3 Important Things To Consider When Purchasing Used Cargo Containers

Posted on: 20 January 2015


Brand new cargo containers will generally last for 10 to 20 years if maintained properly, but purchasing used ones is a great way to save money and the environment. When doing this, there are certain things to look for in the containers you purchase, and knowing what these are will help you select containers that still have some life left in them. Here are three important features to consider as you shop for used cargo containers to purchase.


If you want to purchase used cargo containers to use for shipping goods, you will need to first make sure that the containers are structurally sound. As containers are used for shipping purposes, they can become dented and misaligned. After too much damage has occurred, they may no longer be structurally sound enough to use for shipping goods.

You can tell how the structure is on a cargo container by inspecting it. Look at it carefully for major dents, and measure it to see if it is square. If the container is not square, you may end up experiencing problems opening and closing the door to it.

Cargo containers that are not structurally sound should not be used for shipping goods, but they can be used in other ways, including:

  • Storage buildings – If you need a place to store goods, you could purchase worn-out cargo containers and place them on your property.
  • Office space – Some companies purchase these and overhaul them to the point that they can serve as offices.
  • Houses – Really creative people have even turned old containers into homes that you can live in.

In addition to looking for structurally sound containers, you will also need to make sure they are waterproof.


When goods are shipped in these containers, they are normally placed in large ships. The ships travel to different countries, and it often takes days or weeks for the containers to arrive at their destinations. Because of this, containers should be waterproof.

If you are purchasing the containers for any other reason other than to ship goods in them, looking for waterproof containers is still vital. If you use the container to store goods, you will want to make sure that water cannot enter in.

To determine if a container is waterproof, you should thoroughly examine it to look for holes, and you can look inside to see if there is evidence of water. You could also spray water on the container to see if any enters through. If you end up with a container that is not waterproof, you may have to weld additional steel on it to seal it.

Age and Looks

Finding out the age of a container is another good step to take, and you can do this by asking for the cargo container ID number. This number is used to identify and track the container as it is shipped, and it can also tell you the age and history of the box.

If you know how old a container is, you may be able to make a wiser decision about whether you should buy it or not.

Finally, you should look at the box. Does it contain a lot of rust? Has it been painted recently? These are all important factors too, and it is always best to look at a container in person. You can tell a lot about the maintenance and care of the container by visually inspecting it.

Buying used cargo containers is a wise decision, as long as you know what to look for. By using these three factors, you can purchase used containers that will last you for many years. For additional reading on purchasing cargo containers, follow the link.