There are a lot of nationwide suppliers that offer a wide variety of options for your shipping container needs. However, before buying a shipping container, there are a several important things to consider.
Size. You will have to decide on what size of shipping container you need. Standard aluminum or steel shipping containers used in the United States come in three sizes:
L x H x W
- 45′ x 9′ 6″ x 8′ 6″
- 48′ x 9′ 6″ x 8′ 6″
- 53′ x 9′ 6″ x 8′ 6″
Meanwhile, ocean cargo containers, made of the highest quality steel, are available in the following standard sizes:
L x H x W
- 20′ x 8′ 6″ x 8′
- 40′ x 8′ 6″ x 8′
Material. You will also have to decide what grade of shipping container to purchase. There are “one-trip” or “new” shipping containers which are usually made in China and shipped to the United States. It is in “like-new” condition. Another type is the “cargo-worthy” type which is not considered “new” but is certified to ship cargo overseas. The third type are the “wind-tight and watertight” containers which are structurally sound and can resist wind and water. However, they have not been inspected and certified.
Space. You will have to prepare the delivery area. It has to be, at a minimum, twice the length of the container plus 10 feet in a straight line. For example, if you are expecting a 20-foot container, you will need at least 50 feet of space. The delivery area should be a level area for the container. If the area is not level, the doors on the shipping container may not function well. To make the container level, some wooden blocks may be used under the container. Also, proper drainage has to be ensured for the area, or else the container may sink.
Dents & Cracks. Many suppliers modify shipping containers to include custom paint, sliding doors, electrical outlets, heat or air conditioning units and many more options. You have to thoroughly inspect these features and make sure that these are functioning well. Otherwise, these might cause damage to container and to the contents that you intend to store. Look for corrosion or rust on the door seals and windows of the shipping container. Check for major dents. Ensure that there are no foul odors inside of the container that may contaminate whatever you will store. Make sure the doors open and close properly. Go inside of the container and look for cracks that expose daylight. Also ensure that any rust is surface-based. Otherwise, you might just end up damaging the items that you plan to store or ship.
Laws & Regulations. There are also local laws and ordinances governing the use of these containers. You will have to take this into careful consideration in order not to end up with violations. Before you buy, contact your local city or county office in order to determine if there are any ordinances against shipping containers in your area.