how to buy Used Shipping Containers副本

How to Buy Used Shipping Containers: The Ultimate Guide

Today, I will show you how to get the best value in used shipping containers.

You will know where to find used shipping containers, how to check the quality and the best prices for used shipping containers, amongst other vital aspects.

So, keep reading if you want to learn more.

Where to Find used Container for Sale in China

20 ft used shipping container

 20 ft used shipping container

There are numerous places to find a used container in China.

Some of the places you can find used shipping container suppliers and manufacturers in China include:

  • Trade fairs
  • Online B2B marketplace such as AliExpress, Alibaba, China Brands, among others.
  • Sourcing companies, agents or buying brokers in China.
  • You can also find suppliers and manufacturers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and linked, among others.
  • You can also utilize Google search, especially google maps, to locate used container manufacturers and suppliers in China.
  • Referrals by related business partners.
  • Using catalogues and coupons

Leading Shipping Container Suppliers in China

Some of the leading shipping container suppliers in China include:

  • Qingdao Approfine new material technology company limited
  • Jingjiang Jiaxing company limited
  • China international marine container group company limited
  • Singamas container holdings limited.
  • COSCO shipping
  • CXIC group containers company limited
  • China eastern containers
  • MAERSIK container industry

In addition to these, here is a list of top 50 shipping container manufacturers in China.

What to Look for When Buying Used Shipping Container

Factors to look for when buying used shipping container include:

  • Shipping container sizes: before buying a used shipping container, it is essential to establish the size you need.

Used shipping containers are available in various configurations, lengths and sizes and the most common are closed top containers with doors that open on only one end.

  • Container inspection: before buying a used shipping container, it is essential to check for the following features:

a) Holes: Check for holes by stepping into the used shipping container and closing the door. In case there are holes, the light will shine onto you.

b) Doors and locking mechanism: ascertain that the doors are well secured and seal properly if the container is to be used for storage.

c) Dents: observe for dents on the roof as these may collect water and turn into a rust spot and create a hole over time.

d) Patches: ascertain that any patches made on the used shipping container are done correctly and do not separate from the container’s structure.

e) Age: younger containers are better.

f) Floor: ensure that the original plywood floors of the used shipping container are still intact.

g) Odour: ensure that the used shipping container has no odour before buying it.

  • Supplier reputation: when purchasing used shipping containers, ensure that you always deal with a reputable company which has been in business for long.

This will grant you the assurance that the company will deliver what was promised.

  • Delivery cost: used shipping containers need special handling equipment for smooth handling when shipping them as they are quite heavy.

Thus, you should always ask if the delivery cost is an added advantage or inclusive when buying used shipping containers.

  • Check for repainting: ensure that the used shipping container you are purchasing has been well repainted and repairs have been made in the right way.
  • Container usage: the function you require the container to serve will determine the quality grade of the container that you choose.

Used containers are available in three grades; A are containers in excellent condition, B are containers in relative condition while C is pretty ordinary containers.

Types of used Shipping Containers

Some of the available types of shipping containers include:

 Types of shipping container

 Types of shipping container

  • General-purpose containers or dry containers: this type of used shipping container is fully enclosed thus protected from environmental factors’ interference.

These are the most commonly used type of containers and can have adaptions like flexitanks or liner bags.

  • Flat rack containers: the side of this type of container is collapsible so that it can be folded to make a flat rack.

Flat rack container’s end walls are stable to allow cargo securing making them ideal for shipping oversized goods like vehicles on tracks, heavy machinery and construction material.

  • Open top containers: this type of used shipping container has a convertible top and can be removed entirely.

Also, this feature makes it suitable for handling cargo that is over-height and is hard to load through the container’s door.

  • Double door containers: double door containers have doors on both ends, and these help in loading and unloading goods quickly.
  • High cube containers: these are used where a bigger volume capacity is required. This type of used container always has a recess in the floor located at the front end, which enables it to lie lower and be of taller construction.
  • Open side containers: this type of used shipping container has doors that can open entirely on the side, providing a more expansive room and access to the container.
  • Reefer containers: these are used for very perishable shipping goods, and they rely on external power for temperature regulation.
  • Insulated containers: these containers have regulated temperature control which enables them to withstand higher temperature levels.

They are suited for long-distance transportation.

  • Half-height containers: this has a low centre of gravity that enables them to handle heavier loads as they are robust enough to sustain the harsh industrial environment.
  • Tank containers: these are used to transport liquid materials and are made up of either anti-corrosive or robust steel.

Tank containers should be at least eighty per cent full to prevent dangerous surging in transit.

It must not be over 95% full to allow for sufficient room for thermal expansion.

  • Swap body containers: these are exchangeable containers used for rail and road. They have a convertible top, making them ideal for shipping a wide range of goods.

Benefits of using Used Shipping Containers

Some of the benefits of using used shipping containers include:

  • Used shipping containers are purchased at a lower cost than a brand new one and can provide as much utility as using a brand-new unit.
  • They assist in environmental conservation when initially used containers are upcycled or reused to better products.
  • A variety of applications can be served using used shipping containers.
  • Used shipping containers can fulfil versatile functions such as extra storage, container home or temporary building.
  • Used shipping containers are very durable as they are structurally constructed to withstand rough and unpredictable weather conditions.

Limitations of Used Shipping Containers

Some of the limitations of used shipping containers include:

  • Physical constraints: physical constraints inside the used shipping containers such as lack of ventilation and high temperatures might cause damage to the goods.
  • Characteristics of the merchandise: specific aspects of the cargo in the used shipping container might limit the used container shipping plan. The load may be rejected if the goods in the used shipping container do not correspond to a standardized container due to the cargo’s weight, goods dimension and volume.
  • Rust and corrosion: used shipping containers are not rust proof; thus, they need regular care and attention.
  • Toxic materials: if used shipping containers were exposed to multiple insecticides to meet global import and export procedures, they might be subject to toxic exposure.

How Used Shipping Containers compare to New Shipping Containers

Comparison of used shipping containers and new shipping containers include:

Used shipping container vs new shipping container

Used shipping container vs new shipping container

Container Condition

Used shipping containers are mostly in excellent conditions, but suppliers do not guarantee 100% lack of dents, surface rust or blemishes.

On the other hand, if your primary basis is on external appearance, you should go for new shipping containers as they have only served a single trip.

New shipping containers have a relatively long lifespan and haven’t been exposed to unknown chemical contaminations.

On the other hand, used shipping containers might have been initially used to transport toxic products and thus might require additional treatment.

Container Pricing

The budget set in place will determine whether to go for a used shipping container or a new shipping container.

New shipping container prices range between $3000 to $5000 while used shipping container prices range between $2000 to $3000 depending on various features and sizes.

Here is useful information about shipping container cost and price.

Potential Uses

New containers are perfect for functions such as offices, shipping container homes or restaurants.

However, if you do not require a new container for a specific purpose, you should opt for used shipping containers as you can always clean up and repaint.

Uses of Used Shipping Containers

Some of the uses of shipping containers include:

  • Housing: used shipping containers have become popular in making shipping container houses or homes.
  • Perfectly sized pool: used shipping containers are easily used to make a backyard swimming pool.
  • Sturdy shed: they are converted into a useable outdoor space.
  • They make strong weather-proof garden rooms.
  • Used shipping containers are also used in making home offices and playhouses.
  • The pop-up shop, bar or café: due to their size and shape, used shipping containers are ideal for conversion into a pop-up shop, bar or café.
  • Metal playground
  • Storage: used shipping containers can provide cargo storage and protect them from damage and exposure to environmental factors.

How much Used Shipping Containers Cost?

A used shipping container will cost you about $3000 for a 40-foot container and $2000 for a 20-foot container depending on its size, current market demand and features.

Sizes of Used Shipping Containers

Shipping container sizes

Shipping container sizes

Used shipping containers come in a range of sizes, and the most common container lengths externally are 20 feet and 40 feet shipping containers.

The standard width of the used shipping container is 8ft, and the standard height is 8ft 6″, and for a high cube, it will have one additional foot making it 9ft 6”.

For internal dimensions, the sides of the used shipping container are corrugated, and the depth of the corrugation is 1 inch.

The back is corrugated, and the used shipping container doors are around 2 inches thick.

The floor of the used shipping container has an underside clearance of 6 inches and a thickness of 1.1 inches

Sizes of used shipping containers include:

  • 20-foot containers: its standard unit is 8’6’’ in height and 8’ wide.
  • 40-foot containers: this is the most commonly bought used shipping container. They are also 8’6” in height, and 8′ wide but have other high cube units which are 9’6” in size and 8′ wide.
  • 10-foot collapsible containers: these are collapsible.
  • 53-foot containers: these are high cube units which are 9’6’’ in height and 8’6’’ wide.

When to Buy Used Shipping Container instead of New Shipping Containers

Factors that will determine when to buy used shipping container instead of a new shipping container include:

  • Cost: new shipping containers are expensive as compared to used shipping containers. Therefore, if you cannot meet the price of a new shipping container, you can opt for a used shipping container.
  • Appearance: if external appearance is not so important, used shipping containers are purchased instead of the new shipping container.
  • Lifespan: if you need to use the container for a shorter period or a specific one-time purpose, it is better to opt for a used shipping container.
  • Usage: choose used shipping container if you do not need a new container for any particular reason.

ISO Standards for Used Shipping Containers

ISO standards for used shipping containers include:

  • ISO 6346: 1995, which specifies the information needed for the correct coding, identification and marking of any used ISO container according to the manufacturer’s standard.
  • ISO 830:1999 this was reviewed and confirmed in 2016, and it covers vocabulary used to describe used shipping containers accurately.
  • ISO 9891-1 this specifies the several parts and components needed to construct a used shipping container.
  • ISO 1496: gives a description of the internal dimensions for the design of a used shipping container.
  • ISO 668: 2013: This standard is for the general purpose used shipping containers and specifies their external dimensions and minimal internal dimensions.

How to Inspect Quality of Used Shipping Container

It is essential to take a look at the following feature on the outside of the used shipping containers:

  • Check corners and seams: inspect corners and seams to ascertain that they are free from warping, rust, cracks and corrosion.
  • Read the CSC plate: this external plate will show clearly the manufacturer’s name, the maintenance history and the date that the used shipping container is produced.
  • Inspect the doors and locks: make sure that the doors shut tightly by swinging and closing them and inspect the locks to ascertain that they are undamaged.
  • Check the roof and any cables, wires and tarpaulins: inspect for any signs of cracks, corrosion and damage that might weaken the structure of the used shipping container.

For the inside of the used shipping container, inspect the following feature to ascertain the quality of the container:

  • Inspect for cracks and leaks: inspect for leakages and cracks by entering the container and shutting the door to observe if the light is coming through.

If there is no light, it means the used shipping container is watertight.

  • Makes sure the used shipping container is odourless, clean and dry by inspecting if any chemicals or residue were left behind.
  • Inspect for protrusions: inspect to ensure that there are no protrusions like errant nails which might damage your cargo.
  • Inspect temperature controls if relevant: in this case, ascertain that the used shipping containers refrigeration is appropriate and the container is set to the right temperature to prevent goods from damage.

Quality Marks on Used Shipping Containers

Some of the quality marks on used shipping containers include:

  • Container number: it is the star marking on the door and is an alphanumeric sequence of 4 alphabets and seven digits. This container number has been created by ISO under their code ISO6346:1995 and consists of:

a) Owner code (3 letters)

b) Equipment category: 1 letter

c) Serial number: 6 numbers

d) Check digit (1 number)

  • Container owner or lessor: this is the entity which owns or operates the used shipping container.
  • Max gross: it is the maximum weight that the used shipping container can carry.
  • ISO code: ISO under their code ISO6346:1995(E) requires each used container to be given a unique ISO code to avoid ambiguity.
  • Classification society label for type testing
  • Weight of container
  • Maximum payload
  • Container Safety Convention (CSC)
  • Approved Continuous Examination Programme (ACEP)
  • Caution stickers on 40’/45′ high cube used container.

How to Transport used Shipping Containers

 Loading shipping container for transport

 Loading shipping container for transport

Before being transported, used shipping containers need to be lifted onto the transport mode due to their nature and weight.

Some of the options of lifting used shipping containers include:

  • Container lifting jacks: these are portable and cost-effective and can lift used containers in lower container volume locations. It can work in tight spaces and can lift heavily used containers.
  • Straddle carriers: these are mobile on-site and can move used shipping containers with ease.
  • Tilt beds: this lowers the deck’s back end to ground level, thus enabling the used shipping container to be winched on or pushed.
  • Gantry cranes: gantry cranes are high-speed and efficient where there are a high container turnover and port operations.
  • Reach stackers: this is very fast and efficient and can lift heavily used shipping containers around on site or transfer them between the ground, wagon and stack.
  • Forklifts: forklifts are multipurpose equipment able to lift used shipping containers that are 20 feet long or shorter.
  • Top loaders: this can lift used shipping containers from the top and stack them in a single pile.
  • Side loaders: this is a high-capacity chassis that can lift, transport, and move full used shipping containers from the ground to other locations.
  • Truck cranes: this used container shipping equipment works by being mounted onto the truck carrier.

Ways of transporting used shipping containers include:

  • Used shipping container transport by truck: this method will be dependent on the used shipping container size and the truck accessibility to the destination.
  • Tilt bed truck: tilt bed truck is highly recommended if you transport your used shipping container less than 200 miles. It requires no additional equipment in handling the container as the tilt bed can be tipped at an angle and slide the cargo off with ease.
  • Flatbed truck: it is cost-effective to transport used shipping containers using a flatbed for distances longer than 200 miles. This method’s used shipping container can be offloaded off the truck bed using a crane or forklift.
  • Step-deck truck: the step-deck truck is used to transport used shipping containers 9.5 feet tall and above. The used shipping container is offloaded using either a crane or forklift.
  • Used shipping container transport by train: rail proves to be a feasible option for transporting used shipping containers although in most cases the container should be full of cargo.
  • Used shipping container transport by boat: used shipping containers can also be transported via water although additional logistics issue for delivering it to the specific destination is incurred.

How to Start Selling used Shipping Containers

Entering into used shipping container business proves to be a lucrative deal as companies require a number of their goods to be transported to various locations of the world.

The key to succeeding in selling used shipped containers is to approach the business strategically as elaborated below:

  • Create an effective business plan: before commencing on anything else, you need a detailed business plan summarizing the purpose, financial status and business partners and investors if any.
  • Scope out the competition: even before starting to sell, it is essential to establish your competitors in the market and put in place measures to handle them.

It is necessary to look at competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and observe how they market themselves mostly online.

  • Secure certifications, licensing and insurance: ensure that you have all the licenses and insurances required for conducting used shipping container business.
  • Consider starting small: if there are no investors in place, consider starting your business small and growing gradually as you get profit.
  • Establish contracts: once all is set up and licenses are in place, its time to go ahead and make money by getting shipping contracts or letters of intents from companies in the used shipping container business.

Features to Consider when Buying Used Shipping Containers

Some of the features to look for when buying used shipping containers include:

  • Check the overall condition of the used shipping container by walking around the outside of the used shipping container.
  • Assess paint, seals around the edges and the corner castings.
  • Look at the sides of the used shipping container for any dents and any signs of corrosion as this will prove that it is in bad shape.
  • Observe for any aesthetic blemishes which would make purchasing the used shipping container a horrible decision.
  • Doors of the used shipping container should lock and seal securely.
  • Inspect for cracks and leaks: inspect for leakages and cracks by entering the container and shutting the door to observe if the light is coming through. If there is no light, it means the used shipping container is watertight.
  • Makes sure the used shipping container is odourless, clean and dry by inspecting if any chemicals or residue were left behind.
  • Examine for loose floorboards.

How Condition of Used Shipping Container Determine Price

If sourcing for used shipping containers with minimum wear and tear, opt for one-trip shipping containers as they only carry their first and last cargo.

These containers price estimate include:

  • $3000 for 20-foot shipping container
  • $4500 for 40-foot standard shipping container
  • $5000 for 40-foot standard high cube container

In summary, newer shipping containers will call for higher prices as they have a longer life span, reduced risk of chemical contamination and minimum wear and tear.

Used shipping containers might have outlived their shelf-life for international transport but be in good condition for other uses.

This containers price estimate includes:

  • $2000 for 20-foot used shipping container
  • $3000 for 40-foot used shipping container

In summary, used shipping containers that have been used for a long time will have relatively lower prices as compared to those containers that have been used for shorter periods.

Find the Best Deal when Buying used Shipping Container.

To get the best deal when buying a used shipping container, you can use the following tactics:

  • Bulk buying
  • Buying directly from the manufacturer
  • Market research
  • Familiarize yourself with the import rules of your country to avoid incurring unnecessary costs.
  • Be aware of the taxes you need to pay.
  • Get the necessary licenses to buy a used shipping container to avoid costs as a result of fines.
  • Look out for the right supplier and manufacture to save on switching costs or breach of the Contract.
  • Check the minimum order quantity (MOQ) required.
  • Check the shipping charges and if drop shipping is available.
  • Opt for an agent to guide you on the best prices around.
  • Buy insurance for safety.

Risks of Buying Used Shipping Containers

Some of the risks of buying used shipping containers include:

  • Paying too much: the most significant risk in buying used shipping containers is spending a lot than expected. The reseller may hide additional costs like delivery fees that need to be offset.
  • Nasty condition surprises: customers may receive the used shipping container in a much worse condition than expected due to deceiving photos sent by resellers.
  • Delivery disasters: at times the buyer may bargain for a used shipping container and achieve a good deal only to incur very high costs for it to be delivered.
  • No guarantee or support: some resellers are only after making a profit and do not aim at keeping the customer satisfied.

Leasing vs Buying Used Shipping Container

A used shipping container is not that expensive, but they are not very cheap; therefore, it is essential to assess and determine if there is an option of either leasing or buying.

There is no rigid formula to choose between leasing and buying used shipping containers as it is considered by simple mathematics.

Note that the amount you need to pay to purchase a used shipping container is higher than the sticker price.

This is because you will incur delivery fees.

When leasing a used shipping container, you will also incur additional fees with each billing cycle which you should look at.

After establishing the total costs of leasing and buying a used shipping container, you can then do simple math by considering:

  • How much the used shipping container costs to purchase should include everything required to be paid like delivery fees, upgrades, and taxes. If the prices are higher, you should opt for leasing.
  • Duration: consider how long you would like to keep the used shipping container. If it is for the long-term, you should buy and if you want it for a short period, opt for leasing.
  • Consider how much it will cost to lease the container for that amount of time, including recurring costs and upfront costs.

After looking at simple math, you are free to choose the method which best works for you.

How to Find Used Shipping Container in Best Condition

  • Getting a great used shipping container at a great price: for used shipping containers in the best condition, choose those with higher costs as they are in better shape and last longer.
  • Getting the best quality for money: always settle for high quality used shipping containers and reject used shipping containers which you feel are of more inferior quality.

Grading Used Shipping Container

Used shipping containers are graded in the following categories:

  • Grade A: this grade contains new containers in various standard sizes. These are mostly one trip containers.
  • Grade B: made up of used shipping containers that are in good condition and have minimal rust and dents. These are mostly less than five years old.
  • Grade C: contains used shipping containers that are in fair condition and have moderate rust and dents. These are mostly older than five years.

Delivery Options for Used Shipping Container

Due to the nature and size of used shipping containers, delivering it can result in very high costs.

When negotiating for used shipping container price, it is essential to ensure that the delivery cost is included in the final price.

Some of the different delivery options that can be used include:

  • Tilt bed or Roll-off: this delivery option will be met by the trailer tilting back to place the edge of the container to the ground in such a way that it slides off to the floor.
  • Customer assist: this option needs the customer to have an anchor point. A chain is attached to the used shipping container and fixed to the anchor point; the trailer moves away releasing the box onto the ground.
  • Flatbed: the used shipping container arrives at the destination on a flatbed. The customer uses lifting equipment to offload the used shipping container onto the ground.
  • Customer pickup: in this option, customers arrange with the supplier on a specific day to collect the used shipping container.

Warranty Period for Used Shipping Container

Most used container shipping companies do not offer warranties on their containers.

However, a few companies provide warranties like five years guarantee on the structure and a leak guarantee of one year where applicable.

How used Shipping Container compare to Refurbished Shipping Container

So long as businesses continue to import and export goods, there will always be shipping containers waiting to be recycled, reused or refurbished.

This trend helps on conserving the environment and reduction of costs.

Used shipping containers and refurbished shipping container grant the freedom to get what you want while sticking to a budget.

Weather and Security Protections on Used Shipping Containers

Used shipping containers’ structure is suited to last in harsh conditions.

Before buying used shipping containers, it is essential to assess and that they have weather and security protections like:

  • Watertight
  • Vermin-proof
  • Resistance to wind
  • Protected from rodent infestation for clean and safe interiors
  • Security mechanisms of the used shipping containers loke steel locks and padlocks should be safe and secure from potential break-ins and vandalism.

Service Lifespan of Used Shipping Containers

A used shipping container lifespan depends on several factors, such as:

  • The age of the used shipping container and time of purchase
  • Condition of the used shipping container at the time of purchase
  • How the used shipping container is being used.

There is no single solution to determine the longevity of a used shipping container, but it is possible to make an analytical guess.

A used shipping container shipping goods for its maximum amount can easily be used for even more than ten years.

This is highly dependent on the used shipping containers grade when purchased.

Used shipping container service and maintenance will enable the increase of its lifespan even up to 50 years.

Some maintenance practices that increased used shipping container lifespan include:

  • Minimizing exposure of the used shipping container to moisture.
  • Repairing dents on the used shipping container.
  • Repainting and buffing the used shipping container.
  • Replacing door seals that are worn out.
  • Ensuring sufficient ventilation of the used shipping container.
  • Using water-resistant paint after every few years to seal the floor.
  • Cleaning the used shipping container regularly and looking out for mold and rust.

In short, there are many factors to consider when choosing used shipping containers.

The best part, this guide has outlined everything you need to know.

However, in case you have any questions or inquiry, feel free to contact BanSar China team.

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