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Comparing New Shipping Containers: Full Spec vs. Trading Spec

25.11.2018 - Posted by Updated On 25.11.2018    

Unlike used shipping containers, not all new shipping containers are alike. All used shipping containers are built to heavy duty specifications, primarily because they are going to be used for their entire life on the sea, with an additional life as a storage unit, modular building component, or similar application. On the other hand, new shipping containers, or one trips containers, can be built to different specifications based on the manufacturer and the intended purpose of the container once it's arrived at its destination. Weight, lock boxes and vents, as well as some additional features are the obvious items to inquire about when purchasing a new shipping container.

Shipping Container Weight

While it's not obvious to the naked eye, one place that some companies or manufacturers save costs on is the thickness, or gauge, of the steel used in the shipping container. While using a reduced gauge of steel on the walls and ceiling does not impact the structural shell of the container (which is carried in the rails and corner posts), it can impact the length of its sea-going life. The heavy use and abuse that a shipping container endures on the high seas can cause a lot of stress on the walls as the container flexes in rough waters or is loaded on and off the containers by cranes.

The weight of the container can be checked by looking on the doors and reading the Tare weight. Full spec 20' shipping containers should be around 4,800 lbs. and anything substantially less could be built to a lighter spec.

shipping container spec weights

Lock Box and Fork Lift Pockets

Each trading company and manufacturer can order different "extras" on their one trip shipping containers. Two of the most common extras are factory installed lock boxes and fork lift pockets.

Factory installed lock boxes are welded onto the door of the container and provide additional security around the lock, making the container harder to break in to. Alternatively, a bolt on lock box can be installed on used shipping containers or one trip shipping containers that don't have lock boxes installed.

Fork lift pockets increase the weight and cost of a shipping container, so many used shipping containers don't have them installed. New shipping containers have fork lift pockets to make the container easier to pick up and move around.

Before you purchase a new shipping container be sure to ask if these two options are included. Containers without lock boxes or vents should be slightly cheaper than those with them factory installed.

Other Features on Some New Shipping Containers

Other features can also be found some one trip shipping containers, but they are not as common and often included on special orders. In some industries or applications unique options are highly desirable, while in others they may go unnoticed. The following options are not typically included in full spec containers, but can be found on some trading units:

Additional Vents: Shipping containers typically have four breather vents. These are small vents that provide some air circulation, but still keep the container wind and water tight. In some cases a shipping container can have as many as twelve vents to provide greater air circulation as a storage unit.

Built in Ladder: In the event that roof access is required on the shipping container, some one trip shipping containers have ladders installed in the grooves on the front of the shipping container, matched with collapsible handles on the roof of the container.

New and used shipping containers can be built to different specifications and have different options, and different types of new shipping containers can also come built to different specifications. The gauge of the steel can be adjusted to reduce costs, and additional features can be included or removed to further impact the final cost of the shipping container. Based on the specific needs of the project or application, be sure to inquire with the dealer or shipping line to gain a better understand of what spec the containers are built to.



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