Shipping containers meet growing need for sustainable self-storage space, new Census reveals

Demand for storage space – to keep personal items, business equipment, or anything else too bulky to be kept at home or in the office – has continued to increase over the past two years, a new industry Census has revealed.

“Container Self-Storage Census 2021”, published by the Container Self-Storage and Traders Association ( shows that, at the end of 2021, there were 572 companies in the UK operating some 978 Container Self-Storage sites – an increase of 35 over the previous year. Occupancy levels have generally remained very high during the pandemic – in many cases over 95 percent of capacity.

Shipping containers are both a practical and a sustainable solution to this demand, making it one of the fastest growing sectors of the self-storage market. The containers are robust units, constructed of steel to ISO standards and specified to withstand the rigours of international transport by sea, road and rail.

Containers destined for container self-storage facilities are mostly newly manufactured units, built in China on the same production lines as general shipping containers, but procured specifically for the purpose of storage. The containers are usually used to transport cargo from China to the UK or Europe for a single “one-trip” journey, as an economic means to position the containers to the intended destination. The containers are then repurposed and installed on the Container Self-Storage Site.

By providing this first Industry Report of activity data and business insight, the newly published Census recognises the industry’s growing economic performance – as well as its professionalism.

Reference in the Census is made to the Environmental Performance of Container Self-Storage Sites, both in terms of re-purposing of the containers together with the recycling of personal items instead of disposal as waste. The Census also covers issues such as container availability and the growth in the provisional of additional services for customers. There are also graphs and data covering industry trends relating to the number of containers used for self-storage, the space that they provide, occupancy retention levels, rental rates and container pricing.

The Census can be downloaded from:
Source: Container Self-Storage and Traders Association