studios

Shared_Studios’ goal is to have these modified containers & communication portals permanently placed around the globe. They have only begun to tap into what these portals can be used for. Since they are a global public art project, they are open to new ideas of how the world can be connected in the future through this technology. Shared_Studios has proved that there is no limit to what shipping containers can be made into. They are literally breaking down borders with containers. It seems like you can still be in the box to think outside of it. For more information go to http://www.sharedstudios.com/

The Mega Ship Documentary – A Shipping Container Vessel


Many people know what shipping containers are, but not many know exactly how containerization transformed world trade and globalization today. The largest container transport ships today can carry 18,000 shipping containers overseas. Containerized shipping has lowered transport costs and allowed access to goods from anywhere in the world.

“Globalization as we understand it today, simply would never have existed without it [containerization].” – Financial Times

This shipping container documentary, The Mega Ship, follows one of the largest shipping container vessels, “The Atlanta” as she navigates her way through the difficult and dangerous Singapore and Malacca Straits into the vast South China Seas and beyond. In one year, this ship travels over 2/3 of the way to the moon and carries over 200,000 containers. Worth 4.5 billion dollars, the Atlanta has a crew of only 22 people. The crew must be ready to handle any emergency including weather and modern day pirates. The Atlanta is built to sail extremely fast averaging about 23 nautical miles per hour. This means the ship is burning 240 tons of gasoline a day so the crew must be ready for any sort of fire emergency. In order to prepare for the most dangerous situation, a fire in the engine, the crew undergoes an extensive fire drill each week.

We follow the Atlanta as it faces one of the most stressful times for a ship of this size, arriving at port. The busy waterways prove difficult and dangerous to navigate through for a ship the size of a 10 story building. In order to successfully get through the waters into the port, they call in a harbor export. Through a number of specific maneuvers and careful movement, the Atlanta makes it into the Singapore port.

Among the standard 20’ and 40’ cargo containers the Atlanta carries, are refrigerated containers called “reefers.” The refrigerated containers rely on electricity and the crew has to check on them twice a day. The Atlanta can carry over 700 of these units that can carry millions of dollars worth of food. The ship also contains a desalinization plant that allows the seawater to be converted for consumption. As the crew travel into Southern China waters, they must be wary of pirates looking to either take the crew hostage or steal money and valuables. They make it through only to met by a dangerous storm. The captain gambles to sail into the storm and makes it through. The journey for these giant container vessels is not an easy task, and there are many threats that emerge.

And the purpose of it all? On board the captain has precious cargo worth millions of dollars, cleverly loaded in over 8000 shipping containers, which he must deliver to their eager owners, intact and on time.





Shipping Containers Reintroduce Bison To Banff National Park

On February 1, 2017, Parks Canada announced that bison were successfully transferred into Banff National Park after over 100 years of bison absence from the park. Parks Canada says, “The goal of this reintroduction is to restore a wild, free-roaming bison population to Banff National Park in a way that supports ecosystem integrity, enriches visitor experience, renews cultural connections, and enhances learning and stewardship opportunities.” Due to extreme overhunting, Banff National Park has not had bison roam the lands since 1885. In order to restore the species, Parks Canada will closely monitor the bison initially to ensure a smooth transition before letting them roam freely throughout the entire park.


For the important transfer of the bison to Banff National Park, Parks Canada chose to use shipping containers. Shipping containers are very effective for the Banff bison transfer process because of their cost efficiency, movability, durability, and ability to be customized. The shipping containers were customized in order to ensure safe and easy transport of the bison. Storage containers are an excellent choice for shipment of any item and can be altered to accommodate animals such as bison. Built for traveling across oceans, shipping containers can easily handle the trip from Elk Island National Park to Banff National Park.


The Bison Relocation Process:

  1. Parks Canada chose 16 healthy bison from Elk Island National Park.
  2. The bison were loaded into shipping containers, custom modified to safely transport bison. They were transported overnight by truck near the border of Banff National Park.
  3. The bison remained in the containers overnight where they were closely monitored by Parks Canada staff.
  4. The shipping containers were airlifted by helicopter to an enclosed pasture in Banff’s Panther Valley. Once released in the pasture, Parks Canada staff will continue to monitor the health of the herd and ensure the new arrivals have access to food and water.
  5. The bison will be kept in the soft release pasture for approximately 16 months before being released in 2018 to roam freely in the reintroduction zone within Banff National Park.

“Brojects” – Shipping Container Workshop


Cottage Life DIY take on a workshop “Broject” using a shipping container

by Mackenzie Akins on February 02

Cottage Life DIY’s Andrew and Kevin add shipping containers to their list of materials for their next “Broject.” Always finding new and innovative DIY ideas, Andrew and Kevin have decided to build a workshop out of a repurposed shipping container in the woods. Shipping containers are excellent resources for repurposing and are perfect for outdoor storage projects like a workshop. From the plan outline to the execution of the wooden deck, they’ve really outdone themselves this time.

“We took an empty shipping container and turned it into the ultimate cottage workshop.”

To start planning, they come up with their wishlist for their ideal shipping container workshop. Next, they plan to open up the container with two large doors, plenty of space for storage on the inside, and a deck out front for a level building platform. Due to the sturdiness of the container, Andrew and Kevin also plan to build a rooftop deck to relax in. They’ve decided to build with a used container that already has some rust and wear on it, so they need to clean it up a little before starting reconstruction. After using some rust paint to extend the lifespan of the shipping container, they can start cutting out the doors.

They decide to paint the container black to contrast with the natural environment and implement the wooden doors. Once the doors are finished, all that is left is trimming the deck. The finished DIY shipping container features a beautiful outdoor space with a safe and durable storage area.  In their next video, Kevin and Andrew show how they make the rooftop deck to top off this dream shipping container workshop.


If building your own shipping container workshop sounds like your kind of Broject, let us help you! Contact us for a quote and we’ll get you started with everything you need for your DIY shipping container project.





Vertical Shipping Containers

What better way to enjoy a sunny afternoon than with a glass of wine and a beautiful view. This winery’s tasting room experience just became elevated. Cumulus Studio designed the shipping container building for Brown Brothers wine company to amplify the experience of the of scenery and to help lure tourists to east coast of Tasmania. The structure was constructed primarily using recycled shipping containers including the eye catching lookout tower, the Devil’s Corner Cellar Door. The tower invites guests to visually explore the landscape around the vineyard through thoughtfully curated framed views and interpreting the landscape. The guests will learn to appreciate the land where the wine originates in the same way they appreciate the wine that they sip on. There are three distinct openings, all with unique framed views- sky, horizon, and tower.

Shipping containers were used because of their flexibility, durability, affordability, and ability to be constructed quickly. The steel shipping containers are both structurally sound and can easily be modified. A total of 10 recycled shipping containers were used.

The shipping containers were modified off-site, easily transported to the site, and erected quickly. The sky lookout was cut from two parts a container and then put back together; the horizon bridge lookout is between the sky and tower lookouts and  the tower is constructed from two containers, end to end. The timber cladding on outside of the tower mixes the agricultural qualities with the raw industrial nature of the steel and the production process.

This vertical shipping container building utilized the small limited space and created an elegant 3 floor custom build pop-up shop. The project is the Streamer X Espresso Parts Barista Pro Shop is made from recycled shipping containers and positioned on a small island of real estate.










Photo: Designboom


In the Netherlands, architects have a developed structure made out of shipping containers at a bus station and is designed to enhance the waiting experience. The campaign called “prettig wachten” (pleasant waiting) is trying to make the time spent waiting more comfortable and less stressful for travelers. A 40ft shipping container is vertically placed and three 20ft shipping container were horizontally placed on the side. The horizontal containers are suspended together and form a roof.


A Georgia based architect Dachi Papuashvili shared his plan of constructing a tiny home with two recycled shipping containers. One shipping container stands vertically and the sits perpendicular like a cross. The plan was named The Skit, plans to utilize the recycled shipping containers but will also be very sustainable. The roof will be fitted with a solar panel and will make the home independent of any outside energy sources. The Skit will also feature a rainwater collection system and the heating of the home will be done by a small wood-burning stove. The outside of The Skit will be clad in wood and will feature two balconies.