shipping containers for sale Shipping Containers for Sale: Buying Guide and Tips

shipping containers for sale

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Shipping Containers


shipping containers for sale

In today’s globalized world, shipping containers have become an essential part of the logistics industry. These versatile and durable structures are used to transport goods across long distances, ensuring the safe and secure delivery of products. However, shipping containers are not only limited to transportation; they have also gained popularity in other industries, such as construction, retail, and even residential purposes. If you’re considering buying a shipping container, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Section 1: Understanding Shipping Containers

What are Shipping Containers?

Shipping containers, also known as cargo containers, are steel structures that are used to transport goods by sea, land, or air. They come in various sizes and designs, but the most common type is the standard 20-foot or 40-foot container. These containers are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, protect the goods inside, and facilitate easy loading and unloading.

Types of Shipping Containers

There are different types of shipping containers available in the market, each designed for specific purposes. Here are some common types:

  1. Dry Containers: These are the standard shipping containers used for general cargo transportation. They are airtight, weatherproof, and secure.
  2. Refrigerated Containers: Also known as reefer containers, these are equipped with cooling systems to transport perishable goods at controlled temperatures.
  3. Open-Top Containers: These containers have an open roof, allowing for easy loading and unloading of oversized or heavy cargo.
  4. Flat Rack Containers: Flat rack containers have collapsible sides that make them suitable for transporting irregularly shaped cargo.
  5. Tank Containers: Tank containers are designed to transport liquids or gases, such as chemicals or food-grade products.
  6. Modified Containers: These containers are modified or customized to meet specific requirements, such as adding windows, doors, or ventilation systems.

Advantages of Buying Shipping Containers

Investing in a shipping container can offer several advantages, including:

  • Cost-Effective: Buying a shipping container is often more cost-effective than renting one in the long run, especially if you require long-term storage or frequent transportation.
  • Versatility: Shipping containers can be repurposed for various uses, including storage units, offices, pop-up shops, and even homes.
  • Durability: Made from high-quality steel, shipping containers are built to withstand harsh weather conditions, making them highly durable and long-lasting.
  • Security: Shipping containers are designed to be secure, with sturdy locks and tamper-proof features, ensuring the safety of your goods.

Section 2: Factors to Consider Before Buying

Sizing and Dimensions

Shipping containers come in different sizes, with the most common being 20 feet and 40 feet in length. The size you choose will depend on your specific needs and available space. Consider factors such as the volume of goods you want to store or transport and the space available at your location.

Condition of the Container

When buying a used shipping container, it’s crucial to inspect its condition thoroughly. Look for signs of damage, such as rust, dents, or leaks. Check the flooring, doors, and locks to ensure they are in good working condition. If possible, request a survey report or certification from the seller to verify the container’s quality.

Delivery and Transportation

Before purchasing a shipping container, consider how it will be delivered and transported to your location. Find out if the seller provides delivery services or if you need to arrange transportation yourself. Additionally, check if any special equipment or permits are required for the delivery and placement of the container.

Price and Budget

Shipping container prices can vary depending on factors such as size, condition, and location. Set a budget and compare prices from different sellers to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Remember to consider additional costs such as delivery, customization, and maintenance when budgeting for your purchase.

Section 3: Where to Buy Shipping Containers

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, and Alibaba offer a wide range of shipping containers for sale. These platforms allow you to compare prices, read customer reviews, and communicate directly with sellers. However, be cautious when buying online and ensure you are dealing with reputable sellers.

Local Container Dealers

Another option is to visit local container dealers or suppliers in your area. They often have a selection of new and used shipping containers available for purchase. Visiting a dealer allows you to physically inspect the containers and discuss your specific requirements with knowledgeable staff.

Shipping Container Auctions

Auctions can be a great way to find shipping containers at competitive prices. Keep an eye out for local auctions or online platforms that specialize in selling used shipping containers. While auctions can offer significant savings, be prepared to act quickly and conduct thorough research before placing a bid.

Section 4: Customization and Modifications

Common Modifications

Shipping containers can be customized and modified to meet specific requirements. Some common modifications include:

  • Adding Doors and Windows: Containers can be fitted with additional doors, windows, or roll-up shutters for improved accessibility and natural light.
  • Insulation: Insulating the container can help regulate temperature and prevent condensation, making it suitable for storage or living purposes.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Installation: Containers can be equipped with electrical outlets, lighting, and plumbing systems to accommodate various needs.
  • Partitioning and Shelving: Containers can be divided into multiple compartments or fitted with shelves to organize and optimize storage space.

Hiring Professionals

If you require extensive modifications, it’s advisable to hire professionals who specialize in container customization. They have the expertise and tools to ensure a high-quality and safe modification process. Research reputable companies and discuss your requirements and budget with them to get a customized quote.

Section 5: Maintenance and Care

Regular Inspections

To ensure your shipping container remains in good condition, regular inspections are necessary. Check for signs of rust, leaks, or damage. Inspect the locks, doors, and flooring for any issues. Address any maintenance or repair needs promptly to prevent further damage.

Cleaning and Repainting

Cleaning the container regularly helps maintain its appearance and prevents the buildup of dirt and grime. Use mild detergent and water to clean the interior and exterior surfaces. Repainting the container can also provide an added layer of protection against rust and corrosion.


Inspect and lubricate the container’s door hinges, locks, and other moving parts regularly. This helps ensure smooth operation and prevents issues such as jammed doors.

Section 6: Additional Resources

Permits and Regulations

Before using a shipping container for non-transportation purposes, check with local authorities regarding permits and regulations. Some areas may have specific requirements for using containers as storage units, offices, or homes.

Insurance Coverage

Consider obtaining insurance coverage for your shipping container and its contents. This will protect you financially in case of theft, damage, or other unforeseen events.


Investing in a shipping container can provide you with a versatile and durable solution for your storage or transportation needs. By considering factors such as sizing, condition, budget, and customization options, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect container for your requirements. Remember to conduct thorough research, inspect the container, and seek professional assistance when necessary. With proper care and maintenance, your shipping container can serve you well for years to come.

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