It was a record year
for the number of shipping containers located on city streets – and a year where these big steel boxes were used for everything from a pop up waterfront market to a mobile makeover workshop for cancer patients.
Paul Creighton, Executive General Manager of shipping container specialists Royal Wolf, says containers have become part of the urban landscape because of the construction boom but they are also now a go-to solution for a wide range of projects such as retail outlets, temporary housing and storage.
“The wide range of different and interesting projects that containers have been used for this year shows just how diverse they are with people putting them to all sorts of practical and creative uses,” he says.
The Wellington Underground Market at Frank Kitts Park was a large-scale project that used 16 “half-size” 10-foot containers as shops for stallholders.
Helena Tobin, Wellington Underground Market General Manager, says containers were chosen because they needed structures that were secure, strong, and able to cope with Wellington’s windy weather.
“They are really cute, they open up on one side and let in lots of light and allow the store holders to set them up beautifully. And the aesthetic of the containers is quite important to us because we have a real industrial maritime history and they fit really beautifully with that,” she says.
Other container projects last year included a 40-foot container and two 20-foot boxes used as a pedestrian bridge at the Burt Munro Challenge in Invercargill, a mobile workshop for cancer charity Look Good Feel Better, and a retail and food village on Auckland’s Queens Wharf made from eight repurposed shipping containers.
Leading New Zealand retailer The Warehouse also used Royal Wolf’s specially modified Dangerous Goods containers to store thousands of bottles of perfume and nail polish in the lead up to the Christmas period.
Jasmine Taylor, Inbound & Inventory Manager at Warehouse Group Wholesale, says the containers are an efficient and versatile storage solution that’s ideal for logistics operations when they require extra capacity.
“For us, especially ahead of our busy Christmas holiday period when all of our racks are full, having stock still within our site that we can access easily is essential,” she says.
With the ongoing construction activity in Auckland, the city’s footpaths continue to be populated by shipping container hoardings (covered pedestrian walkways) in areas such as Symonds St, Khyber Pass, and Wynyard Quarter.
As part of Auckland’s City Rail Link construction, a six container, two-storey container structure was built and includes two worker’s lunch rooms, an administration office, two changing rooms, and a toilet and amenities building.
Creighton says Royal Wolf also has large numbers of containers located around the country, ranging from small two and three container configurations through to large scale installations.
These include 19 x 20-foot container hoardings at the new Novotel hotel site at Christchurch Airport and 11 x containers on the corner of Bryce and Barton Streets in Hamilton on the site of the new ASB Bank building.
“Container hoardings are one of the easiest and most practical solutions for managing safety on and around a construction site and on very restrictive inner city building sites it reduces the amount of disruption in these areas,” says Creighton.
To meet demand for container solutions around the country Royal Wolf has opened two new offices in Nelson and Whangarei.
“The demand is definitely there and that is driven by a growing awareness about the wide range of applications containers can be used for,” finishes Creighton.
TEN FOOT CONTAINERS ARE SMALLER AND MORE MANOEUVRABLE THAN TRADITIONALLY SIZED STEEL BOXES – YET THEY ARE JUST AS STRONG AND FUNCTIONAL.
WITH A SMALLER FOOTPRINT, “HALF SIZE” CONTAINERS ARE OFTEN USED FOR EVENTS AND PROJECTS WITH LIMITED SPACE. HOWEVER, AT 2.99M LONG, 2.44M WIDE AND 2.9M HIGH, THEY ARE LARGE ENOUGH TO PROVIDE A SPACIOUS INTERNAL AREA FOR OPERATING OUT OF OR AS A STORAGE SOLUTION.
TEN-FOOT CONTAINERS, LIKE THE ONES THAT MAKE UP THE WELLINGTON UNDERGROUND MARKET, ALLOW RETAILERS TO SIMPLY WALK IN, SET UP AND START TRADING. AT A WEIGHT OF JUST 1450KG, THEY ARE ALSO HIGHLY PORTABLE MAKING THEM IDEAL FOR TEMPORARY POP UP SOLUTIONS AT FESTIVALS OR SEASONAL EVENTS.
ROYAL WOLF ALSO BUILD HIGHER SPECIFICATION CONTAINER PRODUCTS WHICH INCLUDE POWER SUPPLY, THERMAL INSULATION, AND AIR CONDITIONING, AS WELL AS LINING AND FLOORING TO MAKE THE SPACES COMFORTABLE AND INVITING.
CONTAINERS USED AS RETAIL OUTLETS CAN ALSO BE FITTED WITH SLIDING DOORS AND WINDOWS ALONG ONE SIDE OF THE CONTAINER TO ALLOW EASY ACCESS FOR CUSTOMERS AS WELL AS TURNING THE CONTAINER INTO A GIANT DISPLAY CASE FOR A RETAILER’S PRODUCTS.