Can shipping containers burn? This is an important question, whether you are using a container to transport goods, for storage, or any other kind of facility.

Can shipping containers burn?

The answer lies in the materials used to make a shipping container. The outside structure of a shipping container is made from marine-grade corten steel. Galvanised steel is essentially fireproof. This means that, in the event of a fire, the structural integrity of the shipping container will probably not be compromised. The steel structure can usually withstand fires.

However, the inner floor of a shipping container is typically made from marine-grade plywood, with some containers now using bamboo. Because these flooring options are flammable, interior damage is likely when there is a fire that reaches the floor of a container.

Can a fire spread across shipping containers?

In the event of a fire in a shipping container, one of the major concerns is that is might spread. Especially when you consider the fact that there can be a few thousand containers stacked on a cargo ship or in a shipping yard. The good news is that a fire tends to not spread across containers.

If there is a fire in a container, the fire will burn while there is oxygen available. Any fire needs oxygen to continue burning. Once a fire has used up the oxygen in a container, it is extinguished. In other words, a steel shipping container usually contains a fire until it is extinguished, preventing the fire from spreading.