Most of the shipping containers available for sale in the U.S. are used shipping containers. Typically, these containers have been used in the shipping industry for about 10 to 12 years. As such, you will find used shipping containers for sale in different conditions — some in perfect shape and others in less than ideal conditions. Perhaps buying new containers is more straightforward because of their pristine conditions. Most of the new containers (97%) are manufactured in China, loaded with cargo once, and shipped to the U.S. These are also referred to as one-trip containers.
So, how can you tell if a used shipping container is in great shape before making a purchase?
The Classification of the Container
Used shipping containers for sale are generally classified under three categories — Cargo worthy containers, used wind and watertight containers (WWT), and as-is containers. They vary in price just as they vary in conditions. Used shipping containers that are in great shape and can be reused for shipping purposes are classified as cargo worthy containers. Containers in this category can easily pass as new containers because they are usually in top shape and conditions.
WWT containers have had a longer service life in the shipping industry — anywhere from eight to 15 years. The interior and exterior conditions of a WWT container are noticeably different from those of a one-trip container. You can expect some minor dents and dings on the container body, and the exteriors and interiors of the container may have some rust and faded parts. However, these containers are windproof and waterproof and are ideal for storage purposes and short-distance shipping.
As-is containers are on the cheaper side. These containers are sold in whichever condition they are. If you are only looking for a cheap container, you will find great options in this category. Depending on the extent of damage on these containers, some may be waterproof and windproof, and some will have visible holes on the walls.
Inspect the Interior and Exteriors of the Container
You should closely inspect the seals, paint, and corner castings around the edges. Inspect whether the doors lock and seal correctly. Check out if there are cracks or small holes that may let in air or water. You can do this by closing the container door in the daylight and observe if some light leaks into the container. If you notice any leaks, it means that the container is neither waterproof nor windproof. If you intend to use your used container for shipping purposes, you should consider hiring a qualified marine surveyor to certify its conditions.
Buy Used Shipping Containers for Sale From a Reputable Dealer
At times, you may not have the chance to inspect a used container. In such a scenario, you can only trust that your container dealer will deliver the promised quality. The reputable container dealers will also stock new shipping containers for sale alongside old shipping containers. Such a dealer will have 40-foot shipping containers, 20-foot containers, climate-controlled containers, open-top containers, and high cube storage containers.
Additionally, the top container dealers will also offer cargo container modification services for both new and used containers. Therefore, you can have your used container modified and delivered as a container pop up shop, office container, or a portable concession stand. Regardless of what you intend to use your container for, the top dealer can handle all the modifications needed.
Buying used shipping containers for sale shouldn’t be a complicated process. For the most part, you’re guaranteed to get quality used shipping containers when you buy from a reputable dealer. However, it doesn’t hurt to inspect a used shipping container’s conditions before making a purchase. You should thoroughly inspect the exteriors and interiors of a shipping container. A good shipping container should be waterproof and windproof. You can expect some minor dents and dings on a used container, but not too extensive. If you intend to repurpose a used container for shipping purposes, it’s advisable to get a qualified marine inspector to examine the container.