How long does it take to build a container?

How long does it take to build a container?

27th August 2021

How long does it take to build a container? The short answer is: The time is insignificant, a matter of hours including the automated process of putting the steel walls together and drying the paint.

Containers are built at highly efficient and highly automated factories, virtually all of which are in China. Eight out of every 10 containers built worldwide are produced by just three Chinese companies: CIMC, Dong Fang and CXIC.

One indicator of just how quickly new boxes can be popped out: China’s factories can theoretically work around the clock and add a second 12-hour shift, but haven’t done so despite this year’s historic demand. One reason they’ve kept to one shift (besides propping up container prices) involves customer preference.

The waterborne paint does not dry as effectively on night shifts as on day shifts, particularly during winter months when temperatures are lower. Producing a whole box at night and painting containers at night — some customers don’t want that. They’re not as good quality as those produced during the day shift.

Another indicator of how quickly containers can be built is the sheer volume produced. According to Drewry, factories churned out 3,368,000 twenty-foot equivalent units worth of equipment in the first half of this year.

The bigger question

Practically speaking, however, the bigger question is not how long it takes a Chinese factory to build one box. The bigger question is: How long does it take between when you place the order for the box and when you put it in service?

In normal times, it has reportedly taken as little as six weeks. Needless to say, these are not normal times. The lead time this year has reportedly been as long as four months.


Article courtesy of Freightwaves: