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Cost of Shipping Containers – Shipping Container Costs

There are many different factors that go into the cost of a shipping container. These containers are perfect for extra storage or to use as buildings. Many even use them for their intended use, moving goods. However, there are many additional expenses that can raise the cost of a shipping container. No matter what the intended use is, a consumer should familiarize themselves with the costs incorporated with this type of purchase.

Price Differences in Shipping Containers

The most obvious cost of a shipping container is buying the unit itself. Containers are built in various sizes and dimensions. The most common to find are 20’ and 40’. It is reasonable to assume that the bigger the dimensions are, the more expensive it will be. There are many other factors that will dictate the prices besides size. These units can be purchased in a variety of conditions such as ‘as is’, used, refurbished, new, and cargo worthy. ‘As is’ and ‘refurbished’ are simply used ones, while ‘cargo worthy’ units are usually new or in superior condition. ‘New’ units have only been shipped once. New and cargo worthy units usually have similar prices.  Typically, a new or cargo worthy unit costs more than a refurbished unit, which is more than a used and ‘as is.’

Another reason for a rise in the cost of a shipping container is the kind of doors that it has. A standard one will have doors at only one end. The prices increase when the shipping container has more doors. One version containing doors at both ends is known as a double door. Another specialty version has an open side and doors at one end. When containers are purchased new and with more doors than just the standard door at one end, the containers end up costing more. There are less expensive containers that can be purchased that are open top. These units might be useful to ship or store bulk items.

Modifications and Accessories

Customers need to take into account any modifications they might do which can increase the cost of a shipping container. There are several different modifications that can be made to a shipping container that can enhance their ease of use, but cost more. By welding, there are many additions that can be made such as adding a door. Most units only come with a door at one end, but with welding, a door can be put anywhere. Many people find that a roll-up door, like a garage door, is much easier to use and can be put on any side of the unit. It might be useful to install a man-door, which could make access easier. If a container is purchased with the intention of using it as an office, windows can be a great complement to the man-door. Windows let in lots of natural light that the units usually never receive. These modifications will end up costing the customer more when purchasing a unit.

The cost of a shipping container increases with the number of accessories that are purchased. A basic one is completely empty except for the wooden floor and corrugated steel walls. For anyone that needs a place to store their items, they might want to organize it more. Steel brackets can be purchased that can hang from the walls to form shelving. Shelving can come in different sizes and can hold different items such as boxes, pipes, and bikes. These same brackets can be made into desks that are attached to the walls, great for any business that is making an office. If an office is going to be made, lighting and electricity accessories can be sold. For anyone that wants more security for their shipping container, there are over-lock boxes that can be welded onto the unit. These boxes are made so that bolt cutters cannot be used to cut off a lock. These accessories are great additions to a unit, but increase the cost of a shipping container.

Delivery Options 

Something that every customer will have to pay for that will increase the cost of a shipping container is delivered. Every customer will have to think about how they ship their container from either the port or the vendor to where they intend on using the unit. These units are not something that can be shipped via FedEx. There are two different kinds of trucks that can deliver these containers: flatbed and tilt bed trucks. Flatbed trucks are generally cheaper to use, however, it is necessary to have a crane or forklift to get the container off the trailer. Tilt bed trucks are more expensive to use but do not require a forklift or crane to get the container on and off the trailer. The farther a customer is from their shipping container, the more delivery will cost, so it is a better idea to buy from a closer vendor or port. Even if a customer decides to pick up the container themselves, there is the cost of wear and tear on their truck and trailer. Delivery is a large part of the cost of a shipping container for a customer to consider.


The cost of a shipping container is much more than just purchasing the unit. Customers have to educate themselves on the different varieties and that various conditions or sizes will cost more. Many want to make modifications to these containers or buy accessories, which will result in additional expenses. Additionally, all units will have to be shipped to their customer; it is important to note that typically this is not included in the price. Overall, there are many aspects that will affect the total cost of a shipping container.


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