How To Buy Shipping Container Used July 20, 2023 – Posted in: Uncategorized

How To Buy Shipping Container Used A Comprehensive Guide to Buying and Grades

How To Buy Shipping Container Used

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Used Shipping Containers


How To Buy Shipping Container Used

When it comes to shipping and storage solutions, used shipping containers provide a cost-effective and practical option. Whether you’re in the USA or Canada, there are numerous options available for purchasing used shipping containers. However, it’s important to understand the different grades and considerations before making a purchase. In this guide, we will explore the various grades of used shipping containers, their cosmetic conditions, and important factors to consider when buying. How To Buy Shipping Container Used

Understanding Used Shipping Containers

Used shipping containers come in different qualities, ranging from almost new to heavily worn. While all container types can be supplied as second-hand containers, it’s crucial to ensure they have a valid CSC (Convention for Safe Containers) plate for shipping and transport use. Cosmetic condition plays a significant role in determining the lifespan and functionality of a used storage container. Generally, used shipping containers sold are over 12 years old, but occasionally, newer lightly used containers may be available for sale.

Grading Scheme for Used ISO Containers

To help buyers assess the condition of a used shipping container, a grading scheme is often used. Below, we present a guideline for the grading of used ISO containers:

Grade A Used Container

  • Panels: Good cosmetic condition inside and outside, limited rust, dents, and zero corrosion.
  • Floor: Clean without patches.
  • Doors: Functioning with complete door gaskets, easy to open and close.
  • Framework (CSC): In good condition, no corrosion. CSC can be updated for a maximum of 30 months.
  • Overall: Represents the top 10-15% of used containers. Wind and water-tight, expected to remain so for many years without significant repair or maintenance.

Grade B Used Containers

  • Panels: OK cosmetic condition inside and outside, with some rust, dents, and limited or no corrosion.
  • Floor: May have repairs/patches and stains.
  • Doors: Functional.
  • Framework (CSC): In good condition, no advanced corrosion. CSC can be updated for a maximum of 30 months, possibly less.
  • Overall: Represents the most common quality for used containers. Wind and water-tight, but some deterioration can be expected, requiring remedial work in the medium term.

Grade C Used Container

  • Panels: Generally in poor condition with rust and corrosion.
  • Floor: Suitable for use.
  • Doors: Functional.
  • Framework (CSC): In acceptable condition, possibly suited for short-term CSC update.
  • Overall: Represents the bottom 20% of used containers. Wind and water-tight, but with a limited life before repairs are needed to maintain water-tight integrity.

Factors to Consider when Buying Used Shipping Containers

When purchasing a used shipping container, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

1. Intended Use

Before buying a used shipping container, determine its intended use. Whether you need it for shipping, storage, or repurposing, the specific requirements may influence the grade and condition you should opt for.

2. Condition and Grade

Consider the cosmetic condition and grade of the used shipping container. Grade A containers, while more expensive, offer superior quality and longevity. However, if you have a limited budget, a Grade B or C container may still meet your needs.

3. Inspection

Always conduct a thorough inspection of the used shipping container before making a purchase. Look for signs of corrosion, rust, dents, and any damage that may affect its structural integrity. Check the doors for proper functioning and ensure they have complete door gaskets.

4. Certification

Ensure that the used shipping container has a valid CSC plate. This certification guarantees that the container meets international safety standards for shipping and transport use. Shippers Own Certificates should be provided upon request at the time of order.

5. Location and Delivery

Consider the location of the depot from which the used shipping container will be supplied. Depots in various cities across the USA and Canada, such as Los Angeles, Montreal, and New York, offer convenient access to containers. Additionally, inquire about delivery options and associated costs.

6. Price Comparison

Obtain quotes from multiple suppliers to compare prices and find the best deal. Keep in mind that while lower prices may be tempting, it’s crucial to balance cost with the container’s condition and grade.

7. Additional Modifications

Consider any additional modifications you may require for the used shipping container. Common modifications include adding windows, doors, insulation, or ventilation. Discuss these requirements with the supplier to ensure they can be accommodated.

8. Customer Reviews and Reputation

Research the supplier’s reputation and read customer reviews. Look for suppliers with positive feedback and a track record of delivering quality used shipping containers.

9. Warranty and Return Policy

Inquire about the warranty and return policy offered by the supplier. A reputable supplier will provide a warranty against structural defects and offer a reasonable return policy in case the container does not meet the specified grade or condition.

10. Transportation and Storage Considerations

Lastly, consider the logistics of transporting and storing the used shipping container. Ensure you have the necessary permits and equipment for delivery. If you plan to use the container for storage, assess the available space and any specific requirements for placement.


Used shipping containers are an affordable and versatile solution for various storage and shipping needs. When purchasing a used container, understanding the grading scheme and considering factors such as intended use, condition, inspection, certification, and location will help you make an informed decision. By following these guidelines, you can find a used shipping container that meets your requirements and provides reliable functionality for years to come.

Additional Information: It is advisable to consult with a professional in the shipping container industry to ensure you make the best decision based on your specific needs and requirements.

Tone of Voice: Informative, authoritative, and practical.