Buying a SHIPPING CONTAINER?
Here are some tips I'll pass on to you from my experiences when buying shipping container's.
Firstly, there are many different types of shipping containers with over 3 million new containers entering service every year, that's about one every ten seconds according to my calculations.
20ft and 40ft with two front doors are the most common and are called a G.P or general purpose, then there are refridgerated & other specialty shipping containers like racks, tanks, open tops and modified ones.
New or used?
"New" containers are at least one trip old and less than 6 months old unless it has been sitting around the yard for a while timing out its certificate of currency.
Generally they are made in China then packed with export trade & sent out overseas, you can tell the box's build date as it stamped on the CSC plate on the front door, it will also tell you when it's next test is for survey purposes (usually 5 years after being built) as they must be current if you want to rail-freight it in Australia or send the box on a boat overseas.
High cube boxes are 9/6" high & with internal furniture rails make popular removalist containers, they may have three tie-off rails & many tie-off points down each side & back & sometimes two rails on the inside of the roof.
You can achieve the same result with lower cost in a G.P box by dropping 8mm chains fixed with shackles either end from the standard tie-down points, then run ratchet straps horizontally to hold furniture.
A standard G.P box is 8/6", subtract about 8 inches for inside measurements & this will vary slightly depending on the box type & maker, high cube's are two pallets wide and when fitted with internal shelving they make excellent storage boxes, newer containers are fitted with an international standard shielded lock box from the factory that still allows the container to be stacked with others.
Getting a shipping container moved.
Get the yellow pages out & ring around and you will get a good range of prices from tilt-slide towies, country rates can be higher and finding a city to city back-load can be much cheaper.
Where to get one?
Australia is a container hub so there are plenty of good ones available, EBay, on-line or yellow pages & it's usually on the box itself on the CSC plate or on the box or in the form of several big advertising stickers with contact details, I would recommend going straight to the owner or supplier of the box & select one yourself from the stack.
Buying one sight unseen is a big NO NO in my book.
From my experience they will listen quietly as you tell them what you want & don't want, say yeah yeah....tell you anything to get the sale...then send what they want to get rid of.
If you want a new box with-out dents, damage or bent parts you should expect to get just that, get some photo's of all sides of the actual box they will send, not some file photo or a photo taken off the internet sixteen years ago when the box was new on some-ones else's website.
If they send something you didn't order, they can take it back & send the correct one...but they won't if you've already paid.
Cheaper used containers are generally out of survey and more than five years old & are suitable for storage & will range in condition from weather tight & usable to holier than a wino's sock and twice as damp, mouldy 'n smelly with more dent's than a Datsun thats been in a demolition derby.
Don't pay too much for one out of CSC survey and unless you like having anything you put inside go rotten or rusty.. stay away from anything with holes in the roof or ones with leaking door seals or bent doors, they can't be fixed easily or cheaply & you are better off spending a couple of bucks more & buying something decent that will be easier to re-sell if need be.
So to sum up,
1.Do your research on price & type.
2.Go straight to the supplier or owner or buy privately..end of the year or the new year is an expensive time to buy furniture containers as it's moving season .
3.Don't buy sight un-seen and get a guarantee of condition, photo's, put it in writing so they know what you expect to be delivered.
4.Containers have a serial number stamped in steel on the bottom corner block & stickered in at at-least 6 different places inside & outside...give the container number to the towie to make sure the same container you buy or is in the photos turns up.
5.Fingers, toes & eyes crossed you should be right.......maybe.
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