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Shipping and Storage Containers: Picking the Right Unit

10.12.2012 - Posted by Updated On 10.12.2012    

If you’re shopping for a storage unit, there are many types of shipping containers available in the retail, or secondary, market that can meet your needs.  However, to find the right one there are a couple of questions that you first need to ask yourself before you can buy a container.

A shipping container of any age makes a great storage unit.  However, depending on your needs, the location where you’ll be keeping the container, and your budget, there are really two options available, an older used container, or a new/one trip container.  While both can be considered “storage grade”, the differences can be important.

Used Shipping Containers

A used shipping container is usually 10 or more years old, and is will be painted with the markings of a shipping line or container leasing company.  Containers of this age will be typically graded as “wind and water tight”, “cargo worthy”, or “as is, where is” and all could be considered suitable for different types of storage.  When buying a container of this age you’ll want to ask about, or inspect for the following:

  • How do the doors swing?  Free and easy, or do they require some encouragement?  Does this even matter to you?
  • Is the container water tight?  Will it keep everything you storage inside dry?  If not, how much work will be required to patch any holes?
  • Is there any rust?  Again, depending on your needs a little rust may be tolerable and you might be able to clean it up with a wire brush and fresh paint.  Any extreme rust may be a point of weakness that could allow moisture or rodents to gain access.
used shipping container

New/One Trip Shipping Containers

New, or one trip containers are just that.  These containers are less than one year old and have been used to move goods one time by a shipping line.  You can expect these containers to be more expensive than a used container, but they will come with a fresh coat of paint, no markings from a shipping line, and often times they are equipped with a strong lock box that makes them ideal for storage with no modification.  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, a one trip container may be the best choice for you:

  • Does appearance matter?  Will the container will be someplace highly visible, where it will be more desirable to have it blend in to the environment?
  • Do you need a lock box?  If the container will be storing equipment in a remote location, or some place that’s not heavily trafficked, a welded on lockbox will provide additional security (note that bolt on lock boxes are available for older containers).
  • Do you need the doors to swing easily, open and close with minimal effort?  New containers have fresh hinges and mechanical features that haven’t been used excessively for a long period of time.
one trip shipping container

As a rule of thumb with anything, a one trip shipping container will cost more than a used container.  It’s the same with new or used cars, construction equipment, or just about any other asset that depreciates in value over time.  If you’re price sensitive, and are able to invest some time and money into bringing a shipping container up to your specifications for storage, a used container could be the best solution for you.  Used shipping containers can be converted into close to new condition, with a little time and money.  However, depending on how much work you plan to do and how much time you have available, the cost/benefit could mean that it’s more sensible to invest in a new container, and have it delivered to your site and ready for storage quickly and with no effort.

Whatever your shipping and storage container needs may be, ContainerAuction.com has a container that is sure to meet your standards.  If you have any questions or need guidance along the way feel free to contact any of our staff and they’ll to their best to help you find the best storage unit for your budget.



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