Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of Buying a Shipping Container

Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of Buying a Shipping Container

Shipping containers come in various shapes and sizes. These are a popular solution for short and long-term storage in addition to transportation. There are both used and new/one-trip containers in the circulation. In short, there is no dearth of choices. Hence, one must evaluate one’ individual needs before purchasing a shipping container.Here we have compiled a few dos and don’ts that will help you with buying that ‘perfect’ container.

  • As stated earlier, understand your requirement. If you need a garden shed, a 10’ container will suffice. But, if you want to transport food grains in large quantity, opt for an open top 20’ or 40’ container.
  • Before you buy a container, see how much space you have. Most people think that if they have 40’ of space, they can buy a container of the same size. This isn’t true. Actually, your container will be delivered through a standard tilt bed ‘roll off’ style truck bed or trailer. That means you will need twice the length of the container, i.e., 80’ plus 10’ space in a straight line. Check out this video, created by the National Portable Storage Association (NPSA), to understand how a truck unloads a container at the desired location.
  • If you plan to make a dwelling out of a container, it’s best to opt for a new/one-trip high cube container. These containers make a single trip from their manufacturing sites to the country where they are sent to. Hence, the probability of contamination is fairly less. In addition, since they spend less time on the ocean, they are less exposed to wear and tear. So, you need not spend a fortune on repairing and painting.
  • Many cities and localities have restrictions on container usage. Always check this aspect with local authorities before buying a container.
  • Most of the shipping containers are made from steel. Hence, they are extremely durable.There are aluminium containers too in the circulation. If storage is your requirement,aluminium containers are just fine. However, if you need to build a house, go for a steel one.


  • Don’t buy a used container without seeing it in person. Otherwise, you may run the risk of spending lots of money on repairs.
  • Don’t assume that all dealers will offer the same qualities. Do your own research and check for their reliability. At Pelican Containers, we take utmost care on quality and partner only with dealers who comply with our code of ethics.
  • Avoid buying non-traditional shapes and sizes. Since they are less in circulation, they are much expensive than their common counterparts.
    Don’t cut off too much while making a house/shop out of a container, since this can damage their structural integrity.
  • Shipping containers are made to withstand harsh marine weather while being resistant to rodents and pests. The pesticides used are often dangerous for the humans. Moreover, you never know what kind of contamination these used containers have been exposed to during several years of voyage.

Hence, never ever use any container without proper cleaning and sanitizing. If possible, procure a certificate from the relevant authorities which clearly states which cleaning measures have been implemented.

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