Buying a used shipping container can be a confusing process the first time around.  While storage containers come in many sizes, generally the unique sizes are due to cutting down 20′ and 40′ shipping containers to shorter lengths.

Generally speaking, shipping containers are available in 8’x20′ and 8’x40′ sizes.  The 40′ size comes in standard height (8’6″) and High Cube (9’6″).  For more information on sizes, see the shipping container dimensions chart:

When you’re ready to buy a container it’s not as simple as just going down to your local port or rail depot and asking for a box.  The intermodal depots are busy places with lots of trucks moving in/out as industrial forklifts move around the facility.

Depots can be a dangerous place if you don’t know what you’re doing.  The depot is also not the owner of the container… it’s just where the containers are stored when not being used for cargo.

The true owner of containers can be any number of people, from shipping lines to intermodal equipment providers and everyone in between.  Almost all of those companies are based outside of the US… so you’ll need to find someone to manage the transaction for you (or navigate the process of buying a shipping container from an international logistics firm on your own.

Railbox Consulting specializes in helping customers buy shipping containers at wholesale prices from shipping lines and intermodal equipment providers (some of whom are our clients).  Customers can leverage our relationships to source shipping containers at wholesale in their market.

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