So, you’ve decided that you want to buy a container. Perhaps you saw our blog on buying vs renting shipping containers, and you saw the many benefits there are to owning your very own container. Great news! However, you may want to know a little more about containers before making your final purchase. Containers can be purchased as either used or new, and this difference in condition is reflected in the prices for each. In this article we will be looking into the difference in price between used and new containers, while also considering why you might want to choose one over the other.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of containers available for purchase on the market are used. They are called shipping containers after all, as many of these containers are used for transporting cargo before they are sold on for other purposes.
Therefore, if you choose to buy a used container, you will most likely notice some signs of wear and tear. Remember that used containers have been transported all around the world in all types of weather, so this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. For this same reason, you would expect a used container to not be quite as structurally sound as a new container.
With used containers, it is important to remember that the signs of wear and tear can be more drastic depending on how ‘used’ the container really is. Containers that have been used excessively are often referred to as WWT (wind and water tight) containers, and have been used for shipping purposes for around 10+ years. As a result, they will often have a lot of wear and tear, can even have a damaged roof or floor. Because of this, WWT containers are only really suitable for storage.
On the other hand, you can buy used containers that have been shown a little more love over the years. These containers would normally have maintained its straight structure, and its floor would still be solid and undamaged, which is not the case with WWT containers. Therefore, if you were looking to repurpose a used container for anything other than storage, then you would want to make sure to buy a used container that has been looked after, rather than a WWT container.
We would sell a 20ft WWT container for around £1250, while the used 20ft containers that are in better condition are sold for around £1700. While you do save money when buying a used container, it is not actually that much more expensive to buy a new container (as you will discover later on). When buying used containers, it is important to consider what exactly you are using the container for and whether this purpose can be fulfilled by a container that has been subject to years of wear and tear.
Technically, you can’t buy a container that is brand new. Shipping containers are mostly manufactured in China, and when they are shipped over to the UK they are loaded with cargo to lower transport costs. It makes sense when you think about it; why send an empty container from China to the UK, when you can kill two birds with one stone by shipping cargo in the container at the same time? This is why “new” containers are often referred to as ‘one trip’ or ‘once used’ units.
However, aside from some minor evidence of handling, a one trip container should still look as good as new. Any areas of wear and tear on the paintwork can easily be painted over to return the container back to its pristine condition. In addition, because the container has barely been used, its structural integrity will be at its optimum level upon purchase. Therefore, there is certainly no need to be put off by the ‘once used’ label.
As you might have guessed, buying a new container is more expensive than a buying used container. This would be the case for any product, whether it be a car, a laptop or a phone. However, the price gap between a used container and a new container is smaller than you might expect.
We sell new 20ft containers for around £1950, which is only £250 more than buying a used container. While it is still cheaper to buy a used container, we believe that it’s worth paying that little bit extra for a new container. If you consider that a shipping container lasts around 10-12 years while subject to extreme weather, sea spray and heavy usage, think about how long a container could last when simply sitting on land. In fact, it is expected that a new container can last for around 30-40 years when not used for shipping purposes. Therefore, while buying a container new is slightly more expensive, it is certainly worth paying this extra cost for a container that will be in better condition and last much longer.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you to decide whether a new container or a used container is the right option for you. At Unit Hire, we sell both new and used containers in a variety of different sizes to suit all of your container-based needs. If you are interested in buying one of our new or used containers, then take a look at our products page.