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Shipping Containers Price Guide

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Shipping containers are versatile units widely used in international trade, logistics and even for innovative architectural projects. Their standardized sizes and robust construction make them a reliable choice for various applications. However, understanding the costs associated with shipping containers can be challenging due to the numerous factors that influence their price. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the prices of shipping containers, helping you make informed decisions whether you’re purchasing for shipping, storage, or building purposes.

Understanding Shipping Container Types and Sizes

Before delving into the prices, it’s essential to understand the types and sizes of shipping containers available. The most common types include:

  1. Dry Storage Containers: These are the standard containers used for most shipping purposes. They come in sizes such as 20-foot, 40-foot and 40-foot high-cube.
  2. Refrigerated Containers (Reefers): These containers have cooling systems for transporting perishable goods.
  3. Open-Top Containers: These containers have a removable top, allowing for the transport of oversized cargo.
  4. Flat Rack Containers: Designed for heavy loads, they have collapsible sides to accommodate large machinery and vehicles.
  5. Tank Containers: Used for transporting liquids, gases and powders.

Common Container Sizes

  • 20-Foot Standard Container: Dimensions are typically 20′ x 8′ x 8.5′ with a capacity of around 33 cubic meters.
  • 40-Foot Standard Container: Dimensions are 40′ x 8′ x 8.5′ with a capacity of about 67 cubic meters.
  • 40-Foot High-Cube Container: Similar to the 40-foot standard but with an additional foot in height, offering more vertical space.

Factors Influencing Shipping Container Prices

The cost of shipping containers varies based on several factors, including:

  1. Condition: New containers, often referred to as “one-trip” containers, are more expensive than used containers. Used containers can vary in condition from “cargo-worthy” to “as-is” with visible wear and tear.
  2. Size and Type: Larger and specialized containers such as reefers or tank containers are more expensive than standard dry containers.
  3. Market Demand: Prices can fluctuate based on demand in different regions. High demand in port cities or areas with significant trade activity can drive up prices.
  4. Location: The cost can vary depending on your location and the distance from major ports. Transporting a container to a remote location can add significant costs.
  5. Modifications: Containers modified for specific purposes, such as office spaces or homes, can be substantially more expensive due to the additional labor and materials.

Price Ranges for Shipping ContainersNew Containers

  • 20-Foot Standard Container: $2,000 to $3,000
  • 40-Foot Standard Container: $3,500 to $4,500
  • 40-Foot High-Cube Container: $4,000 to $5,500

Used Containers

  • 20-Foot Standard Container: $1,000 to $2,500
  • 40-Foot Standard Container: $2,000 to $3,500
  • 40-Foot High-Cube Container: $2,500 to $4,000

Specialized Containers

  • Refrigerated Containers (Reefers): $5,000 to $8,000 (new); $3,000 to $5,000 (used)
  • Open-Top Containers: $3,500 to $5,500 (new); $2,500 to $4,000 (used)
  • Flat Rack Containers: $4,000 to $6,000 (new); $3,000 to $5,000 (used)
  • Tank Containers: $10,000 to $15,000 (new); $6,000 to $10,000 (used)

Additional Costs to Consider

When purchasing a shipping container, there are additional costs to consider beyond the base price of the container itself:

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  1. Delivery Fees: Transporting a container from the seller to your location can be costly, especially if it requires special handling or travels long distances.
  2. Inspection and Certification: Ensuring the container is cargo-worthy or suitable for specific uses may require professional inspection and certification, adding to the overall cost.
  3. Modifications: If you need to modify the container for specific purposes (e.g., adding doors, windows, insulation), factor in these customization costs.
  4. Permits and Regulations: Depending on your location and intended use, you might need permits or have to comply with local regulations, which can involve additional expenses.

Where to Buy Shipping Containers

Several avenues are available for purchasing shipping containers:

  1. Direct from Manufacturers: Buying directly from manufacturers can sometimes offer the best prices for new containers, especially if you’re purchasing in bulk.
  2. Shipping Lines: Some shipping companies sell off their old containers at a discount. These containers might have more wear but can be a cost-effective option.
  3. Container Dealers: Specialized dealers often have a wide variety of new and used containers. They can provide detailed information on the condition and history of each unit.
  4. Online Marketplaces: Websites like eBay, Craigslist and specialized platforms such as offer a range of options for buying containers.
  5. Local Sellers: Checking with local businesses or individuals selling used containers can sometimes yield good deals, particularly if you can inspect the container in person.Buy Shipping Containers in Cleveland, OH – Great Prices!Searching for a shipping container in Cleveland, OH? Look no further! We offer a range of affordable, high-quality shipping containers perfect for any purpose. New and used options available. Call us now for a free quote and fast delivery!

Tips for Buying Shipping Containers

  1. Inspect Before Buying: If possible, inspect the container yourself to assess its condition. Look for signs of rust, structural damage, or previous modifications.
  2. Understand Your Needs: Determine the exact specifications you require, such as size, type, and condition. This helps narrow down options and avoids unnecessary costs.
  3. Compare Prices: Shop around and compare prices from different sellers to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
  4. Check for Hidden Costs: Be aware of additional costs like delivery, modifications and permits. Factor these into your budget.
  5. Negotiate: Don’t hesitate to negotiate the price, especially if you’re buying multiple units or the container has been on the market for a while.

The Future of Shipping Containers

The market for shipping containers is evolving, influenced by trends in global trade, sustainability and innovation. Here are some future trends to watch:

  1. Sustainable Uses: The use of shipping containers for eco-friendly buildings and structures is growing. Repurposing containers for homes, offices and other structures reduces waste and promotes sustainability.
  2. Smart Containers: Advancements in technology are leading to the development of “smart containers” equipped with sensors for tracking location, temperature, humidity and other variables. These innovations are particularly valuable in logistics and supply chain management.
  3. Increased Demand for Modifications: As the popularity of container architecture grows, so does the demand for customized modifications. This trend is likely to drive the market for modified containers.
  4. Fluctuating Prices: Global economic conditions, trade policies and shipping industry trends will continue to influence container prices. Staying informed about market conditions can help buyers make strategic decisions.What are the common sizes of shipping containers?The most common sizes are:
    • 20-Foot Standard Container: 20′ x 8′ x 8.5′
    • 40-Foot Standard Container: 40′ x 8′ x 8.5′
    • 40-Foot High-Cube Container: 40′ x 8′ x 9.5′

    How much does a shipping container cost?Prices vary based on condition, size, and type:

    • New 20-Foot Standard Container: $2,000 to $3,000
    • Used 20-Foot Standard Container: $1,000 to $2,500
    • New 40-Foot Standard Container: $3,500 to $4,500
    • Used 40-Foot Standard Container: $2,000 to $3,500
    • New 40-Foot High-Cube Container: $4,000 to $5,500
    • Used 40-Foot High-Cube Container: $2,500 to $4,000

    Where can I buy shipping containers?You can purchase shipping containers from:

    • Direct manufacturers
    • Shipping lines
    • Container dealers
    • Online marketplaces (e.g., eBay, Craigslist)
    • Local sellers

    What factors influence the price of a shipping container?Several factors influence the price:

    • Condition: New vs. used containers
    • Size and Type: Standard, high-cube, refrigerated, open-top, flat rack, tank containers
    • Market Demand: High demand in certain regions can increase prices
    • Location: Proximity to major ports and transportation costs
    • Modifications: Customizations and modifications add to the cost

    Are there additional costs when buying a shipping container?Yes, consider the following additional costs:

    • Delivery Fees: Transporting the container to your location
    • Inspection and Certification: Ensuring the container is suitable for your needs
    • Modifications: Adding features like doors, windows, or insulation
    • Permits and Regulations: Compliance with local laws and obtaining necessary permits

    What should I look for when inspecting a used container?When inspecting a used container, check for:

    • Rust and Corrosion: Ensure structural integrity
    • Structural Damage: Look for dents, holes, and warping
    • Seals and Doors: Ensure they close properly and are weather-tight
    • Previous Modifications: Assess the quality and impact of any alterations

    How long do shipping containers last?With proper maintenance, shipping containers can last 20-25 years or more. Used containers may have a shorter lifespan depending on their previous use and condition.

    Can I use a shipping container for building purposes?Yes, shipping containers are often repurposed for:

    • Homes
    • Offices
    • Storage Units
    • Workshops
    • Retail Spaces

    Do I need a permit to use a shipping container on my property?Permit requirements vary by location and intended use. Check with your local authorities to determine if you need a permit for your container project.

    What modifications can be made to shipping containers?Common modifications include:

    • Adding Doors and Windows
    • Insulation and Ventilation
    • Electrical and Plumbing Systems
    • Interior and Exterior Finishes
    • Structural Changes: Combining multiple containers, cutting sections, etc.


Shipping containers are a versatile and valuable asset for a variety of uses, from shipping goods to creating innovative structures. Understanding the factors that influence container prices and knowing where to buy them can help you make informed decisions and find the best deals. Whether you’re in the market for a new or used container, for shipping or building, this guide provides a solid foundation for navigating the shipping container market.

By staying informed about market trends and carefully considering your specific needs and additional costs, you can ensure that your investment in a shipping container is both cost-effective and suited to your purposes.