Written by Jona Murphy of AT&S
Being completely fresh to the transportation and storage industry, I knew I had a lot to learn about the industry and its customers when I started at American Trailer & Storage about one year ago. Coming from the powersports industry, I was accustomed to serving a variety of customers and finding solutions for their specific riding needs. Over the past year, I have learned that the customers of AT&S, both individuals and businesses, are widely diverse; even more diverse than the powersports community which I had experienced for nearly a decade.
“Who buys shipping containers?”
That is the first question my family and friends ask me when I tell them about my position here at American Trailer & Storage. And quite honestly, it was a question I asked myself when I was researching AT&S and the customers they serve prior to my hiring. I understood the basic “life cycle”. Cargo ships come from around the world, stacked with full containers of goods. Goods are emptied and the containers remain. So now, what happens to the containers?
At the beginning, my answer was brief. “Businesses use storage containers or storage trailers for overflow storage.” Big box retailers, like Wal-Mart, and warehouse distributors, like Winco Fireworks, were my first exposure to the AT&S customer base. Any large influx of goods that could not be housed inside their facilities meant they needed to be stored on-site with easy access to the storage solution. AT&S provided those solutions with both dock level trailers and ground level containers to meet their needs.
As time went on, my response grew longer. Businesses storing goods, individuals renovating a home, farmers storing equipment or feed, construction companies needing an on-site office, railroads needing break room facilities… the list kept growing. More specifically, the list of individual uses were rapidly expanding. With the capability to modify containers, individuals have been discovering new ways to use these retired sea boxes. Powered by tiny house collectives and sustainable energy movements, the storage container has become a building block for uses far beyond storage. These once sea bound containers are finding new life as living spaces, office spaces, pop-up restaurants, concession stands, baseball dugouts and more. Google “modified shipping containers” and see for yourself!
So the real question should be, “Who doesn’t buy shipping containers?”