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How to Properly Neutralize a Shipping Container

29.11.2015 - Posted by Updated On 29.11.2015    

On nearly every invoice or purchase agreement for a shipping container there's a clause about "neutralizing" the shipping container, but what does it really mean and why are shipping lines so emphatic about the process?

First off, why is it necessary to neutralize a container? Once the container is sold by the original owner they are no longer in control of the container, and therefore don't want to be associated with anything the container does in its new life.

Case in point, years ago a large and respected container lessor sold a container to a second hand client in Miami, in transit there was an accident and the container fell from the truck and collided with a car which happened to be carrying a well-known pop star. While the original owner had nothing to do with the container, their name was visible in all pictures and news coverage; so people naturally assumed it was their container. After a large payout the pop star agreed not to mention the lessors name in any media or future communications.

Neutralizing a Shipping Container

Neutralizing a shipping container is the process by which the container can no longer be identified and connected to the original shipping line or leasing company that owned it, and there are four main places to address when neutralizing a container.

Sides (logos and obvious corporate branding)

This is the most visible area, any company name, logo, or other branding must be painted over and completely covered so it can't be identified.

Prefix Code

The prefix code is located on an interior panel, the roof, both sides, the front, and the door of the container. The entire number does not need to be removed, only the first four letters that identify the owner.

changing unit numbers on a shipping container


CSC Plate

The CSC plate is located on the door of the shipping container and is engraved with the owner, the unit number, manufacting information, flooring material, and other information relevant to the specifications of the container. When neutralizing a container most lines require that either the entire plate must be removed, or the prefix must be ground off.

CSC Plate


Corner Casting

Lastly, and the least obvious, is the stamping on one of the rear corner castings. This stamped number, the same number as on the CSC plate and sides of the container, must be ground off completely.

gringing the corner casting

When the container must be neutralized is usually up to the individual line or lessor, some companies require that the container be neutralized before leaving the depot, while others are a little more flexible with their terms and allow the buyer to do this within a set time after buying the container. and the active sellers on the marketplace trade new and used shipping containers of all sizes, and they are very familiar with neutralizing containers and how to perform the service quickly, at an affordable rate. If you have any questions about the proper way to do this, or need help buying or selling a shipping container, feel free to contact any of the sellers listed on the site, or contact directly.

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