Apart from sheltering goods in transport, shipping containers in emergencies can also shelter human beings. Shipping containers are durable, versatile and relatively cheap, and therefore provide a practical emergency material. They are also easy to transport, and can be shipped from one place to another, depending on where they are needed the most. Shipping containers are also easily found in countries with many ports, often being the go-to emergency solution.
In 2011, the South Island of New Zealand experienced a major earthquake, which killed 185 people. In response to the disaster, the New Zealand government decided to use shipping containers in emergencies to provide temporary shelters to people affected. Shipping containers were used as protective barriers for existing houses, vehicles and pedestrians. One example was how shipping containers were used to support the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. It prevented it from collapsing and causing further damage.
Buildings in the CBD posed further threat right after the earthquake. Therefore shipping containers were used as a potential shelter and fortification for existing buildings such as shops, offices and residential properties.
Shipping containers were also used to shelter roads and surrounding areas. This helped with further environmental damage, such as falling rocks and landslides.
Apart from the public use, shipping containers in emergencies in Christchurch were also rented by private business owners whose businesses were destroyed during the earthquake. A coffee-shop owner, James Bagrie, rented a shipping container a few months after the earthquake. He couldn’t wait to reopen his business and decided that renting out a shipping container was the best option. It has allowed him to be mobile and close to the city centre, while maintaining an interesting cafe look.
Shipping containers used for emergency in Christchurch proved to be so popular and in demand. Shipping container providers operating in the area had to order additional ones from other places in New Zealand, as well as Australia and China. The demand for shipping containers peaked in March, a month after the disaster. However, they were also extremely popular in the following months as shipping containers were widely used during house repairs and demolitions.
Shipping containers in emergencies in Christchurch provided the city and its inhabitants with significant help in the imminent aftermath of the earthquake. After the initial emergency response, the widely used shipping containers became omnipresent in the city’s landscape. Therefore, even after when the danger was gone and the city slowly started coming back to life, shipping containers stayed. This time, they started taking on a new, more positive form. That’s how the Re:START shopping mall project came to life.
Shipping containers in emergency and lifestyle
The project aimed to turn the city centre area devastated by the earthquake into a positive, creative space. The shopping mall was built with shipping containers first used in the emergency. It initially consisted of 27 business spaces during its opening in October 2011. Over time, the space grew into a major shopping area. It now has over 50 businesses, market stalls, leisure spots and street performances.
The Re:START project provided Christchurch residents with a new sense of hope and happiness in their city. The opening day was attended by thousands of people, with some travelling hours to be there, as to many the project became a symbol of a reborn Christchurch. Re:START grew to be a well-known tourist attraction, helping Christchurch become the sixth must visit place in the world according to the Lonely Planet.
Shipping containers in diverse circumstances
As Christchurch’s story shows, shipping containers in emergency are one of the most versatile products there are. With dozens of different uses, shipping containers can be useful in many situations. Not only can they store goods for transport or serve as buildings, but they can also be a go-to protective material in a case of disaster. Christchurch was able to spring back to life thanks to a clever use of effective materials at hand – shipping containers.
Shipping containers are are also entering the lifestyle arena as a symbol of sustainability and futuristic thinking. As showcased by Christchurch’s example, it’s evident that both can work well together. It also became clear that shipping containers have a lot more uses than you might think at the first sight. They can suit many needs and purposes, sometimes of very different nature.
ANL Containers is a company specialising in shipping container hire, also providing versatile shipping containers for sale. We accommodate various needs, thanks to the wide variety of shipping containers we provide. If you’d like to buy or hire a shipping container in any main Australian city, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today and we will provide you with a free quote on our services and discuss your needs.