How to buy a shipping container


With shipping containers being such a versatile object to use, more and more people are looking to buy one for themselves. That being said, buying a shipping container can be a tedious and long process. This means it can be overwhelming for first-time buyers. So, what do you have to do if you are looking to buy a shipping container? 

Below, we have provided a step-by-step guide on how to buy a shipping container. This way, you can better understand how the process goes so that you are prepared for anything that crops up. You can also use this guide to help you make better-informed decisions before finally landing on a particular container. Make sure to read below to find out more. 

Decide whether you want to lease or buy 

The first thing that you need to make sure if whether you want to buy or lease a shipping container. The decision that you make should depend on your current situation and suit your needs. For instance, if you only need a few containers, then you may want to consider buying them. The same goes for if you use containers frequently, or need them for an indefinite period of time. Generally speaking, these situations are better suited if you choose to buy a container because you will have to make a one-time upfront payment. Although the upfront cost may be huge, you have the option of selling the container second-hand or repurposing it to your heart’s content. 

On the other hand, if you are looking to only use a small number of containers, or use them for the short term, you may find that leasing a container may be a better option for you. This is because when you lease, it is cheaper in the short term in comparison to buying. However, you must remember that the cost of leasing can add up if you need to use a shipping container for a long time, so be sure to think carefully about which option you are going to choose. 

What container type do you need?

After you have decided whether to lease or buy a shipping container, the next step is choosing which container type you need. Container specifications are unique and have their own benefits and disadvantages. For instance, if you are shipping common dry cargo, then a standard container may be the best solution for you, as they are great at carrying dry cargo like pallets, sacks, barrels, and boxes. If your cargo needs special requirements – if you are shipping food or medicine for instance – then you should consider getting an insulated container as they can maintain a stable temperature inside at all times. Reefers are also a great choice as they are refrigerated and are generally used to move and store goods that need to be kept in low temperatures. 

For transporting vehicles and automobiles, you may consider getting a double-door container, as they can load cargo from either end. This means the vehicle does not need to back up or do a U-turn to get out of the container, greatly shortening loading and unloading times. 

Flat-racks, open-top, and hard-top containers tend to be suitable for transporting heavy or irregularly shaped cargo, such as machinery, pipes, or buses. 

Choose the container’s condition

Once you have figured out what type of container you are planning to use, you need to pick the grading of the container. For those not in the now, the container’s grading will tell you what the container is suitable for, and how new it is. Below is the updated grading system regarding shipping containers:

New/one trip: These containers are the newest of the batch and are referred to this way as they have usually only made one trip (from the manufacturer to the owner). As such, they tend to have the least blemishes and dents. Most of these containers tend to be manufactured abroad and are sold immediately once they have arrived at their final destination. 

Grade A: These containers are either new, refurbished, or used. As such, they tend to have minimal surface rust and are almost mark-free on the inside. They also are usually wind and water-tight (WWT). As such, these containers are fantastic at transporting cargo, in addition to being used for shipment, storage, and offices.

Grade B: These containers are generally deemed suitable to transport cargo. As such, if you have simple cargo to send out, these containers will do just fine. Used containers also are a part of this category. 

Grade C: A grade C container is also called a wind and water-tight (WWT) container, which, as its name suggests, means that no wind or water can penetrate it. Unlike Grade A and one-trip containers, these ones have gone through a lot of wear and tear, alongside repairs. This means that while they are great for storage, they need to have a special license to be used for transporting goods.

Grade F: Unlike the others, Grade F containers are generally new containers, and are designed specifically to transport food. This means that the container will not carry any toxic chemicals and products, in order to ensure that the goods inside are not contaminated and hazardous. 

As-is: These containers are so old and damaged that they have essentially been taken out of commission. Most of the damage is on its roof, walls, floors, or structure. This means they are not even good for storing goods anymore. As such, make sure to avoid these containers as much as possible. 

Find out its cost

One of the greatest factors you need to keep in mind is how much the shipping container costs. This is because knowing its price beforehand makes it easier for you to negotiate advantageous deals with sellers. Remember the price of a shipping container will depend on various factors such as the location you are based in, the price of raw steel to produce these containers, and the type of container you choose. As always, you want to compare costs before committing to a particular seller. You also need to know what your budget is before buying a shipping container. Also factor in additional costs such as renovations or customizations, especially if you plan on using a used container or intend to repurpose it. 

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