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Reasons for the 20' Shipping Container Supply Shortage

01.03.2020 - Posted by Updated On 01.03.2020    

Anyone involved with shipping containers for a period of time is aware of how the industry pricing and inventory levels can fluctuate from time to time; and right now is one of those times, especially for used 20' containers. Two things have happened in the market that have caused the pinch in shipping containers available for resale, production output and regulation changes.

Shipping Container Production

During the 2008 financial crisis, there was practically zero production of any new shipping containers. Since shipping lines and leasing companies don't start selling used containers until they are 10-12 years old, we're entering the sweet spot in that lull of production. Supply is expected to remain tight for the next few months, but no one has a definite answer on when it will be completely behind us.

Paint Regulation Changes

Two years ago the Chinese government started requiring all shipping container manufacturers to switch from solvent based paint to water borne paint. This may not seem like a huge issue, but what it really meant is all of the factories had to shut down and retool to meet the new requirements. The drying time of water borne paint is significantly longer than solvent based paints, and the mixtures must also be adjusted to accommodate for temperature changes and humidity changes. In many of the factories these changes take place daily as the weather swings from morning to evening. The changeover was expected to take roughly three months, but in some cases it took much longer, causing supply issues down the line.

These two issues are wha's causing the supply shortage of 20' shipping containers in the current market. Some locations still have adequate supply, but others haven't seen equipment returned in quite a while. Overall, i's caused prices of all used shipping containers to increase. New shipping containers have been less affected by these issue and their prices have only crept up incrementally. is an online marketplace for buying and selling new and used shipping containers. Registered wholesale buyers can work directly with leasing companies and shipping lines, while single unit buyers can search and purchase shipping containers from any of the publicly published listings. For information about a specific listing feel free to contact the seller directly through the page. If you have general questions about where to get started you can contact directly.

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