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How much is a shipping container?

Are you wondering how much is a storage container? This comprehensive guide will answer all your questions.

First we’ll dive into the popular uses of transport containers. Then we’ll explore the prices of both new and used ones and the various factors that influence their costs.

Finally, we’ll answer frequently asked questions about shipping containers, including their dimensions and lifespans.

Whether you’re a trucking or construction business owner, shipper or home builder, you’re in the right place.

What is a shipping container?

First off, what are shipping containers?

A shipping container is a large, standardized metal box used for storing and shipping goods. Transport shipping containers are built to withstand the rigors of transportation and can be transported by trucks, trains, or ships.

Shipping containers come in various sizes and are commonly used in the shipping industry to transport goods across long distances. They are also used for storage purposes and can be modified to serve as living spaces or office spaces.

What are some examples of shipping container uses?

Over the last decade, demand for shipping containers has grown by leaps and bounds as people recognize their diverse applications. Some popular (and creative) uses include:

  1. Transporting goods and materials

  2. Warehousing and storage space

  3. Temporary or permanent housing and accommodation, such as apartments or emergency shelters

  4. Offices, including mobile offices and temporary job site trailers

  5. Pop-up shops and retail spaces

  6. Exhibition and event spaces, including trade show booths and pop-up galleries

  7. Restaurants, food stands and coffee shops

  8. Swimming pools, saunas and hot tubs

  9. Art studios and creative spaces

  10. Eco-friendly and sustainable homes or commercial spaces

What are the pros of buying a shipping container?

There are many reasons for the widespread appeal of these containers. They include, for instance:

  • Superior durability – Shipping containers are designed to withstand decades of long-distance transport in harsh weather conditions. 

  • Cost-effectiveness – Trucking shipping containers are relatively inexpensive compared to other storage options, such as building a shed or renting a storage unit. 

  • Versatility – Containers can be transformed into a variety of structures such as tiny homes, offices, workshops, and even swimming pools. This makes them perfect for people looking to create unique and affordable living or work spaces.

  • Portability – Originally designed for transport, shipping containers are suitable for businesses that need to move from location to location. 

  • Sustainability – Repurposing used containers that might otherwise end up in a landfill is an eco-friendly approach to creating new structures. 

  • Security – Shipping containers are made of steel, making them strong and secure. They are also equipped with lockable doors, which helps to keep stored items safe.   

What are the cons of buying a shipping container? 

  • Space limitations – Standard shipping containers are generally 20 or 40 feet long and eight feet wide. This may not be enough space for larger storage needs. 

  • Transport – Moving shipping containers can be difficult, and may require special equipment.

  • Condensation – Without proper insulation or ventilation, condensation can build up inside the container and damage items stored within.

  • Permits – Obtaining the necessary permits to use freight shipping containers for storage may be difficult or costly in some areas.

How much does a shipping container cost?

How much is a shipping container, and how much does a used shipping container cost?

The cost of shipping containers varies. A used 20-foot container can cost between $1,500 to $3,000, while a used 40-foot container costs between $3,000 to $5,500. 

New containers are more expensive, with a 20-foot container costing around $3,000 to $5,000 and a 40-foot container costing around $5,000 to $8,000. Keep in mind that taxes, delivery fees and any customization will increase the final cost.

However, prices may vary significantly depending on the market conditions and the seller. It’s always advisable to do some research to find the best deals before making any purchase.

Which factors determine the price of shipping containers?

There are several factors that determine the price of new and used shipping containers. These include their:

  • Age – New containers are typically more expensive, while used containers are generally more affordable.

  • Condition – The three main conditions of shipping containers: new, used (cargo-worthy) and refurbished. Containers with more wear and tear will be less expensive.

  • Size – Larger containers generally cost more, so customers should consider storage and transportation needs in their selection.

  • Location – Containers located in areas with high demand, like urban centers or port cities, may cost more than those in rural areas.

  • Custom features – Windows, doors and insulation, for example, can add to the cost of a shipping container.

  • Supply and demand – As with any other product, supply and demand plays a role in the price of shipping containers. If demand is high and supply is low, prices will increase, and vice versa.

  • Market factors – External market factors, such as the price of steel, can have a significant impact on container prices as well.

Additional considerations when purchasing a shipping container


Shipping containers are made of steel, aluminum, or a combination of both. Steel is the most popular because of its durability, but aluminum is lighter and rust-resistant. The material affects shipping container sizes and prices. 


Consider the type and location of the doors, and whether they’re operable or not. This is especially important if you’re planning a shipping container store front. 

Delivery and transport

Determine how the shipping container will be transported or delivered to your location. Transporting shipping containers requires specialized equipment, such as a large flatbed trailer or crane.


Check with local authorities on any permits or restrictions related to shipping container usage, including zoning regulations and building codes.

Maintenance and repairs

Inspect the container and ask for a maintenance log to ensure it was properly maintained. Consider any repairs that are needed before it can be used.


Decide whether you need any additional accessories like insulation, ventilation, or lighting.  This often depends on the sizes of shipping containers you are using. 

Research your options before making a decision 

Shipping containers are a cost-effective option in a wide variety of scenarios. Their durability, versatility and portability, among other features, have made them increasingly popular over the last several years.


Despite growing demand fueling price hikes in some locations, containers remain a sound investment for anyone seeking reliable, long-term storage. Consider shipping container sizes and prices, and find the best deal you can. 


What is an intermodal shipping container? 

An intermodal container is a large standardized metal box designed for the storage and transportation of goods. These containers come in different sizes and are rigid and durable, able to withstand harsh conditions in transit. They’re designed for easy transfers from one mode of transport to another, including trucks, trains and ships. The intermodal shipping container has revolutionized the shipping industry, enabling goods to be transported globally with greater efficiency and security.

Is using shipping containers for storage a good idea?

Using shipping freight containers for storage can be a good idea depending on your specific needs. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

Are used shipping container prices lower than new ones? 

Used shipping containers cost less than new ones, depending on their age, condition, and location. Used 20-foot containers can cost between $1,500 and $3,000, while a 40-foot one is between $3,000 and $5,500. New 20-foot containers cost around $3,000-5,000, with 40-foot containers costing $5,000 to $8,000.

What size are shipping containers?

The most common sizes are 20-, 40- and 45-feet long.

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