Shipping Container Pricing- Buying Shipping Containers on Sale

Have you looked at buying a shipping container? They have become exceptionally popular options for people looking at adding a bit of extra storage space to their house. There is a surprisingly large range of options to consider when purchasing, and the pricing of the unit that you want will be reflected in these options.

Trying to find the best prices for a shipping container will often have people hunting for companies like Shipping Container Sale but there are a few things to consider if you are buying a shipping container beyond the advertised price of the container. It is all too easy to find out too late that you are comparing apples with oranges.

New or Used?

This may be one of the first things you need to look at. Containers generally are for sale in four basic conditions:

New (One Trip) Containers

You might see the term ‘one trip’ rather than new. This is a more honest description, as generally new containers are shipped from their manufacturing site (usually in Asia) to USA (or your location), and it is uneconomic to send an empty container. These containers are in excellent condition but may have a few marks from where they were loaded onto the ship to be conveyed to you. Even if they had been transported empty, they are likely to have had these marks from the cranes anyway. However, if they had been transported empty, they would be significantly more expensive, as shipping one way with cargo offsets the costs.

CWO (Certified/IICL/CSC Plated/Cargo Worthy) Containers

These are usually containers that are currently being used, both domestically and internally. As such they are at a standard that will allow them to be approved by insurance companies for purpose, however, they may not be cosmetically beautiful. Most will have a few dings and scrapes, some will have surface rust or welded patches. A good shipping container reseller will have a system in place that explains at exactly what condition the individual container is in, and what (if any) defects are visible. Because these are cargo worthy containers, they are structurally fine, and it is really just a matter of working out if the cosmetic damage is going to cause a problem for your purpose. Many people look at repainting their container to match their home exterior, so are more concerned about getting value for money than they are scrapes and dings – but it comes down to the final purpose and location of the container.

“WWT” (Wind and Water Tight) Containers

These containers are no longer in use as a shipping container. Although they are structurally fine, most will have a lot of dings, scrapes or other cosmetic damage. You may find that the doors are a little harder to open, although this might be fixable with oiling and a little TLC. You may need to spend some time repairing these, but they should still have a solid base to work with.

“Damaged” AS-IS Containers

These are not structurally sound and may have significant damage. Usually these containers are only suitable for parts or metal recycling. Be very cautious if you are offered an AI (as is) container for sale, particularly if you are unable to view it in person. If a deal is too good to be true, if often is. Make sure you buy from a reputable organization (click here for more information on As-Is)

Buying “Cheap”

Container pricing fluctuates due to a range of factors, including demand and cost of manufacture – even weather patterns can affect the pricing, so at times you may be able to buy a shipping container on sale, but make sure you check what it is you are buying. If the company you are looking at purchasing from is offering containers at a consistently lower price than you are able to source elsewhere, check their review ratings. Some organizations purchase containers directly from manufacturers and may have contracts with shipping companies to take any surplus containers, which explains how they are able to buy wholesale in order to offer the shipping containers at a lower retail price. However, there are a few less reputable companies that can try to pass on substandard product. Modern companies will likely also have a social media presence that you can check out – and if you are very lucky, subscribing might even expose you to quick fire sales or discounted opportunities.

Getting A Quote

Because most companies selling shipping containers only have basic marketplace systems available online, you are likely going to need to send through an email to get a quote. Unfortunately, this may mean that the stock currently on their website is not actually available, but when they send through the quote check to see what it is that they are quoting.

Whether you have to get a quote or if you are able to buy directly from a more sophisticated online system, you can confirm a few things:

  • The size of container is what you want
  • The condition of the container is suitable for purpose
  • Any defects are mentioned (although minor cosmetic damage may not be itemized)
  • Are any taxes payable included in the price? (
  • What shipping options are included?
    • What does the shipping include? Will the container be delivered to your property?
  • Type of container
    • Although less common, some containers are designed for refrigeration or to hold liquid. These are usually more expensive.
  • Door type – if this is important for how you intend to repurpose your container.
  • Color (this may seem silly to many, but if you really want a container that will fade into the background, having a bright red container may not fit your needs as well as a plain tan one. The price may make it worth it, but just budget in repainting)