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Shipping Containers for Sale: What to Look For

Shipping containers for sale seem to be everywhere nowadays.  Maybe you have considered purchasing one of these boxes.  But do you know what to look for?  These containers come in different sizes and conditions, and some will be more useful than others for your application.  Knowing what to expect from the containers will help you pick the right one from the right people.

Storage containers come in various lengths and heights.  The most popular sizes for shipping containers for sale are 20’ and 40’ long. Other lengths include 8’, 10’ 45’, and 48’ long.  All containers are 8’ wide.  Most containers come in a standard height of 8’6”, others called “high cubes” are a foot taller at 9’6”.  The sizes of the container often dictate how the container is delivered.  10’ and 20’ long containers can be delivered on a truck as small as a tilt bed auto body shop wrecker.

While these units might just look like steel boxes, shipping containers for sale come in many varieties.  Some are different because of their sizes, but the number of doors also makes the difference. Standard containers have doors at one end.  Double door containers have doors at one end and also at the other end.  Open side units have a door that opens along the side of the container.  These special boxes also either have doors at one end or at both ends.  Having a standard container at a certain length is usually always cheaper than getting one at the same length with more doors.

Shipping containers for sale can come in a variety of conditions.  Generally speaking, containers are either used, refurbished, or new.  Used containers can vary greatly.  ‘As is’ boxes are not usually wind and watertight, or there could be something functionally wrong with them.  Examples of the issues often seen with ‘as is’ containers are holes in the floor or soft spots, extensive rust, broken gaskets, doors that do not open or close, and holes in the roof.  These containers are great for people that do not necessarily need a perfect container.

Many used containers are in wind and watertight condition.  This means that there are no holes in the container so water can get in and that it protects the goods inside from the wind.  Because used containers can vary greatly, it is important to really look at these boxes.  Make sure you do the following when checking out a used container:

1.) Open up the doors, and try to close them again.
Sometimes doors or hinges can sustain damage from being bumped into by vehicles or other containers during shipping.

2.) Walk around the container to inspect any rust spots.
If there are any large dents, they will probably turn into large rust spots eventually. No used container will be perfect, but by thoroughly inspecting the container, you will know what you are purchasing.

3.) Inspect any internal flooring.
Many containers have wood flooring, either plywood or particleboard, and you should check for rotting wood, or even potential mold problems.

New or ‘One-Trip’ containers are in the best shape.  They will have minimal dents and very little rust. A container can never be purchased new and never used.  These units are built in Asia and are shipped to America, hence the ‘one-trip’ notation.  If you are worried about the way a container will look or if you don’t want to do any maintenance work on the unit, a new container might be the best option.

Knowing the basics about containers is very important when shopping for one. Doing more research online might be very beneficial. Be sure to see your container in person so you can see exactly what you are buying.


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