Container Inspection Procedure: Common Defects & Solutions

converted shipping container with pass through window

There is one truth we have learnt over the years as one of the leading container modification companies. A shipping container in UAE that has defects can lead to unforeseen losses. From damaging your things to requiring exorbitant repairs, when you leave containers uninspected, you open them up to significant problems. Why? Because during rough sea crossings and handling, shipping containers suffer at least some damage.

They must be repaired before you can convert the container into a home, office, building, a pop-up shop, or anything else. Moreover, regularly inspecting them after conversion ensures that the containers last you for a long, long time.

In this post, we talk about some of the common defects that happen to shipping containers and how they can be resolved quickly and efficiently. We end the post with a quick inspection checklist that you can use before you take your converted shipping container home!

Odours, Stains, And Moulds: Three Common Defects With Shipping Containers In UAE

Bad smells
There are two reasons a shipping container can be full of bad odours. One, the cleaning agents used had harsh chemicals, and the pungent smell lingers. Two, the products the shipping container transported had a bad smell which permeated the container. In both cases, you don’t want to use a container for any reason that still reeks.
To get rid of the odour, use a biodegradable cleaning product. Thoroughly apply the agent to the container and then rinse vigorously. The cleaning product will remove any previous product smell and not leave a lingering chemical scent. To guarantee that the container is odourless before you convert it to your desired vision, air it out thoroughly after washing it. Drying the container will remove any leftover smell.

Grease stains
When a container is used to transport machinery, grease, dirt, and oil stains become a common issue. Repurposing stained containers is not the right call, especially if the container will store textiles or fabrics because they get stained easily.
The trick here is to use the toughest cleaning agents to remove all greasy and oily sections of the shipping containers. When it is not possible to get rid of every spot, the best tactic is to convert the shipping containers for purposes that use textiles and daily use.

Stubborn mould
Mould tends to grow when humidity and dampness occur regularly. In shipping containers, mould appears first on the floor, which is made of marine-grade plywood. If left unchecked, the mould can spread and contaminate the entire area producing an awful smell.
The solution to mould is to spray the infected area with industrial-grade anti-bacterial disinfectant. Then air out the shipping container to remove any dampness and avoid future mould.

Holes And Damage Will Require A Repair Service In UAE

The next two shipping container defects require a container repair service in UAE to eliminate the problem.

Gaping holes
Shipping containers can get riddled with holes due to damage suffered during transportation. These small or gaping holes in the container leave your things exposed to natural conditions like dust and air. Therefore, they must be repaired.
Small holes can be readily welded shut. For bigger gaps, you will require steel and welding equipment to create a patch. To check, if your container has holes, look for light leaks not just on the floor but also on the sides and the roof. You can also assess the exteriors for dents, flaking paint and erosion to pinpoint holes.

Rotting floor
Shipping containers have wooden floors, which tend to degrade with time. They can splinter, become uneven, loosen or break apart due to the constant loading and unloading of cargo. So, inspect the floor of the shipping container for any such damage or rotting floorboards.
Broken, rotted and loose boards should be replaced. Splintered boards must be sanded down. You should also apply a weather-proof coating.

Inspection Checklist Before Taking Your Container

To make sure that your converted shipping container does not have common defects and problems, make use of this inspection checklist. Keep a careful eye on the following:

Exterior Check:

  • Doors: hinges, linings, gaskets, rods, retainers, J-bars, corner posts, and fittings.
  • Sides: top and bottom rails and corner posts.
  • Roof: corner fittings, top-end rail, door header topside rail, and roof panels
  • Floor: corner fittings, bottom end rail, bottom side rail, and door sill, cross members.

Interior Check:

  • Roof: bows, panels, and light leaks
  • Sides: lining, kick rail, vertical plate, horizontal rail, and light leak
  • Floor: fasteners, flooring, and light leaks


If you find over five minor defects, then the container requires repair. If you come across significant issues, then the immediate attention of any one of the container modification companies in the UAE is needed.