If you are new to shipping or you are considering using containers for storage, there are a number of things you may not be clear on. In this article, we will try to provide you with some information that will help you understand a few things about containers better. We will also try to provide you with a few guides or links to places where you can get additional information.
What Do You Need it For?
To help you get started, the first question you will likely need to answer is this – what do you need the container for? There are different possible uses you could need it for and we will look at a couple of them.
This is probably the primary reason for which these steel boxes were created in the first place. If this is the purpose for which you want to get one, then you need to consider some important factors. Two of the most important factors are: size and type.
This is a very important consideration as it can seriously affect the overall efficiency and possibly cost of your shipping. The size of container you will require will depend on the size or quantity of items you are shipping.
You will have the option of sharing one with other shippers (if you’re using a freight forwarder and don’t have enough items to fill one) or going for a 10 foot, 20 foot, or 40 foot container. These are the popular sizes you will find.
The capacity of these sizes range from about 24,910lbs. (11,300 Kg) to about 59,040 lbs. (26,780 kg). It’s now up to you to decide the capacity that will be ideal. You can learn more about the different sizes and their capacity here.
Aside from size, you also need to consider the type of container you need. There are many different types and the one that will be right for you will again depend on what you are shipping.
There are dry types for shipping dry items. There are others for shipping cars and other commodities. In fact, if you are shipping perishable food items, there are specialized ones that will keep the food items under the right temperature so they are preserved until they arrive at their destination.
In other cases, the size or form of what you are shipping can determine the type you should choose. Some items may be too wide or too high for regular types. You may therefore require other types like open top types or double door types.
Once you know the size and type you need for shipping your cargo, then you are almost ready to go get it.
So you need yours for use as a storage unit right? You will also need to consider a couple of things. First is what you intend to store in it. Unless you are getting a brand new container (which may not be the best decision cost-wise), you may want to find out what it was previously used for.
Some of them have been used for storing or shipping dangerous chemicals or other such substances. If this is the case, you certainly will not want to use such for storing certain things like food or other items that can be contaminated.
You will of course also need to consider its size for two major reasons. First, you will need to look at its size in relation to what you want to store in it. It should be large enough to hold it. Secondly, you will also need to consider its size in relation to the space you have to store it on. If you do not have the space for a 40 footer, you may have to do with a 20 footer or less.
The type may also be important if you are storing specialized items. You may need a thermal, refrigerator or other kinds of special containers. Again, it all depends on what you want to store in it.
Lastly, the condition of the container is very important. Since you are going to be using it for storage, it must be secure and able to protect its content from both the elements and unauthorized persons. Check to ensure there are no leakages or damaged locks.
You can read about an example of how a container can be used for storage in this article: http://saskmuseums.org/blog/entry/metal-shipping-containers-as-additional-storage.
Aside from these regular uses, a lot of folks are now modifying containers for many other uses. Some of these uses include homes, offices, shops, swimming pool shell etc.
Modification can be pretty tricky. You need to know exactly what you are doing before begin to search for the container(s). You need to be sure of the size and quantity you need. Depending on your design, you may need a mixture of sizes. This should be pre-determined from your design.
One important thing you must however not joke with is something we mentioned earlier. If you are going to be modifying for use as any form of human habitation, you need to be sure that it is safe. You do not want one that was used for storing harmful chemicals. There could be some residue of these chemicals which could end up being harmful to you.
You must ensure you know the last thing it was used for.
What Are Your Options?
Finally you want to know what your options for finding the shipping container(s) you need are. At this stage, what you really need is shipping container information and availability. You need to know which ones are available, where they are located, where they’ve been, what they transported or stored, their current state and possibly how much they cost.
Getting all these information on different containers is usually not very easy. However, with a container market place, it is a lot easier and starting and completing transactions are even more so. This process takes away the stress of going round searching for available containers. Rather, sellers and buyers meet online and what is available, anywhere they are is readily seen.
With the process this simplified, you can get the right container you need for whatever you need it for.