Where do the documents go on an export shipping container
Shipping documents should not be attached to the physical container for transit, they risk getting damaged or lost. A lot of documentation is done electronically these days and it may be that there is no need to send physical paperwork with your shipping container. you freight forwarder or shipping agent shoudl be able to help with advice here specific to your shipment. However, established processes in this industry will often remain in place for a long whilst until he whole world can move onto new electronic systems, for that reason the paperwork process is still largely in place if needed. The paperwork process for shipping documents that need to go with an export shipping container is as follows.
- Once loaded, you sing any relevant part so the paperwork (as may the driver in some cases) and you hand this paperwork to the truck driver.
- At the port, the driver will hand this paperwork to the shipping line, they typically have a pigeon hole or similar at the port for each shipping line or booking agent
- The port collects this paperwork and make sure it travels with the ship.
- At arrival the containers are offloaded from the ship, and any paperwork for cargo arriving at that port is handed to the port
- The Port of arrival then will pass this onto the customs agents or relevant people at destination.
Can shipping containers be hermetically sealed?
Hermetically sealed shipping containers are often requested, but for most customers (most budgets) it is not possible to provide a hermetically sealed shipping container Firstly all shipping containers will have a small number of cargo vents to allow for air flow as the container moved from warm to cooler climates, and to let the containers breathe as the air inside containers expands and contracts with these temperature changes. However even if we weld these up it is near impossible for us to guarantee a truly airtight seal on the rest of the shipping container. the door seals on standard shipping containers are not hermetic seals, and it woudl be very hard to guarantee a small air gap anywhere else on a shipping container especially if its used. Refrigerated shipping containers may offer the best chance of a true airtight seal, these units come with a thicker metal floor, no vents and a thicker door with better seals. Whilst we will say don't' stay inside with the door closed as you will likely suffocate, we are unlikely able to offer a cast iron guarantee of a perfect hermetic seal on the shipping container doors. We are aware that customers projects and requirements are often unique so if you have a specific project or 'challenge' at hand why not contact us as a brief chat about your ideas can often help us make suggestions and recommendations.
Are Shipping Containers Airtight?
All standard shipping containers come with small circa 1 inch square vents on the top rails. This doesn't allow for significant air flow but it does mean they are not airtight You may also find on a used shipping container that the doors seals may not be in perfect condition, and also minor damage or war tot he floor over time may mean that there is capacity for a tiny bit of air flow through the floor (although this is unlikely). Door seals are only designed to prevent water from waves penetrating past the doors and damaging any cargo inside, they are not designed to be be airtight. Refrigerated shipping containers however do not have the same vents, they come with metal floors and if the seals are fully intact they should be considered airtight for health and safety purposes (for example limiting time spent inside a closed space or monitoring systems to check on anyone working withing such an environment). Wear and damage to any of the heat exchangers in the refrigerated container engine, mounting problems or other engine bay damage can mean that the refrigerated containers may not be perfectly airtight. Similar to above the door seals are not specifically designed to be perfectly airtight and on a used refrigerated shipping container some wear and partial damage to the seal may be evident. Of course every shipping container we sell as standard is offers with our wind & watertight guarantee. This does not guarantee thew unit is airtight, not does it guarantee its watertight to the extremes of dropping the whole container into the sea and expecting it to float - we are simply guaranteeing that the container we offer for sale is good to keep your goods dry and out of the weather whilst used in a static, on site storage basis. If your looking to source a shipping container please feel free to browse our online catalogue, we also have lots of helpful tips and guides in our news section, and you can of course contact us if you have any questions.
Can you use shipping containers as an acoustic barrier?
Shipping Containers can be used as an acoustic barrier and offer excellent sound protection. You will want to ensure that the area you a want to shield from any noise has its line of site to any potential noise source entirely blocked by any shipping container wall you wanted to install. Please feel free to check out our news article where we supplied 33x 40ft shipping containers to Tottenham Hotspur as part of their ongoing stadium redevelopment. The shipping containers were used to protect local residents from the dust and noise coming from site. The corrugated sides help deflect noise away, and the price of shipping containers make this a very effective and attractive option versus other means. We have also supplied shipping containers in the past to help farmers protect local residents from noise and dust coming from grain silos. There are a lot of potential applications for this sort of use.
What is an OOG Shipping Container?
OOG is an acronym for 'Out of Gague' - a terminology used to describe a cargo what won't fit within the ISO dimensions of a shipping container, or cargo that extends beyond these dimensions. Any load that extends beyond the standard dimensions for the type of container carrying it will be classed as 'Out of Gauge', so this would include all open tops with cargo sticking up above the roof line, all platforms and flat racks with cargo that sticks out beyond the sides, roof line or ends on the container.
What is the lifespan of a Shipping Container?
Whilst everything we sell comes with our 12 month wind and watertight guarantee, we suggest that you should expect: Circa 10 years plus of good use from a used shipping container (with minimal to no maintenance) Around twice the lifespan from a one trip (new) shipping container. This is possible due partly to the way a shipping container is built. (Built from COR-TEN A Grade steel which rusts very slowly compared to normal steel) and as our used shipping containers are sourced direct from import use, and are always checked and repaired in our UK depots before resale, you can be assured that the container has been well maintained up until the point of sale. With any container, the door hinges and seals will wear over time and the biggest factor for the wear will be how often the container is opened and closed. If you are accessing your container frequently, you will find the door seals and hinges / gaskets wear faster. These can be replaced if needed.
Can I build a house from Shipping Containers
Yes is the short answer Shipping containers and strong, sturdy and cheap. They can make an effective structure for a wide range of building options, there are a number of examples around the world of successful container houses. Whilst examples have been built its far from being adopted by the mainstream and in the UK if your looking at building a house from containers we'd suggest to look into detail at any local planning restrictions first. There are a lot of online resources available, but this is still a relatively new field for construction. We generally recommend it can work as a very good value option for self builders, but at this stage if you get a builder in to build this for you, as its likely a new material they wont' be experienced with - there likely won't be a significant saving versus a traditional building.
How deep is a shipping container floor
The floor depths on a shipping container (the difference in height between the internal floor line and the bottom of the shipping container externally) can officially change a little between 2 different shipping containers. The reason for this - the eternal measurements on a container are tightly controlled by ISO regulations, but the internal dims are not restricted by international standards. Standard 20ft, 40ft and 40ft high cube dry containers will all have a circa 6 inch (15cm) deep floor and although slight variations will be experienced - these will typically be minimal as large volume shippers expect to fit the same amount of their cargo into any shipping container of that size and type. Open top containers, open sided containers and any container that might need extra rigidity in the floor as it might not have strength available in another panel will typically have thicker floors, circa 8-9 inches (20-23cm) Flat rack and platforms which might also be rated well over 30 tonnes may have anything up to a 18-20 inch floor depth, (circa 50cm), as the entire strength of the container is supported by the floor If you need to know the depths of a container floor that you are buying from us, let us know and we can send someone into the yard to physically measure and check your container for before delivery.
Do you accept credit cards?
*Update* As of July 2019 we no longer accept card payments Yes we accept all major Credit and Debit cards but not American Express. We treat all customers as 'non consumer entities' unless you specifically request a consumer price (which will involve a re-quote) As such as standard there is a 2.75% credit card surcharge, no surcharge on debit card payments. Due to card fraud concerns, we do not accept card payments from cards with registered billing addresses outside of the UK, and we do not typically accept credit card payments for containers being used for export. We have more info on this in our blog post on credit card surcharges
How secure is a shipping container?
When fitted with a lock box (padlock cover) and a heavy duty padlock, in our experience to break into your container you will either need to be an expert lock pick (a good quality padlock will be very hard for even a professional to pick) or you will need some form of heavy cutting equipment to physically cut through the sides or roof of the container, or to cut the lock and padlock cover off (both are a similar amount of effort) Doing any of these with the correct hand tools would likely take hours, and from the would-be criminals point of view, there's little to no guarantee that there's anything worth nicking inside your container. Our general advice, a lock box and a good quality padlock will deter your average 'chancer' without questions, its just too much effort to break into a container, a reasonable risk of getting caught (as there would likely be a lot of noise involved) and no guarantee of it begin worthwhile. We recommend a lock box in its own right will often deter anyone from taking a look at your container, but if you leave it unlocked - you can expect people will be very interested to see what you have inside!
What is the floor made from?
All standard shipping containers come with a circa 1-inch thick marine treated plywood floor Underneath this there is a waterproof coating, often a bitumen based coating and some very heavy duty cross-members, which take the cargo weight whilst the container is being lifted. This covers all standard types of shipping containers including side opening containers, open tops, and flat racks as well as all of our storage containers The Exceptions Modern refrigerated shipping containers typically come with a jet-washable raised aluminium t-bar floor DNV (offshore oil and gas industry spec) containers will typically come with a metal plate floor as standard.
Can you modify Shipping Containers?
A wide variety of modification options are available, from a basic external repaint all the way through to a custom built cafe, bar or even shipping container house. You can see some examples and write ups on our previous jobs in our news section, or of course please feel free to contact us if you have a specific project in mind.
Can we source a free container for our charity or community group?
Unfortunately at this time we are unable to offer free containers, although we hope to develop an offering over time. As a relatively young (est 2011) re-seller, and with we hope a very keen eye on price already - we work to extremely tight margins and a free container is too much for us at this stage. Around a third of our customers are already charities, country or community groups of some form with even more customers at schools, councils and other public bodies. We have recently introduced our Facebook challenge, where local charities, community groups and good causes can earn up to £100 + VAT discount from any container they are buying from us. Please check our Facebook challenge page for more info.
Are there any import duties or hidden extras to pay?
All containers bought from us have been repatriated and no import duties or other taxes will apply. The only possible thing we cannot account for will be future changes to the laws that are applied with a retrospective period (i.e. into the past) - we believe this to be extremely unlikely though.
Can I store my stuff in a shipping container?
Yes, around two thirds of the containers we sell are for this very purpose. Shipping containers make excellent secure storage units, we can deliver them pretty much anywhere in the UK for you and we have cranes on our trucks to allow us to lift the containers onto the ground when we are on your site.
Do I need planning permission for my shipping container?
Containers should class as temporary structures as they do not have foundations and because of this they should not be subject to planning laws. However, we do always recommend double checking with your local council if there is any doubt. Local special conditions may apply and one Council can often take a different viewpoint to another and we're unable to offer a nationwide blanket guarantee.
I need to source a shipping container outside the UK. Can you help?
Yes, we can help source new & used CSC plated seaworthy containers from over 150 locations globally. Please contact us with any requirements.
Delivery and Installation
Can your delivery trucks sit in the road whilst delivering
The delivery process can take anywhere 5-25 minutes when unobstructed and if the site is prepared and ready for us (longer if tricky) Our hauliers will only be happy to block the road to do a delivery if you are able to manage and / or divert any traffic whilst we undertake any lifts. In these cases the drivers discretion will come into play. if its a very quiet side road the driver may be happy to try a job that he may refuse on a busy main road. The haulers are not allowed to break any laws of the road, so if this is next to a curb with parking restrictions, the driver may refuse, or may continue only on the proviso that any parking tickets issued whilst they deliver your container are paid for by the customer. If the emergency services come and tell us to move mid -lift we will pack up, move the driver and likely charge a cancellation charge for a failed delivery or additional time if we go over an hour total time spent on site / delivering your shipping container. (assuming that we are unable to get back to complete delivery) In essence it is up to you (our customer) to provide suitable space and access for us to get this delivered. In any case you can significantly minimise any risks of problems by being very open with us from the start as to what needs doing to get our container into position. As always, if you are in any doubt please speak to the team at the end. We are here to help!
Can you deliver under power lines?
Our hauliers will not be happy lifting off anywhere near active power lines (typically within 5 metres, but this is up the the drivers discretion), however with care taken and a good set of details about the job in hand we can often come up with workable solutions., this might involve using our container skates to lift a container off clear of power lines and then push it into place, or we may find another way to get around this obstacle. If your looking at a similar job please get us a good set of pictures of the area, from a few different angles if this helps us understand the positioning of any overhead power cables and we can advise from there. We can offer to send a driver out to perform a site survey for you, this does reduce your risk (as it reduces some of the responsibility you have for providing suitable access for our truck) but is usually chargeable. In the first instance we recommend sending in photos as we may be able to avoid a site survey charge for you.
Can you deliver a container inside a warehouse or building?
Whilst our vehicles can physically lift off inside another building, we commonly need a very high clearance. Our sidelifter trucks will need a minimum 5 metre clearance to delivery our hiab trucks will commonly need more - circa 8 metre clearance (exact clearance will vary depending on the truck, the exact type and spec of the crane and the job at hand) However for warehouses and similar operations we can also offer a skating service. This will cost extra but our hauliers can come equipped with special equipment to help them skate the shipping container over any smooth surface into position. Ideal for warehouses, exhibition halls and similar. In very basic terms these are like a big set of roller skates for a shipping container, and these can allow us to deliver into a range of tight spaces. If you need us to deliver into a building, we will ask for details of the access, the floor surface (including the ground conditions just outside your building) and the internal clearance if we might look to lift inside your building. Photos are also extremely helpful for us in understanding the specific delivery you need done.
Can you deliver a shipping container over a hedge or fence?
If our truck can get parallel and up next to one side of a normal sized hedge or fence (circa 6-9ft high) and if we are delivering the container directly the other side of the fence or hedge then this is usually possible However this is not a straightforward job for us. we will normally ask if you can send in photos of the area you want the container as well as the area you see our truck sitting in well in advance of the delivery so we can make extra checks to ensure this will go smoothly for you. We can offer to send a driver out to do a site survey for you, this is chargeable. in most cases a good set of photos sent into us can help avoid the need for a site survey. Our trucks are not allowed to block or obstruct a public highway. We will commonly be happy to park in the road and lift over a hedge or fence only if you (the customer) can make provision for traffic to be managed or diverted whilst we undertake any lifting. You should always make us aware if you need to to block any road, or partially block any main road or busy central town or city road.
What Health and Safety information is available when planning a delivery?
If you require any health and safety information for your delivery please flag with us any specific requirements in advance. Typically our hauliers will have a good standard (generic) Risk and method statement. This will be suitable for a good number of our customers / all but the very specialised jobs. Please bear in mind our hauliers are used to working with a large range of blue chip sites. Airports, Power stations, Large construction sites and the like are regular stops for our drivers. These will be made available well in advance and we ask that you request this info and check in well in advance of your delivery to ensure you are happy with this info. If not, we may need to ensure we can get you this well before planning in the delivery. Site specific risk and method statements are available if required, our hauliers will usually want to send a manager out from the office to undertake this on a dedicated basis. The hauliers will often ask for a separate charge to cover this service, often a similar total price to the delivery charge in itself. All our drivers will have their driving licences on them if your need proof of the drivers capability. Truck and Trailer MOT badges as well as the hauliers operators licence will show on the vehicle cab or trailer of the vehicle, the driver will be happy to show you these if you want to check them. Driver training certificates, chain and weight test certificates for the lifting machinery are sometimes carried by the driver and sometimes only available in advance (depending on the haulier concerned) so if you need any of this please request it in advance. If our vehicle is made to wait whilst information is checked, this will be fine but this time taken will be included in the free time allowance for your vehicle. If our truck spends much longer than 1-hour on site total you will likely find our hauler will charge an additional £60 + VAT per hour or part thereof. We would often suggest if you can plan in advance, a small 2-5 minute delay whilst you or your sites health and safety responsible person checks info that has been requested in advance, it won't affect anything. If our truck is held up whilst your request this info and wait for it to come through, the time the vehicle stands will still be chargeable.
How much will the delivery cost?
The delivery prices will vary depending on your location, (miles from our nearest depot with the right stocks for you) how flexible you can be in receiving the delivery, whether we need to provide a crane on our truck for lift off (or not) and weather there are any specific delivery issues that might require a special truck or trailer. For this reason, please contact us to get a firm container price and delivery cost.
Can you deliver onto grass?
Our delivery trucks can often weight circa 20-tonnes without a container on their backs, drivers will be understandably nervous if there is any risk to getting their truck stuck. As we work with a range of smaller local hauliers a lot of these delivery companies will have slightly different approaches to each other. In any event if you need us to run over or operate on any ground that isn't clearly hard-standing and very firm (eg tarmac or concrete) then please flag this with us well in advance. The driver will always reserve the right to refuse to undertake a delivery if he or she feels there is a risk to the truck getting damaged or stuck. In most cases our haulier will ask you to sign a disclaimer which in essence will say 'I will drive onto soft ground under your instructions but if I get stuck you are responsible for any costs incurred to recover the truck' - this can also include vehicle waiting time at approx £60 per hour as well as a truck recovery vehicle. In many cases if our truck can remain on hard ground (eg an access road) we can lift onto soft ground next to this road as long as our truck stays on firm ground. If driving over grass or soft ground is unavoidable, with good advice from the customer, so we know what to expect, and with planning many customers can reduce the risks of problems associated with delivering a container onto soft ground. For example, some customers may be able to have a tractor or similar off-road capable vehicle that can help pull the truck out if it were to get stuck, or you may have access to machinery that can take the container across a field or similar (eg a tractor with large forks). Alternatively, a plan B location for your container might be workable if it's apparent the ground conditions are not suitable to position the container in your first choice location.
How wide are your delivery trucks?
All delivery vehicles are 8ft (2.44M) wide plus wing mirrors. (The same width as a standard shipping container)
How high / tall is your delivery truck?
Most delivery trucks will run up to max 13ft 6 (4.12M) with a standard height (8ft 6) high container on their trailer, or 14ft 6 (4.42M) when carrying a high cube container. This is based on a 6ft high trailer on the lorry which is usually a slight over-estimate. If you have any obstructions when nearing your site, such as low bridges or low branches down a tight country lane, please flag this with us in advance. NB A low bridge in the UK is classed as anything 16 ft 6 inches (5.03M) or lower, so any bridge below this height on a public highway should be well signed.
How far can the crane on your truck reach
Unfortunately that one is not straightforward to answer and we recommend getting in touch to discuss this if you have any concerns whatsoever Each truck we use is purpose built for the haulier that operates it, so each truck can have different size cranes on it and the bigger cranes will reach further. If you need us to lift over any obstructions we do please ask that you flag this with us in advance, so that we can ensure a suitable truck gets put onto your job. We would ask you to flag in advance if you can foresee any complication with the delivery and more often than not this will help your delivery run smoothly. However with notice, the vast majorly of our trucks can:
- Lift an empty off at 90 degrees to the truck, or perform an 'L-shaped' lift, as long as the nearest side of the container is very near to the truck.
- We can lift an empty container over most standard 6-8ft fences, as long as our truck can get right up parallel to / right alongside the hedge or fence and as long as the container is going more or less directly the other side of the fence.
- Lift over houses or other buildings
- Lift over trees
- Lift over power lines or telegraph wires
Can you offer deliveries at evenings and weekends?
Yes we can! Our hauliers will often charge a premium for a Saturday or Sunday delivery and will quote on a case by case basis. Deliveries in very early mornings or into the evenings can often be accommodated. Some of our hauliers will not charge any extra for this is they can structure it around their typical day to day work. Please contact us and let us know what you need, and we will of course come back with some options and suggestions for you.
How quickly can I get a container delivered?
Our most common ranges are held in stock locally and are ready for despatch within a few hours. However, where possible, we do ask for circa 1-week notice as our hauliers do book up in advance, although we can often sort something out at very short notice if you have specific deadlines. Our capacity to cover a short notice job will vary a lot depending on your geography, the size and type of container you want, the type of delivery you need and how busy the industry is at the time of your order. For this reason, if you have any deadlines please let us know and we will of course check what we can offer for you. Note: containers that need converting or modifying (beyond a very simple job like adding a lock box) need planning time with our conversions yard and this may add 1-2 weeks for simple work or more for very involved or high volume refurbishment jobs.
Where can I buy Paint for Shipping Containers?
In the UK, we have 5 and 20 litre tubs of genuine shipping container paint for sale. This hard wearing and high grade paint is some of the most durable available due to the environments they need to work in. Can be applied in temps from 5 degrees to 50 degrees celsius, we can provide all standard colours of shipping container paint from £65 + VAT including UK mainland delivery. You can see more info on our 5 litre options on our 5 litre paint page. This size is ideal for touching up a few scratches on a shipping container You can see more on our 20 litre tubs on our 20 litre paint page. this size is best suited if you have a whole container to repaint (you may need more than 1 tun if painting a container bigger than 20 long)
Does my container need to be level?
Yes your container needs to be level. In very basic terms if the shipping container is not level it can add a twisting force to the container itself. This can leave you trying to fit square doors into a hole that isn't square i.e. your doors will jam open. We send out a guide with every invoice detailing how to accept delivery and position your container on site for best use and life. Please refer to this guide for further details.
How long will a shipping container last?
Everything we sell comes with our 12-month guarantee as standard to ensure your peace of mind. A used container should provide circa 10-years of good use with minimal or low maintenance. With a refurbished container you should expect a similar if not slightly increased lifespan. A one trip or new container, when sat static, will last a lot longer. How long largely remains untested (container designs change more frequently than their expected static lifespan, so by the time we tested on and came back to say it can last 30 years, a newer design of container will be in use. We typically suggest 'circa a generation of solid use' perhaps with a basic maintenance scheduled every 10 years or so.
Will I get condensation in my shipping container?
In a standard, non-insulated container you will find you get some condensation form on the inside of the roof as it cools overnight. The heat escapes through the roof as the container cools and this is where your condensation will form. The amount to condensation that forms is not a standard answer, this will vary depending on how much moisture was in the air (how humid it was) when you loaded the container, how much and how quickly it cools down overnight and how much free air is left inside your container. If you're storing moisture sensitive goods, papers, fabrics and textiles, artworks, or finished products ready for retail sale we recommend considering some of our condensation treatment options. However for many customers who might be storing less sensitive goods we may recommend that condensation treatment is not necessary.
If you have a question that is not listed above, please contact us and we will answer your question as well as publishing the answer here for others to find.