How Much Does a Shipping Container Cost? A Comprehensive Guide

How Much Does a Shipping Container Cost?

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How Much Does a Shipping Container Cost?
Shipping containers have gained immense popularity over the years, serving a variety of purposes from storage to opening a shop. But the question is, how much does a shipping container cost? The cost of a shipping container varies based on numerous factors such as size, age/condition, delivery fees, and location. In this guide, we will break down the pricing of shipping containers, and explore the different options available for purchasing or renting them.

Size: What Size Best Suits Your Needs?

Shipping containers come in two standard sizes: 20-foot and 40-foot. The 20-foot container measures 20′ x 8′ x 8′ 6″, while the 40-foot container measures 40′ x 8′ x 8′ 6″. High-cube containers, which add an extra foot to the height of the container, are also available in both standard sizes. Custom container sizes are rare to find and will cause the price to increase.

When it comes to pricing, standard size used shipping containers range anywhere from $2,800 to $8,300. High-cube containers cost around $200 – $400 more for a 20ft HC and $300 – $600 more for a 40ft HC. Untraditional sizes cost 20-30% more than standard pricing.

Age/Condition: What to Consider Before Purchasing a Container

Age and condition play a vital role in determining the pricing of shipping containers. Shipping containers have a lifespan of around 15 years. When purchasing a container, you must consider the age, history of repair, and damages.

Age: You must know how old the container is and how many times it has been used to ship cargo. The history of the container’s use will help determine its longevity.

History of Repair: Knowing the repair history is essential, as it gives you an idea of what was repaired, when it was fixed, and how frequently it has had repairs.

Damages: You should check for any damages the container has. Depending on the purpose of the container, some damages might not be significant enough to deter you from purchasing.

Each element of age and condition is essential because you might find a newer container at a reasonable price, but it may have gone through a lot of damage and still have some issues that you will need to tend to.

Grades of Shipping Containers

Different grades of shipping containers are available, and each comes with its own price range.

  • New/One trip: The highest quality grade, less than one year old and used for cargo once, minimal exposure to damaging environments. Prices for a 20-foot container range from $5,000 to $7,000, while prices for a 40-foot container range from $6,000 to $9,500.
  • Premium/IICL-5: The highest grade for used containers, between 2 and 8 years old, and in great condition with minimal damage. Prices start from $4,000 to $8,000.
  • Grade A/WWT: Certified as “wind and water tight,” over eight years old and still certified to ship cargo, some amount of rust or damage. Prices range from $3,400 to $6,500.
  • Grade B/WWT: Certified as “wind and water tight,” over eight years old and not certified to ship cargo, and a good amount of damage or rust. Prices start from $3,200 and up.
  • Refurbished: Any used container that has been repaired, pricing varies based on age and repair history. Prices range from $3,000 and up.
  • As-is/General purpose: Purchase without inspections or certifications, expect dents, rusting, and other damages that you can repair on your own. Prices start from $2,800 and up.

Rent vs. Purchase: Which Option is Best for You?

Aside from purchasing a shipping container, there is also the option of renting. Renting is a more affordable and convenient option than purchasing a container upfront.

Renting: Monthly rental periods for shipping containers are usually two years long, with associated fees ranging from $75 to $200 per month. Additional costs, ranging from $125 to $500 per month, are associated with untraditional sizes or special features.

Rent to Own: A newer purchase option for shipping containers is renting to own. On rent to own terms, you can finance the shipping container by paying a monthly rate until you cover its cost in its entirety.

Purchase: Buying a new shipping container costs between $3,000 to $5,000, while purchasing a used container ranges from $1,400 to $2,600. The price ranges vary based on the different aspects of the containers, and the more custom your order, the heftier the price tag you can expect to pay.

Delivery Fees: What to Expect

Delivery fees for shipping containers depend on the features of the container itself. Generally, the delivery fee for a standard shipping container is around $3,000. Expect additional fees if you are purchasing a high-cube or untraditional size container.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Buy Shipping Containers Under $1,000?

Yes, you can buy shipping containers under $1,000, but they are usually in rough shape. The only time you’ll find shipping containers that cheap is when they’re in AS-IS condition. While buying shipping containers at prices less than $1,000 is possible, you want to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into with a price tag that low.

How Much Is a Shipping Container Home?

Containers make great homes with varying customizations. On the simpler container home range, expect to pay between $30,000 to $85,000. Larger homes that use multiple containers can cost up to $175,000.

What Is the Lifespan of a Shipping Container?

If you purchase a brand new shipping container and put it immediately into storage, it could last nearly 50 years. However, you will likely be purchasing a used container that has already had a life at sea carrying cargo. A used container will still easily last you around 15 years, depending on your use and the environment you will be placing it in.

Are 40-Foot Containers More Expensive Than 20-Foot Containers?

At times, 40-foot containers can be more expensive than their 20-foot counterparts, even if they’re of similar age and condition. This price variation happens when demand exceeds supply in the local area. Usually, 40-foot containers are the most commonly used in cargo and can be easier to find.


The cost of shipping containers varies based on numerous factors such as size, age/condition, delivery fees, and location. When purchasing or renting a shipping container, it is crucial to consider the purpose of the container, its size, age/condition, and delivery fees. Renting is a more affordable and convenient option than purchasing a container upfront, while purchasing a new shipping container offers peace of mind in terms of longevity. Whatever your preference, be sure to look at all the shipping container specifications before deciding.