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Shipper Owned Containers (SOC) for Logistics and Commercial Companies

04.05.2018 - Posted by Updated On 04.05.2018    

Shipper owned containers, or SOC, are just as they sound, shipping containers that are owned by the company or person that own the goods or products that are loaded inside of the shipping container. The opposite of an SOC is a container that's owned by the shipping line or logistics company that's moving the products for the consignee.
Without rehashing our previous article on Shipper Owned Containers, a quick summary of the pros and cons of SOC's are as follows:

  • Pro: The consignee has on-site storage where they can keep the product.
  • Con: The consignee has a shipping container on-site that they may not need and have to dispose of.
  • Pro: There's no limitation on the unloading times.
  • Con: The consignee is responsible for making sure the container is cargo worthy.
  • Pro: Can take as much time as you like to load and unload.
  • Con: A forklift or crane is needed on site to move the container on/off a chassis.

Surveys and Repairs

Before a container can be loaded onto a vessel it must be certified as cargo worthy. This simply means that the container is in good enough condition that it won't fall apart during transit and damage the contained goods and possible damage other containers. Any damage would also force the crew and workers at the docks and depots to take time from their assigned activities and clean up the mess.

To have a container inspected for cargo worthy condition it a surveyor must check all sides of the container, including the bottom, for any signs of damage or excessive wear that must be repaired, or worse case exclude the container from the possibility of shipping and another container must be selected from the stack.

shipping container CSC report

Live Loading Times

One potential sticking point for SOCs is loading. If an extended period of time is required to load and unload the container a SOC is the better option. However, if the container can be loaded quickly and doesn't go over the allocated time using one of the shipping lines containers can be an efficient option. If a longer period of time is required we'll cover that in the next section.

shipping container loading

Getting the Container Off, and On, the Truck

Another potential issue with SOCs is moving the container around. If a period time more than one or two hours is required it can get very expensive due to charges from the trucking company; a SOC can remedy this, but a forklift or crane is needed on site to move the container off the chassis when it's delivered, and again when it's ready to ship and loaded back onto the chassis. In very few cases will a trucking company allow the chassis to sit on the consignee's site with no charge.

Special Types of Containers

In unique cases that require special containers, it may require the consignee to purchase their own containers. For example, an open top container is required for loading and unloading very heavy or bulky items that cannot be loaded through the doors. An open top has a removable top and cargo can be loaded into the container with a crane. Some shipping lines do not have many/any special shipping containers in their fleet, or they do not have them in the location that is convenient to where the consignee is located. is an online marketplace for new and used shipping containers traditionally used for overseas shipping. These types of containers include 20', 40', 40' high cubes, and occasionally 45' containers. Dry vans, open tops, and flat racks are also included in this designation, as well as refrigerated shipping containers. To find a shipping container for sale in your area simply search on the map or search bar and complete the purchase or request more information. If no containers are available in your area you can complete the request form and a seller that services your area will contact you regarding available inventory.

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