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Pricing and Costs of Shipping Containers

Leah Kuriluk

Buying shipping containers can be a cost-effective global shipping solution

When your company buys shipping containers, there are a lot of factors to consider. Size, condition and extras like thermal lining or refrigeration all play a part in determining the cost of your cargo containers. Cargo containers for sale can be used, refurbished or new, and there are a variety of sizes and types of shipping and freight containers.

These types include open-top units for transporting bulk materials, like gravel; tank containers for liquids; and ventilated shipping containers for goods like flowers and produce. Certain types of shipping containers cost more, such as ventilated or temperature-controlled units. General purpose dry vans are used for most goods, and are relatively inexpensive.

1. Shipping for empty cargo containers can be very expensive. Always check if the shipping costs are included in the purchase price. If not, find out how much they'll be.

2. Most shipping containers don't come with locks or other security mechanisms. If you want these you'll have to purchase them, so remember to factor security features into your budget.

3. Often, the cheapest option for purchasing used shipping containers is the provider closest to your business. Because shipping is often more expensive than the container, closer shops are almost always better.

Buy new shipping containers to ensure their quality and lifespan

New shipping containers are generally rust-free and lack the dents, holes and other wear-and-tear you'd find on used shipping containers. These containers can be customized for a variety of purposes. New shipping containers generally cost more than used or refurbished cargo containers. It's often cheaper to buy a new shipping container where you plan to ship from than to pay for the transport and purchase of an old container. New shipping containers can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.

Purchase used cargo containers for affordable global shipping

Used shipping containers are more economical, and work well for the vast majority of goods. Shipping an empty container to your departure point is usually expensive though, so it's best to look for them in the area where you plan to ship your goods from. Many cargo container suppliers include the shipping price in the cost of the container. Sometimes you can find used shipping containers available for free, if you pay for shipping.

Get insulated shipping containers or specialized shipping container models

Special features like insulation, ventilation or customized models may cost more than your average shipping container. Cargo containers for sale with things like windows, lining, shelving or other features require more materials and labor. Generally speaking, the more features you need, the more expensive the model will be. Pricing and costs of shipping containers vary depending on the type you're looking to buy and the level of customization, but they're usually in the $1500 to $4,000 range.

  • If you decide to have shipping container suppliers paint your cargo or shipping container, it usually costs extra. Consider skipping the paint job if the unit looks respectable, or try painting it yourself to save money.
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Leah Kuriluk