Buying a shipping container for export use

This guide is intended to help customers who may be looking to source their own shipping container to export cargo globally. If you would be looking for a shipping container for static storage use please check out our other guides

Important first tip for new exporters / Reasons to buy a shipping container for export use

You normally won’t need to buy a shipping container if you just want to ship goods from A to B globally. Normally a shipping line will lend you a free shipping container as long as you book a slot on one of their boats – this will normally work out as the most cost effective option. Reasons for buying your own shipping container for export use usually boil down to:

  • You want to ship cargo somewhere where the shipping lines don’t want their containers going
    • Examples would include war zones or areas with unstable government, Central Africa or S American destinations, small island locations or polar regions. At times buying your own container may give you freight options you can’t get elsewhere. In some cases we’ve been told containers are much better to get through local customs who will otherwise interfere with and often break their goods
  • You want to sell the container for profit at destination
    • Care of their use for a wide variety of building project, you may be able to sell a shippers owned container for a profit in many African locations or areas recovering from conflict.
  • You want to store the goods inside your container for a long period of time at destination
    • Perhaps you have a number of power stations to service globally and you want to make a shipping container into a mobile tool-shed / workshop. Perhaps you have an event or challenge to manage and the shipping container is going to be your HQ or base or perhaps you need a base that can move with the event
    • It may also be applicable if you have non-stop freight going back and forth between international sites – however at this stage you will also have a big buying power with the shipping lines care of the volume of freight you are moving. In this instance we recommend getting in touch and perhaps our consultancy service can help you best?

If our reading this and realise you may not need to buy a shipping container for export use you may well want to approach a ‘Freight Forwarder’ or a ‘Freight forwarding company’ – There are hundreds across the UK and they can be found on yellow pages, Google or the UK industry association website. These are companies specialising in shipping others peoples goods around the world via air or sea freight.

These are the most common reasons for purchasing a shipping container for export use. This isn’t an exhaustive list but these uses cover the vast majority of export sales enquiries we get in.

What else do I need to know?

If buying a shipping container for export use it will need to be CSC plated – in short a CSC plate approval is a bit like an MOT for a shipping container which tell the ports and shipping lines that everything is in good condition with the shipping container and that its safe to lift when loaded or put into a container stack without risk of the container structure failing.Green UASC 20ft Shipping Container

If you source your container from us and need it CSC plated, just please ensure that 1) you tell us you need the container to be CSC plated on your order 2) we show the container to be CSC plated on our invoice to you and 3) the container comes with a valid CSC expiry sticker on the metal plate on the shipping container doors.

You will also have to find out what type of shipping container is best going to work for your cargo, check you cargo will fit in it / on it, check how you’re going to pack and load it, seal it and who is going to move it for you. We are in the process of publishing more guides on these areas and will have them posted soon with links below.

Very finally – as well as checking through our other guides here, we recommend if your new to shipping cargo via shipping contianers then some general advice we hope will help

  • Use a lot of common sense
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Tell people your dealing with that your new to this, let them help you!
  • Try to ‘fill in any gaps’ in advance. what is person or company A doing for me, how do I ensure it gets passed to the next link in the chain smoothly. (Typically speaking many links in the chain you may not even know about – but its the links where one person or company ends their service for you that you want to take care with)
  • If in doubt we offer consultancy services, anything from a brief chat about your project and a few initial pointers, to a complete freight solution using trusted partners in the trade. 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, which also includes our ranges of flat pack sheds, container canopies and more. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 7pm 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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