Experts in container rentals, sales and customization.   |   Let us help you today! 800.686.9114

Terms to Know When Modifying Steel Containers for Your Home

Share this Insight:


Start Today

Whether you are looking for container solution to Rent, Buy or Modify, our custom container solutions will be perfect for you!

Get A Quote

The terms you hear when modifying steel containers for your home can be confusing, especially when each one can be used interchangeably. This confusion can result in miscommunication, leading you to make the wrong purchase.

If you’re not familiar with what certain terms mean, you might end up buying the wrong type of steel container, costing you time and money trying to fix the mistake.

When you know the right terminology, it ensures you’re able to get the right product at a fair price and makes the ordering process more efficient and less stressful.

Being familiar with the popular terms associated with shipping containers can go a long way in ensuring you’re purchasing the container that’s right for your container modification. In this post, we’ll explain the different terms you might hear when modifying steel containers for your home.

Terms to Know When Modifying Steel Containers

Different shipping container companies may call containers by a certain term, like Conex box or cargo container. Sometimes, these names are even combined, such as “intermodal shipping container.”

If you’re new to custom steel containers, it can be confusing and frustrating to hear so many different labels when discussing your design and can make the order process less efficient.

Knowing the various naming conventions helps the communication process, which makes it easier for you to convey what your specifications and requirements are as you design your modified shipping container.

The most common names for containers are:

  • Shipping container
  • Storage container
  • ISO container
  • Conex box
  • Cargo container
  • Freight container
  • Steel container
  • Intermodal container
  • Ocean container

While all of these names once referred to different containers used for shipping, they’re now used interchangeably.

These containers are made to transport goods on cargo ships across oceans. This is where the names “shipping container,” “cargo container,” “freight container” and “ocean container” come from.

Internationally standardized steel containers were first established in the 1930s, but they were not stackable and not commonly used for shipping yet. The United States Army developed the stackable Conex box, short for Container Express, during the Korean War, reducing the cost of transporting goods for long-distance trade. The military still widely uses “Conex box” to refer to steel containers.

Malcom McLean, a former trucker, saw a need for a stackable container that could be transported by truck and cargo ship. In the 1950s, he developed a new stackable intermodal container that set the basis for the shipping containers we have today. The new design had almost six times as much space for carrying goods as the Conex box.

After McLean agreed to share his patent with the International Standards Organization, containers began to be known as ISO containers. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) still sets the international standards for steel containers, including dimensions and design, today.

When these containers no longer need to be used for transport, many found them to be perfect for on-site storage, leading to the term “storage container.”

Modified Shipping Container Shed and Carport

No matter which shipping container term you use, consistency is key to avoiding misunderstandings. Knowing the terminology helps you be confident and effective when modifying steel containers.

Now that you know the common terminology for containers, learn about home additions you can make with modified shipping containers.

Get A Quote Today!