Used shipping containers are a great option if you want to save money on your project. They are way less expensive than brand new units but can be just as sturdy and stable enough to meet your specifications. Take note, however, that not all used shipping containers are in the same shape. Some may be more seaworthy than others, which is why you need to thoroughly inspect each unit you plan to purchase. Here’s a list of the common things you need to check during inspection.

Used Shipping Containers—How to Choose the Best Units for Your Project



Shipping containers are made to last for up to 15 years. Suppliers normally reveal this information in the promotional materials they provide, but to be sure, a quick walk around the container can help confirm how old they claim their products to be. If you see serious rust and condensation, it’s likely that the container has already reached the peak of its usability and has to be disposed of eventually. Surface rust, on the other hand, is easy to fix with a fresh coat of paint.


Mechanical Parts

While shipping containers are essentially empty boxes when offered for sale by suppliers like Equipment Management Services, they also have mechanical parts that you should inspect, too. These parts are usually found on and around the door. Make sure that the hinges and locking gear are not heavily rusted to a point that the door no longer swings freely nor locks easily. Unless you are planning to modify the box and have the door refurbished, a dysfunctional door may cause serious problems in the future.



The floor of a shipping container consists of several layers of material, including straight grain plywood, hydronic radiant floor panels, hard subfloor, and channels. Check the floor for serious damage on any of these layers. There should be no sublayers that are visible, or else, you have to consider replacing the whole flooring. This is, of course, if you intend to use the container for its original purpose, which is for storing cargo. If you are repurposing it, though, a worn-out floor would be fine since you’re most likely going to modify it anyway.


Corner Posts

Shipping containers have sturdy and even shape thanks to their corner posts. These components are responsible for holding up all other parts of the container, including the wall and roof. The posts have to be parallel with one another and stand at a perfect 90 degrees angle with the floor. Slight inclination may pose risk of warping when other shipping container units are stacked up on top of it.

Inspection will be so much easier (or will not even be necessary) if you purchase from a reputable supplier like EMS. Normally, their products are reliable because they undergo professional inspection in Houston before being introduced into the market. You can definitely find the shipping containers for sale that have the highest quality at Equipment Management Services in Houston Texas.



Shipping Container Plan and Section Details,

Anatomy of a shipping container,