Did you know the use of shipping containers dates back to the 1950s? Moving products across the ocean and storage become much easier. 

People still use containers today for those same reasons; however, there are many more uses for them. If you’re considering purchasing a shipping container for your home or business, then you’ve come to the right place.

Before committing to the purchase, it’s important to know the cost of shipping containers. Keep reading to find out the price for new and used containers and other factors that can contribute to the cost.  

New Containers 

The number of times a container is used contributes to the price. A new shipping container will likely have transported products at least once. The majority of containers are made in China, so they’ll have to ship it to you and they’ll possibly carry goods on their way over. 

A new vessel will be the more durable and long-option. If you plan on using it for 15+ years, this will be the most reliable option. By purchasing a new shipping container, you’ll have access to specific information that you may not have with a used one.

If you want to know where the container came from, a new container is your best bet. Depending on what you’re using it for, you may want to know what goods or products the container has stored. This information can be hard to find with a used container. 

Used Containers 

A more affordable option is to purchase used shipping containers. However, there are some risks and things to need to be on the lookout for. You can expect a used container to have been in circulation for about 10 years. 

During that time the container will have experienced a lot. The appearance may not be as nice as a new one. It could have multiple layers of paint or logos on it. This does significantly decrease the price. 


If you’re planning on shipping your container, you need to make sure it’s fit to transport goods. It shouldn’t have any holes, and it should have a solid structure so substances can’t get in or out. A used container won’t last as long as a brand new one, but you’ll be able to get a lot of use out of it. 

If you’re looking for one step below new, you can get a premium shipping container. It will only be used for a few years, up to eight. It’ll still be in great condition and shippable. The cost is between $4,000 and $8,000.

You can also get a Grade-A container and see significant savings. It’s still able to store and ship goods, but it’s more than eight years old. It could have some rust and exterior damage and the cost will be from $3,200 to $6,500. 

Winder and Water Tight

A Grade-B shipping container has a cost starting at $2,900. It’d be more than eight years old. The vessel will be wind and water-tight, but it won’t be in a condition to travel across the sea. 

You can also purchase containers that have been previously repaired. The price will be determined based on what type of repairs were performed and how old it is. 

If you want the cheapest option, you can buy a damaged shipping container and make the repairs yourself. Be sure to inspect the vessel thoroughly so you know if you can fix it or not. 

A retired shipping container can still be in good condition even if it’s not fit to ship across the ocean. If you’re looking to use it for storage or to convert it, then this is going to be the most affordable option. The container should still be without holes and major damage and if you take care of the container it will last you a long time.  


You first need to decide how big you need your container to be. The size will contribute to the price you pay. A 20-foot container is 20’ x 8’ x 8′ and typically costs between $2500 to $6500. It’s one of the smaller sizes and isn’t too difficult to move around. 

A 40-foot container will likely cost between $3000 and $6000. It’s significantly bigger than a twenty-foot container with the following dimensions 40’ long x 8’ wide x 8’6” high. 

As the size increases so will the price. However, there is an exception. A 10-foot or cubed container isn’t as popular, making it more expensive. 

If you’re running your business out of the container or using it for storage, you might need a taller-than-average vessel. A high-cube container is available and will add to the price. If you want a 20-foot container but taller than the standard eight feet, you’ll pay around $300 more.

To get a 40-foot container taller than 8’6″ you can add about $450-$500 to the price. 


You’ll likely need to have your container delivered, which comes with a fee. The distance traveled and size will make a difference in the price. Many freights have a weight limit.

If your container is empty, the freight will be able to load more and the cost won’t be as much for you. If you’ve loaded up your container, the cost will be more due to the fact that the cargo ship or plane won’t be able to load as many containers. 

The mood of delivery is also important to consider. Shipping a container by air will be faster but also much more pricey than by sea. 

If you’re having your container shipped to or from overseas, you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars. If it’s coming from another state, you’ll pay an average of $2 per mile. 


Similar to other products, the cost of shipping containers is determined by supply and demand. If the state or country you’re buying your container from has a shortage of steel or containers themselves, you’ll see the price increase. If you’re trying to decrease the cost, consider choosing a location close to a large port and not a landlocked country. 

Life Span

A great benefit to shipping containers is that they have a long life span. If a container is taken care of it can be used for 25+ years. One that has traveled across the ocean multiple times has some wear and tear that may decrease the lifespan to 10 or so years. 


When you are calculating the cost of shipping containers, you must factor in if you want to customize your vessel. Adding electricity and water is a great option if you want to keep your container stationary.

It may be beneficial to get quotes from a local electrician but plan to spend $50 to $100. If you need chairs or cubicles, those will also need to be factored into your budget. 

Container Uses

There are many ways to use your container. If you’re only planning to use it a few times to ship products, then you might want to find another use for it.

Many people are using containers as home offices or converting them into tiny houses. You can also use them on construction sites as mobile offices. Many medical facilities and schools use them when they are low on space. 

Make It Your Home

Many people are choosing to convert and live in their containers. Before you decide to do this, you need to know how much it’ll cost you in total.

A new container is probably the best option if you plan to live in it long term. You’ll want to guarantee it is durable and not compromised. Depending on your height and preferences, you might want to opt for a taller vessel.

You’ll likely spend anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000, not including the price of the land. If you want to build a larger shipping container home with multiple vessels, you could spend up to $100,000. 

While the more a shipping container is used it’s possible to make a profit using your container. If you live in a popular tourist area, you could use your vessel as a rental home or short-term vacation rental. You could also buy a container to slip into a home and sell it for a profit.

Cost of Shipping Containers

As you can see there are many factors that contribute to the cost of shipping containers. However, the biggest factor is if you buy it new or used. There are pros and cons to both options.

At the end of the day, you’ll need to evaluate your needs and your budget to decide which option is best for you. If you’re having trouble deciding what size or what type of container is going to be ideal, contact us today. We are here to answer all your questions.