Shipping container prices

You want to check shipping container prices for your intentional uses like shipping receptacle, or temporary storage, building project...? This article will show you current market prices as well as influential factors that container buyers should consider while judging their buying decision.

New boxes

More often than not, people buy new containers for shipping purposes. Potential buyers are usually ship operators, container leassors, and also, leading freight forwarders. For other purposes like temporary storage, architecture, construction (house, office), buying used boxes is more suitable.

At the beginning of 2010, the prices of shipping container prices recovered a little compared with the previous year. Price for 20ft containers in China is at USD2,000/box, while rates for 40 foot container are USD3,200 (40DC) and 3,400 (40HC).

And here's a summary of container prices in China's factories.

  2Q '09 3Q '09 4Q '09 1Q '10
GP-40ft HC
IR-40ft HC

GP=General Purpose, HC=High Cube; IR=Integral Reefer
GP prices refer to full Corten Frames/posts, muffler grade stainless steel outer panel/flooer and high grade stainless steel inner liner), and includes integral merchinery, and delivery in central/northern China

Source: Containerisation International

Note that above shipping container prices are at factory, and have not taken into account other costs of delivery, documentation... Moving boxes from producing place to your desired destination incurs costs, thus you’re likely to pay more fee.

Usually, if you want to receive ordered boxes of a considerable quantity in short time, say in a few weeks, then you’re likely to pay significant transit fee to carry new empty containers from factory to your destination.

In fact, sellers can also offer buyers an economical option by arranging for shipping lines using free of charge those new containers, loading cargo and carrying to desired destination port. After such a fee-use voyage, the container will be unloaded, repair any damages (if any), and delivered to the buyer. 

Choosing free-use option, you should note several important points:

  • It usually takes long delivery time for containers moving from factory to your destination. Duration includes time for shipper loading cargo and moving to port, for ocean transit, and for consignees unloading cargo and finally returning empty containers.
  • Due to free-use from a specific port (close to the manufacturer’s demise) to another specific port (close to your place), shipping lines can only need a restricted number of empty containers for their customers. Buyers therefore can only expect to receive a limited quantity in a period of time (e.g. week, month). That really depends on the seller’s ability to arrange with shipping lines
  • Your brand new containers may get damages during the free voyage. These are usually minor damages, and will be repaired by container sellers (or shipping lines who accept free-use of your containers). Anyway, you need to put it clear in sale contract about repair of containers in transit.

Used boxes – Saving solution

In case new boxes are not your priority, then buying used freight containers appears an economical option.

There’s wide range of prices for used containers, because it really depends on how obsolete the boxes are.

For those containers still good for shipping, then they will cost around 50-75% of new shipping container prices. For those in worse condition and need to liquidate, you can get a big sale off with very cheap price, sometimes only around 10% of price.

To have a sense of how much used containers cost, you can check with some online retailers, e.g. ebay, buyerzone.

For second-hand boxes, many factors influence the prices:

  • Appearance: Do the containers look good? 
    The first thing we as laymen can figure out. Our common sense can tell us whether we should buy them or not, before we need further measurement survey. Ask the buyer
  • Age: which year were the containers built?
    Generally, containers’ lifespan varies from 10 to 15 years. So theused shipping containers for sale are usually around 10 years old. Most of them are liquidated by container leassors or shipping lines.
  • Damage: Are there any serious damages (den, tear...) on containers?
  • Minor damages are common on used containers. But major damages to strength bearing construction such as frame, corner posts will adversely affect quality and accordingly reduce prices.
  • Material: What are the containers made with?
    The type of material has significant influence on how much the boxes cost. We all know steel and aluminum cost different, don’t we?
  • Origin: Where’re the containers located?
    The distance from the current location of containers to your desired delivery location also affects prices. You’d better look for sellers and containers not so far from your place, because transit cost will be added to final prices.
  • Weight: How much do the containers weight exactly?
    This is minor factor as containers are build in accordance with ISO standards. Anyway, there’s still slight difference in weight among products of manufacturers. Different weight means different amount of material (steel, wood...), and that also affects shipping container prices.

Containers for entertainment

Containers for entertaWorking in shipping industry, and you want to have container model or picture in your room or office. Just to entertain in free time!

Try some nice items from Amazon.

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