Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Here's a crazy idea to help the people of Haiti recover from the earthquake disaster. With the world in an economic slump right now there are thousands of unused cargo containers sitting idle in freight yards. How about shipping bunches of these 40 foot steel boxes to the quake area ASAP? It seems to me that this can be pretty much a win, win, win situation.

First, the containers can be set up on piles of compacted rubble. The huge cleanup necessary as part of the recovery will create a lot of crushed concrete rubble.

Second, a simple cutting torch can be used to cut window and other openings with ease. Since the containers are built with all of there strength at the corners the walls can be cut anywhere without fear of collapse.

Third, they can be stacked and cantilevered like giant Lego blocks. This allows for more practical configurations and larger structures.
They can also, later, be converted to permanent use. Here's a company that's doing that now. There are many others. Such long term use would give the Haitian people strong steel buildings which would be both earthquake and hurricane resistant.

Forth, when the world economy starts to recover, any shortage of cargo containers would drive a need for steel and the manufacture of new containers would result in increased employment in that and related industries.

Finely, lets not forget that they are "shipping" containers. Fill them with aid goods, put them on container ships, and get them to the people quickly.

Let's pass this one around the net. It might help where help is so sorely needed.


Anonymous said...

That's a great idea! The only snag I can think of is that they'd be awfully hot in warm weather---now sure how you'd work that part out.

The Reasonable Curmudgeon said...

How about painting them white and shading with tarps. It still would be better then tents in the short term and the containers can be converted to "real" buildings in the long term. Spread the word!

Anonymous said...

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