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Buying a Shipping Container: What to Look For


Here is a guide that outlines some of the important things you should look for before buying a shipping container of any kind.

Are you on the hunt for a shipping container to purchase? It’s important to stay abreast of current trends, costs, and benefits. It doesn’t have to be difficult to find a good shipping container that meets all your needs. But there may be more to the process than you think, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer.

Here is a guide that outlines some of the important things you should look for before purchasing a shipping container of any kind.

Sales Trends

There is an increased demand for new storage or shipping containers thanks to the ever-increasing growth in global trade and freight distribution. Estimates say that up to 2.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of shipping containers are made each year. Those shipping containers are distributed to major ports all over the globe, with an estimated global inventory of more than 28 million TEUs.

Surprisingly, there are many abandoned shipping containers at all major ports. Sometimes transporting an empty shipping container back to its original port after unloading is just as expensive as transporting a full one, so the container owner leaves it there. This is what has led to an overstock of slightly used containers, which can be bought pretty affordably by individuals and companies.

Many people choose to repurpose them for other uses, such as bars, restaurants, mobile offices and housing.


What to Look For

When buying a shipping container, you should arm yourself with as much information as possible. Consider these factors:

  • Requirements: Containers are available in different shapes and sizes. Sizes can be 10ft to 45ft. You can choose from open top containers, refrigerated containers, dry freight, flat rack containers or insulated containers.
  • Types: There are many types of containers, which will dictate what they’re used for and how much they will cost. For example, one-trip containers are like new, used only once; cargo worthy are still considered seaworthy and meet international standards; wind and water tight containers are just that; and as-is containers are economical and but worn out and retired.

Check for:

  • The container’s structural soundness by inspecting the edges for bends.
  • Check if the container is watertight: close the doors to see if any light is getting in.
  • Make sure the doors and hinges are in good condition.
  • Make sure the locking door handles function freely.
  • Check for corrosion under the door seals.
  • Check for any weird smells, a sign of contamination.
  • Make sure the wooden floors are intact.
  • Check the cosmetics and make sure it doesn’t have rust, dents, or scratches.

If the container passes the above tests, it’s probably a good idea to purchase it.

Contact Container King

If you’re in the market for a shipping container, new or used, contact us at 972-290-4600.