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Shipping Containers for Logistics Companies

09.02.2014 - Posted by Updated On 09.02.2014    

Logistics companies, both domestic and international, help to reposition products all around the world, and they come into contact with a lot of shipping containers. When purchasing shipping containers for their clients (often called "shipper owned containers"), a lot of logistics companies turn to to provide them with used, cargo worthy shipping containers, delivered to their clients location, at an affordable price.

When the container seller is first contacted, there are a few standard questions that need to be addressed before they start to review their inventory for available containers. Where do the shipping containers need to be located at or delivered to? Do you need our surveyor to inspect the containers and certify them to be cargo worthy? How long will you be using the containers afterwards (do you need an old container, or a newer unit?).

Where do the shipping containers need to be located?

It's easy to believe that there are shipping containers all over the world, and some locations are more expensive than others. However, once you take into account the cost of repositioning empty containers you'll see why the prices are different. Repositioning an empty container usually costs upwards of $3.50/mile, so while a container in Chicago may be cheaper than one in Denver, once you factor that trucking cost in the end price is pretty much the same. In almost every case it's best to source shipping containers in the local market. They can be on-site faster, and if anything is wrong it's easier to have the container repaired or replaced.

Container Surveys – Cargo Worthy Shipping Containers

If the shipping container is going to be used for international shipping, the shipper is required by the shipping line to provide an inspection report certifying that the container is cargo worthy. The last thing the line wants is for the container to break apart in transit and slow down the progress of the entire vessel or port.   The surveyor inspects the entire container, top to bottom, and provides a report stating the age of the container, any areas that may need to be repaired, and if it is approved for shipping.

If your container needs to be certified cargo worthy, and you need the container seller to do this for you before it leaves the depot, let them know this up front so they can work with the depot and surveyor to perform the inspection. Many container leasing companies and shipping lines have multiple containers in any one location, so they can advise the inspector to find the number that you need and make sure they're cargo worthy. Also, be sure and provide the surveyor with any documents or requirements specific to the shipping line. Some lines require pictures and special forms to be completed, while others just need the cargo worthy certificate.

What Age Shipping Container Do You Need?

Depending on the destination of your client's cargo, you may want an older container that only has one or two trips left, or you may want a newer unit that can be used for additional shipping in the future. What's the difference? Price, obviously. A ten or twelve year old container may have one or two trips left in it, and you can buy it for a low price. If your cargo is bound for an area with few exports, like Africa, it could make sense to save the costs and purchase an older, cargo worthy container. If your cargo is going to Germany, the container can be quickly turned around and reused.



Supplying Shipper Owned Containers – Summary

Many logistics companies turn to to provide them with inexpensive, cargo worthy shipping containers. If you're a logistics specialist looking to provide shipper shipping containers to your client be prepared to answer these questions: Where do the containers need to be located? Does the seller need to provide the cargo worthy certificate for you (and if so are there any specific requirements?) Do you prefer older containers, or newer units? If you're able to answer these questions quickly you'll be able to supply your client with great containers at a competitive price.

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