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  • Written by News Co

Have you ever wondered what the exact differences are between new and used shipping containers? There are some pros and cons to choosing new or used containers and we will discuss those here so that you have all the facts before you make a final decision.

If you have not yet decided on whether to hire or purchase a shipping container, you could be considering your options such as buying a new shipping container or saving some money by picking up a used one.

So, what are the pros of hiring or purchasing a new shipping container?


  1. No Risk of Contamination - A new shipping container has never been used for storage or for shipping, so it has never had anything inside of it. This means that you have no risk of cross contamination and you will not have to worry if a toxic substance was stored inside of the container at some point.

  2. Safe for Modification Use – Used containers are ideal for certain purposes but new containers can be used to create many different types of small businesses and home additions. New containers can be used for small temporary stores, cafes and small restaurants or for modern affordable homes or extensions to homes.

  3. Sea Worthy – new containers must meet specific quality standards as being “seaworthy” to be able to be transported across oceans on massive container ships. New containers ensure that the container will meet all the specific requirements of shipping guidelines.

  4. Forklift Pockets – every new shipping container has forklift pockets to make moving the container easier in large container ports or for loading containers onto transport trucks. Older shipping containers do not have forklift pockets and that makes it difficult to move them around from place to place, particularly in a storage yard.

  5. Perfect Condition – When you purchase a new shipping container, it will be new on the inside and the outside with brand new paint. There will be no dents, scratches or any other type of mark on the container. Branding from shipping companies will not have been applied to the container yet.

  6. Warranty – new containers come with a manufacturer’s warranty that is longer than one you will receive on a used container. This offers some peace to the buyer because they know that there are covered with a decent warrant.

  7. Air Tight – new containers have new seals which make the container water tight and air tight. These seals also keep out debris, moisture, dust and any type of critter that wants to get at the contents of your container. If you are storing a lot of expensive items and damage to them would be very expensive, a new container is a good option.

All these points make purchasing a new shipping container a good choice. So, what are the cons?

  1. The cost is a big one. New shipping containers cost much more than used ones. You will have to decide if you want to pay the extra cost for a new container or if a used shipping container will suit your needs at a lower cost.

  2. Too good to be used for storage purposes. You do not need to spend the extra money on a new container unless you plan to store goods that are extremely sensitive. A good used storage container could be suitable for that purpose and at a much lower cost.

Do you want to know more about used shipping containers? There are pros and cons to these too, of course.


  1. Used Containers Cost Much Less – A second hand shipping container is not going to cost you as much as a new container. There are many quality grades with used containers and the price is based on that condition so if you can purchase a container that is not exactly “pristine” then you can save quite a bit of money.

  2. Perfect for Construction Sites – Every construction site needs an office and used shipping containers are great for this use. The best part is that you could purchase a lower grade used container because the condition of the container is not very important since it is for temporary use only.

  3. Ideal for Rental – New containers are good for rentals but with each rental they become damaged and will lose value quickly. Used shipping containers are better suited since they have already lost the initial sticker value and will not cost you as much money. This can increase your profit margin since you will spend much less on the container and be able to hire it out to make back the money that you spent to purchase the container.

  4. Many Grades Available – Used shipping containers are graded by their quality and older containers are available at a much lower cost, particularly if they have rust and dents. If you are looking to use a shipping container for a storage area / outbuilding, lower grade containers are cheaper and suitable for that use.

  5. Used containers are suitable for moveable facilities. Certain events, exhibitions and concerts that are held outdoors need toilets and these containers can be modified to contain several toilets making them ideal for this use. They can be moved to and from the event easily and are not meant to be a permanent structure.


  1. Not air tight – New containers are designed to protect cargo. Used containers, if they are Grade “A” may still have the seals that a new container had. If a container is not airtight then moisture, dirt and pests will be able to get into the container and may cause damage to the goods contained. Used containers with no seals cannot be used to transport or store goods either.

  2. Risk of contamination – If you want to transport or store sensitive or perishable items then you must be very careful with the container that you purchase. If something toxic or dangerous was previously stored in the container it could pose a risk. It is much safer to just buy a new container.

  3. Shorter lifespan – most shipping containers are designed to last for around 12 years. When you purchase an older container, it may be around 9 years of age meaning that the use that you get out of it may be quite short before you end up having to scrap the container.

It is important to consider whether you need a new shipping container or a used one will suit your purpose. Either way, the container you decide to purchase will be based on your requirements which will dictate the ultimate choice that you make.

Read more about new and used shipping containers

Images from Tiger Containers