Top Tips for Hiring Shipping Containers

Before deciding to buy containers either for shipping goods between states or overseas, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

When you plan to hire a shipping container, the first thing to determine is whether to buy or rent a container?

If you’re moving in between states, and can easily return the container, renting is more beneficial, but for international movement, buying freight containers is more advisable, especially if you can arrange for re-selling it overseas.

Other considerations and tips for hiring containers include:


Since long containers are widely used in shipping industry, investing in them is often a safer bet. The recommended size to  go for could be 20 feet by 40 feet. They are more readily available and also have a good re-sale value. But, this is not a universal rule as maritime transport businesses may at times need to choose sizes completely in accordance with sailing frequency, ship size and shipping route.

Construction Material

No matter if you are buying or renting containers, it is necessary to make sure they are made from corrosion resistant material such as corten steel.  It exhibits a strong chemical composition and is highly resistant to atmospheric corrosion when compared with other materials.

Damage Check

Before taking delivery of shipping containers, one should always check it for damages. This includes: examination of the interiors and exteriors; checking the walls, flooring and roofs.

Make sure the container is leak proof and can handle the weight you intend it to carry. The container should be delivered to you at the port or elsewhere in a good condition, as promised in a written document at the time of placing an order. Remember, if you’re having it delivered at your company premises (or at home), make sure to clear out the site and then, clear some more.

Make Sure It Is Placed At Level Ground

This may not seem like the most important consideration, but if the container is not placed at level ground, it may cause problems in closing and opening the door when the container is loaded. Often, businesses involved in short sea shipping tend to ignore such factors. They shouldn’t.

Check Security Features

Your goods inside a container are protected till the door is intact and locks well. Therefore, besides checking the walls, floor and roof, spare sometime for inspecting the door as well. Doors with a lockbox are considered ideal for shipping. It protects the padlock from being tampered and hence keeps your goods in safe custody.

Preparing to receive delivery

Taking delivery of a shipping container is not that easy. If there are overhanging tress or power lines crossing over the area, the sellers must be informed to arrange for a safe delivery. In case the seller is not willing to take liability, make sure you get the area cleared off anything that can endanger lives or damage the container, well in time. In maritime transport, layout, size and weight of the shipping container has a lot to do with the available delivery space as well as the personnel and equipment for offloading goods.

Be Clear About Insurance Obligations

Always speak to sellers about providing insurance cover when hiring shipping containers. Most often the obligation is borne by buyers, and they are responsible for all the goods stored in the shipping containers.


Remember when you deal with shipping container sellers, have a professional outlook. Look at all the aspects carefully before deciding about the price, and never take delivery of containers for granted.


By Jason Markin, owner of RTC Container Sales


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