By Jeff Eriks,Cambridge Companies

Overcome the challenges of building a container repair facility with expert planning and construction. From managing materials and equipment to optimizing space with the right support.

Shipping containers are the unsung heroes of the logistics industry. Containers make it possible to transport large quantities of cargo safely and securely across the globe. 80 percent of global trade by volume is shipped by sea, and 52% of all sea cargo is shipped by container. 

Because of the incredibly important role they play in getting goods from one part of the world to the other, shipping containers are a key asset for logistics industry firms. They need regular maintenance, which is where container maintenance and repair facilities come in.

If you’re considering opening or building a container repair facility, there are several challenges you’ll need to overcome. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the key challenges you’ll need to address, and how Cambridge can empower you to overcome these.

What are the Challenges Involved with  Building a Container Repair Facility?

When building a container repair facility, location is the first and most important challenge to address. The facility must be close to a port so that containers can be easily brought in for repair. It must also have enough space to accommodate all the necessary equipment and staff. It should also be proximate to other logistics facilities and have easy access to these. 

Another challenge is obtaining the necessary permits and licenses from the government. This can be a lengthy and complicated process, especially if the proposed location is not zoned for this type of business.

There are additional factors to think about, including: finding the right contractor with experience building container repair facilities can be one of the biggest hurdles to jump over -these are niche projects that demand specific “know-how.” 

When considering a contractor, it is important to review their resumes for projects that share similar technicalities, materials, budget, and timelines. You’ll want to examine projects they have successfully deployed and assess their suitability  based on end-user satisfaction. 

Building a Container Repair Facility: The Process

The process of building a facility for container repair services compliant with  industry standards requires expert planning and precision. Start by assessing the repair process and the services that the facility intends – keeping the needs of the facility and end-users in mind. Let’s take a closer look now at the end-to-end process of building a full-service container repair facility.  

Understanding Operational Needs

When it comes to container repair facilities, needs vary depending on the size and type of operation. A smaller facility might only need limited staff and equipment, while a larger one will need the area and equipment to accommodate more.

The first step is to assess the needs of your particular facility. 

What kind of containers do you need to repair? What is the volume of repairs you expect to do? What kinds of damage do these containers typically sustain? Typically, container repair facilities are able to service a range of container types, including refrigerated containers, dry storage containers, reefer containers, flat rack containers, among others. Closely consider what kind of repairs your facility will be able to service, then build a plan accordingly. 

Identifying these needs is often not straightforward. As part of the initial requirement scoping, it’s a good idea to consult with the shipping lines you wish to serve and the container leasing facilities or container depots nearby to understand the issues they face so that you can build your facility to meet these demands and do the repair work that they need taken care of. 

A key goal for any container repair facility is to help increase the lifespan of new and used containers. This means handling all kinds of repair work from container floor and container door repair, refrigeration unit repair, to offering on-site pre-trip inspections. Talk to your potential clients, understand their challenges and design your facility to meet these. 

Designing the Facility

Actually designing the container repair facility is the next step in the process. A close understanding of the repair process is key: you will want to work closely with your contractor’s SMEs to get a better sense of the challenges that need to be addressed while designing the facility.

One key design aspect to consider: containers take up a lot of space! Whether it’s a large or small-scale operation, you will need space to store transport containers for long periods. You will also need to ensure that the facility can hold these containers without issues like corrosion arising. 

You will also need dedicated space for carrying out repair work and to ensure that the facility can handle heavy loads and equipment loading cranes and other such large machinery.

What should You Look for when Finding Contractors for the Repair Facility?

When looking for contractors to help build your container repair facility, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, you want to find contractors with experience in the construction of similar facilities. Second, you want to make sure that the contractor is licensed and insured. Finally, you want to get bids from multiple contractors to ensure you are getting the best possible price for the work.

It’s best for you to get all your requirements clarified and laid out before you start looking for contractors to carry out the work. Clearly laying out guidelines such as previous project experience, financial requirements and such will also help with a smoother bidding process.

Inviting multiple bids is an essential part of the process. This way, you can compare and contrast the various approaches that different contractors have and make an informed choice based on what best aligns with your needs. 

Building the Facility

The next part of the process is actually constructing the facility. Mapping out a detailed project plan is important in getting construction on track. The project plan will help you and the contractor get a sense of how construction is going to play out, what is needed, and when.

Staffing, Training, and Testing

The final part of the process is staffing the facility with qualified experts, training them on using the facility, and testing the facility thoroughly before launch. Getting qualified technicians with certifications from organizations such as the Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL) will help if you are looking for people with the right experience and expertise.

However qualified the staff is, they still need to be trained on how your facility operates. Contractors are often involved in this process too, since they know the ins and outs of the facility. Finally, testing the whole operation from start to finish is critical to address problems before operation actually starts. 

Why is a Design-build Approach the Best for Building a Container Repair Facility?

There are many reasons why a design-build approach is the best way to go. A facility as complex as this requires a large team with diversified expertise to design, build, and operate.  

The design-build approach makes it easier for clients because you’ll interface with just one point of contact,  without having to deal with a range of subcontractors. This will ensure consistent communication and an overall smoother workflow  

Finally, a design-build approach is your best bet due to significant cost savings. Because of the way that the process works, cost estimations tend to be more accurate – they’re made with inputs from all the subcontractors. A design-build approach is the best suited to meet all the challenges you have to face when you are building a container repair facility.


Building a container repair facility is no small feat. There are several challenges you have to overcome, including finding the right location and the right contractor who can deliver your project to the required specifications, on time.  

Cambridge Companies has designed and built a range of turnkey infrastructure projects – we have a record of delivering solid results, on time, leveraging a highly efficient design-build approach  

Want to know more about how we do it? Get in touch with us today!