how much are shipping containers Wondering About the Cost of Shipping Containers?

how much are shipping containers

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how much are shipping containers

Shipping containers have become increasingly popular for a variety of uses, from storage solutions to innovative building projects. If you’re considering purchasing a shipping container, one of the first questions that likely comes to mind is, “How much does a shipping container cost?” While it’s tempting to seek a simple answer, the reality is that pricing for shipping containers can be quite complex. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the various factors that affect shipping container prices, helping you make an informed decision.

Factors Influencing Shipping Container Prices

Several key factors contribute to the cost of a shipping container. These include the size and type of container, its condition and usage history, any modifications or customizations, the manufacturer, the location, shipping destination, and delivery date, as well as the potential for bulk orders. Let’s examine each of these factors in greater detail.

Container Size and Type

Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes and types, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Standard containers typically measure 8′ 6″ high and 8′ wide, while high cube containers offer additional height at 9′ 6″. The length of containers can range from 20 ft. to 45 ft., although 20 ft. and 40 ft. containers are the most common sizes.

The size and type of container you choose can significantly impact its price. For example, a 20 ft. used standard container may be priced significantly lower than a 40 ft. used standard container, with a price difference of approximately 34%.

Condition and Usage History

The condition of a shipping container is a crucial factor in determining its price. Containers can be classified as new, used, or refurbished, with various sub-classifications within each category.

New Containers

New containers, often referred to as “one-trip” or “one-way” containers, are not brand new in the traditional sense. They are containers that have been manufactured overseas and have made a single journey carrying cargo to their destination. These containers offer a relatively pristine condition and are priced accordingly.

Used Containers

Used containers, on the other hand, have typically been in service for 10 to 15 years. When purchasing a used container, it’s essential to understand the different classifications that affect pricing:

  1. Water/Wind Tight: These containers have been retired from international shipping and are suitable for storage and building purposes.
  2. Cargo Worthy: Cargo-worthy containers meet the necessary standards for transporting goods overseas and are also commonly used for storage and construction.
  3. IICL-Inspected: IICL-inspected containers are relatively new, typically between 2 to 7 years old, and meet the same standards as cargo-worthy containers. However, their newer condition makes them more expensive.

The price difference between a 20 ft. used standard container and a new, one-trip container can be around 77%, making it an important consideration when budgeting for your purchase.

Modifications or Customizations

If you plan to modify or customize your shipping container, it’s crucial to factor in the additional costs associated with these alterations. Customization options can range from simple additions like refrigeration or insulation to more complex modifications, such as raised flooring systems or power outlets throughout the container.

Keep in mind that modifying a container in poor condition will likely be more expensive than customizing a new or gently used container. Therefore, it’s essential to assess the condition of the container before embarking on any customization projects.

Location, Shipping Destination, and Delivery Time

The cost of shipping containers can vary depending on your location within the United States and the origin of the container. Shipping costs play a significant role in pricing, and certain metropolitan areas may have higher container prices due to market conditions and demand.

Additionally, the delivery time of the container can impact its final cost. While standard delivery times range from a few days to two weeks, containers that require customization may have longer lead times. It’s important to consider these factors when planning your purchase.

Saving Money When Purchasing a Container

Now that we’ve explored the various factors influencing shipping container prices, let’s discuss some strategies for saving money on your purchase.

Beware of Phony Sellers or Scammers

When shopping for a shipping container, it’s crucial to be cautious and avoid falling victim to scams. If a quote seems too good to be true, it’s essential to investigate further. Look for customer reviews and references to ensure the credibility of the vendor.

Another red flag to watch out for is vendors offering “warranties” without providing detailed information about who covers the costs of repairs and transportation. Additionally, be wary of vendors promising unusually fast shipping, especially during peak buying seasons.

Experience Equals Savings

One surefire way to save money on your shipping container purchase is to work with an experienced seller like Container Sales Group. With over 25 years of industry experience and a reputation for excellent customer service and quality containers, Container Sales Group can offer competitive prices. As they source their containers directly from Steamship Companies, they can pass on cost savings to customers.

Container Sales Group has worked with major corporations like Ford Motor Company, Ace Hardware, and Bobcat, as well as educational institutions like Northern Illinois University and Purdue University. To have a positive and confident experience throughout the buying process, consider requesting a quote through their website or contacting their office directly.


When it comes to the cost of shipping containers, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The price of a container depends on numerous factors, including size, type, condition, modifications, location, and delivery time. By understanding these factors and following the tips provided, you can make an informed decision and potentially save money on your shipping container purchase. Whether you’re looking for a storage solution or embarking on an exciting building project, Container Sales Group is a reliable and experienced vendor that can assist you every step of the way.