What Are The Grades Of Shipping Containers & How Are They Ascertained?

We all love shipping containers as the most convenient storage and transportation solution. But, did you know that each of these conex boxes receives a grade from the Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL); the leading trade association that sets the standards in the shipping industry? The Washington, DC-headquartered association confers certifications to the shipping containers on the basis of their structural integrity rather than cosmetic conditions. The rigorous categorization by the association is needed to determine whether a particular container is able to withstand heavy loads in the harsh marine environment.

What Are The Grades Of Shipping Containers How Are They Ascertained

Let’s now learn about the various grades given by the IICL :


This is the highest category that includes mostly new or one-trip shipping containers. These are in excellent condition – both physically and cosmetically – and are able to meet the painstaking demands of international shipping.

Cargo Worthy (CWO) :

These containers are inspected and certified by a licensed surveyor to be shipping-worthy. They come with an extended expiry date on a new sticker on their CSC plate (convention for safe containers), which is usually placed on the door.

Wind & Watertight (WWT) :

These weatherproof units are sold in relatively good condition and are ideal for commercial and residential storage since the expired CSC certificate prohibits them from shipping.

As Is :

‘As Is’ containers are usually the damaged boxes which are sold without any repair work done on them. They may come with rotten floors, broken steel parts, damaged doors, rusts, dents etc. and are mostly sold as scraps for recycling.

The above four categories denote the condition of shipping containers which undergo IICL’s strict classification system. However, there exists a different grading system which is done by the companies that deal in used container trading. Most companies classify the containers under A, B or C category. The A-grade containers are probably the one-trippers and cargo-worthy ones which are in excellent condition both physically and cosmetically. They are the costliest and are usually shipping-worthy. The B-grade containers are mostly the wind and watertight varieties which may have a few cosmetic imperfections. They can be used for storage. The C-grade boxes or ‘as is’ containers are those which have sustained major damages. These can be used as scraps or storage on rare occasion.

Now, you must be wondering containers of which grade will meet your needs. Well, it will totally depend on what you want them to do. If you are looking for one to construct a living space, a Cargo-worthy container may be just apt. On the other hand, if you have goods to store, go for a wind and watertight container as it will protect your valuables from moisture.

So, now that you know about the different grades of shipping containers, it will be easy for you to select the perfect one. If you want to buy one, please contact Pelican Containers.

Buy Your New or Used Container Directly On pelicancontainers.com

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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