THE AFTERLIFE OF A CONTAINER SHIP AND THE CONTAINERS THAT ONCE CALLED IT HOME
In 1956 when Malcom McLean developed the first metal shipping container to streamline the moving of cargo around the globe, he had no idea that sixty years later people would be working or even living in those cargo containers.
CARGO SHIPS AND CARGO CONTAINERS…
The traditional container ship spends years, sometimes decades, traveling international waters before being decommissioned. Twenty years ago, once a ship or cargo container was decommissioned, its final resting place was normally a landfill or the bottom of the ocean as garbage. Today, due to the efforts of a group of innovative thinkers, these containers and barges are now being utilized around the world to aid in solving a variety of problems. While barges are being utilized in the creation of artificial reefs, cargo containers are being used to address housing shortages. Containers are also becoming an environmental and sustainable alternative to traditional construction of both homes and businesses. Recycling old containers not only reduces the amount of waste entering the landfills and oceans, but it also provides an economical solution to sustainable building.
Around the world cargo containers have been used to create amazing, sustainable homes. Many of these homes use more than just one container, as demonstrated in the images below.
As seen on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey, cargo containers have provided the groundwork of a successful economic model. In an area where small businesses would normally be unable to afford store fronts, cargo containers provide a solution. With the implementation of low-cost, low-maintenance weather-resilient containers, the once abandoned waterfront has transformed into a thriving economic powerhouse and tourist destination filled with small innovative businesses.
As one of the largest artificial reef programs in the Gulf, the Alabama Artificial Reef Program utilizes old decommissioned barges to grow the foundation of the coral reef system in the Gulf. In 2013 the Lulu was sunk approximately seventeen miles off the coast of Alabama to create the first of three main hubs of growth in the Gulf. Artificial reefs play an important role in protecting, restoring and creating coral reefs in environmentally sensitive or damaged areas. Attracting both large and small marine life, these artificial reefs have become tourist destinations for scuba divers around the world.