How Much Does A Shipping Container Cost

How Much Does A Shipping Container Cost

There are a handful of different used grades of shipping containers.  The most common grade of a used shipping container is water tight and cargo worthy.  WWT and CWO used sea containers are priced relatively similar once the appropriate size has been selected.  

A rough national average of a 20 foot used cargo container will fluctuate between $1,400 – $2,500.  A used 40 foot shipping container for sale will currently cost $1,500 – $3,300. One trip 40′ containers, which are like new, can cost anywhere from $4,200 to $7,000, depending on availability. However, with the current global container shortage, we’ve seen 2021 prices more than double those averages in many markets.

To those prices, add a couple of hundreds for a high cube container.

Specialized container prices will change dramatically due to the dimensions and condition.  Most new shipping containers or one trippers (one way) containers can cost between $2,500 – $15,000 which has everything to do with the size, dimensions and function.  A 20′ one trip container will be on the lower spectrum of the price meter  unlike a 40′ open side one way container which will be on the higher end of the spectrum. Refrigerated containers can also cost a significant amount based off their year of manufacture and desired new versus used selection.  

International global trade drives the financial world to prioritize what is shipping and where it is to be shipped to.  Large volumes of 40 foot and 20 foot cargo containers are routed to appropriate destinations in order to fulfill large demands of goods at sometimes predictable and unpredictable precedents.

Shipping container cost and price will vary based on many different factors.  Obvious cost differences will vary noticeably on condition whether it be a new storage container or a used cargo container and conex prices will differ depending on the size or specialized configuration and dimension selected to purchase. Other variables effect shipping container costs greatly as to their geographic location and the fluctuating market per quarter.

More and more businesses these days are finding that they have an increasing need for storage space as they upscale, host an abundance of inventory during seasonal demand, work at a job site, and more. Renting or buying a shipping container can be a very smart choice. When it comes to shipping container costs, they are convenient and affordable. There are a variety of ways you can finance one, and you have the option of choosing a way that makes the most sense for your business. 

There is a wide range when it comes to shipping container costs. You are able to rent or buy, select a used, refurbished, or brand new container, choose a size, pick and choose your add-on features, among other choices. if you’re renting, you can it up into monthly payments over a decided-on period of time. So essentially, whether your budget for a container is high or low, you can find one that best fits your business’s needs.

For starters, shipping containers can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000.

These ballpark figures will give you a rough idea when shopping for storage containers.

  • Used 20 Foot Shipping Container: around US$2,000
  • New 20 Foot Shipping Container: around US$3,000
  • Used 40 Foot Shipping Container: around US$2,200
  • New 40 Foot Shipping Container: around US$ 4,500

How Much Does A Steel Shipping Container Cost

Purchasing new or used steel shipping containers (Conex boxes) in 2022 costs between $1,950 – $6,100. They can also be rented for as little as $125 a month.

  • Used 20’ Steel Containers average cost of $2,130 – $4004
  • Used 40’ Storage Containers Cost around $3,155 – $6,100
  • Delivery Fee typical cost for $250
  • Rent Steel Storage Containers average cost $131 / month – $256.

Containers are made out of corrugated steel, commonly known as COR-TEN. Depending on the cost of steel prices, availability of containers fluctuates, along with pricing. 

Steel storage containers are one of the most rugged, secure, and durable storage solutions you can purchase. In addition, many people are utilizing steel shipping containers for multiple purposes, repurposing them as offices or mobile workstations instead of as storage space only. Some of the companies that manufacture these units are even selling them retrofitted to meet these other purposes. These containers also referred to as Conex boxes, are a very affordable way to meet a variety of on-site space needs. The cost is also relatively low compared to the strength and simplicity of the product.

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Generally, shipping container prices will vary based on the following factors: age, condition, size, delivery fees, and supplier.

We’ve put together a list of factors that have the biggest influence over the price of your container, so that you can best prepare for the cost: 

1. Size

First things first, you want to figure out what size storage container you will be needing. There are two “standard” sizes – 20-foot (20’ x 8’ x 8.5’) and 40-foot. (40’ x 8’ x. 8.5’) containers. 

Note that all standard storage containers are 8 feet wide and 8.5 feet tall. However, you can customize your container if need be. For instance, some businesses find that they need extra height for their storage container (consider whether or not you need to store taller items), so they opt for a high-cube container, which adds a foot to the height at 9.5 feet tall. High-cubes are available in both 20’ and 40’ standard sizes, as well as most untraditional sizes. Speaking of which, you can also opt for an untraditional size – for example, 48 ft. by 10 ft. (48’ x 10’ x 8.5’), if the standard size isn’t large enough. 

In terms of cost, price per size will depend on the condition of the container you’re choosing. 

New containers (zero add-on features)20-footers: $2,800 – $6,000+
40-footers: $4,500 – $7,000+
Used containers (zero add-on features)20-footers: $1,200 – $2,500
40-footers: $2,600 – $3,300

Note: due to Covid-19, there has been a storage container inventory shortage. Since 2020, prices are higher for new containers compared to previous years, and used containers are harder to come by.

Also note that for untraditional-sized containers, you may have to pay an extra 20-30%. The supplier will quote these depending on the circumstance.

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When shopping for shipping containers, you can choose between standard and high-cube containers. Generally speaking, standard-sized containers are 8 feet wide by 8 feet, 6 inches high.

There are two standard lengths for storage containers: 20-footers and 40-footers.

Most standard shipping containers have been approved by the International Standards Organization (ISO) to ensure consistent, quality, and safety across the board.

Meanwhile, a high cube shipping container is 9 feet, 6 inches tall. Some suppliers offer extra-wide containers that are usually 10 feet in width. You may have to pay an extra 20-to-30% for custom-sized shipping containers.

Special Sized Containers

Traditional storage containers are either 20′ or 40′ long, as this was the standard in the shipping industry. However, some vendors offer non-traditional sizes, such as 10′ and 48′ containers. These units are specially constructed using 20′ and 40′ models, which are either cut into smaller units or welded together to make a larger container. The cost to create these containers is higher, but if you have a very specific need, you may decide it’s worth the extra cost.

High cube containers are another popular choice, particularly in the construction industry. These also cost a bit more than their standard sized counterparts, especially if you also want to customize the length.

How Much Does A Shipping Container Cost In Relation To Its Size?

20ft and 40ft Containers

Container Type20ft20ft High Cube40ft 40ft High Cube
20ft20ft High Cube40ft40ft High Cube
External
(L x W x H)
6090mm x 2440mm x 2590mm6090mm x 2440mm x 2900mm12180mm x 2440mm x 2590mm12180mm x 2440mm x 2900mm
Internal
(L x W x H)
6010mm x 2340mm x 2390mm6010mm x 2340mm x 2690mm12110mm x 2340mm x 2390mm12110mm x 2340mm x 2690mm
Door opening
(W x H)
2280mm x 2310mm2280mm x 2580mm2280mm x 2310mm2280mm x 2580mm
Tare Weight2050 kg2230 kg3750 kg3890 kg
Pay Load
(Net Weight)
28430 kg28250 kg26730 kg26590 kg
Max Gross Weight30480 kg30480 kg30400 kg30480 kg

New Build Containers / Smaller Containers

Container Type6ft8ft10ft
6ft8ft10ft
External
(L x W x H)
1980mm x 1950mm x 1910mm2438mm x 2200mm x 2260mm2991mm x 2438mm x 2591mm
Internal
(L x W x H)
1800mm x 1860mm x 1730mm2275mm x 2106mm x 2050mm2831mm x 2344mm x 2376mm
Door opening
(W x H)
1850mm x 1690mm2070mm x 1945mm2310mm x 2280mm
Weight450kg630kg825kg

2. Age and Condition

While you should always inspect a used shipping container before making a deal, it’s pretty simple to determine its physical state. When a container is retired, it is assigned a grade marked with a specific label (e.g., lightly worn, ISO approved). Make sure the container is approved by International Organization for Standardization (ISO). From that, you can gather if the used container is suitable for your needs. However, customers often prefer new containers for international transport or sensitive cargo.

If you are looking for a storage container with minimal wear and tear, one-trip containers may be your favorite choice. These containers are typically manufactured and shipped from Asia, where they carry their first (and last!) cargo.

As single-trip containers, they usually show only minor signs of wear, and are considered “new” by industry standards.

A storage container’s condition has a direct impact on the cost. One thing that’s helpful to know is that most storage containers were previously used as shipping containers – to ship cargo overseas – so they have a history of use and damage. Of course, older containers that have been used more heavily and have more damage will cost the least, while brand new containers lightly or never used will cost the most. It’s helpful to know that the average lifespan of a shipping container is roughly 15 years.

Keep in mind when looking at the condition that suppliers will factor in the container’s… 

  • Age – how many times has it been used to ship cargo overseas and/or used as a storage container?
  • Repair history – when was it repaired, what were the damages repaired, and how often?
  • Damage – what is the currently present damage and how severe?

So even though a container may be “new” in age (say, only 2 years old), that doesn’t mean it has the least damage, and vice versa. An older container can actually be in better condition if it experienced less wear-and-tear during its lifespan. Be sure to ask questions about each of these factors – age, repair history, and present damage – to your supplier. With that being said, below is a list of the most common container grades (aka “conditions”) that are helpful to know:

Grade (Condition)DescriptionCost
New (“One Trip”) called “one trippers” – Best quality, durability, and appearance
– Typically < 1 year old, used only once to ship cargo
– Excellent condition, not exposed to harsh environments that can cause damage


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Here’s a ballpark estimate for the price of one-trip containers:
20 Foot Shipping Container: retails at US$3,000 
40 Foot Standard Shipping Container: retails at US $4500 
40 Foot Standard High Cube Container: retails at US $5000 
In a nutshell, the newer the shipping container, the higher the price. You can expect longer lifespans from one-trippers because they have experienced less wear and tear than used containers with a longer life at sea.
With new containers, there’s also a reduced risk of unknown chemical contamination.
$5,000 – $6,000
Premium (“IICL-5”)– Aka “IICL-5” – highest grade used container, inspected and certified to meet all repair standards
– Typically 2-8 years old
– In great condition, little damage
$3,000 – $5,000
Grade A (WWT)– Certified “wind & water tight”
– Typically 8+ years old, still certified to ship cargo overseas
– Little damage or rust
$1,900 – $2,500
Grade B (WWT)– Certified “wind & water tight”
– Typically 8 + years old, not certified to ship cargo overseas but can still be used for storage
– Significant amount of rust or damage
$1,500 +
Refurbished– Used containers that have been repaired (ie. dents removed, floors replaced, new doors, new paint)
– Price varies depending on quality repair history and age
$1,500 +
As-is (“General Purpose”) Purchased “as-is,” without inspection or certification
– Usually has dents, rust, flaking paint, or punctures – but can be fixed up and repaired as needed on your own
$1,000 +

Related: Types of Shipping Containers

Raw Materials Used To Manufacture The Container

The shipping container price will also vary depending on the cost of the raw material used to make it. Most manufacturers make shipping, cargo, or storage containers from corrugated steel. When the price of steel is low, new storage containers will be cheaper. However, rising costs of steel and increased demand for these containers over the last few years means that new shipping container prices are often double that of used containers at present. If you don’t see the need to buy a brand-new container, there’s always the option to rent.

There are some containers that are designed to withstand the elements better. For instance, some are wind and watertight, which is very important if you plan on storing valuable materials on a site, or shipping materials overseas in the container.  Special containers made out of a material known as Corten steel will stand up for a long time, even in a salt-water environment. This is often the material favored for boxes adapted to working or office spaces as well because they stand up so well in inclement conditions.

3. Rent or Buy?

You have a few options when deciding how you want to pay for your container – renting, buying new, or buying used/refurbished. This decision usually relates to both budgeting and desired length of use.

Renting: 

Renting a storage container is a popular preference for many businesses, since it’s easy, affordable, and convenient. Renting allows you to pay smaller amounts monthly (rather than paying a large upfront cost), as well as return the container once you no longer need it. Once your term ends, the supplier will come pick it up and take it off your hands. Monthly rental costs usually range from $75 – $200, depending on size, add-on features, and condition (you have the option to rent both used and new containers). If you go with a modified size or add on features, your price can go up by around $125 – $500 per month. An average rental period is 24 months.

Rental and lease costs vary by location, size, and length of the contract.

  • Daily rates range between $3 and $8 per day
  • Standard containers rates range between $75 and $300 per month, depending on size
  • Modified containers rates range between $125 and $500 per month

Most companies require a one-month minimum (some offer 28-day contracts), even when renting instead of leasing.

Get informed how much is the delivery fee for picking up the delivery once the rental contract is extinguished.

Leasing

Note: You can also choose to rent to own, which can be a cost-efficient choice if you want to eventually own the container.

Lease rates depend on the length of the lease, with longer leases typically getting you a reduced monthly payment. Expect to spend between $75 and $150 per month for an unmodified container, with the average lease running for 24 months.

  • Buying Used/Refurbished: While your first instinct may be to go with a brand new container to assure quality, understand that there are plenty of used containers out there that are in great condition. Storage containers are made of corten steel, which is a sturdy building material made to withstand harsh conditions. Conveniently, most suppliers offer a range of “used” containers, including refurbished and certified options, so you can choose depending on your cost-to-quality preference. Used containers usually cost around $1,400 – $2,600 to buy, depending on size, features, and conditions.
  • Buying new: If you know you want a high quality container that has never been used for storage and are willing to pay top dollar, a “one-trip” storage container is the best choice. A “one-trip” storage container has been built within the last year with brand new, quality steel. Upon purchasing, they only have carried one shipment of cargo from overseas. These may be a good choice for businesses that want to own their container for a long period of time, need to assure they have a structurally sound unit, or even want to convert the shipping container into a livable space! They can range from $3,000 – $5,000 in price, depending on size and features.

Add-on Features

Depending on your business’s need and intended use for your storage container, there are dozens of add-on features to choose from. Adding features will tack on additional costs to your rental or purchase cost, but it can certainly be worth it. Here are just some of the features you can choose from:

  • Doors:  including personnel doors (usually $100 – $400 per door) and roll-up doors (usually start at $600)
  • Built-in shelving: cost depends on number of shelves or brackets (starting around $85 per bracket)
  • Locking mechanisms: usually start around $90 
  • Awnings: can run anywhere from $100 – $1,000 if permanent, while retractable awnings usually start at $1,500
  • Custom size: can add around 20-30% to price

Many features like roofing, electricity, plumbing, windows, and floors might be charged via contractor fees, which usually range $50 – $150 per hour. Because of the wide variety of add-on features to choose from, they can add anywhere between $250 – $2,500+ to your budget. For a more comprehensive list of add-on features to choose from, you can reference our renter’s guide.

High Cube Models

But, there are many other sizes, such as cube-shaped containers (also called “High Cube”), which are 9ft 6in tall. The price of these will also vary, but generally, they are slightly more expensive then the regular ones.

Cost Of Customizing The Container

There are many options for customizing or modifying your shipping container. Whether you hire a professional or make the modifications yourself, additional features have the potential to increase your storage container’s cost. Contractors typically charge anywhere from $50-$150 per hour. Fortunately, buying your storage container from a supplier specializing in custom add-ons can save you time and, likely, money.

5. Location and Delivery

The cost to deliver and install your container can range from less than $100 to more than $500 for local delivery, depending on the distance and weight. Some suppliers may have a minimum fee, and others may have a distance maximum. It’s also common for suppliers to have a flat fee for delivery plus additional charges for more mileage. If you choose to rent, ask the supplier about their charges for removal, as well.

Delivery fees and the location of your chosen supplier is something you definitely want to think about when budgeting for your storage container.  If you neglect these costs and choose a supplier located hundreds of miles from your area, you can wind up paying $1,000+ for delivery, which can sometimes be more than the container price itself! This is a huge additional cost you now have to add to your out-the-door cost. That’s why it’s important to ask the supplier for their specific delivery charges before deciding, and why it can be an excellent idea to go local.

The largest amount of used 40 foot and 20 foot oceangoing containers are located on the coasts of the country.   As the containers begin to be transported domestically the conex boxes are rerouted to the closest drop off terminal location to avoid added trucking costs.  Inland cities normally do not see many for sale boxes since importers prefer to have their warehouses located close to the seashore ports of arrival to limit intermodal drayage and logistic costs.  Sometimes it’s inevitable that a truck driver needs to deliver a conex container to a company much further away than the coastal port and will drop off the shipping container to an inland city or hub.  These shipping containers located inland become a valuable resource for the ocean carrier and provide an easy way to book an export shipment more conveniently for their customers located further from the coastline.  

The container pricing jumps around a bit because a container inland in the midwest as an example will cost more than a container located on the west coast or east coast.  

Choosing the right vendor can also mean getting the best delivery rate. Depending on where you’re located, shipping container prices and delivery rates will vary. The quote on your delivery rate may include the accessibility of your drop-off location. Some companies will charge extra if you need the container delivered to a hard-to-reach location. For example, a drop-site that requires driving a long distance on a dirt road may cost you extra—another upcharge to avoid stems from being unprepared for the delivery. If the driver has to wait for you to clean or prepare the drop-site, the company may charge you extra. 

To avoid any upcharges, look for a supplier that charges a flat rate. Many charge a flat rate within a reasonable mile radius. 

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The delivery fee is another important factor that you shouldn’t overlook when considering shipping container pricing. There are instances when you have to pay for special permits as well. These costs impact how much you pay out of pocket to put your container to use.

If you purchase a container that is hundreds of miles away from your property or site, delivery costs may be extremely expensive. In many cases, inflated shipping costs outweigh lower prices you paid for the container.

Why buy a container on Craigslist or eBay only to shell out a fortune to get it delivered?

When inquiring about pricing, ask about delivery (and other) fees upfront. Is the cost of delivery included? If not, what will it cost?

For the most part, suppliers set a flat delivery fee for a certain mile radius. They may charge more for anything that goes beyond their preferred mileage, but multiple orders might get you a discounted rate.

Obviously, the higher the mileage, the more you are going to pay. Rush orders for same day or next day delivery can come with a 20-to-30% premium.

Requirements For Delivery

only customers with the proper equipment should select intermodal depot pick-up (please allow 2-3 business days for release information). Delivery is optional and calculated at checkout by zip code. 

We deliver containers on a roll-off trailer, so you won’t need a forklift or a crane to unload at delivery, but you’ll need to make sure you’ve got enough space for delivery and that your site is ready for the truck.

Our haulers need 80′ of additional space in order to deliver a 40′ shipping container (120′ of total space), plus room for the truck to maneuver. Please make sure you’ve got space for delivery. 20′ shipping containers are delivered on a different size truck, and so we only need an additional 55′ of space (75′ of total space) to deliver 20′ containers.

Additionally, it might cost more if it’s difficult for the delivery team to access your property. Transport companies charge extra if they have to go up long dirt roads or squeeze into sketchy delivery locations. Finally, some delivery teams charge additional fees (around $75 per hour) when the driver has to wait on the customer to get the drop site ready or do extra tasks to get the container in place.

The truck that delivers you container could weigh over 45,000-pounds. If we’re delivering on a soft surface (such as dirt or grass) please make sure your site can handle a heavy truck.

6. Seasonal Changes

As is the case for most products, storage container prices can vary based on supply and demand. The biggest factors that influence this is season, economy, and the price of steel. Of course, when the economy is doing well and the price of steel is low or steady, suppliers aren’t forced to boost their prices. On the other hand, when the price of steel inflates or the economy dips, this may impact the prices suppliers must offer their customers. 

Additionally, keep in mind if you are not working in the construction or retail industries that these businesses often rely on storage containers during their busy months, which can affect storage container premiums. The busy season for construction is typically in the Spring and Sumner, while the busy season for retail is typically in the Fall and Winter. You can always ask suppliers about the supply and demand influences they are facing, and ask when is the best time to buy from them.

Depending on the season, you may need a temperature-controlled storage container, which may cost you a bit more. Learn more about refrigerated storage containers (aka reefer containers).

7. Quantity Of Containers Purchased

If you are buying more than one container, many suppliers will offer a discounted price per unit or bulk deal. Be sure to get a quote from your vendor beforehand to ensure you are getting the best rate on multiple shipping containers.

Different Sizes And Types Of Containers

There are several storage and shipping container sizes, including:

  • 53 foot Dry Van
  • 20 foot
  • 40 foot
  • 40 foot high cube
  • 40 foot with side door
  • 45 foot

You can also choose from standard shipping containers and high cube shipping containers, 

Buying A Used Container

Used or retired containers are units who have outlived their recommended shelf life for international transport, but are still perfectly suitable for other uses.

An important note on used containers — “used” doesn’t mean that they are not in good condition. Most of the time, a retired container is assigned a grade and marked with a specific label (e.g. lightly damaged, ISO approved) to describe its condition.

Essentially, it depends on how the older container has been used, and the conditions to which it has been exposed.

Containers last for years (at least a decade) and can be sold to recoup costs or even rented out when you no longer need them. 

If you’re buying a used shipping container, double-check for the following:

  • Check for loose floorboards.
  • Check for rust (a little rust may be okay) and dents. Ask about previous repairs.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB), social media, and forums for seller reputation and customer reviews.
  • Make sure that the doors open and close easily. Difficulties in opening and sealing the door shut may be a result of uneven ground. When placing a shipping container on the ground or a grassy surface, level the area as much as possible. If it’s impossible with your current location, level the container by wedging a corner or two once it’s in place.
  • Look carefully at used models. Chipped paint leaves the steel vulnerable to rust and corrosion, especially if the container began life in transportation. All that time on shipping boats exposed it to plenty of salt water.

Source Of The Shipping Containers

we source your shipping containers directly from intermodal cargo circulation. We work directly with the largest intermodal container suppliers, so you avoid paying unnecessary middle-men. 

Next Steps

we guide you through your storage container decision by making your life easy – based on your needs, we match you with the best suppliers (up to 5) that service your area. You get to compare and make the final decision. No obligation whatsoever to buy!

Remember that for the best buying experience possible, we recommend comparing just 3-5 different suppliers and what they have to offer (don’t over-complicate the decision by comparing too many options!) and prepare for your call with these tips to get the most out of your phone call with each supplier.

offers a large variety of mobile storage containers. You’ll find 20 foot to 40 foot shipping containers in any size and configuration you need. We specialize in creating customized storage solutions so you can get everything you need in one place

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