Shipping containers continue to gain in popularity for a variety of reasons. For business owners looking for additional storage or to open up shop, shipping containers are a trendy new option. But how much does a shipping container cost?
In this post we’ll break down shipping container pricing to give you a better idea of what you can expect to pay online, with and without shipping and taxes.
Shipping Container Prices in 2023
There are a variety of options when it comes to shipping containers, creating a wide range in pricing. Generally speaking, the cost of used shipping containers will range anywhere from around $2,100 to $7,500 (***updated 07/28/2023…this is including shipping and taxes). To better determine pricing options, take a look at some of the different options you have.
There are two standard sizes for shipping containers. Before checking shipping container prices, you will want to determine what size best suits your needs.
89% of the production of shipping containers come in two standard sizes, which are:
There are options for finding custom container sizes, but as you can imagine, this will cause the price to increase as these are rare to find.
The cost of standard size shipping containers, without shipping or tax, is typically in the following ranges (updated July 2023):
|Container Size||Price Range|
|20-foot shipping container cost||$1,700 to $6,000|
|40-foot shipping container cost||$2,300 to $6,500|
As you can see, prices can vary quite a bit.
If you’re near a major port or can pick up locally, you might be able to find a steal, but expect to do some digging. Places like Craigslist or Ebay can also work on occasion, but be weary of scams.
If you’re picking up the container yourself, the prices above are what you should expect to pay when purchasing a container online. If you plan to have the container delivered though, you should expect shipping container prices similar to the below table, depending on the condition.
We’ve also put together an Airtable link that has pricing for containers not available on our site, such as refrigerated and double door containers.
Unfortunately, the shipping container industry has taken a beating ever since COVID-19, causing container prices to almost double compared to pre-pandemic prices.
The good news is that prices are coming back down to earth, so they’re much more affordable than they were just one year ago.
But, as shipping containers become more and more popular for non-traditional uses, prices are only naturally going to go up.
Some businesses have a demand for additional height in their storage containers. In these circumstances, you will want to look for a high-cube container, which will add an extra foot to your container’s height.
High-cube containers are available in both standard sizes:
- 20-foot: 20’ x 8’ x 9′ 6″
- 40-foot: 40’ x 8’ x 9′ 6″
Like the standard size containers, you can also find high-cube containers in custom sizes, but at a higher cost. Expect to pay around $200 – $400 more for a 20ft HC, but not much more, if any, for a 40ft HC container. Forty-foot high-cube containers are actually more common than 40ft standard containers, so you’ll typically find that they’re actually less expensive than 40ft standard containers.
Any size outside of standard or high-cube container dimensions is considered non-traditional. If you are looking for a non-traditional size, you can anticipate paying 20-30% more than standard pricing.
When you are looking to purchase a shipping container, it is important to remember what purpose they originally served – transporting cargo overseas. As a result, they are known to take a heavy beating.
Generally speaking, the average shipping container should have a lifespan of around 15 years. Keep that in mind when you are doing your research on containers and finding out the current age and condition.
There are essential factors regarding the age and condition of shipping containers you will want to find out about before purchasing:
Not only do you want to know how old the shipping container is, but more importantly, it’s also essential to see if you can find out how many times that particular container has been used to ship cargo. Knowing what the container has been used for in its history will help determine its longevity.
History of Repair
Much like any significant purchase you make, such as a car or home, you will want to find any shipping container’s repair history. Find out what was repaired, when it was fixed, and how frequently it has had repairs.
It may seem obvious, but you’ll want to be sure not to overlook any present damages the container has. Depending on the purposes you intend for the container, some damages might not be significant enough to deter you from purchasing.
Each element of age and condition is essential because you might find a newer container at a reasonable price, but it likely has been through a lot of damage and might still have some issues that you will need to tend to.
Cost of Shipping Containers by Size and Condition
Here is a simple breakdown of the different conditions, or grades, of shipping containers, what that means, and what you can expect to pay for it (including shipping and tax):
$4,000 to 6,000
$5,500 to $7,500
$2,300 to 4,700
$3,100 to $5,300
|Grade A||Cargo Worthy||
$2,100 to $4,400
$2,800 to $4,800
$2,100 to $4,400
$2,700 to $4,300
||$2,000 and up|
||$1000 and up|
Rent vs. Purchase
Many businesses look to rent shipping containers for a more comfortable, more affordable, and highly convenient option. You can opt to make smaller monthly payments through renting instead of paying the large lump sum upfront.
Another thing to consider is the disposal after the need for the shipping container has been depleted. If you only need a container temporarily, renting is an excellent option for you not to have to worry about what to do with it once you no longer need it.
Typically, once the terms of your rental agreement have been completed, suppliers will pick them up from you directly.
Monthly rental periods for shipping containers are usually two years long, and the fees associated with it are as follows:
|Monthly rent||$75 to $200|
You will have two options in terms of purchasing a shipping container: buy it new or used. While buying a new shipping container will give you peace of mind in terms of longevity, there are plenty of used options out there that will meet your expectations more.
|Purchase used||$1,400 to $4,200|
|Purchase new||$3,000 to $7,500|
The price ranges vary based on the different aspects of the containers, and the more custom your order, the heftier the price tag you can expect to pay.
Rent to Own
The delivery fees associated with shipping containers varies on a few different features of the container itself. Generally speaking, the delivery fee for a standard shipping container is around $3,000.
You want to make sure to have all the information you possibly can before making a big purchase like a shipping container. Take a look at some of the frequently asked questions surrounding purchasing a used shipping container.
Can you buy shipping containers under $1,000?
Yes, you can buy shipping containers under $1,000. But, it’s going to be in rough shape. The only time you’re going to find shipping containers for that cheap is when they’re in AS-IS condition.
So, while you can buy shipping containers at pricing less than $1,000, you want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into with a price tag that low. If a shipping container is that inexpensive, it is likely to have many faults that may not be repairable.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy a 40-Foot Shipping Container?
A standard 40-foot shipping container, with dimensions 40’ x 8’ x 8.5’, costs anywhere from $2,600 to $3,300. If you are looking for a high-cube or untraditional size container, you can expect to pay 20-30% more than the standard pricing.
How Much Is a Shipping Container Home?
Containers make for great homes, with varying customizations. On the simpler container home range, you can anticipate paying $30,000 to $85,000. Larger homes that use various containers can be up to $175,000.
What Is the Lifespan of a Shipping Container?
If you purchase a brand new shipping container and put it immediately into storage, it could last nearly 50 years. More likely, you will be purchasing a used container that has already had a life at sea, carrying cargo.
A used container will still easily last you around 15 years, depending on your use and the environment you will be placing it in.
How Come 20-Foot Containers Can Cost More Than 40-Foot Containers?
If you compare two shipping containers of similar age and condition, with the only difference being one is 20 feet, and the other is 40 feet, you might find that the smaller is more expensive at times.
This price variation happens when demand exceeds supply in the local area. Usually, 40-foot containers are the most commonly used in cargo and can be easier to find.
If you wonder how much are shipping containers, you can answer that question by looking at the different aspects of what you are looking for. The price of containers can range drastically, but luckily there are other purchase options for you.
Regardless of whether you are looking to rent or purchase, be sure to look at all of your shipping container specifications. A shipping container is a big-ticket item to buy, so you must know what you are getting yourself into.