Shipping containers are used for transferring various types of products over long distances, usually from one country to another. They are also used as storage containers. But people who hire shipping containers mostly use them for shipment.
Back in the day, coal transportation was a difficult task. Horse-drawn carriages with wooden boxes were used to transport coal for small distances. This later gave rise to the idea of stronger and larger containers. The modern containers we see today were first transported using railways and other methods during the late 1800s, but shipping containers truly went global after the 1950s.
Shipping containers have to withstand harsh environments and other external factors. Therefore, they have to be sturdy and durable. When purchasing or hiring a shipping container, you need to take a lot of things into consideration.
To help you out, in this article we are going to talk about all the factors you need to consider when choosing the right shipping container to use.
Should You Buy or Hire?
Deciding to buy or hire all comes down to whether you want to use your container for storage space or for shipping. If it’s for shipping, then hiring containers is a safe choice because you will never have to worry about disposing of these large metal boxes.
Even when using it as storage space, you have to consider the duration. If you want to use it for 2 years or more, then buying a container can be cost-effective. But if you are only going to use it for a few months, or even change your location, then hire a suitable container instead.
Different Types of Shipping Containers
Standard Shipping Container
These are the most common containers you can see in shipping ports and are usually 20 feet metal boxed.
High Cube Shipping Container
These are similar to the standard shipping container but they are much taller and offer more headspace. High Cube containers are perfect for transporting tall cargo.
Refrigerated Shipping Container
From the outside, it looks very similar to a standard container, but on the inside, there is a separate refrigeration unit. This is used to store items that need to stay cool during transportation, such as perishable or degradable products.
Open Top Shipping Container
As the name suggests, these containers do not have roofs. This way, heavy objects can easily be placed on the container with an overhead crane.
Shipping Containers for Dangerous Goods
Specialized containers are for shipping dangerous materials such as flammable gasses, liquids, chemicals, and corrosive materials. They are created to withstand the materials and keep them safe. These containers are mostly colored yellow, have vents for air circulation, and are designed to mitigate spills.
Different Sizes of Containers
These are the smallest containers and are generally used for shipping smaller and lighter objects.
These containers have a carrying capacity of over 20 tons. 20 feet is regarded as the standard size for containers.
These are your heavy-duty containers, able to carry loads of over 26 tons. They are mainly used for transporting industrial-grade machinery and other heavy-duty objects.
Things to Consider Before Hiring a Shipping Container
1. The Purpose of the Container
The purpose of your shipping container matters a lot. As already discussed above, renting containers is best when you are just using them for shipping over a short duration.
You need to consider your budget before hiring. For example, the cost of hiring a 20-foot container is usually $2.50-$5.50 per day. And the cost of hiring a 40-foot container can be around $7 per day. Smaller containers like the 10-foot ones will only cost you around $2-$4. The cost varies depending on your location and container type.
3. The Type of Container
You need to check which type of container is best suited for your shipping purpose. If you have to ship standard goods then any 20-foot container will do, but for unique goods such as perishable goods or dangerous chemicals, you will need specialized containers. The type of product will also determine the size of your container.
New or Used Containers?
There are some significant differences between getting a new container and getting a used container. Here are just a few:
1. Previously Stored Items
This can be a problem in certain scenarios. For example, you generally don’t know what materials were previously in a used container unless you specifically ask. If there were chemicals in them, then transporting certain items, such as food, might be a problem if chemical residues are still in the container. Obviously, new containers do not have this problem.
Newer containers are airtight and prevent dust and critters from entering. Used containers may not be airtight because of their long history. The locks and seals may not be as strong and durable as before either.
With the advancement of technology, newer and better containers are being made every day. Some used and older models may not have modern specs, such as forklift pockets.
Newer containers will have a much longer warranty compared to used containers. If you are going to hire the container for a long period of time, then this warranty can save you a lot of money in the future if something happens to the container.
How to Choose the Right Supplier
The first thing that you need to do in the process is contacting a supplier. They will be the ones to show you different containers and let you decide which one you want. There are hundreds of suppliers in Australia, so to select the right one, consider these two things.
1. Allows a Pre-purchase Inspection
If the supplier does not show you the containers directly, then it is difficult to trust what they’ve advertised. Some suppliers may only show you photographs and videos, but if the container is in good condition then there should be no harm in inspecting it before making a purchase. So, avoid suppliers who hesitate to physically show you their containers.
2. Does Not Rush the Process
Most fraudulent suppliers will be in a rush to sign a contract. Because once the contract is signed, you cannot back down. A good supplier will highlight all the features of the container and not try to rush you into making a decision.
Hiring shipping containers is by no means an easy task. You need to consider quite a few things to make sure your products are shipped safely in a strong, durable container. Therefore, be cautious and follow the appropriate steps when hiring the right shipping container.