Shippin’ Up to Nowhere


I hope everyone had a great weekend! I had an interview for a writing gig, so maybe you’ll see my name over on the big screen (more like desktop) soon. But for the time being I’ll be right here, where I’ve always been, at

The Background

Whenever I visit another city, I always judge it compared to where I have lived, and other cities I have visited to see where it stacks up on my list of US cities. Most recently I visited Seattle on a vacation with some family, and here’s my take:

Pros: Nice skyline, surrounding areas have cool nature (Mt. Rainier), main tourist attractions were interesting, and its place on the water was fascinating.

Cons: Traffic. I mean the worst traffic I have ever seen; only a two-lane highway to service pretty much the whole city, downtown wasn’t that nice, and the overcast was a buzzkill.

But one thing that stuck out to me more than other things was the port. The Port of Seattle was massive. To some it may be an eyesore, but I found it intriguing.

Yea the cranes were cool, and the boats were big, but the number of shipping containers was insane. There were thousands of them stacked like Legos.

Naturally, I was like “Why?”

Well, back in the day these containers were filled up with American product and exported around the world. But now there is such an imbalance between our imports and exports (everything’s “Made in China”) that we hardly have anything to ship back.

So instead of paying for the empty containers to be shipped back to them, the manufacturing countries have found it cheaper to just make new ones every time they export something. Leaving the US with all this colorful ~trash~.

Kinda depressing, right?

What’s One More Container

In general, this has caused some unprecedented strain on these ports. With the containers stacking up and no ships to load them on, shipping yards have become overfilled (until recently, when having a large stockpile proved beneficial for the supply chain shortages).

The ports are having trouble finding any commercial recyclers or buyers to relieve this strain and in some cases are resorting to independent parties to come take even one or two containers off their hands. Sometimes even as low at $1,000 for one.

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

We’ve seen some pretty unique and cool use cases for these used shipping containers.

One couple in Ohio (shoutout Ohio) have taken these beat up containers, ridden the eclectic modular living fad, and made an incredible set of Airbnb homes in the Hocking Hills.

Screw the framing, right?

So far, they have three properties in their arsenal and are showing no signs of slowing down as they work on two more. It’s even retired them from their 9-5 work, go check em out!

In other cases, we have them being transformed into pools. Forget about pouring concrete, just waterproof it and your good to go.

It’s almost like these cheap boxes that people are looking to get off their hands, can easily be transformed and commoditized into an item of luxury.

Even if you have the “taste” needed to take on these projects, you could probably take advantage of the fact that they are made of near endlessly recyclable steel. And that there is nowhere the infrastructure needed to accommodate this growing problem.

Moving Forward

After all the supply chain issues blow over and you finally get the shoes you’ve been waiting on for months, expect this issue to get worse. The containers will keep piling up with nowhere to go.

So idk, build a house or a pool, be a broker, or build the next world-renowned steel recycling center (sexy, I know).

from, matt

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