Buyers Guide on Containers – How to Find Cargo and Shipping Containers for Sale

What are Shipping Containers?

These are high quality, industry-grade steel containers used for shipping and other purposes. They are also called several different names like storage containers, freight containers, ISO containers, portable storage units and more.

Aside from shipping, they also have loads of commercial and residential applications. This is why they are very popular.

Uses of Shipping Containers

Like we noted above, they are used extensively for shipping. However, they can also be used for some other different purposes. Let’s look at a few of these.

Residential Purposes

These containers have been known to be converted into residences. It could be a combination of different types of containers or simply a modification of whatever types are available to achieve the required design.

Office Space

In a lot of construction sites, you will usually find these containers used as offices. They serve the purpose of providing mobile offices that can be quickly setup or moved depending on the needs of the time.

Storage Space

This is a pretty obvious use. It could be used to store different items. In some cases, some modifications will be made to enable it efficiently to store some items. Take for example the addition of temperature control for items that require a certain temperature.

You can check out some other interesting ways that containers can be used here.

Types of Shipping Containers

There are different types of these containers. What type you should go for will be determined by the use you want to put it to.

Dry Storage Containers

These are probably the most common type of containers around. This is the type you will usually see on cargo ships. They are used primarily for shipping dry products that do not require any temperature control. They usually come in 10, 20 and 40 feet.

Open Top Containers

When you want to ship very heavy machinery, this may be your best option. This type of container does not have a solid top. The top is usually covered with a removable, transparent tarpaulin. The cover used at the top usually has to be waterproof so as to protect the cargo within.

With this design, the cargo can be easily loaded and unloaded from the open top. In many cases, there is also a regular side door. This addition can surely facilitate easier loading and unloading.

Flat Rack Containers

This is also ideal for loading very heavy cargo. In this case, the container has just a flat base on which the cargo is dropped. This means the top and sides are fully open. Depending on the type of flat rack container being used, it may have collapsible walls that can then be erected around the cargo and collapsed when the cargo is set for unloading.

Open Side Containers

For this type of container, rather than having its opening on one of the narrow ends, its opening is along the side which is the longest side of the container. With this amount of opening available, loading of really wide cargo can be done faster and with greater ease. It will also be easier to convert for other uses such as a residence.

Tunnel Containers

The main feature of this type of container is that it has opening at both ends. If both ends are opened, you can completely move through the container. This can make loading faster as it can be done from both ends.

Insulated and Thermal Containers

These are used for storing or shipping items that need to be stored in high temperatures. They therefore come with some temperature control feature.

Refrigerated ISO Container

This is the opposite of thermal containers above. This type of container is used to ship or store perishable products since it can keep them at very low temperature levels.

For other examples of shipping containers, check here:

Benefits of Shipping Containers

So why exactly do people love using these containers? There are three major reasons are:


These containers provide very good safety against both human factors like theft and also against natural factors like weather. Remember that they are made of industrial-grade steel, so they are really tough.


They are durable for the same reasons that they are safe. With thick, high-grade steel walls, wear and tear will occur at a very slow rate. A container can last for anywhere between 10 to 30 years depending on how it is used.


Considering all the points we have already seen above, the long-term cost of using one of these shipping containers is very low. With a little initial investment, you can own the container for decades, getting good use from your investment.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Shipping Container


One of the first things you should consider when searching for a container is the size. First consider the length which could be anywhere from 10 feet to 45 feet. Standard containers are usually either 20 or 40 feet. You should also consider the height. Though this should normally be about 8feet 6inches by 8 feet, there could be some custom sizes that may be more ideal for your needs.


Of course, you need to decide what type you need. This should be determined by the use you want to put it to.


Look at the security offered by way of lock. Unless this is not an issue, you want something that will ensure unauthorized persons do not gain access to your container.


You should most certainly know the age of the container especially when purchasing a used one. This can give you an idea of its state.


Finally, for now, it is important to inspect it to be sure it is in good condition.

How to Find Shipping Containers

So how do you go about finding a shipping container for sale? Since this is not a regular household or office appliance, you need to know people who have access to these containers. It is usually best to find sites like to help out.

What such companies do is they put you in touch with people who have containers for sale around you. This makes the entire process much easier for you a prospective buyer.

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