Buying a Used Shipping Container? Here’re 6 Tips

Shipping containers spend a considerable amount of time (nearly 8 to 10 years) on ocean vessels carrying loads of cargo before they’re retired. Exposure to harsh marine environment renders these steel containers with signs of wear and tear, compromising their structural integrity. Therefore, one needs to meticulously check for damages sustained by a used shipping container before shelling out money. Here are a few tips…

Buying a Used Shipping Container


Not all shipping containers are made from weathering steel, popularly known as ‘COR-TEN’ steel, which exhibits increased resistance to atmospheric corrosion compared to other steels. Hence, look for a container made from this as they are less likely to incur damages from continuous exposure to corrosive salt air.

Rust :

Rust is a common problem among used shipping containers. Not only they weaken the steel structure, but also lessen their aesthetic value. Sometimes the rust is so deep that the containers are simply unusable. However, these patches are often hidden by paints. Hence, while inspecting the container, pay very special attention to the texture of the pain, which is usually rough on rusted surfaces. Also, rust patches often create holes thus letting in water, wind, and even pests. So, if you need a container to store your cargo, make sure there is no hole in the same. If you’re in the US, consider hiring an inspector from the Institute of International Container Lessors. They make sure that you get a sealable, secure container for long-term use.

Floor :

The floor of almost all shipping containers is made from marine-grade plywood. Even though these floors are durable, they can rot after prolonged uses. Sometimes they get damaged while carrying corrosive cargo. Hence, it is best to replace this flooring with a new one.

Door :

The doors of shipping containers are extremely robust, because of which they are a preferred on-site storage solution. However, due to prolonged uses, some important parts like hinges and locks may break. Sometimes, the inner and outer gaskets are also damaged letting in moisture. Hence, keep a vigilant eye on the doors.

Certification :

If you want to use your container for shipping via a cargo vessel, it must pass through the fitness test and acquire a CSC certification. They need to be IICL or at least, Cargo Worthy (CWO) to withstand heavy loads in the harsh marine environment.

Negotiate :

Never buy a used shipping container without negotiating. Since there are more than enough used containers available in the market, the sellers are more interested in multi-unit sales. They usually offer good discounts and free delivery in many instances.

So, now that you know about what to consider before buying a used shipping container, it will be easy for you to select the perfect one. If you want to buy one, please contact Pelican Containers.

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Pelican Containers has been in the used shipping container trading for years now and is a reputed name in the USA market. We supply almost all varieties and offer personalized service.

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