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Advantages of Buying or Renting a 40ft Shipping Container

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A 40ft shipping container can help keep stored material safe in various environments. When it comes to storage solutions, a 40ft shipping container offers a lot of versatility. Whether you’re looking to store excess inventory, equipment, or personal belongings, these containers provide ample space and security.

While each container size has its own benefits, 40ft shipping containers offer several advantages. They’re cost-effective and can be modified to store a wide variety of materials. But you may be curious about how they compare against other storage providers. This blog discusses the advantages of buying or renting a 40ft shipping container and evaluates how it stacks up against the competition.

What is a 40ft Shipping Container?

Shipping containers have gained popularity in recent years as versatile construction tools. Not many, however, realize the distinct design decisions that make containers so useful as mobile transport and storage units. Built from corrugated steel, they’re sturdy enough to endure rough journeys on the waves and whatever your local climate can throw at them.

Since their creation in the 1950s, containers have spread beyond shipping and trucking environments. Many industries use containers, from construction workers and plumbers to painters and auto mechanics. Millions of hard-working people rely on these storage units daily to ensure that essential worksite materials are safe and always right where they’re needed.


Steel shipping containers keep stored materials safe and protected from the elements. They’re hardy and adaptable to a variety of environments. Container floors disperse the weight to the four corners, meaning they can be secured on top of another container or a secure foundation. Containers can endure extreme temperatures from -22 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain their durability.

While most containers use a four-bar, nine-cam locking security system, Southwest Mobile Storage uses a retrofitted slide bolt and lock box to ensure a high degree of security. Containers are secure, meaning they can effectively limit access to essential workplace material to unauthorized personnel.


One of the main advantages of 40ft shipping containers is their cost-effectiveness. Compared to other storage options, like warehouses or storage units, shipping containers offer a more affordable alternative that doesn’t sacrifice quality or security.

40ft shipping containers are double the volume of a 20ft shipping container but are more cost-effective when compared to their smaller counterparts. While prices change with market fluctuations, it will always be cost-effective to buy or rent a 40ft shipping container over a 20ft container. If price per cubed foot is your primary consideration, a 40ft container might be the right container for your needs.

Great for Storage

40ft shipping containers are excellent for your storage needs. They offer a larger storage space than other options on the market, with a volume of 2,720 cubed feet. These containers are popular with construction contractors, electricians, and more because of their size and security. They can even be modified to make storage of cables, pipes and wires more manageable. On top of this, they can be loaded at ground level, making storing and moving easier than with an elevated truck bed.

A 40ft shipping container from Southwest Mobile Storage is strapped to the bed of a truck and ready for delivery.
FEUs, which stands for Forty-Foot Equivalent Units, refers to 40ft Shipping Containers. The name comes from the fact that the container length remains uniform while the height may vary. While the standard container height is usually 8’6″, there are also containers that are taller or shorter than this. For instance, high-cube containers have the same length as standard containers but are 9’6″ in height, which is one foot taller.

How 40ft Containers Compare to Other Options

The dimensions of a standard 40ft shipping container are 8′ x 8’6″ x 40′. That’s significantly larger than the storage solutions provided by storage companies. Here, we compare our sizing options with the products of self-storage providers. While many self-storage companies are out there, few offer comparable storage sizes. Most start with closet-sized spaces of about 5 feet by 5 feet and go all the way to 10 ft. by 30 ft.

40ft shipping containers offer competitive sizing, with 2,720 cubed feet of storage space. Compared with the largest option offered by most self-storage companies (10’ x 30’), containers offer more storage space.

On top of increased storage, 40ft containers offer more flexibility than self-storage. A shipping container can be placed on your property, granting you easy access to your belongings whenever needed. Even if you have a local self-storage company, you can’t beat 24/7 on-site storage. If your location can’t store a container, no worries! You can store your container at our facility, where we’ll keep a watchful eye on it for you. You can customize the container to meet your specific storage needs, adding shelves and pipe racks if required.

A graph comparing the volume of a 40ft shipping container from SMS to traditional self-storage.
This chart displays the volume of a 40ft shipping container versus common self-storage sizes. Containers are portable and can be left at our branch locations for storage, similar to self-storage companies.

40ft Containers Vs. 20ft Containers

Besides their size, several considerations impact whether a 40ft shipping container would be more valuable than a 20ft shipping container. A 40ft shipping container is double the size of a 20ft container, but while it offers double the space, it cannot be moved while loaded. Industry standards prohibit us from moving loaded containers over 20 feet long. If you need to move containers frequently, consider purchasing two 20ft containers over a single 40-footer, as they offer the same space but can be moved.

A graph comparing the volume of a 40ft container to traditional self-storage.


With additional on-site storage capacity, you can feel confident that you won’t have to worry about the location, safety or accessibility of your equipment, materials, or tools. With a 40ft container at your disposal, you can relax and put your mind at ease because you have a storage solution with abundant space for safely storing all the materials you need. Is a 40ft shipping container too big for what you have in mind? Learn more about how our 20ft shipping containers might be right for you. Consider modification options to create a specialized container for your specific needs.

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