How to keep your shipping container off the ground (and help extend it’s life) with a railway sleeper.

Railway sleepers and shipping containers, especially when used for storage, are a great combination.

The underside of a container is sometimes the weak link of a box because water is most likely to come into prolonged contact with it, which can create a great environment for rust.

So you need a way to keep your container off the ground and help prolong it’s life for as long as possible!

Water makes metal rust more quickly, so you want to keep your container as dry as possible – or at least reduce the amount of time that it is spent wet. The cross members, which hold the floor up are a key part of the container and if heavily rusted, will mean that a container has to be scrapped.

You can see the impact that rust can have on a container in our second hand container inspection video.

railway sleeper for storage container

A railway sleeper may seem like a strange partner for a container, but it’s ideal for holding the container above the ground giving it a better chance of staying dry, away from the wet ground.

Two sleepers are needed that are at least the width of your container. The sleepers are simply placed at each end of where the box will be when it is lowered into place.

Make sure that the sleepers are level, especially at the door end, otherwise the end frame may rack and the doors will become difficult to operate when opening and closing them.

Containers sit on castings at each corner so there is some inherent protection from water, but grass, soil and mud can get the better of it and more elevation is needed especially if your are not keeping your container on concrete or tarmac.

5 advantages of using railway sleepers with containers

  • Better airflow under the container means it will dry more quickly.
  • The underside of the container is less likely to get wet by being off the ground.
  • Leaks can be identified more quickly as drips can be seen. Even small leaks can cause condensation problems.
  • Being raised off the ground means that the doors can be easier to open on an uneven surface.
  • The container will be easier to move with it being up off the floor.

Railway sleepers are available to buy from many local DIY stores or garden centres, it’s a small but worthwhile investment to make for your shipping container.


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