By Charlie Brown

Getting a high quality shipping container is vital to ensuring safe carriage of valuable goods across seas and lands when you’re in business. It is important to build yourself a fleet of reliable containers so that you can move large product quantities with ease. Beyond just knowing whether a container is new or used, there are other terms and factors you must know so that you buy the best containers for your purposes.

1. Renting versus buying

If you’re involved in continual transportation of goods in bulk, then renting a shipping container will end up being too expensive over the life of your business operations. In such cases, it is far better to buy new containers that will give you a long service life before you will need to replace them. However, if you’re only moving goods once, such as when relocating, buying may be too steep an expense for you and renting would be more advisable in this case. When choosing whether to rent or buy, remember that there are companies that offer rentals for a period of time as well as those that provide for one-off trips. The former is ideal if you’re involved in periodic transportation of goods e.g. small businesses that buy their stock once or twice a year. Different contracts can allow you to hire containers for any period of time.

2. State of the containers

Some shipping or storage containers are stipulated to be sold ‘as is’, which means that you buy them in the current condition. Sometimes, you may find that these containers have a little damage or certain irregularities. These containers will also be cheaper than those which are new and in perfect condition. Before paying for an ‘as is’ container, you need to ensure that it is transport-worthy and will be able to carry your goods properly, particularly if carrying overseas. Any holes or leaks are signs that you should not buy them for overseas transport or you could damage your goods.

3. Cargo-worthy containers

You should also ask whether the container is marked ‘cargo-worthy, which means that the container is approved and ready for transport. If the container hasn’t yet been marked, it means it isn’t yet ISO certified and you should find out why before you decide to buy. It may be because the container hasn’t been inspected or it may have a flaw that doesn’t pass inspection. Both new and used shipping containers should have the cargo-worthy marking or else you shouldn’t buy them.

4. One-trip containers

Finally, you may notice that some containers have been marked ‘one trip’ and this applies to a very specific type of shipping container. These are containers which are often manufactured in Asian countries and usually, they will have done a single overseas carriage trip. You can be sure that these containers are still in very good shape, although they are technically used containers. You can use that to your advantage to gain some discount and reduce your expense.

These are the four most important considerations you need to make before investing in new or used shipping containers. Remember to take time for research before making any final decisions on purchase, as this is a huge investment, particularly when you’re buying multiple containers.

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