During the COVID-19 pandemic, a shift from consumer spending on services to spending on goods brought record shipping container volumes to ports in the US & Canada. When people were socially distancing at home, the money they would have spent eating out at restaurants or on travel was now spent on things like new dishwashers and other physical goods, and those additional products needed to be shipped here in cargo containers. As the economy reopens there’s been a dramatic shift towards pre-pandemic shipping volume and that's impacting used shipping container prices.
There's a lot of information out there about how to buy used shipping containers, but a lot of it is out of date or just flat out inaccurate. It's important to understand that shipping containers are a byproduct of the global logistics industry. Containers are rarely scrapped, and are usually loaded when sent back out of the US or Canada. Some containers are sent back empty, and a very small percentage are made available for sale to companies like ours. We post prices online so you can buy shipping containers on our website. Here are 10 things we think you should know before you buy a shipping container.
Due to the supply chain issues caused by the global pandemic, we've seen a shortage of end of life used shipping containers available for sale. The lack of containers has caused the price of shipping containers to more than double over the past year. The speed at which containers are moving through ports has slowed dramatically, and at the same time demand for containerized freight has increased. Those issues continue to compound over time to slow the speed of cargo delivery. Some people are calling it a shipping container shortage, but we think "logjam" is a better term for what's happening.