We often see the ‘Made in China’ label, but rarely understand what that means.

We sat down and simplified International Shipping. Here are the only 3 photos you need to have a basic understanding of how it works.

  1. Manufacturing

Manufacturers produce massive quantities of items to meet domestic and international demand. Once finished, the items are packaged and loaded into containers for shipping.

Factory.OverviewSM.jpgCourtesy of: Dutakharisma.com

  1. Shipping

Massive cargo ships are loaded by machine with standard-sized containers, before leaving port for their next destination.


Courtesy of: Sciencemag.org

  1. Consuming

Once the items have arrived, they are unloaded and distributed to businesses and eventually sold-on to consumers.


Courtesy of: Bulgariamall.bg


Walking on the Streets of the City of Containers

A small community of businesses have established a city of shipping container restaurants, bars, stores and living spaces in the barrios of Cholula, only two hours from Mexico City. The city of containers, that is built out of used shipping containers is a great center for shopping and entertainment.

The area of ‘Los Contenadores‘ comprises 50,000 square feet of shipping containers and construction made out of other recyclable material such as bottle caps and plastic tubing. The alleys and streets formed by containers are great places to stroll around and enjoy the local style. There’s also plenty of outdoor space to sit around and hang out and there are events and bands scheduled all the time.

Shipping containers are mostly used to import products from abroad and are very seldom sent back. Thereby taking advantage abandoned and used shipping containers are a great solution for affordable housing. Containers are also an excellent tool for setting up pop-up retail stores, such as in the ‘ciudad de los contenadores‘.

The Container city is designed by Gabriel Esper Caram to combine both elegance and sustainability. The harmony of the container’s bright colors and the city’s live music ensure an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Shipping containers can be used in many circumstances. As the City of Containers goes to show even luxurious stores, restaurants, night clubs, hotels or even homes can be built by using this durable and highly available material. For more information about containers, please visit Shanghai Metal Corporation‘s website or send us an inquiry. Please also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


Tuomas P.// SMC Editor

Pictures and original articles: Inhabitat, Retail Design Blog, City Lab