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Average Price for Container Storage Depends on Container Size

The average price for container storage mostly depends on the size and condition of the storage container.   Surprisingly, although new containers are almost always more expensive than used containers, larger containers are not always more expensive than smaller containers.

The condition and features of the container, of course, always factor into the price.  However, some sizes of containers are much more common, while others are rarer.  The more rare containers are usually more expensive, no matter what the size.  The exact price of a container can also vary from year to year, season to season, due to the state of the economy.

What are the lengths of shipping containers?
Containers come in many lengths such as 6’, 8’, 10’, 20’, 40’, 45’, 48’, and 53’. The most typical sizes that are found are 20’ and 40’. The container sizes are less frequently manufactured and shipped. To ship or to buy a 20’ or 40’ container is usually cheaper than buying one of the other sizes, due to the standardization and high volume of production of those particular sizes.   Most units are 8’6” tall. Special containers called ‘high-cube’ boxes are 9’6” and are priced higher.   The average price for container storage varies depending on the size of the box.

What conditions do containers come in?

Not all containers come in the same shape, and also variety in a container’s condition can affect the average price for container storage. 

1.       New/ ‘One-trip’: Some containers are called ‘one-trips’ and are the newest containers that can be purchased.  The ‘one-trip’ refers to the container being used once to bring goods to the United States, usually from Asia.   The average price for container storage of new containers can vary depending on where in the United States you purchase or simply how the economy is doing.  Seasonality can affect prices as well; at the end of a calendar year, new containers are often cheaper due to the requirement for upcoming availability of new consumer products targeted for launch at the beginning of the next calendar year.

2.       Used: Used containers can be in various conditions.

a.       ‘Refurbished’: These containers have been improved to be in a better condition than they formerly were.  This can include updates such as fixing doors, floor, or holes.  Generally, refurbished boxes have also been painted.  On average, these are the most expensive type of used container, due to their superior condition.

b.      ‘Wind and Watertight’: These units do not leak and are rodent-proof..

c.       ‘As- Is’: Most boxes are generally not considered wind and watertight. They might have damage, compromised floors, or doors that do not open or close properly.  It’s important to inspect used containers to identify any potential issues, but often minor flaws may not actually matter for a particular application, and ‘As-Is’ boxes can be a good value in such situations.

What are the specialty containers?

The most common containers are ones that have doors at one end. There are other containers that have more doors – this usually drives up the price.  ‘Double door’ containers have doors at both ends.  ‘Open Side’  containers have a door at one end and also a whole side that opens up. These containers can cost up to 60% more, and may be appropriate if your application requires multiple access points to the items being stored inside.

Why are there big differences in cost for containers?

The average cost of a used 20’ container compared to the average price of a 40’ high cube open side container is very different. There are many factors that contribute to these costs:

·         Some containers are built in smaller quantities, so they are more expensive.

·         Containers that are new are usually certified to ship, so they carry a significant value for consumers.

·         It is more expensive to ship a high cube container versus a standard height container, which drives up the overall cost.

Although storage containers appear to be generic, interchangeable, and a commodity, a wide variety of factors can actually affect the average price for container storage that you pay.  Buyers would be wise to educate themselves on features, shop around for different prices, and visually inspect containers prior to purchase.


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