ELA Container GmbH
Haren (Ems), Lower Saxony, Germany
ELA Container specialises in container-based rooms and buildings to rent or buy in any chosen size and with custom fittings. With 50,000 containers, 1,200 employees and 20 sites around the world, ELA Container has become a leading provider of quality, flexible room modules from Germany. Today, ELA Container is a partner to a wide range of industries, ranging from the construction industry to retail and gastronomy. With its quality, innovation and passion, ELA Container is continually opening up new markets and industries and is winning more and more people round to the effectiveness of mobile ELA room containers.
A second-generation family company
The idea for ELA’s sophisticated room containers first came into being in 1972 when Bernhard Albers and his wife Elisabeth Albers founded the company ELA-Gesellschaft für Handel und Vermittlung GmbH & Co. KG. The couple was quick to identify the growing demand for flexible rooms and developed mobile container-based room solutions that could be tailored to meet individual specifications. As the second generation of the family, the siblings Tim Albers, Liesel Albers-Bentlage and Günter Albers took over the management of ELA Container GmbH in the 1980s. After the retirement of Tim Albers, the company has been managed by Liesel Albers-Bentlage and Günter Albers as dual leaders since 2023. With personality, technical knowledge and a keen sense for economic developments, the siblings consistently keep the company on course for the future.
On course for success
Ever since the company was established, all of ELA Container’s business operations have been based in the town of Haren in the German state of Lower Saxony. Over the years, ELA Container has steadily grown its distribution network from the district of Emsland. Besides its headquarters in Haren, ELA Container maintains other sites in Groß Ippener near Bremen, Frankenberg in the state of Saxony, Billigheim in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Moosburg near Munich. Not to mention subsidiaries abroad such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania and Russia.
Shipping containers for building sites
In 1972, the idea first came to the company founder Bernhard Albers and his wife to recycle disused shipping containers on land for use as storage or equipment rooms on building sites. After removing rust and straightening them out, Albers treated his shipping containers with a steel protection primer – and the first ELA container was born.
Excitement in the construction industry
ELA’s building site containers did a roaring trade. Wooden crates and construction trailers on building sites were quickly replaced by the robust, securely lockable ELA storage containers. The builders were impressed: Their materials were finally safe from burglars and thieves.
The first ELA rental centre in Haren
For ELA containers, business was booming: In order to keep up with demand, Bernhard Albers purchased a plot of land in Mühlenberg industrial estate in 1977 and built an office as well as a 600 m2 hall on it. He then purchased the company’s first lorries for its fleet.
From a storage container to a recreational one
ELA Container saw even more potential in building sites as rooms were also needed to house the builders. Bernhard Albers therefore developed the first ELA recreational container with insulated walls, flooring, electrical installation, heating and a small window.
The first special containers
With robust steel frame constructions and walls made of pressed hard wooden panels, ELA created its first office, crew and sanitary containers. It even manufactured its first special containers for fairground rides, snack bar containers and gatekeeper buildings.
Renting containers instead of buying
By the late 1970s, ELA containers were being manufactured to individual customer specifications and sold. But demand for rented containers was growing. Business was going so well that Albers decided to develop ‘high-performance containers’ instead of the shipping containers. This product development has since become the basis of all ELA room containers.
The second generation takes over
The time had come for a new expansion strategy when the second generation joined the family business. With expertise, courage and a steady focus on the customer, the Albers siblings managed to transform the small crafts enterprise into a high-flying industrial operation with a strong focus on service. In 2022, ELA Container celebrates its 50th anniversary.
On track for growth
The later history of the company is dominated by expansions, new sites, innovative product developments, new accessories and more and more new applications for ELA’s high-performance room containers. Today, ELA containers can be found in almost every industry. And ELA is well prepared for the future with quality, service and expertise.