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Should I Buy A New Or A Used Shipping Container?

Shipping containers are available in new, sometimes called ‘once shipped’ condition or as used containers. Here we breakdown the benefits of both.

If you have further questions, please contact us today on 0330 321 3380 or complete our quick enquiry for a competitive quotation.


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Should I Buy A New Or A Used Shipping Container?

Shipping containers are available in new, sometimes called ‘once shipped’ condition or as used containers. Here we breakdown the benefits of both.

Shipping containers are available in new, sometimes called ‘once shipped’ condition or as used containers.

New Shipping Containers

New shipping containers have been used on one occasion to transport goods from their place of manufacture, often China, to, in this case, the UK. The containers could have been loaded with a variety of goods, from cars, to ceramics, textiles, toys and an enormous range of everyday items. The containers are loaded in China where they meet a shipping vessel, they are then transported to a variety of ports where they will eventually terminate their journey in the UK, they are offloaded from the vessel and then sent to the customer or manufacturer in the UK who will empty the container of its goods before the container moved on to a container depot in the country to be held by a company like ourselves who own the containers.

As a result of the journey a new container has undertaken, you can expect to see some bangs and scratches on the outside of the container. It is important to remember that shipping containers, before being used to securely store your goods, have effectively been very heavy duty postage and packaging! The insides may have been marked by cargo too. However, generally speaking, we would expect them to be in very good condition and it is very clear that they are new units. Similarly, new units do sometimes enter our depots requiring small repairs, which rest assured will be completed before they are dispatched to you.

The most common colours for new shipping containers in the UK are blues and greens, however, from time to time, we do receive some odd coloured units which may have been painted specifically for the shipping lines.

Benefits of New Containers

The benefits of new containers are that they are much more aesthetically pleasing than used ones and in colours that are more likely to blend in. Similarly, we expect them to have very little rust and the paintwork will overall be in good condition. New containers have new door seals and door gear making them much easier to open and close, they are fitted with high security lock boxes as standard (a steel shroud that covers the locking pin used to secure your container), they all have marine ply flooring and multiple small vents inside. Dependent on what you intend to use your new shipping container for, and in what conditions, we would expect a container which has been well maintained in the ideal environment and storing non corrosive materials to last in excess of 25 years.

We recommend new containers for customers whom appearance is important and who need easy access to their unit. We also recommend new containers to customers who are converting their shipping container either themselves or by us.

Move the slider to see an example of a used and new container

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Used Containers

Used containers are units that have been used on multiple occasions to ship goods around the world. We expect used containers to enter the UK market at roughly 12-18 years old. It is important to note that it is not the age of this equipment that is important but the overall quality. Used containers vary in colours, they can be, most commonly, blue, brown, yellow, red, green (very rare!). Ironically, Corten steel, from which containers are manufactured, is designed to rust, and so, a container with rust is not a reason to be alarmed and in fact should be expected with used containers.

Condition of Used Containers

The manufacture of used shipping containers is exactly the same as that of new containers. However, due to their age, the door gear, although often loosened at depot prior to dispatch, can sometimes be a little stiffer on used containers than new ones. Regardless of this, the containers remain weather proof and of a good, solid construction. In the right conditions and with maintenance, we expect used containers to remain useful for 10-15 years. Used shipping containers do not have lock boxes fitted onto them as standard. Therefore, it is recommended that you have a lockbox fitted (usually around £60) should you need your container to remain secure. We recommend used containers to customers who are working to a budget and to whom appearance is not important. However, it is worth considering a repaint should you want the best of both worlds!

We are happy to discuss your requirements and make recommendations as to whether a new or used shipping container would suit your needs.

If you require more information about our containers or mobile site services, please call us today on 0330 321 3380 or email [email protected].  Alternatively, you can complete our quick enquiry form for a competitive quote. Thank you.


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We have over 70 combined years experience in the container industry, we will give you the expert advice and service you need. We take care of your storage needs, guiding you through the sales process and ensuring that your delivery is completed efficiently by one of our haulage experts.