A lot of people underestimate the importance of location when it comes to buying a new or used shipping container. Logically, the closer a shipping container is to the port or depot the cheaper it will be And while trucks and trains are moving around the highways of the country at a constant rate, the cost of moving a container from point A to point B isn’t free, even if it’s loaded with cargo.
If you live within one or two hours of a major port or distribution hub (think Los Angeles, Chicago, Newark, or even Charleston or Savannah) you shouldn’t have any problem finding a reasonably priced shipping container in good condition. If you live further inland, you can still find affordably priced shipping containers, but they will probably be a little more expensive. Trucking companies normally charge by the mile, or in some markets a trucker hauling a container across town will charge by the hour. Either way, the cost is pretty well balance if you compare the price of a shipping container in Denver to one in Los Angeles.
What happens if you don’t live close to a port or depot? Your best bet is to pick the largest city that’s close to you and start comparing shipping container prices.
For example, let’s take Reading Pennsylvania. Harrisburg is sort of close to Baltimore, sort of close to Newark, and sort of close to Philadelphia. You might be able to find a container at a local dealer or storage company in Reading, but chances are it will be a little more expensive than one located in any of the cities mentioned above. Why? Someone had to pay to move the container there, and the local retailer probably has included a little profit for their effort.
If you’re working on a budget you could start by pricing containers in Newark and Baltimore, then finding trucking rates to get the container to Reading. This method will require that you find "tilt bed" or Landoll style truck drivers that can set the container on the ground for you (unless you have a forklift on site). These specialty trucks are typically a little more expensive than standard flatbed trucks, but they will save on the cost of having to rent a fork lift. Since the truck will have to go round trip, you can search either in your starting city or the city where the container is located.
If you aren’t in a time rush and willing to do a little research and spend some time on the phone you could try to find a back haul. What’s a back haul? If a truck is moving something to one point and has nothing coming back, they will be running an empty load which isn’t paying them. You could try to reach out to trucking companies in your area, in this case Reading, and see if they have any empty back hauls coming from Newark or Baltimore. If so, you may be able to negotiate a decent rate to move the container to your location. The trucking company obviously won’t move it for free, but they might be able to save you a few dollars with a cheaper rate.
ContainerAuction.com helps connect buyers and sellers connect around the United States and around the world. The listed sellers typically have connections or relationships with trucking companies in the cities they operate in. If you have any questions about buying or selling shipping containers feel free to contact any of our sellers directly through their listing page.