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Types of Damage to Shipping Containers

19.07.2015 - Posted by Updated On 19.07.2015    

Used shipping containers that are being sold by leasing companies and shipping lines are typically 10-15 years old, and have seen their share of travel, with this in mind it can be expected that a container of this age shows the history of its life. Knowing that each company that owns and manages shipping containers has different criteria for maintaining their containers, and some containers are less traveled and less abused than others, nearly every container will have varying degrees of damage.

If you plan on buying a used container it’s only realistic that the container won’t be in new or “one trip” condition and will have some imperfections, either cosmetic or physical. The most common types of natural wear and damage are delaminated flooring, dents and dings, rust and corrosion, damage to the door mechanicals, or punctures and gouges.

Delaminated Flooring

Delaminated flooring occurs the plywood flooring over time and is a sign of natural wear. This type of damage can occur over time from normal usage. The marine grade plywood flooring has a strong coating on the surfaces that prevents any type of moisture from soaking into the wood and causing rot or decay. Over time, this sealant can break up and the layers of flooring can begin to peel and flake off. The easiest way to repair this type of damage is to cut out the offending section of flooring and replace it with a piece, then applying a fresh coat of sealant.

delaminated container floor

Dented Walls and Ceilings

Dented walls and ceilings are typically caused by lifts moving cargo in and out of the container, and if left unmanaged they can provide and entry point for rust and corrosion. Provided the dent does not go the entire way through the wall, or break the painted surface, there is little reason to fix them as the container is still cargo worthy.

Rust and Corrosion

Rust can occur on any part of the container, baring the flooring. While containers are designed to have limited places where water can collect, there are always places where water lay and initiate the corrosion process. The most common natural places to look for rust are the areas below the doors, and the top corners where the wall and ceiling meet. If there are any significant dents in the container that have broken the painted surface, rust can start to form at these points as well.
damaged shipping container

Damaged Door Mechanicals

The doors are one of the most important parts of the container, for obvious reasons. During transit the rods and cams can be bent or damaged rendering it difficult, if not impossible, to gain access to the shipping container. Most used containers require some effort to open the doors, any damage to the door can make it much, much harder to secure the unit.

Punctures and Gouges

Punctured sides of the container don’t normally happen naturally, but they do occasionally occur. If a fork lift or other piece of equipment gets out of control, either through operator error or an accident caused by slipping on ice or a wet surface, the forks can pierce the side of the unit. It is best to repair punctures by cutting a square around the affected area and welding a new piece of CORTEN steel to cover the area. Gouged shipping container

Damage to shipping containers can come in many forms, and if the damage goes unrepaired it can lead to excessive rust, corrosion, and a significant decrease in asset value. It’s good practice to have a regular maintenance program to have your container inspected and any damages repaired as soon as possible to prevent rust from taking hold.

ContainerAuction.com facilitates the sale of all types of shipping containers ranging from new equipment to used and occasionally damaged units. For more information on shipping containers for sale please browse the auction for available equipment, or fill out the form and request a seller to contact you regarding containers that might be available in your area.



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