Tips and Tricks for Purchasing a Shipping Container That Is Used


Steel shipping containers make most of the commerce between nations on the planet possible. The shipping containers themselves are very durable items and should last, even with continuous use, at least two decades. To give an idea of how many are out there, it has been estimated that there are at least 24 million retired shipping containers that are empty, all over the globe. While they can last longer, many shipping companies will retire their containers after they have been in use for between 10 and 15 years. When you are going to look at purchasing a shipping container, you may be better off, if you are going to keep it a long time, getting a used one.

When you set out of the process to look for shipping containers for sale, there are some things you should do to make sure you get the right one at the right price. The good news is that you can save yourself a lot of money by going with used storage containers rather than new ones. In the same way that you would not buy a pre-owned car or truck without doing some legwork, you should expect to do the same thing when you are purchasing a shipping container that has been used.

  • Think about what you are going to use this for. There are a great number of reasons people buy and use shipping containers. They can be used as pools, made into pop-up shops, turned into offices and homes, and generally made into any kind of building. Globally, they have been turned into homes, schools, stores, hospitals, art museums, so your options for what to do with it are extensive. You may have a very different set of criteria if you are purchasing a shipping container to store your stuff or if you would like to live in it.
  • Inspect the container. Most companies that have storage containers for sale can let you look at it before you buy. If you are close enough to the shipping containers they are selling, you should go take a look. If the company balks at letting you see it, that should raise a big red flag and is reason enough to go to another seller. If you cannot get to the container that you want to buy, they should be able to send you photos and a survey. Make sure the survey has the container number. You need to match that up with the photos. Go elsewhere if they refuse this.
  • Check out the condition of the container. It seems pretty basic but is important enough to mention. Remember, the chances are that this piece of equipment has seen the rough seas so you should not expect it to be a piece of artwork. Look at the seals, the corner castings, and for cracks. Make sure you do not have a lot of corrosion or rust on the container.
  • Take a look at the floor. Usually, the floors on shipping containers are made from plywood that is marine grade. There may be some discoloration on the wood of a shipping container that has been used. That is normal. What is not normal is a lot of mold, rot, and other deep divets.
  • Take a look at the ceiling. After you have looked down at the floor, you should look up at the ceiling. It should not have any big rust spots or holes. One way to check this is to go inside and have someone close the door from the outside. If it lights up, you need to keep looking and keep going on your quest for purchasing a shipping container.
  • Open and close the doors. The doors on the shipping container may look great when it is not moving but then you may have a host of problems when you try to close it. You want to make sure the locking mechanism is in working condition. All of the door mechanism should be in working order. You may have to apply some WD 40 or oil, this is a used shipping container after all but it should not have too much trouble opening, closing, and locking.

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