At the outset, Corten was mainly used in Intermodal Coal Transport, and was very effective in the harsh environments of Rail Yards and International Collieries. Weathering steel was developed in America around 1972 and with it’s continued ability to maintain structural integrity in tough conditions, the Shipping Industry soon brought the compound in as the primary element to manufacture Steel Cargo Containers. From the mid 1990s Corten steel has become the standard in modern container manufacturing. Today, many of the used shipping containers for sale are made using Cor-ten steel.
Cor-Ten is alloyed steel mixed with other types of metals that reacts with exposure to air and water in a similar manner to other non-porous metals. When exposed to oxygen (or water) it forms a layer of oxidization that prevents further corrosion. The surface of the steel will become dis-colored as does brass and copper, and may have the look of corrosive rust, but is actually a preventative layer. Many containers are manufactured Corten steel storage containers, and then painted in a controlled environment, further extending the life of the product and of course improving the overall appearance of the container