Can I get my Storage Container re-certified for export use?

The CSC plate on my Shipping Container has expired. Can I get a new one?

This is a very common request we get. You may have owned a shipping container for some months or years. You now have an export project and you would like to use this container to send your goods around the world. The answer is Yes this is possible, but it may or may not be a viable option. In this article we talk through the process of getting your shipping container re-certified for export use (i.e to have a CSC update or a CSC inspection on your container) to help you decide if this is right for you.

What is a CSC plate

CSC stands for ‘Container Safety Convention’ . Very simply its an internationally agreed set of rules governing the design and repair standards for shipping containers.

For your container to be used for an export job, it must have an in date, valid CSC plate.

We have more detail on this in our article what is a csc plated shipping container.

The Process of Examination

If if helps, we suggest to consider a CSC plate on your container to be a little bit like an MOT on your car. The in date CSC exam tells other people that your container has been checked over and was deemed good and safe for export use. However just like a car MOT, whist the CSC process is used by the industry to ensure all shipping containers are regularly checked, there is still no absolute guarantee your shipping container is still seaworthy.

A car with an MOT can still not be roadworthy if you crash or damage it shortly after your MOT is issued, and the same applies with shipping containers. You are still required to take good care of your shipping container. If you take good care of the container, and if it is still has a valid CSC plate.

For the CSC examination the inspector will want to check the container thoroughly, including looking at the underside of the container. This means you will need the means to lift this container up and hold it safely in the air for this underside check. Viewing the inside of the container is preferred but may not be essential. Here we ask that the container is empty, or that you make clear to us early on if it wont’ be empty for the inspection.

Once the examiner has taken a look at the container, they will tell you if it needs repairing or not before it is suitable for export use. There is no guarantee that a container will be issued with a new CSC plate after the inspection. It’s near impossible for us to tell before the examination if the container will require repairs or not, so this is a risk you take.

If there is damage we will detail what this is, and you can repair this yourself, or we can always quote to send someone else out to the site to do any repairs for you. Once these are complete you will need to book another inspection out to site.

If the inspector is happy to re-certify your container without repairs, the inspector will give you a new CSC expiry sticker and put this onto the CSC plate for you. the length of time until the next check is down to the inspectors judgement on the overall condition of the container, but this will commonly be anywhere between 6 months and 2 years.

CSC examinations in mainland UK will commonly cost £200-400 + VAT per time, depending on the exact mileage involved for our inspector to come out to your site. (Potentiality more for northern Scotland, Cornwall and Northern Ireland)

Other Options

The prices outlined above is obviously very open ended and means you cannot accurately know definite costs in advance.

We can also pick our container up, and take it into our depot. As we have inspection and repair facilities on site its much cheaper to check and repair a container and check it again once repairs are complete. However in this case you have to pay for the haulage to move our container back to our yard, and presumably we need to deliver it back out to you to get loaded afterwards.

One way to get firm assured costs is to swap your container for a fresh one. We can quote to supply you with a new or used CSC plated container, and we can make and offer to buy your old container from you. This gives you a firm and definite price to work from, and this can often be comparable to the costs for sending inspectors out to your site.

Our advice if looking to get your own container inspected for use as an export container

First – please get some photos of the container to us. We want to see pictures to try and gauge the general condition of the container. We also want to see how its sat on the ground on your site. Any obvious repair issues (holes, door or door seal problems and any obvious condition or structural issues). We would like pictures of as many sides as you can get to, the inside plus we want to see a photo of the small metal CSC data plate that should be showing on the container doors (as well as photos of any obvious defects or damage)

Also let us know the address where this is located so we can check costs for sending an inspector out to you.

We firstly want to check that this is an original shipping container, If a container has been modified (eg different doors put on the front, or its been made by cutting down a bigger shipping container) then it will not be viable to make this an export grade container. In approx 25% of cases we can confirm from photos only that the container will not be suitable for use as an export container. This obviously saves you paying for us to send an inspector out to your site.

We can then quote for inspection costs as well as a cost to replace your old container with a fresh one for you to compare.

My Shipping Container has been repainted, can this be used for export?

If your shipping container has been repainted, chances are that the decals (shipping markings) as well as the metal CSC plate on the container doors have both been painted over.

If the paint can be cleaned off the metal CSC plate, and if this date can be read off the plate then it is possible to inspect the container and we can offer to send out inspector out with a new set of container decals (this will cost circa £90 + VAT on top of the inspection price and needs to be booked in advance)

If the CSC plate cannot be cleaned up, or if the date cannot be read from the CSC plate then it is very unlikely to be viable to get his checked and re-certified for export use.

Some additional tips

Was the container CSC plated (seaworthy) when you originally purchased it? if not its more likley not going to be suitable to repair.

If the container is very old and worn, then its very unlikely going to be viable to repair. The longer the container is sat at your site, the more repairs it will likley require. If you have had the container for a year or two then it may be possible to repair, if this is has been on your site for many years its almost certainly not viable to repair.

If the container has been sat on / in soft ground there is a strong possibility the cross members underneath need serious repair. If a number of these need repair or replacement, it will normally be much cheaper to buy in a replacement.

If the container is modified (if its had doors or windows added), it is almost certainly not going to be possible to get this approved for export use. Unless you paid significantly more for your modifications to be seaworthy. To give you an idea if we supply and fit a high security personnel door the cost is often circa £500 + VAT. if we supply and fit a similar door suitable for use in a CSC plated container, this door will probably cost £1500-2000

If the container has only just fallen out of date, then it probably viable to repair it in most cases.

Avoid buying export containers from eBay. Buying in an old shipping container via email or other private sales or classified adverts can be very dangerous. The shipping container is probably not checked or repaired, and we often see lifting for ‘CSC plated containers’ where the CSC plate is not in date. These containers will commonly be older and worn and may have repair issues. Generally we feel you have a much safer option and usually a much cheaper overall price buying in a used seaworthy shipping container from a reputable trader like ourselves, where you know and are assured that the shipping container is checked and repaired prior to sale, and that you have a company who offers guarantee and returns policy. This means in the event of problems you can return the shipping container to us and get a refund (minus any transport costs incurred) or if there is a defect or problem with the container we will repair or replace it as necessary free of charge. offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 5pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

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