What you need to know, but often won’t be told before you Purchase or Hire a shipping container. Making sure you purchase or hire a container that is right for your needs and your budget is important to us, as we’re a locally owned and operated small business and we care about your customer service and satisfaction.
On this page we have tried to explain the different grades of most commonly used shipping containers and their uses. We tell you how to avoid the lemon and protect your investment, as well as providing a video on how shipping containers are made. For more information, please contact us on (07) 4033 2200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
These are shipping containers that have been used once, to transport goods to Australia. They are then sold off as new shipping containers. They should have no rust or dints and be 1 year old or less.
They should have CSC certification and be built from Corten steel to ISO Standards.
These containers hold their value very well, making them a good investment. They increase in value by about 10% per year.
Life expectancy of these units is usually 15 to 20 years. These shipping containers are ideal for all types of storage.
These containers are usually 8 to 12 years of age. They should have a clean interior, without any surface rust and minimal scuff marks from handling.
The doors should open and close easily. The door seals should be fully intact, without any holes. They are vermin proof, wind and watertight.
They should be in CSC survey and be able to be transported.
They are high quality shipping containers that hold their value very well, and increase in value in a few years.
Life expectancy of an A Grade shipping container is 15 to 20 years if maintained properly. A grade units are suitable for storage of furniture office, archives, antiques, etc.
These containers are usually 10 to 15 years of age. They are in average quality, with some surface rust and dents. Some will have evidence of repairs and patches in the steel work and flooring.
Roof panels should have dents pushed out. The doors should open and close easily. The door seals should be fully intact, without any holes. They are vermin proof, wind and watertight.
These containers should be able to be CSC surveyed and transported.
B grade units are suitable for storage of storage sheds tool’s household items motor vehicles and other goods that require dry secure storage.
These containers are usually 10 and over years of age and are often advertised in ‘as/is condition’. They are of fair quality with surface rust. They may have rust holes and/or are about to leak. Almost all have dents.
Most have evidence of repairs and patches in the steel work and flooring. The doors may not open and close easily. The door seals may be damaged. They are usually not vermin proof, wind and/or watertight.
They will not be able to be CSC surveyed or transported without proper repair to ISO standard.
C grade units are suitable for storage of farm equipment stock feed building materials small tractors quad bikes etc, most are used as secure storage under cover or in a farm shed.
Check it is made of Corten Steel; this is an alloy that oxidises and presents as surface rust. Corten Steel does not rust as quickly as normal steel and in dryer climates, it does not rust much at all. That’s why in a damp, tropical climate, containers made of Corten Steel will last longer and perform better.
Containers that are not Corten Steel, will rust out in a few years.
If you intend to transport by rail or sea, please insure the unit is in current CSC survey this can be found on the ID Plate. The unit should should have a registered society sticker and the container tare weight. Note: Some refurbished containers have important information painted-over and may not be accepted for transportation.
To help you protect your investment, we’re pleased to provide a range of tips on ways you can care for your container. These caring for your container tips are all highlighted in the boxes below. We hope they are of interest and assistance.
When buying a shipping container, ask the seller to provide you with safe access so you can inspect the roof panels. The roof is usually the biggest problem with used containers in the tropics.
Ensure the roof is flat, or has been pushed up to drain the water. A good rule of thumb is if you can see rust stains on the inside of the unit, it will fail in less than 12 months.
Shipping container dealers know this, but will sell it to you anyway. Be warned: it’s a lemon. We inspect all our containers prior to sale. If a repair is necessary, we fix the problem, or sell it at a reduced price (as/is or C Grade).
How to care for your Container/s Roof. We recommend you check, and if necessary hose off, the top of your shipping container every 6 months, or when it gets dirty. If you do not do this, the build up of dust and leaves will attract moisture and can lead to rusting. This is one of the most common problems with shipping containers used for storage.
Shipping container side panels should be straight. They can have dints, as long as they are not more than 50mm in any direction, otherwise, the unit must be repaired before it can be put into survey for transport.
There should be no rust holes, or holes from poor handling, in the side walls of your shipping container; or it is classed as a C Grade unit.
Ask the seller to lift the unit, so you can inspect underneath beams and ply paneling for damage. If the floor beams are bent more than 50mm, or rusted out, the unit will be rejected for transport by rail or sea.
If the unit cannot be lifted, ensure the floor is flat and level. If it is not, that’s a sign the underneath of the unit is damaged. Also, if the floor feels soft or spongy, the floor beams could be rusted out or the flooring is rotted. The floor panels or floor beams could need replacing. This is an expensive repair.
The other thing to check is the inside of the corner casts, to ensure they are not rusted. Units with badly rusted corner castings cannot be put into survey and in extreme cases, cannot be transported safely, as the container locking pins might not hold. This could be a disaster.
How to care for your Container/s Floor. When positioning your container, ensure you have concrete blocks to sit it on. We recommend a 100mm clearance. You can use concrete pavers 50mm thick doubled up for a quick fix. Why? Our tests revealed that containers sitting on the ground, had 20% more humidity than units with a 100mm gap for air circulation. The constant dampness over time, delaminates the waterproof coating under the container and then you can get dry rot or worse, termites. The other problem in tropical areas is high humidity. This can make your valuables mouldy and that’s the last thing you want.
Shipping container doors should open and close easily. If they don’t, you risk the door pins breaking and the door can fall off, causing serious injury. Door bars should be straight and customs clasps should operate easily, allowing you to lock the unit. Door seals should be intact.
Also, of the doors where the seals are riveted on, pay attention to the bottom and top inside of the door. If rust scale is present, most likely the bottom of the door is rusted out. This is a common problem with doors in older units.
How to care for your Container/s Doors. Door hinges need oiling at least once every 6 months; this keeps them swinging freely and you will avoid the risk of breaking a hinge pin. We recommend you oil the door bar bushes at least once every 6 months. Use a light oil on the nylon bushes, work the door bars and they will be so easy to use. The door clasps need a smear of grease on them top and bottom of the door bar. Do this whenever they become sticky or tight to open. To prevent door gaskets from becoming stiff and cracking, we recommend applying vegetable oil with a cloth. This will keep them soft and flexible, giving them a long life.
© Compass Containers 2019