Shipping containers are not only beneficial for shipping goods from one location to another, but they are also frequently used for the storage of goods before and after delivery. If you have a business that requires the use of shipping containers and are considering buying a container, there are a few things to be aware of when looking for used shipping containers. Keep in mind these containers are made from a variety of materials, including plastic and metal and they are also available in different sizes and weights.
Here are a few tips to ensure you buy a used shipping container that best suits your needs.
Where to Buy Used Shipping Containers
Used shipping containers are typically available in most countries around the world. You can search online, such as through online auction sites or local ads for used containers. Keep in mind that if you order a container anywhere outside of your local area, you will need to contact a company that provides shipping container transport services to arrange deliver of the container to you. So, if possible choose somewhere relatively close to your area. Other places you can look for used containers include:
- Cargo ports
- Train stations
- Freight yards
- Shipping containers delivery company
Types of Shipping Containers
When searching for used containers, it is important to know which type of container will best suit your needs. There are basically two types of containers; domestic shipping containers and standard ocean cargo containers. Both types of containers are typically 8 feet in width with a height of either 8.5 feet or 9.5 feet.
- Domestic shipping containers are typically made of plastic, steel or aluminum. These containers are available with open and/or closed sides and roofs. They are available in a few different lengths, including 10, 20, 30 and 40 feet.
- Ocean cargo containers are used to ship goods domestically and overseas. Ocean containers are typically made from high quality steel and are available in two standard lengths; 20 feet and 40 feet.
Shipping Container Grades
Containers age at different rates; depending on their previous use and handling. Although there is no specific grading system for used shipping containers, many sellers will include a grade in the description, which may include:
- Cargo-worthy, which means the container is wind and water tight, and its structure can handle the roughness of overseas shipping.
- Wind and water tight means that although the container is cargo worthy, it has not been inspected by a qualified surveyor to ensure it is wind and water tight.
- As-is means the container may have damage or leaks.
Inspecting Shipping Containers
Whether you intend to use the shipping container for storage, transporting goods or for repurposing as living quarters, it is important to ensure it is in good condition. Whenever possible, it is recommended that you inspect the container you are considering buying. The most important things to look for include:
- Exterior surface rust (especially on or near the bottom of the door)
- Penetrations and/or pin holes in steel panels
- The condition of the wood flooring inside the container
- The condition of the door gasket
- Make sure the doors open and close correctly and completely
- Check for major dents on the roof and sides
- Make sure there are no foul odors or evidence of contamination
The price of a used shipping container varies depending on the size, condition and type of container. The best way to know the cost of a container is to contact the seller for a quote. If a price sounds too high or too low, you may be able to contact companies like Slana Inc. for information on what the average price is for the specific type of container you are interested in. Keep in mind that a higher price does not always mean better quality, so take your time, research your options and choose the container with the best balance between cost and quality.