Purchasing a used shipping container is an Eco-friendly way to fulfill your storage needs or get started on a Cargotecture project. However, there are many things to consider when purchasing a used storage container. New containers can cost as much as $10,000, used units may be much lighter on your wallet and just as viable as their non-second-hand counterpart.

Used shipping containers, most often, are no longer worthy for overseas travel, but are suitable for storage and projects. A seaworthy status for a shipping container is determined by “the conditions it has been exposed to,” damages incurred, and miles traveled. Storage container are given a grade, based on these factors, and eventually retired. However, a status of “retired” doesn’t denote that the container isn’t viable for storage and projects. Moreover, when purchasing a container, it’s essential to know which features you require. Many containers are HVAC ready, possess double doors, flooring and shelving - the more features, the pricier the container will be. A container must suit your needs and fit your budget.

When purchasing a second-hand conex container, it’s important to ask the seller for a concise history of the unit and know what you’re buying, much like shopping for a used car. Although containers are constructed of a sturdy steel, they are susceptible to corrosion. The buyer must assess the exterior for rust, inspect door gaskets and the floors. Shipping containers often succumb to warping and corrosion. Moreover, the buyer must take into account how the container was used, was it used as storage or for international transport? What type of climate was the container exposed to? How many miles has the container traveled? Was the container damaged? Has it had any repairs? Is the locking mechanism intact? It’s important to carefully consider all these factors before purchasing a second-hand cargo container, a previously damaged container may not possess the structural integrity for a cargotecture project.

Shipping containers are manufactured in two standard sizes: 20-footers and 40-footers. Although the International Standards Organization (ISO) regulates the length of containers, height may vary. However, containers are most often approximately 8’x8’, for ease of stacking. Custom size container can be purchased, but they are up to 30% more expensive than standardly sized containers.

Second-hand containers can be found on Ebay or Craigslist. Beware and thoroughly inspect any container before buying from an on-line source. Moreover, shipping containers make for a great storage or project base.