Shipping containers, better known as intermodal containers, is a standardized reusable steel box that are used in the global intermodal container system. Their name refers to the fact that they can be transported by ship, by rail, or by truck. They are recognizable by their rectangular shape.
|Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]|
During the San Hieronymo Incident in 1970, the San Hieronymo Peninsula had several shipping containers, due to the base being under construction. The tanker at the harbor also had a shipping container that originally contained a stolen experimental weapon. The container was marked with "Made in U.S.A.", as it was disguised to look as though it was headed straight for Vietnam. A shipping container containing Rations was later shipped to the Warhead storage facility, with Big Boss's resistance gaining access to them via blowing up the container with TNT.
|Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.|
Puerto del Alba during the 1974 Peace Walker Incident had several shipping containers littered throughout the premises, most likely due to the fact that it was a major shipping area. The Militaires Sans Frontières also proceeded to do sabotage operations against Peace Sentinel involving their shipping containers, either by destroying them and their contents outright, or otherwise just destroying the container to steal their contents.
During the 1980s, Venom Snake and the Diamond Dogs frequently stole shipping containers during their missions for use during their construction of Mother Base, it's various Forward Operating Bases, and also R&D and deployment. At least one of their missions required them to retrieve two shipping containers that contained the parasitologist Code Talker's research materials on the vocal cord parasites that somehow ended up stolen by the Private Force Zero Risk Security before XOF and Cipher could secure them. Diamond Dogs also retrieved a shipping container in a guard post close to Bampeve Plantation guarded by Rogue Coyote that presumably contained sensitive material.
The Underground Base on Shadow Moses Island had several shipping containers in the warehouse area, because the area was still under construction at the time the base was taken over by the Sons of Big Boss. Solid Snake utilized these containers as makeshift barriers when fighting against Vulcan Raven in the area.
The Big Shell had shipping containers on Strut E's heliport, owing to it being the area where deliveries from offshore were made. Raiden and Fatman when fighting each other on the heliport made use of these containers as makeshift barriers and points of ambush.
Behind the scenes
In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, they play a slightly bigger role, as besides their being barriers during portions of gameplay, the player can also destroy them in certain extra ops missions/spy missions to retrieve the materials inside (or, in the case of the latter game, destroying the contents inside outright).
Shipping containers play a much larger role in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as a mean to collect resources to aid Diamond Dogs. On the Mother Base resources menu on the iDroid, at least in the Gamescom 2015 Mother Base/FOB demo, the various materials, specifically Biological Material(s), Common Metals, and Minor Metals, are all represented by shipping containers. In the final game, the shipping containers are a way to extract unprocessed materials quickly without waiting to mine them.
Shipping containers cost 10,000 GMP and require the Cargo +2 upgrade to the Fulton to extract. They are labelled so the player knows what's inside. There are three types of containers for each material: White, Red, and Yellow. Yellow containers contain twice as many materials as the white ones, while red containers contain ten times as many materials as the white ones and five times as many as the yellow ones. Some containers are indoors, but hold high quality and quantity of materials. For example, Nova Braga Airport has three red containers of precious metals. Because they are indoors, they can only be extracted via the wormhole fulton. There are sixteen variants. Fifteen of these variants are the three variants of each of the five materials (Fuel Resources, Biological Material, Common Metals, Minor Metals, and Precious Metals), while the remaining one is a specialized container that has white markings as well as a key-lock emblem on top. This one is used solely for "Side Op 110: Extract Materials Container" and Main Mission 35: "Cursed Legacy." Unlike the other containers, this one has only one color to the container: White.
|VI image||Material Type||White||Yellow||Red|
The VI for Biological Material containers has the abbreviation BR instead of BM, most likely due to the resource initially being named Biotic Resource at some point during the game's development. Research Materials containers similarly have the abbreviation TP instead of something like RM. There isn't a clear reason for this but one possibility is that TP was chosen due to it being shorthand for TppPermanentGimmick, which is part of the spawned container key name within the game files.
Before the version 1.06 update, players could steal containers, leave to the nearest checkpoint then restart the mission to gain massive amounts of material. After the update, if players did that, they get the amount of material without the 0's in it. For example, a 7,500 container will yield 75. A 500 will yield 5 materials. However, the respawning of material containers has been reduced from several days to one day. Also, the restriction only lasts a few hours so the player can return to Aerial Command Center and repeat the process a few hours later and get the full amount.