Shipping Container Farming – The Future of Crop Production

The world is crushing under the burden of population explosion. As per the most recent estimate by the United Nations, the current human population stands at 7.7 billion as of December 2019. This huge surge in the number of human beings has adversely impacted the environment in several ways – climate change and decline in cultivable land are just two of them.

This is indeed a vicious cycle. Because the above two factors have rendered the Earth incapable of producing food to feed this 7.7 billion!

Now, what is the way out? Surely, population control is the solution; however, this is not going to happen overnight. In the meantime, experts are toying with the idea of alternative farming methods – a few of which, like farming inside discarded shipping containers, has already gained momentum.

Shipping Container Farming – The Future of Crop Production

What is freight container farming and how is it done?

Container farming refers to growing crops vertically inside a repurposed shipping container within a controlled environment with the help of the latest technology. The farming system adopted here is hydroponic shipping container which utilizes nutrient-rich flowing water in lieu of soil to grow plants. The roots of the plants are either supported in loose gravel or are totally exposed to the water. This type of farming also utilizes strong, sun simulating light.

It has been reported that a 40’ container can produce crops equivalent to five acres of land. This is indeed a great statistic keeping in mind the growing demand for food.

Advantages of hydroponic container farming

There are various benefits of farming inside a shipping container. Some are as follows:


Shipping containers are modular and easy to ship. A farmer can set it up where the equipment is cheapest and then transport to farmland on a truck to grow his produce. The process is exceptionally quick as a farmer doesn’t need to wait to create a greenhouse or find a warehouse.


Since container farms grow crops vertically using hydroponic shipping container systems, they don’t need a lot of space to operate. Even a moderate-sized backyard can comfortably hold a 20’ container which can grow fresh produce for a family. Similarly, restaurants can also grow and use exotic fruits and vegetables without incurring huge costs towards import duty. Growing food locally eliminates the need to use preservatives too.

Freight container farms

are also easy to scale since they can be stacked one atop another. This attribute supports the ecology since every year a large volume of forests are destroyed for making room for farmlands.


Since these steel boxes are designed to beat any adverse weather, crop inside them remains safe even when hurricanes destroy everything else outside. The controlled internal environment also alleviates the challenges farmers face frequently like drought, flood, pest infestation and limited growing season. A controlled climate allows the farmers to grow exotic crops which are, otherwise, limited only to specific locations.

Abundant; hence cheap:

Shipping containers are cheaper to retire than to fix. Currently, the world has a total of 17 million containers; out of which 11 million are unused and simply occupying valuable real estate at the dockyards and warehouses. Various people have discovered innovative ways to use these steel boxes – freight container farming is one of them.

The cost of such containers is way less than a piece of land. Oftentimes, owners of the shipping lines sell them in bulk at the rate of scrap.

So, from the above, it is clear that shipping container farming is indeed a good idea. However, like any other type of farming, this type also has its own drawbacks. Shipping containers are originally designed to carry goods and not to grow plants. Hence, substantial operational cost is required to make the crops, as well as human-friendly. Also, containers are compact. Hence, any disease or pest infestation can grow very rapidly here. These issues, however, can be easily taken care of if the farm is purposefully designed.

Excited to start a farm of your own? Contact Pelican Containers for quality used shipping containers at the best prices in your locality. We offer container modifications too. Hence, you can buy a shipping container farm from us made as per your specifications.

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