Grading the condition of a shipping container may seem like a fairly simple, uniform task, it's not nearly as simple and uniform as it appears on the surface (no pun intended). The reasons for this are fairly simple, and the next few paragraphs will walk through why there is some confusion in grading and what the more general terms and ideas in container grading are.
There are several different factors that go into how a shipping container is graded; and a few of these factors span across all lines and leasing companies, while others are unique to each individual company. To start with, the labels behind the condition of the container are the first part that aren't uniform. Some companies will call a cargo worthy container "A" or "B" grade, while others simply call it "CW" or "IICL repaired". These fragmented systems began many years ago as the industry grew and no single body had the ability to unify their grading system as an industry standard.
Cosmetic appearance and odors are two big components. While a container may be structurally sound with no dents or dings deeper than a set depth, and no floor ribbing out of line, it may have a sizable amount of surface rust that looks unappealing to the end user planning on using it for a residential storage unit. The second potential issue could be odors. Offensive smells and scents have no impact on the structural integrity of the container, but if you're moving in and out of it daily and it was used to store fish guts in the heat of the summer you may have a different opinion.
We're going to simply things as much as possible, and look at the factors through a residential application. Some shipping lines use lettered systems that include AA through to D, while others let you know the amount of repair time required to make the container cargo worthy. While the latter is useful to industry insiders it can confuse new buyer's right from the start. The most simplified that we've come across is simply AV for available for sale, or UA for unavailable.
New, or "one trip", containers are the easiest to define because they have only made one trip across the ocean with goods and are typically one or two years old. They'll be in the best condition, have generic paint and smooth working doors and should have no cosmetic damage.
Cargo worthy containers can be anywhere from 3-18 years old, are always wind and water tight, and can be surveyed and approved for overseas shipping. These containers might have patches in the sides and patches replaced on the floors, or they may still have no major repairs. The repair condition is really a condition of age, the company that managed the container, and the routes that it was used on during it's in service life. What you can expect is a solid container that in good structural condition, but may have some repairs and patches.
Older shipping containers are typically classified as wind and water tight. These containers are still in good condition and can make great storage units or modular conversions, but no longer quality for overseas shipping. While it may not qualify for overseas shipping, this isn't something to be overly concerned about. It may not meet the qualifications due to bent ribbing, delaminated flooring, or some other similar reason. What it really amounts to is the cost to repair the damages outweighs the book value of the container.
As is/Where is (AIWI)
As is/Where is a catch all for nearly any container that hasn't been inspected or the owner just wants to get rid of. ASIS containers are probably 12-18 years old and may, or may not, have some surface rust as well as a few dents and dings. These containers will be priced lower, but the buyer assumes all responsibility for the condition of the container. One of the main reasons for this is the book value of the container has been written down to a low enough level that it's no longer worth the expense to have the container surveyed and the owner just wants to sell it quickly.
ContainerAuction.com is an online marketplace where shipping lines and leasing companies from the United States and around the world come to list shipping containers for sale. Interested buyers can find containers of all conditions and sizes at many locations around the world. If you're interested in a specific container that's listed please contact the seller directly. If there are no shipping containers listed for sale in your area complete the request form and one of our representatives will get in touch with you to help you find the piece of equipment that matches your needs.