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Main Blog How to Inspect a Used Shipping Container Before Purchase

How to Inspect a Used Shipping Container Before Purchase

October 26, 2023
Coast Containers

When it comes to purchasing a used shipping container, conducting a thorough inspection is essential. Shipping containers can go through a lot of hard use before they are sold used and can be found in varying levels of condition. It is common for used shipping containers to have been used for approximately 10-15 years for shipping freight and storing goods before they are inspected and added to our inventory at Coast Containers. These containers are often repurposed for various purposes such as storage units, offices, or even homes.

At Coast Containers, we ensure that each used sea container for sale has been inspected for damages, and all of our used storage containers are guaranteed to be wind and watertight (WWT) and rodent-proof at the time of purchase. However, it is still important to ensure that the container meets your requirements and expected condition before making a purchase.

The Importance of Buying Used Shipping Containers

Used shipping containers have become increasingly popular in various industries due to their numerous benefits. Not only do they offer cost savings, but they also provide environmental advantages and have a wide range of potential applications.

One of the primary reasons why buying used shipping containers is advantageous is the significant cost savings they offer. Compared to purchasing brand new containers, used ones are typically much more affordable. This makes them an attractive option for businesses and individuals looking to acquire storage or transportation solutions without breaking the bank. Moreover, these cost savings can be even more substantial when buying shipping containers in bulk or through reputable suppliers.

In addition to financial benefits, using used shipping containers also contributes to environmental sustainability. By reusing existing containers instead of producing new ones, you are effectively reducing the demand for additional manufacturing processes and resources. This helps minimize carbon emissions and conserve energy and raw materials that would otherwise be required for container production. Furthermore, repurposing these containers extends their lifespan and prevents them from ending up in landfills.

The versatility of used shipping containers allows for a multitude of applications across various industries. From on-site storage solutions for construction sites or events to modified container structures like pop-up shops or cafes, the possibilities are virtually endless. These durable steel structures can withstand harsh weather conditions and provide secure storage options for both commercial and personal use.

Understanding Your Requirements for Your Used Shipping Container

When purchasing a used shipping container for storage or any other purpose, it is important to understand your requirements to ensure you make the right choice. Two important factors to consider are the size of the container and the specific features it should possess.

Determine the shipping container size needed

First, assess your storage needs or intended use for the container. Consider the volume of items you plan to store or transport and estimate the space required accordingly. Shipping containers come in various sizes, with standard options such as 20-foot and 40-foot containers being widely available. Understanding your space requirements will help you select a suitable size that optimizes storage capacity without excess wastage.

Identify specific container features required – standard containers vs high cube

Apart from size, you will need to identify specific features that are necessary for your intended use. Standard shipping containers have a height of approximately 8 feet 6 inches, while high cube containers offer added vertical space with a height of around 9 feet 6 inches. If you need extra headroom for taller items or want to maximize vertical storage capacity, a high cube container may be more suitable.

By understanding these requirements – determining the appropriate size and identifying specific features needed (such as standard versus high cube), you can make an informed decision when purchasing a used shipping container.

So now that you know what type and size of shipping container you need it’s time to think about an inspection. A pre-purchase inspection of a second-hand shipping container involves evaluating several key factors.

How to Inspect a Used Shipping Container

Exterior Inspection

The exterior inspection plays a very important role in assessing the overall condition and functionality of the container. Here are three key points to consider during the exterior inspection:

  1. Check for visible damage, rust, and corrosion. Examine the exterior surface of the container for any signs of damage, such as dents or punctures. Rust spots or corrosion can indicate structural weakness and should be noted for repair or further assessment.
  2. Assess the condition of the container’s doors, locks, and seals. Inspect the integrity of the doors by opening and closing them to ensure proper functionality. Look for any signs of misalignment or damage that could compromise security or hinder accessibility. Additionally, examine the locks and seals to confirm they are in good working order.
  3. Inspect the container’s overall structure and framework. Carefully examine all sides of the container to identify any structural issues such as bent or twisted panels, loose fasteners, or compromised framework. Pay attention to welds and joints for signs of cracking or separation.

Interior Inspection

When conducting an Interior Inspection, there are several important factors to consider to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the space.

  1. Verify the absence of odours or contaminants. This can be done by carefully inspecting the air quality and detecting any unpleasant smells or potentially harmful substances. It is important to address any issues promptly to maintain a healthy environment.
  2. Ensure that the interior is free from significant damage or signs of pests. This includes checking for any visible structural damage, such as cracks or leaks, which may compromise the integrity of the space. Additionally, inspecting for signs of pests such as rodents or insects is crucial in preventing infestations and maintaining a clean environment.

Flooring Inspection

  1. Examine the condition of the flooring material. For wooden flooring, check for signs of rot, decay, or damage caused by water exposure. Look out for soft spots, discolouration, or any visible deterioration that could weaken the structure. In the case of steel flooring, inspect for signs of corrosion or rust that might compromise its strength and durability.
  2. Detect signs of water damage or insect infestations. Water damage can lead to weakened flooring materials and structural instability. Look for stains, dampness, or mould growth on both wooden and steel surfaces. Additionally, be vigilant for any evidence of insect activity such as holes in wood or burrows in steel that may indicate an infestation.

Roof Inspection

  1. Check for dents, holes, and rust on the roof. Begin by carefully examining the entire surface of the container’s roof. Look for any signs of damage such as dents, holes, or areas affected by rust. These issues can compromise the structural integrity of the roof and potentially lead to water leakage.
  2. Ensure proper sealing to prevent water leakage. Pay close attention to the sealing around vents, joints, and any other openings on the roof. It is important that these areas are properly sealed to prevent water from seeping into the container. Inspect whether there are any visible gaps or cracks in these sealant materials.

Container Identification

  1. Examine the container’s CSC plate, also known as the identification marks. The CSC plate contains important information about the container, such as its unique serial number, size, maximum gross weight, and date of manufacture. Inspecting this plate allows you to verify that the container meets international safety standards for transportation.
  2. Verify the container’s age and origin which can provide valuable insights into its condition and potential lifespan. Age can be determined by checking the manufacturing date on the CSC plate or by looking for other markings on the container itself. This information helps you assess how long the container has been in use and estimate its remaining durability.

Additionally, knowing the origin of the container can provide insights into potential exposure to corrosive environments or previous cargo types that may impact its structural integrity. Containers from certain regions may have different levels of wear and tear based on climate conditions or specific cargo transported.

Ready to Buy a Used Shipping Container?

In this blog, we have highlighted the significance of conducting a thorough inspection when considering purchasing used shipping containers. By carefully examining the container’s condition, structural integrity, and potential issues, buyers can make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

While at Coast Containers we pride ourselves in ensuring our containers are thoroughly inspected for damages, we strongly encourage buyers to prioritize their due diligence when buying used shipping containers. Investing time and effort into inspecting the containers personally or with the help of professionals and obtaining all necessary documentation will ensure a smooth and satisfactory purchasing experience.

You may ask yourself “Where can I find used shipping containers for sale near me?”. Well, you’re in luck Coast Containers has locations all across Canada. Check out our inventory of both new and used shipping containers. We understand that each customer has unique requirements, and we are committed to providing a wide range of options to suit your specific needs.

Whether you are looking for standard containers or specialized units, our team is ready to help you find the perfect solution. We’re here to answer any questions you may have and guide you through every step of your container buying journey – contact us to take the first step.

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