Crux Systems Insights

End of the line

May 4, 2017 by Siri Casper |


More than 18 million shipping containers are brought into the US every year. Our job is to track where they’re coming in and when they leave the terminal. However, when they reach the end of their useful life as shipping containers, we’ve also been tracking where a few of them end up.

In San Francisco, not far from our headquarters, there are luxury retail stores and boutique eateries crafted out of retired shipping containers — some even have multiple levels. San Francisco is known for their crafty upcycling, and the use of retired shipping containers is one of the city's hottest trending solutions for eco-friendly and cost-effective construction projects. Not only has the city created permanent buildings out of shipping containers, but other creative uses have been found for them as well, with containers being used for pop-up shops and eateries, bike storage, makeshift care clinics for the homeless, and other non-profit endeavors.

One of our favorites is The Yard at Mission Rock, a pop-up shipping container village right across from AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants. The village is a collection of food and drink establishments, and functions as a community gathering space for events. Another favorite is Smitten Ice Cream in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood, where they churn made-to-order ice cream in their shop, housed in a recycled shipping container.

While old shipping containers may be a solutions for San Francisco to combat rising building costs and limited space, there are other, equally interesting uses for these containers far from the busy city streets. People are finding ways to adapt containers for personal use, ranging from modern swimming pools to detached garages, and even outdoor housing complete with plumbing.

You may not find "Juice Bar, San Francisco" next to any of your containers on your watchlist at Crux Systems, but just look around some of America's busiest cities and you may see a container or two that we used to track, and has now retired to a brand new beginning.

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