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The Myth of Abandoned Shipping Containers

01.01.2018 - Posted by Updated On 01.01.2018    

We regularly get calls from people looking to purchase cheap shipping containers, and they're surprised when the containers don't cost only a couple of hundred dollars. "I went down the highway and saw stacks of containers all over the place, why can't you sell them to me for a cheaper price?" What most people don't realize is that the container yards they're passing are essentially parking lots for shipping containers, and they shipping containers they see are probably still active in one of a few different ways.

Out on Lease to Shipping Lines

Many of the shipping containers that can be seen in depots are actually out on lease to shipping lines. The shipping line will drop off the container in the depot until it's needed for shipping again. The unit hasn't been fully depreciated yet, so it's most likely too young to sell for a reasonable price that the end user would accept. Alternatively, if the container is owned by a leasing company it may hang out in the depot until a different shipping line contacts them because they need a container in the area, and then they're cleared to pick it up.

Owned by Shipping Lines

If the container isn't out on lease, or owned by a leasing company, it's owned by a shipping line and is being held for future use. Shipping lines behave similar to leasing companies and keep their containers on hand as either active or in a depot until needed. Also, shipping lines tend to keep their containers in active use for a couple of years longer than leasing companies.

Depreciation is a big factor with both shipping lines and leasing companies. Before either sell a shipping container they compare the book value and depreciated value of the container, and the cost of a new container. Depending on what their formulas tell them, containers aren't sold until they're between 10 and 18 years old.

Sale Stacks of Shipping Containers

The only containers that are for sale in most all depots are in the "sale stacks" and those stacks are controlled by the leasing companies and shipping lines. These stacks are typically a smaller portion of the containers in the yard. Each company usually has their own sale stack, and you need would need to contact the owner to find out which stack is available for sale. More so, due to the taxed nature of shipping container the buyer needs a resale license to purchase containers directly from the leasing company or shipping line. is an online marketplace that sells new and used shipping containers around the United States and rest of the world. To find a container for sale in your area execute a search for containers for sale in places around you and review the results. From there you can contact the seller directly, or contact a registered seller through the container request form on the page. If you have any general questions feel free to contact staff directly.

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