Shipping containers, once primarily used for the transport of goods across oceans, have found a new lease on life in the secondary market. They are now being repurposed for a wide array of uses, ranging from affordable storage solutions to innovative housing projects. The market for used shipping containers is thriving due to their durability, versatility, and the increased interest in sustainable practices. Many businesses and individuals are opting for these steel containers as they can be considerably less expensive than new ones while still retaining much of their structural integrity and functionality.
Purchasing a used shipping container can be a cost-effective decision for a variety of applications. Whether for modular construction, temporary offices, or even custom home building, these containers offer a sturdy framework that can be modified to fit specific needs. They are available in different sizes, typically ranging from 10 feet to 40 feet in length, catering to different spatial requirements. Moreover, they can be outfitted with features such as insulation, windows, and doors, transforming them into habitable spaces that challenge traditional construction methods.
While the idea of buying a used shipping container may seem straightforward, it’s important to consider factors like the container’s grade, its condition, and the company’s reliability offering it for sale. Containers are often graded based on their structural quality, with terms like “cargo worthy” or “wind and water tight” indicating their suitability for different uses. It’s essential to assess containers carefully or buy from a reputable supplier that offers quality options and transparent pricing. This ensures that the buyers get what they pay for and the containers live up to their intended purpose.
Benefits of Used Shipping Containers
Purchasing used shipping containers offers several significant advantages that can meet both budgetary and practical requirements. They provide a balance of affordability and functionality, which is essential for a variety of applications.
Used shipping containers are a financially savvy option. They are often available at a fraction of the cost of new ones. For example, a used container can cost as little as $1,400, potentially saving a company over $3,500 per container. Additionally, since they depreciate less than brand new containers, they retain more of their value over time.
Despite being pre-owned, used shipping containers maintain appreciable durability. Constructed to endure harsh marine environments, they can last for decades if properly maintained. These containers are designed to resist corrosion, which prolongs their usable life even after spending years in transit across oceans.
The versatility of used shipping containers is unmatched. They can be repurposed into a variety of structures such as homes, offices, shops, or storage units. This adaptability extends beyond simple storage solutions to innovative architectural designs, capitalizing on the strength and structural integrity these containers inherently possess.
Types of Shipping Containers
Shipping containers come in various types and sizes to cater to different storage and cargo transport needs. Their specifications are usually standardized by ISO regulations, ensuring consistency in the industry.
Standard containers, also known as dry containers, are the most common type used in shipping. They typically come in lengths of 20ft and 40ft, providing a versatile solution for a wide range of cargo. These containers have a sturdy construction and are designed to be wind and watertight, ensuring that goods are transported safely and securely.
High Cube Containers
High Cube containers offer an extra foot in height compared to standard containers, standing at about 9 feet 6 inches tall. This additional space makes them ideal for transporting light, voluminous cargo or large machinery. Both the 40ft and 20ft High Cube containers provide increased storage volume, making them a preferred choice for a variety of shipping needs.
Open Side and Open-Top Containers
Open Side containers feature doors that open up completely on one side to provide easier loading of wide cargo. Similarly, Open-Top containers have a convertible top that can be removed to load goods from the top by crane, perfect for oversized cargo or heavy items that cannot be easily loaded through standard doors.
Refrigerated containers, often referred to as reefers, maintain a controlled temperature to transport perishable goods. They are equipped with a refrigeration unit that ensures consistent cooling throughout the journey. Available primarily in 20ft and 40ft sizes, these containers are crucial for the food and pharmaceutical industries to keep products fresh and safe.
Choosing the Right Container Size
Selecting an appropriate shipping container involves understanding the common sizes available and determining which will best serve the intended purpose. Container dimensions are standardized to accommodate transport and storage needs.
20ft Shipping Container
The 20ft Shipping Container is a popular choice for various applications due to its manageability and cost-effectiveness. At approximately 20 feet in length, it provides sufficient space for storage without requiring extensive area for positioning. They are particularly suitable for smaller sites and can be easily modified for offices, pop-up shops, or compact living spaces.
- Internal Dimensions (Approximately):
- Length: 19.4 ft
- Width: 7.7 ft
- Height: 7.9 ft
- Common Uses: Storage, modifications, small-scale shipping
- Typical Features: Double doors, marine-grade plywood flooring
40ft Shipping Container
A 40ft Shipping Container doubles the length of the 20ft option, making it a preferred choice for large-scale shipping and storage needs. Its substantial size allows for significant cargo space, ideal for businesses or substantial personal storage. High cube variants offer additional height for taller items or equipment.
- Internal Dimensions (Approximately):
- Length: 39.5 ft
- Width: 7.7 ft
- Height: 7.9 ft
- High Cube Height: 8.9 ft
- Common Uses: Industrial storage, shipping, conversions for homes or offices
- Typical Features: Corten steel construction, secure locking mechanisms
45ft Shipping Container
The 45ft Shipping Container extends the length even further, providing maximum capacity within the constraints of standard road transport. This size is less common but is particularly advantageous for transportation of large volumes of goods or when constructing spacious modular buildings.
- Internal Dimensions (Approximately):
- Length: 44.5 ft
- Width: 7.7 ft
- Height: 7.9 ft
- High Cube Height: 8.9 ft
- Common Uses: Extensive cargo transport, large commercial storage solutions
- Typical Features: Enhanced length, suitable for heavy-duty usage
Condition & Certification of Containers
When purchasing used shipping containers for sale, potential buyers must pay close attention to the condition and certification, which directly impacts the container’s suitability for various purposes. These factors are paramount in determining the value and usability of a container.
Cargo worthy containers are inspected and have an up-to-date CSC (Container Safety Convention) certificate, signifying that they meet international safety standards for shipping. They are deemed structurally sound to withstand the rigors of international transport, whether by sea or land. Buyers should ensure that a container inspection confirms the cargo worthy status before completing a purchase.
Wind and Water Tight
Containers labeled as Wind and Water Tight (WWT) are typically used for storage purposes, rather than for shipping goods. These units are checked to guarantee that they are free of holes and keep out the elements effectively, but they may not possess a valid CSC plate. It’s crucial for buyers to verify that the container’s condition aligns with their storage needs, as WWT status does not equate to cargo worthy status.
New vs Used Containers
The market offers both new and used shipping containers, each presenting distinct advantages. New shipping containers ensure optimal condition and longevity, but come with a higher price tag. In contrast, used shipping containers for sale offer a cost-effective alternative, though their conditions can vary greatly, from nearly new to those with visible signs of wear. It is essential that buyers assess the extent of wear and certification on used containers, as it can greatly affect their performance and suitability for specific tasks.
When purchasing used shipping containers, buyers have versatile customization options to cater to specific needs. By modifying containers, one adds functionality and comfort that serve various purposes, from office spaces to comfortable abodes.
One can enhance a shipping container by installing windows to allow natural light and provide ventilation. The installation process involves cutting precise openings in the steel structure and reinforcing them to accommodate the windows, thus transforming the container into a more habitable space. Companies like IPME offer customization services that include adding different types and sizes of windows tailored to client specifications.
Insulation and Climate Control
Insulation is crucial for maintaining a stable internal temperature and making a shipping container comfortable for habitation or sensitive storage. There are multiple insulation types, such as spray foam or panel insulation, each with their advantages. For instance, refrigerated containers, also known as “reefers,” come pre-insulated and equipped with an integrated cooling system, making them suitable for temperature-sensitive goods. Modifications in climate control can convert a used container into a customized space suitable for diverse climates and uses. Various companies provide these modification services, and some like Shipping Container Depot can help tailor a container’s climate control features to specific needs.
Delivery & Setup
When purchasing used shipping containers, delivery and setup are critical parts of the process. Customers should anticipate coordinating with reliable delivery services and ensuring proper preparation of the site to facilitate the container’s arrival and placement.
Understanding Delivery Services
Shipping container vendors typically offer a range of delivery services tailored to customer’s needs. The company’s fleet might include tilt-bed trucks, flatbeds, or side-loaders, each offering different capabilities for various container sizes and site conditions. For example, at Conex Depot, the delivery of containers requires sufficient access space for safe maneuvering and unloading. Some vendors may also provide specialized equipment, like cranes, if the container needs to be placed in a specific orientation or over obstacles.
Customers should inquire about the types of delivery vehicles used and select the one that aligns with their delivery site’s specific requirements. The delivery fees often depend on the distance from the depot to the delivery site and the complexity of the delivery operation.
Preparation for Container Delivery
Proper site preparation is crucial for a smooth delivery. Customers must ensure the delivery site is easily accessible and the ground is level to avoid any delays or complications.
- Site Accessibility: There must be clear access for the delivery truck with no obstructions like low-hanging wires or narrow gates. Dimensions should typically exceed the container’s length by at least 60 feet as a general rule of thumb, as advised by Boxhub.
- Ground Leveling: The area where the container will be placed needs to be level to prevent structural issues. Use of paving stones or a gravel base is often recommended for drainage and stability.
- Foundation: Depending on the planned use and duration of the container’s placement, a concrete foundation might be preferable to ensure long-term stability.
Customers should discuss specific site preparation steps with their chosen vendor as part of the delivery services. This ensures that both the customer and delivery provider have aligned expectations and can work together effectively for a successful delivery and setup of the used shipping container.
Purchasing Locations and Logistics
When searching for used shipping containers, potential buyers should focus on two main avenues: finding containers at regional depots and ports where availability may vary based on size and condition.
Finding Containers at Depots
Depots across the United States offer a range of used shipping containers suitable for various purposes. One can find the largest inventory of shipping containers with extensive selections of Grade A cargo-worthy units. These depots often provide detailed information about the container’s condition, allowing the buyer to make an informed decision. Depots strategically located near major cities and transportation hubs ensure buyers can conveniently access the containers they need.
Port Locations and Availability
Availability of shipping containers can significantly depend on port locations. Major ports often have a greater variety of containers due to the high volume of goods being imported and exported. Companies like Container Exchanger specialize in reusable packaging solutions and frequently operate near these ports to optimize logistics. Buyers seeking to purchase containers should pay close attention to port-based vendors for potentially lower prices due to reduced inland transportation costs.
FAQs About Shipping Containers
When considering the purchase of a used shipping container, potential buyers often have a range of questions, from specifics about sizing and conditions to warranty and customer service. This section addresses some of the most common inquiries.
Common Questions Addressed
- What are the sizes of used shipping containers?
Used shipping containers typically come in two standard lengths: 20 feet and 40 feet. They are available in standard heights of 8 feet 6 inches or as “High Cube” variants with a height of 9 feet 6 inches.
- What should one know about the condition of a used container?
They vary in condition, often categorized as “Cargo Worthy,” “Wind and Water Tight,” or “As Is.” It’s recommended to view the container in person or request detailed photos.
- How does one gauge the weight of a container?
A 20-foot container typically weighs around 5,000 pounds, whereas a 40-foot container can weigh approximately 8,500 pounds when empty.
- Is there a warranty for used shipping containers?
Some sellers offer a warranty or guarantee on used containers, focusing on structural integrity and the absence of leaks. It is prudent to ask for the specific terms of the warranty before purchasing.
- What are the considerations regarding customer service?
A reputable seller should provide clear communication, assist with choosing the right container for your needs, and offer delivery options. Many sellers also provide after-sales services, such as help with modifications.
- Can one modify a used shipping container?
Yes, modifications such as doors, windows, and insulation are common. Buyers should inquire whether the seller offers customization services.
- What are delivery options and considerations?
Delivery is typically available, but costs and the logistics vary. It’s essential to discuss the delivery terms in advance, including access to the drop-off site and any additional fees involved.
Container Uses and Applications
Used shipping containers offer a range of versatile applications, tailored to meet storage, building, or creative project needs with efficiency and durability.
Shipping containers are highly sought after for their robust structure, making them ideal for secure storage solutions. They are effectively used to store construction materials, keeping them safe from the elements and potential theft. Their standardized sizes allow for electronics and clothing inventory to be organized systematically, simplifying logistics and warehousing for businesses.
Building and Construction
The modularity of shipping containers lends itself well to building and construction projects. They are often transformed into temporary offices, retail spaces, and even permanent residences. Due to their inherent strength, containers are also used as a foundation to stack and create larger structures, suited for commercial and residential purposes.
For those requiring tailored spaces, shipping containers can be converted for custom projects. Their interior can be modified to accommodate specific types of goods, from perishable food items to sensitive electronic equipment, with the inclusion of climate-controlled environments or bespoke shelving systems. The exterior can be creatively altered to reflect brand identity or aesthetic preferences, projecting a confident and clear message about the container’s purpose.
Real Customer Experiences
When exploring the market for used shipping containers, potential buyers place significant value on the experiences of previous customers. Testimonials and reviews often play a critical role in the decision-making process, offering insights into product quality and customer service.
Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials have become a cornerstone for validating the quality and reliability of used shipping containers. Customers recount their satisfaction with the sturdiness and condition of the containers, highlighting companies like Conex Depot which provide a range of grades to meet diverse needs.
Reviews underscore the importance of exceptional customer service in the purchase process. Services like those from Skymax Containers are often praised for their transparent and customer-friendly buying experience, emphasizing ease and convenience.
- Ease of Purchase: Many reviews celebrate the simplicity of the purchase process, from selection to delivery, as streamlined by user-friendly websites.
- Delivery Satisfaction: Satisfied customers frequently mention prompt and professional delivery service, citing companies such as Conexwest for their efficiency.
Customer Service remains a dominant theme throughout testimonials. Buyers appreciate when companies like Lotus Containers provide knowledgeable support, guiding them through the intricacies of container grades and sizes.
buyer stories collected across platforms validate the reputation of sellers, with many first-time buyers becoming repeat customers thanks to the positive experiences. The availability of various payment options and thorough guidance offered by providers such as Boxhub enhances the overall satisfaction among users.
Regulatory Considerations and Standards
When considering the sale of used shipping containers, one must remain cognizant of the regulatory framework and standards that govern their usage. These standards ensure safety, structural integrity, and international compliance.
ISO Standards and Compliance
ISO Containers must adhere to specific International Organization for Standardization (ISO) regulations that dictate size, strength, and durability. ISO establishes these criteria to facilitate the safe, consistent handling and stacking of containers across global shipping operations.
- Size and Dimensions: ISO standards define exact container dimensions for compatibility with transport systems. For instance, a standard 20-foot container should measure 20 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 8.6 feet in height.
- Material and Construction: The construction of containers is key for international compliance. ISO mandates the use of corrosion-resistant Corten steel and specifies minimum wall thickness and floor strength to withstand harsh conditions.
- Identifying Marks and Ratings: Containers carry a unique identification code, a CSC (Convention for Safe Containers) safety approval plate, and maximum gross weight ratings, all of which facilitate tracking and safety compliance.
ISO compliance ensures that used shipping containers meet global standards for safety and interoperability. Buyers should always verify that a container conforms to these standards and any applicable amendments for the year of manufacture. For detailed explanations of specific provisions introduced for shipping containers, including structural and nonstructural requirements, refer to documents such as Appendix 3 New Provisions for Shipping Containers in the 2021 IBC.
Compliance with ISO standards is critical when purchasing used shipping containers, not just for ensuring physical compatibility across transport methods, but also for abiding by international shipping laws and regulations.
Buying Guide for Beginners
When it comes to purchasing used shipping containers, first-time buyers should focus on understanding the basics of the process, the importance of warranties, the details of delivery logistics, and the availability of customer service assistance.
Step-by-Step Purchase Process
- Container Selection: Buyers should determine the right size and type of container for their needs, considering factors such as intended use and the space available for the container.
- Condition Assessment: It’s crucial to check the condition of the container before purchasing, keeping an eye out for signs of wear and being mindful of the grading system that ranks them from new to heavily used.
- Location and Delivery: Buyers should confirm that they have the proper permits if required, and understand delivery options and costs.
- Warranty and Customer Service: Inquiring about the warranty provided is essential for protecting the investment, as is ensuring that there is reliable customer service available for ongoing support.
- Purchase and Payment: With the decision made, buyers complete the transaction, which may include negotiation on final pricing and a thorough review of the sales contract.
Why Choose Boxhub
Choosing Boxhub for purchasing used shipping containers offers customers professionalism and reliability in service. Here’s what sets their service apart.
Boxhub’s Commitment to Service Quality
- Transparency: Boxhub provides clear and detailed information regarding the sale and delivery process. They display a strong dedication to ensuring that there are no hidden costs or surprises for the customer.
- Customer Reviews: Many customers have expressed satisfaction with their purchases, highlighting the company’s commitment to fulfilling their promises.
- Delivery Options: Boxhub recognizes the importance of flexibility, offering customers the ability to select a delivery timeline that suits their individual needs.
- Professional Delivery: The company ensures that the shipping containers are delivered in a professional manner, directly to the customer’s door.
- Marketplace Size: As a large online marketplace for shipping containers, Boxhub boasts an extensive inventory, accommodating a broad range of customer needs across various regions of the USA.