How Much Does a Shipping Container Cost?

How Much Does a Shipping Container Cost

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How Much Does a Shipping Container Cost

In today’s business landscape, the need for additional storage space is becoming increasingly common. From scaling up operations to managing seasonal inventory fluctuations, businesses are finding that renting or buying shipping containers can be a smart and cost-effective solution. However, the cost of shipping containers can vary depending on several factors. In this article, we will explore the different elements that influence the price of shipping containers and help you understand how to best prepare for the costs involved.

Factors Affecting Shipping Container Costs

When it comes to the cost of a shipping container, several factors come into play. By understanding these factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business’s needs and budget. Here are the key elements that influence the price of a shipping container:

1. Size

The size of the storage container is one of the primary determinants of its cost. The two standard sizes available are 20-foot and 40-foot containers, both with a width of 8 feet and a height of 8.5 feet. However, customization options are available if you require additional height or an untraditional size. It’s important to note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a shortage of storage container inventory, leading to higher prices for new containers compared to previous years. Additionally, for untraditional-sized containers, there may be an extra cost of 20-30%. The supplier will provide a quote based on the specific circumstances.

2. Age and Condition

The age and condition of a storage container directly impact its cost. Most storage containers have a history of being used for shipping cargo overseas, resulting in wear and tear. Older containers that have been heavily used and have more damage will generally be less expensive, while brand new containers with minimal use will be more costly. It’s important to consider factors such as the container’s age, repair history, and existing damage when evaluating its condition. Suppliers offer different container grades, such as “New,” “Premium,” “Grade A,” “Grade B,” and “Refurbished,” each with varying levels of quality, repair, and rust. Understanding these condition grades will help you make an informed decision based on your budget and requirements.

3. Rent or Buy?

When considering the cost of a shipping container, you have the option to rent or buy. Renting is a popular choice for businesses as it provides affordability and convenience. With rental options, you can make monthly payments rather than a significant upfront cost. Renting also allows you to return the container once it’s no longer needed. The rental cost depends on factors such as size, condition, and any additional features. Rent-to-own options are also available if you eventually want to own the container. Alternatively, you can choose to purchase a used or refurbished container. These options offer cost-effectiveness while still providing containers in good condition. If you prefer a brand new container, often referred to as a “one-trip” container, it will come at a higher price but ensures quality and durability.

4. Add-on Features

Depending on your business’s specific needs, you may require additional features for your storage container. These features can include doors, built-in shelving, locking mechanisms, awnings, and more. Each add-on feature will contribute to the overall cost of the container, but they can greatly enhance its functionality and convenience. It’s important to evaluate which features are essential for your business and budget accordingly.

5. Location and Delivery

The location of your chosen supplier and the delivery fees are significant considerations when budgeting for a storage container. Selecting a supplier located far from your area can result in high delivery costs, sometimes exceeding the container price itself. It’s crucial to inquire about specific delivery charges and consider local suppliers to minimize additional expenses. Delivery fees can vary based on the distance and weight of the container, with some suppliers having minimum or maximum fees. If you decide to rent a container, check with the supplier about removal charges as well.

6. Seasonal Changes

Like many products, storage container prices can fluctuate based on supply and demand. Seasonal changes, the state of the economy, and the cost of steel can all influence container prices. During periods of low steel prices and a stable economy, suppliers may not need to increase their prices. However, when steel prices rise or the economy experiences a downturn, suppliers may adjust their prices accordingly. Additionally, industries such as construction and retail often rely heavily on storage containers during their busy seasons, which can impact prices. Construction peak season usually occurs in the spring and summer, while retail peak season typically falls in the fall and winter. To make an informed decision, consider discussing supply and demand influences with suppliers and inquire about the best times to make a purchase.


When considering the cost of a shipping container for your business, it’s essential to take into account various factors that influence pricing. These factors include the size of the container, its age and condition, the decision to rent or buy, add-on features, location and delivery fees, and seasonal changes. By understanding these elements and evaluating your business’s specific needs, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and maximizes the value of a shipping container for your storage requirements. Remember to compare multiple suppliers and their offerings to ensure you find the best fit for your business.