Sources of used cargo containers for sale

There are many sources of used cargo containers for sale such as shipping companies, transport operators, traders…

If you want to buy these shipping equipment, here are main places you should look for:

From shipping world

The main primary sources are from shipping world, where companies buy brand-new containers for their shipping business and after several years liquidate used boxes. I’m talking about:

  • Shipping companies: owning over 50% of world container fleet for their liner services;
  • Leasing companies: buying new containers, then leasing to leasees like shipping lines, logistics companies, shippers;
  • Other transport operators(shippers, forwarders, NVOCC, and rail, intermodal, military and specialized tank operator): owning assets to increase active role in their shipping and logistic activities.

According to Containerisation International Magazine, in 2009 only, the world’s container fleet had nearly 1.5 million TEU replaced. These were abandoned, scrapped, or sold out to buyers with non-shipping purposes, which become the major source of used cargo containers for sale.

These equipments, having been used for years, are old, and in many cases, not cargo-worthy and can’t be used as transport receptacles. Yet, with solid structures, used steel containers can still be used in many other ways (sometimes very creatively) in non-shipping fields like construction or architecture.

From traders

From shipping industry, used containers are sold to traders, who usually buy large lots. The later then becomes a secondary source of used cargo containers for sale. They sell to other traders and end users and establish a secondary market of used box trading.

and from end users

Family or person sometimes own used containers for certain purposes like storage. Upon using, they want to sell. That forms another source of supply for used equipments, yet typically at a small number.

With all above sources, buyers can find information through some channels. First, just go to…

Search online

For end users like individuals or families who look for used containers to buy, they can use very popular source: online. Just search around internet, you can find a lot of websites that sell used shipping containers: 



  • Trading companies with dedicated shipping container sale websites.
  • E-platforms (e.g. ebay.com, alibaba.com) for people selling online.
  • Dedicated groups on social network website, e.g. Used Shipping Containers around the World on LinkIn.

Secondly, get information around you by

Referring to practitioners

You can always ask your friends or acquaintance working in shipping or logistics industry. They usually know local traders who sell used cargo containers. They may also give some helpful advices about credibility of the sellers.

With useful information from internet or friends, it seems you still don’t have full information by just looking at PC screen. An actual visit usually helps better. So you should also visit…

Offline site

Just like shopping manner of other products, visiting a offline store still seems to be a reliable way. So, pick some suppliers’ name and address from internet or yellow page. Go around in your areas to visit and see beforehand the product you’re interested. This is more important to the inexperienced buyers, who may want to buy only one or some units.

This page summarizes main sources and channels of used cargo containers for sale. You might want to read more about how to buy used shipper containers


Move from Sources of used cargo containers for sale to containers for sale 




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