Things To Consider When Purchasing A Used Shipping Container


A Guide To Buying Used or Refurbished Shipping Containers

Whether you’re purchasing a shipping container in order to continue shipping more goods across the globe, or perhaps you’re looking to purchase one for storage or a building project. Many people, businesses and other organisations will often turn to purchasing used shipping containers as a way of keeping their costs down whilst still getting exactly what they need.

There are some cases where purchasing a used shipping container rather than a newly produced one might not be the best option. For example, if you are responsible for shipping higher value and fragile goods then you’ll want to take every precaution to minimise the risk of damage. A used shipping container certainly will not offer such protection.

However, for those who are deciding upon purchasing a used shipping container, there are many different factors to consider. These steel boxes will certainly have seen some wear and tear over the years.

They will have been used to ship all manner of different things around the world and will have been lifted onto ships and off of trucks thousands of times. Damage can be common, odours even more so and therefore it is vital that you consider a range of things before selecting and purchasing a used shipping container – whatever you plan to use it for.

Are You Looking To Buy Or Lease A Used Shipping Container?

Image of used shipping container at a dock’s storage area
Shipping Containers

One of the first things to address when looking at becoming a container owner is the amount of use you expect to get out of it. If it is the case that you are looking at using a container for storage purposes and find that you have a need for this over the long-term then certainly owning one shipping container or a few is going to be the best option. The same goes for if you are planning on using shipping containers as part of a building project such as an urban farm or  a permanent fixture to a garden and/or commercial area.

These more long-term and perhaps permanent options for using used shipping containers definitely lean more towards the need for you to own your own shipping container.

However, if you are looking at more part-time approaches to storage or only expect to be utilising the shipping container for a small portion of the year, then it would probably be more of a realistic option to look at leasing your shipping container. This way, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re not haemorrhaging money in paying for unused storage space or a rusting unused shipping container in the months when you simply do not require it.

What Kind Of Shipping Container Will Be Best For You?

Now that you have worked out whether it’s worth going down the purchase route or looking at the options for lease, it’s time to look at which kind of shipping container will best fit your usage purpose.

For many individuals this is much less important. Given that the common use for the general public is to repurpose these logistical containers as parts of a building or for use as storage it’s unlikely that a used shipping container will need to fit any specific purposes.

Although, if it is the case that you are operating as a logistical and shipping company needing to purchase additional shipping containers without incurring the high costs of newly built containers. Then, depending on what it is that you’re transporting, you may well need specific adjustments to be made in order for the used container to then be suitable for your desired purposes.

Where In Your Local Area Will You Be Able To Purchase A Used Shipping Container?

If you are living, working or operating out of a UK port then this won’t be too much of an issue. There will be multiple brokers and hire purchase providers of shipping containers operating locally.

A quick search on Google for shipping container sellers will also bear some fruit, and it is in this case that you’re most likely to find bargains and better prices. Whilst there is added convenience of being based near a port, it’s important to remember that these people will have a high demand and can therefore sell to the highest bidder on some occasions.

Speaking With A Container Surveyor

If it is a case that you are looking at purchasing a used shipping container with the plan to lease it out for the transportation of goods, then you’ll need to speak with a qualified container surveyor. Container surveyors are the people responsible for grading the condition of a shipping container, something which will determine which kinds of freight are able to be legally transported within it.

As an entity that will be leasing out heavy goods equipment, many insurance providers will expect you to have had the container surveyed by a professional. Otherwise, you could find that you will be unable to insure this new asset in the event that some irreparable damage is done to the container by the leaseholder.

What Will Be The Cost Of Your Used Shipping Container?

Image of ship full of shipping containers leaving port
Shipping Containers

Probably the most important question you are going to have when looking at purchasing a used shipping container is how much money should you expect to be paying.

Typically a new 40ft standard shipping container is going to set you back around £3,000. Now for used containers, whilst you will also need to pay the costs of a container surveyor you should expect the cost of a used container to be closer to  £1,200.

Transportation Of The Purchased Shipping Container

Once you’ve assessed all of the above points, the final thing that you are going to need to consider is how you are going to transport the container to you. If you’re based near a port and are planning to use the container for freight shipping yourself then this won’t be too much of an issue. You may be able to even keep the container at the port until it comes to shipping your first load of freight.

However, if you are needing to transport the container from elsewhere in the country – you are going to need to speak with a haulage specialist in order to have them collect and deliver the container to you.

Finally, if you are having the container delivered to a commercial or residential property then you’ll need a crane in order to lift the container into position upon arrival. In these cases you could look at standard crane hire or even potentially – depending on your container size  – hiring a HIAB crane.

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