Side Opening Shipping Containers

Side Opening Shipping Containers

Side opening shipping containers have an additiopnal set of doors opening along one (or both) long sides of the container. They also come with a set of end opening doors. Multiple configuration options are available.


Side opening shipping containers are built with a set of double doors that offer unobstructed access down at least one of the long sides of the shipping container. They will also come with a set of end opening doors. These side doors allow for easy access to your goods in storage as well as allowing for the storage or loading of oversize items (things so big you couldn’t easily fit them through the end doors), or for easy access to a wide range of items stored inside the container.

The standard or common configuration will be for a ‘right handed side opener’. This means as you are standing outside of the container looking at the set of end doors, the side opening doors will be to the right hand side. We do also offer left handed side openers (which have the side opening doors mounted on the other side) but this is a rarer option.

We have 20ft and 40ft options, commonly available in blue or green. Care of the level of engineering that goes into the side opening doors, its typically not viable to build custom sized containers with these side opening doors (If required, we can look at alternative options for specialist requirements such as roller shutters fitted into the side of a shipping container)

As these side opening shipping containers are not commonly used in the freight industry, they are commonly available as a one trip (new) option. Very occasionally we can offer some near new and used options but these do not typically offer a significant saving, but as there are no shipping liens with big fleets of these containers, there is no volume supplier of used side opening shipping containers into the marketplace.

These containers are all built in China and made from  COT-TEN A-grade steel. when this steel rusts the rust layer is itself non-porous (ie it wont’ let water through the rust layer) meaning it will last a very long time in any natural environment. If used for static storage use you can expect a lifespan into the decades.

Built to meet all shipping standard, these side opening containers are safe to load or fit out with 20+ tonnes of goods and then transport and / or lift.

As standard they come with a single set of double doors at one end only. The right-hand door will always open first. Each door has 2 locking rods or bars to help close them and keep them shut. They also have a heavy duty rubber seal that sits flush with the container when the doors are closed.

Each container come with a circa inch thick marine treated ply floor (some new ranges now have eco-friendly bamboo flooring as an option). Underneath this layer is an industrial quality bitumen based waterproofing layer, and then heavy cross-members underneath take the strain when it’s being lifted with a load of up to circa 25 tones of cargo. The internal floor line is raised approx 8 inches from the external floor. The marine treated ply is treated to protect against infestation by bugs and insects.

Various lashing points are included on the longitudinal rails and the front (non-door end) corner posts with a typical minimum 1 tonne max load per lashing point. We do offer some configurations of side opening containers that have lashing points along the bottom rail on the side that opens. This is a specialist feature often requested by customers who will be exporting goods so if you need this please specify this early on for us.

20ft shipping containers will have 2 fork pockets suitable for large industrial forklifts to access the container and lift it up from the centre of the long sides.

They also come with a minimum 2x 25mm vents with insect mesh (the exact number and the location of vents can vary slightly but they are nearly always fitted on the sides at the top).


All our shipping containers are checked over by a professional before sale. With the repair standard we specify we are confident to be able to offer our industry leading 2 year wind and watertight guarantee on all new, refurbished and used shipping containers. This means if your shipping container has a natural defect which results in a leak or other issue relating to its fitness for purpose as a storage container in its first 2 years we will come out and repair it free of charge.

Read more about our product guarantee


Shipping containers usually only suffer from wear when they are handled and moved to and from a truck, boat, train or container stack. As most of our customers buy a container that will remain static in one place, aside from the rubber door seal, there is very little to wear or go wrong with it.

We regularly see refurbished and used shipping containers that were supplied as used 10+ years ago performing very well with little to no maintenance. So you should expect this sort of lifespan. The only exception is the rubber door seals that can wear out more quickly if the doors are used frequently.

New or one trip shipping containers should last an extremely long time, but as manufacturing techniques change so frequently (every 5-10 years or so) it is very hard to test the exact lifespan of a container. We know that a typical one trip container is circa 12 years younger than a used shipping container, and as we would expect 10 years solid use from a used container, its pretty safe to assume that a 20-22+ year lifespan for a new shipping container is very achievable.

Container Condition

Shipping containers are available in various conditions which effect their price and lifespan.

New (One Trip)

New (or One Trip) shipping containers are the very best quality option available. Freshly built in a factory (normally in China) they are moved to the UK with freight inside them which helps dramatically reduce the overall cost of the shipping container. These almost new shipping containers may have the odd  imperfection consistent with this first trip but they will be in otherwise immaculate condition.

These one trip shipping containers are approximately 12 years younger than the average refurbished or used container we sell (or 12-20 years younger than a used container sold by any other trader) so the container will have a significantly longer lifespan. If these containers are to sit static on your site then they will also remain in very good condition. In 12 years time a one trip container you purchased from us that has sat static on your site will more than likely in better condition than an average used container we are selling at the time.

These containers come in green or blue without any logos and look a lot smarter than a refurbished or used shipping container.


Refurbished shipping containers are the middle ground between new and used shipping containers. We take the best quality used shipping containers and ensure they are of sound construction, leak free, have a good solid floor, a fully operational door and intact doors seals (where applicable). These are a lot neater than basic used containers and a fair bit cheaper than new (one trip) shipping containers.

We also repaint these containers in your choice of basic colour in a marine quality paint and add a high security lock box (padlock cover) to the shipping container. As these are made from used shipping containers there will still be dinks and dents along the frame of the container, but the repaint will give a much smarter appearance when compared to a basic used container.

Sometimes we make a refurbished shipping container by cutting down a larger shipping container to size (for example a 40ft shipping container may be cut down to make 4x 10ft containers). In these cases we typically offer our easy open or flat panel door option. These fabricated doors are much lighter (but still made from steel at least as thick as the steel in the corrugated sides of the shipping container) and much easier to use over a long period of time but they do not come with a rubber seal around the doors.


All our used shipping containers are sourced direct from shipping industry use. We do not offer used containers that have previously bought as ‘used’ as these shipping containers will commonly be of a poorer quality and have a much shorter remaining lifespan.

Used shipping containers will come in their original shipping liveries and will usually have some dents and surface rust. We sell these strictly as ‘cosmetics not guaranteed’ meaning we don’t and can’t guarantee how good they will look. If you require a smart shipping container we recommend looking at our refurbished or new (one trip) ranges. However, your used container will not have any large bows or dents – it will be in the correct overall shape, free of any holes or leaks and in a good stare of repair. Depending on your location and our nearest local depot, we can often offer viewings in our yard or photos of a specific container for your approval in advance of delivery.

Container Types

Information about the types of side opening shipping container available.

20ft Standard Side Opening Shipping Containers

Standard 20ft side opening shipping containers (AKA right hand side opening 20ft container).

These are 8ft 6 high externally and have 1 set of double cargo doors at one end and one set of side opening doors. As you stand outside the container looking at the end doors, the side doors are mounted on the right hand side.

Note: internal dimensions can vary slightly from one manufacturer to another, but usually only by a few mm. However, if your measuring up for a very specific task please let us know so we can double check  your container’s dimensions, or look to source an alternative.

20ft High Cube Side Opening Shipping Containers

High Cube containers are higher than standard containers. They are ideal to store something too big to fit inside a standard container. They are also a good option if you want to store stacked pallets as the extra height makes it easier for the folk lift to access them.

20ft High Cube side opening shipping containers differ only from standard 20ft containers in that they are 1ft / 30cm taller externally.

20ft Left Hand Side Opening Shipping Containers

Both Standard and High Cube containers are also available with an additional set of fully opening doors down one of the long sides.

As standard these are right handed side opening. This means as you look at the end doors of the shipping container from the outside, the side doors will always be on your left hand side. Left hand side opening containers do exist but are quire rare.

20ft High Cube Left Hand Side Opening Shipping Containers

9ft 6 high shipping container with lift handed side opening doors (as you stand outside the container looking at the end doors, the side doors mounted on the left hand side)

20ft Dual Side Opening Shipping Containers

Dual side opening containers have side opening doors on both long sides of the shipping container, as well as a set of end opening doors at one end only.

40ft Side Opening Shipping Containers

40ft Shipping containers with a set of side doors that opening along the full length of one side only. Includes a set of end doors also. Offered with right handed side opening as standard. Very specialised units and you may often find 2x 20ft side opening containers are cheaper than a single 40ft unit if workable for your requirements.

40ft High Cube Side Opening Shipping Containers

9ft 6 high 40ft container with double doors that opening along the full length of one long side only. Very specialised containers. Ideal for quick and easy access to goods or for storage of very large items.