How Much Do Used Shipping Containers Cost? A Steel Containers Guide

Shipping containers are a huge trend. Whether for investing, for storing cargo, or even for establishing a home or a place of business. Demand for purchasing shipping containers has risen. And no doubt, if you’re reading this, you also want to get your hands on one.

You’re looking for a high-quality shipping container. You want to make sure you get the best product available.

Luckily, you don’t need to purchase new shipping containers for any of those needs. Buying used shipping containers can be just as high quality without having to break the bank. 

So the question is: How much do used shipping containers cost?

The price varies based on the product and here’s a quick guide to reference when making your purchase.

How Much Do Used Shipping Containers Cost?

When buying used shipping containers, you must first consider your needs before looking at the cost. 

Make sure you figure out the size of the shipping container before choosing. After you’ve determined the purpose of the container, you’ll have an idea of what the dimensions should be. Most likely, you’re using the container for cargo; the more cargo you possess, the larger dimensions you’ll need.

Once you’ve determined the size, you can now look at the cost.

Prices can always vary, but generally speaking, here are the price ranges to expect for used shipping containers:

  • 20 Feet = $2,100 (estimated) …contact supplier for actual prices based on condition
  • 40 Feet = $2,850 (estimated) …contact supplier for actual prices based on condition 

For particular modifications, the price will naturally vary. But generally speaking, a used shipping container should not exceed $4,000. 

Make sure you don’t go cheap on a used container. It may be tempting to purchase one under $1,000. But if a container is that cheap, it’s probably not of high quality and has hidden faults. 

But Wait! Make Sure You Know This First…

The prices above may seem appealing and cheaper than what you expected. But remember that you want to make sure the used shipping containers are also of high quality. Here’s what you need to look for when buying used shipping containers.

(Possible) Refurbishing

While we want to push you to get a high-quality used shipping container, there may always be the possibility that some sort of refurbishment will be required. This may include repainting the container or making minor repairs.

Weight A Minute!

Regardless of what’ll be stored in your shipping container, you’ll want to make sure the container can carry the weight of your cargo. When purchasing your used shipping container, inquire about the load of cargo that it can hold. You’ll have to calculate the weight of the cargo you plan to store to make sure it’s the right fit.

NOT a Sea Container

You may accidentally be looking at a sea container instead of a shipping container. The former is used for freight and can travel over sea or land. But a shipping container is used primarily for construction and is the better option for storing cargo. 

We’re Here to Help

So now that you know how much used shipping containers should cost and what to look for, you’re ready to look for one.

Equipment Management Services provides some of the best shipping containers for the Houston and Dallas areas. You can contact us to inquire about purchasing your shipping container and/or also get your container modified.

You can also find directions to our Houston office and our Dallas office. We hope to see you soon!

What Are the Different Types of Container Sizes?

The modern shipping container has been around since 1955. Malcolm P. McLean’s company started using the same truck trailers to move goods on both the highway and the sea. 

While the concept hasn’t changed much since then, the design options of the containers have changed. Now, you can find shipping containers in an array of sizes and designs. 

The trouble is, there are so many configurations that it’s tough to know which one is right for your needs. Read on to learn about your options for container sizes as well as the different types of containers.  

Common Shipping Container Sizes

The majority of shipping containers are 8 feet wide, so the height and length is what really separates them. 

The standard height for containers is 8.5 feet. But, high cube containers, which are 9.5 feet tall, are also considered standard.

The most common lengths for shipping containers are 20 and 40 feet long, so these are considered standard sizes. In fact, cargo ships are measured in TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalent units. The 20-foot container is so common it’s considered the base unit of measurement.  

You can also get containers in different lengths like 8, 10, 30, 48, and 53 feet. You can also get modified containers built to your specific dimensions, so the possibilities are endless. 

If you plan to use your container for highway transportation, you need to check the laws for your region before you buy a shipping container

There’s actually no federal length limit for truck tractor semi trailers, but there is a minimum length requirement. The minimum length requirement is different in every state, and ranges from 48 to 59 feet.  

Types of Shipping Containers

Standard dry containers are the most common type since they can handle most goods and cargo. 

Insulated and refrigerated containers have insulation in their walls which is why they’re great for produce, dairy, or meat. These two types of containers are both insulated except refrigerated units have a condenser that lets you control the temperature.  

High cubes are great for lightweight cargo because you can store more without adding any length. They’re also great for home or office conversions since there’s more head room for insulation or lighting.

Tunnel and side open containers have different door placements for easier access to the cargo. Tunnel containers have doors at both ends and side open containers have doors on the long side of the trailer. 

Open top containers don’t have a metal top, but you can cover them with a tarp. If you need to store or transport tall items, open top containers can help. 

Purchase Your Shipping Container Today

With such a wide range of container sizes and types, there’s a shipping container for practically every need. 

Whether you need a shipping container to transport your products or you need one for storage, Equipment Management Services can help. We offer new, used, and custom containers to clients near our Houston/Dallas locations and also all across the country, if feasible. 

To learn more about the shipping containers we offer, contact us today. 

Freight Containers for Sale in Houston

Shipping containers are a popular option for both businesses and private individuals looking for eco-friendly alternatives to the usual building methods. When you re-use an out-of-service shipping container in any way, you’re recycling, and every type of recycling is a win for the environment. 

If you have a storage or shelter problem that traditional building methods can’t solve, read on. Here’s what you need to know about freight containers for sale in Houston, Texas. 

Types of Freight Containers for Sale in Houston

There are 16 different types of containers used for transporting goods all over the world. Many of these are purpose-built for shipping specialized goods like cars, refrigerated items, weapons, or chemicals. 

However, dry storage containers are the most common, and most useful type for the man on the street. They’re available in three standard dimensions, namely 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft lengths. Most dry storage containers are 8ft wide by 8.5 ft tall. High cube containers are 9.5ft tall.

Since they’re used for long voyages by sea, shipping containers are very durable. They’re made from corrosion-resistant steel, known as Cor-ten steel. The dimensions and properties of shipping containers mean they’re suitable for a wide range of applications. 

Typical Uses of Freight Containers in Dallas and Houston, Texas

Shipping container manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure their products can stand up to extreme weather conditions out at sea. This makes containers ideal for dry-land storage too. 

They’re also used for several other applications throughout Texas:

  • On-site offices on construction sites
  • Home construction
  • Swimming pools
  • Animal shelters
  • Kitchens 
  • Shops
  • Ablution blocks
  • Medical clinics
  • Bunkers
  • Indoor gardening

As more people become aware of the benefits of using watertight, durable shipping containers, we’re bound to see more design innovations come to the front. 

New or Used Freight Containers in Texas

Used shipping containers have several advantages over new ones. They’re an eco-friendly option, they cost a lot less than new shipping containers, and they’re readily available.

Most used 20-foot containers in Houston cost around $2,000 dollars each, depending on their condition. If you want a one-trip container, the price can go up by as much as $1,000. New containers cost almost double that. 

Talk to your supplier about your intentions for the shipping container before you buy it. A reputable dealer will advise you on the right container for your needs and ensure it’s in a suitable condition for the purpose. 

The best suppliers will modify the container to suit your exact needs, saving you time and money. 

Where to Find the Best Freight Containers in Houston, Texas

Texas has one of the largest and most dynamic economies in the US. This means lots of shipping containers entering and leaving its borders – both via road and sea freight. With Houston being one of the biggest shipping ports in the Gulf Region, you will have an abundant supply to choose from.

Be sure to shop with a reputable, reliable supplier like EMS. Get in touch to experience our award-winning service or keep browsing our website if you need more information. 

How to Prepare for Your Frieght Container Delivery

Shipping containers have soared in popularity for various reasons, among them is their versatility and relatively low cost when a sturdy structure is required. 

They are used for housing, office spaces, and so many other uses today.

But whether your interest in a shipping container is for storage purposes or construction, there are things that must be done in advance of your container delivery in order to ensure the longevity of the container.

Here, learn about those requirements for shipping containers. Also, find out what you need to do to make sure your spot is ready for your shipping container delivery.

Shipping Container Delivery: Things To Do

An obvious first step when preparing to receive a shipping container is figuring out where you’re gonna put it

This may seem like an innocent enough thing to figure out, but there are actually a few factors involved.

Whether or not you intend to use it for storage or for living obviously matters, as well as where you are and how soft the ground is.

Make Sure Delivery Area Is Clean

When the truck comes to deliver your storage container, they are probably not going to have patience for any obstructions you forgot to mention.

You absolutely must make sure that the truck will have plenty of room to maneuver and get the shipping container to your desired delivery spot. This includes more than just getting to your home or wherever you desire. You need to ensure that the entire route that the container delivery will take is adequate. You must think of things such as power lines, bridges, and overpasses.

Make Sure The Ground Is Sufficient

This may be self-evident, but shipping containers weigh a great amount because they are literally made of metal. Shipping containers literally can weigh tens of thousands of pounds, so the stability of the ground you put it on actually matters a great deal.

Much like we put foundations on houses to make sure they don’t sink or tilt, something similar is required for a shipping container. You must make sure you are not putting it on wet, muddy, or uneven terrain unless you want to see it sink into the ground.

What you need for your container is dry and level ground. Some people go as far as to pour foundations specifically for their containers, which is never a bad idea.

Make Sure Your Container Is Up To Standards 

Once your container is delivered to your desired spot, you need to check over everything to make sure it’s all working. That includes making sure the doors open and close properly, making sure there are no defects or structural issues with the container.

Should you find any such defects, be sure to take them up with either the shipping container seller or the shipping company in order to figure out what to do next.

Shipping Containers, Modifications & More

You may intend for your container delivery to be seamless, but the truth is, you are the only one responsible for preparing and making the arrangements ahead of time, to make a flawless delivery. 

If you are interested in shipping containers or even container modifications, contact us today.

Houston Shipping Containers Ready to Be Transported to Their Rightful Owners

Across the Globe: The Evolution of Intermodal Container Transport

In the not to distant past, the movement of even the smallest of goods (like a piece of jewelry or a child’s toy) could take multiple transitions through different shipping containers. These days, however, an inter-modal container can ship a product halfway around the world without ever opening its doors to the light of day.

The evolution of these convenient, adaptable containers is a fascinating one.

Intermodal Container History

The history of intermodal transportation begins before mixed goods containers were considered.

The true intermodal definition includes the transportation of goods across multiple modes of transportation without any handling of the goods themselves. 

To qualify, even roughly, as an intermodal container, a container needs to transport goods and be transported by several means. The modern definition implicitly states that containers handle multiple internal boxes.

The Ancient World

Go back far enough and freight was shipped in whatever happened to hold enough of it to be worth sending off without breaking. Sacks, barrels, and crates all served the purpose of keeping goods together from as far back as 3000 BCE.

Horses carried goods inland to boats and boats sailed short distances across the Mediterranean or other short waterways. The boats were unloaded and the sacks were loaded onto other horses and onward it went.

It isn’t until the 18th century that the idea of stacking containers onto each other created the first need for real intermodal designs.

First Containers

It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that the first containers transported coal. This is a material needed in bulk at the outset of the Industrial Revolution, and it would, by necessity, look for the fastest routes.

Coal shipping boxes started out as wooden structures called tubs. These moved along canals through England in the last part of the 18th century. 

By the mid 19th century, the tubs would be transferred from a barge to a railway. While coal is a single commodity, the same container being used as both a transportation medium and storage made these tubs the first true intermodal containers.

At the dawn of the 20th century, covered containers made their debut. These could be transferred more easily between the now robust rail system and the emerging roadways.

Developing Standardization

As the transportation mediums scaled up in both speed and size, containers needed to standardize. 

This allowed loading equipment for the containers to be designed. This also allowed logistics supervisors to plan for usable space.

Amorphous shapes were harder to space evenly and could cause issues such as drag and sheer at even the low (by today’s standard) speeds of rail and trucks.

Early containers of the 1920s barely measured more than 5 x 10 feet. They were not sturdy enough for stacking and frequently had sloped and curved ceiling joists.

Major advances in containers built for speed and with a high strength to weight ratio came about in World War II. Military supplies needed to move quickly and the containers needed to weigh less than the supplies inside.

Piggyback transport was used by loading trailers onto rail-car flats. This was the fastest way to move cargo without ever touching it and without cranes.

With cranes, large railway companies began moving dedicated containers onto truck beds as early as the 1950s. 

Containerization

Cargo started to move from country to country and across the oceans. The volume of freight demanded that ports and railways be equipped to deal with containers from all over.

This lead to a standardization of sizes and categories of weight across international borders. The designation of containers, or containerization, gives a total set of dimensions and weight.

The European standard came first in 1933. The standardization of containers were introduced across two categories: heavy and light. Each type also allowed for differences in open and closed type containers. Heavy containers were limited at a mass of five tons, paltry by today’s needs. 

Since 1984, modern intermodal equipment providers have been using containers capable of double-stack transport. 

This technique allows rail cars to carry two containers at once with appropriate safety. Ships can stack containers higher as they have less overall inertia per container. 

Modern Day

Currently, intermodal transportation standards are set by the ISO. These lay out three common sizes based on the 20-foot length increments of ships and rail flats. Though standards exist, they are upper limits, not exact.

An intermodal container might be 20 feet in length but then have an irregular height and width. The height and width doesn’t cause problems when shifting from one transportation modality to another.

The designation of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) makes shipping records quick and easy to approximate. The three common sizes breakdown as follows:

  • high-cube: 40 x 8 x 9 and 6 inches
  • two TEU: 40 x 8 x 8 and 6 inches
  • one TEU: 20 x 8 x 8 and 6 inches

Variations on the height are most common with 4 and 3 inches appearing as a minimum range.

Internal equipment variations also exist. Most notably tankers, which have a standardized size in the outer shell but a rounded liquid container inside. Reefers, or refrigerated units, exist with the refrigeration units inside the container structure.

Finally, swap body containers are intended for free-standing offloads. These aren’t suitable to stack but have folding legs that make them usable without a crane.

Get Equipped

The history of intermodal container types isn’t as long as some technology. With only two hundred and fifty years beneath its belt, this tech has still manage to make major strides in capacity and speed.

If you need intermodal bulk containers for your freight needs, contact us for details on our stock and offerings

Freight Shipping Container Modifications in Houston: Container Homes and More!

The port of Houston hit a new record for processed container volume last year. The port handled 2.7 million 20-foot equivalent units. That’s up 10% from the previous year. 

With this much volume, there are plenty of containers in the area that are available for purchase. Their affordability and durability make them an attractive option for multiple construction projects. 

If you are considering using freight shipping containers for a home building project on your property, you need to read this guide first. It may save you countless hours of frustration, time and money. 

Let’s get started talking about some local regulations affecting your container use. 

Where to Build Your Shipping Container Home 

Texas is known for being one of the friendliest states when it comes to building with shipping containers. They tend to have more relaxed regulations when it comes to construction and zoning in general. 

For even greater building freedom, stick to the suburban and rural areas. The closer you get to larger cities like Houston the more regulations will be in place. 

Keep in mind it isn’t just the city and state government regulations you have to contend with. Many neighborhoods have an HOA agreement that regulates what can and cannot be built in a particular neighborhood or community. 

Using Your Container for Storage 

Don’t assume that you can use a shipping container for storage or as a shed on your property. Just outside of Houston the DeerPark City Council members decided they didn’t want shipping containers used for permanent storage within city limits. 

If a business wants to use a container, they must obtain a Special Use Permit. Even after approval, there are many other rules you need to follow. For instance, you cannot stack one container on top of another. 

You must also build an 8-foot opaque privacy fence to block the public view. 

Hotel Made of Containers 

Shipping containers aren’t just for storage, homes, and mobile offices in the Houston area. About an hour and a half outside of Houston in Round Top they are welcoming in a shipping container hotel. This shouldn’t be a surprise since the city is known as a mecca for antique and green living enthusiasts. They approved a six container hotel located just minutes from downtown. There are even plans to expand the hotel with more containers in the future. If you are looking to build, this would be an attractive area with container friendly zoning and codes. 

Can You Build a Container Home in Houston?

The short answer is yes, you can. There is no law prohibiting you from using shipping containers to build your home. However, there are some restrictions that we will get into in the next section. There is also the opposition you may face from those who do not want a container home in their neighborhood. 

Container homes are being successfully built in and around Houston. For example, this colorful home located in one of the many transition neighborhoods uses 4 containers

Your Container Home Can’t Be Too Tiny

We’ve all seen the tiny home trend where people live in a microscopic floor plan. One shipping container is perfect for this sort of living. However, you won’t be doing it in Houston. 

There are minimum dwelling regulations that your home must comply with. For instance, you must have at least one habitable room that is 120 square feet. Then the other habitable rooms must have no less than 70 square feet. 

No habitable room in your home can be less than 7 feet wide in any horizontal direction. The exception here is the kitchen. There is also a minimum ceiling height. You need to keep this in mind as it may make the difference between you buying a standard height container or a high cube. 

The minimum ceiling height in Houston is 7 feet. A standard cube is 8’6″, and a high cube is 9’6″. Now, this may seem like a lot of room, but you need to factor in your HVAC system, electrical wiring, and insulation. By the time you are done the finished ceiling on the inside of your container could be a foot lower than the height of the container. Then you still need to think about if you plan to install a ceiling fan. So, as you can see, there is a lot to think about when designing a tiny home out of a shipping container. 

Not to worry, we have ton’s of experience modifying shipping containers to your exact specifications. So contact us today for an insightful discussion on how to proceed. 

Use a Certified Fabricator 

Make sure you work with a certified fabricator for the other prefabricated building components you will need. If you plan to cut away a large portion of the container, you will need to construct alternative load bearing structures from steel. 

If you buy your trusses and beams from a certified fabricator, then individual inspections are not required. A city inspector will check for certification numbers on the structural components during your construction. However, if you have these numbers already, you can make the whole build out go a lot smoother. 

Start Using Freight Shipping Containers

Whether you plan to use freight shipping containers for storage, an office, or your home, you need to check with the local and state regulations to ensure that your new structure is legal. You don’t want to invest time and money only to find out that your new building needs to be taken down. 

Start by deciding how you want to use your container. Then check to see if that use is allowed. If you plan to build a container home, make sure you follow all of the codes because inspectors will be checking that you are throughout your building process. 

Contact us today and let us help you design a modified shipping container that is perfect for your needs.