Ask A Shipping Container Expert: Frequently Asked Questions

Have you been thinking about renting a shipping container for additional storage? What about purchasing a container for a construction project? Do you need a mobile office for your construction site?

The cargo container experts at Saf-T-Box have taken some time to answer some frequently asked questions.

shipping container questionsDo I need a permit for the container?

Before you make your purchase (Buy and Rent) you should think about and research any municipal rules against containers in your area, in this case we would recommend that you contact your local city or county to determine if any local ordinances against containers exist.

What sizes and/or types of containers do you have?

Containers are available in variable sizes and types. The most common is a dry freight container with a cargo door on one end. The most common is 20’Lx8’Wx8.5’H and 40’Lx8’Wx8.5’H (or 9.5’H) Storage or shipping containers. You have the option of purchasing dry, insulated, refrigerated or modified containers, in various sizes. Availability varies by location. Any time you stray from the common sizes and types you will pay much more.

A few questions to first ask before deciding to rent or buy a container:

How long do you plan on needing the container(s)?
Is your location adequate to host your container?
  • Delivery space: Proper delivery space is required in order for the delivery of the container to be possible. As a general rule of thumb you will need 3x the length of the container to deliver with a standard tilt bed “roll off” style truck bed or trailer. Adequate clearance and width is also required but the amount of length is typically the issue that tends to be a problem at delivery.
  • Restrictions: Certain sub developments, cities and counties have restrictions against containers. It is normally up to you to research this fact.
  • Location: The container needs to be in a good location. Is the location level? If not the doors may not function properly. If you plan to put your container in a location that is not level be prepared at delivery with wood blocks to assist the delivery driver in leveling the container. Adequate drainage? The areas should also have adequate drainage to avoid sinking.
  • Overhead Clearance: Because the container will be delivered on a slide off trailer make sure you have at least 14 feet of overhead clearance on the road to the delivery site and 20 feet of overhead clearance at the location where the truck will tilt the container to slide it off. This means all trees and overhead wires must be out of the way!

How long is a Rental Period?

28 day term which is typical in the rental container industry

What type of container conditions do you have?

shipping container sizes colors

Make sure you are very clear with what you are expecting condition wise, what you plan to use the container for, and what you are expecting to pay total including tax and delivery.

  • One Trip Containers: One trip containers are manufactured overseas; mainly in Asia and are shipped with a single container cargo load. One trip containers have not been handled as many time so they do not have dents, dings and surface rust like the used “AS IS” containers. Keep in mind that these containers have made one trip across the ocean and have been handled by container lifts and trucks so they often have a few scratches and a possible ding or two. I would strongly consider choosing a one trip container if you do not want to deal with maintenance and esthetics of used containers.
  • Cargo Worthy Containers: Cargo worthy containers are suitable for ocean going transport of cargo. A cargo worthy container must be surveyed or certified by a licensed surveyor. If your needs require shipping a container you must select a surveyed cargo worthy container. Cargo worthy inspection criteria is based on condition of the doors, floor, walls and ceiling. Structural integrity is also a major factor when it comes to certification of shipping containers.
  • Used “AS IS” and “WWT” (Wind and Water Tight):”AS IS” Containers are the cheapest option when buying a shipping or storage container. “AS IS” units are used as shipping containers for years then retired by shipping or leasing companies. Storage and Shipping containers are often categorized as “A grade”, “WWT” (wind and water tight) or “AS IS”. Most used containers have surface rust where they are scratched and are often labeled by the shipping label in various colors. “AS IS” could have holes in the unit and could render your items damaged. We do not usually sell these units. Our used containers typically come in “WWT” condition.
  • Modified Containers:
    • Exterior Paint
    • Interior Paint
    • Ventilation fan
    • Lock Box
    • Roll up door (various sizes)
    • 36″ or 48″ Walk through/personnel door
    • Windows
    • Security Bars
    • Heat/ AC units: Wall mount or Window
    • Partitions
    • Plan tables
    • Electrical Outlets
    • Custom sized containers
    • Lighting
    • Electrical Packages
    • Side Vents
    • Area cut outs for Prefab housing
    • Shelving Brackets
    • Framing / Insulation
    • Cargo doors

How are these containers constructed?

Storage containers are constructed with 12- or 14-gauge corrugated steel sides. Container frames are made of minimal 6-8-gauge steel. Containers have approximately 1″ hard wood floors that are treated. Standard containers come equipped with a cargo door. Cargo doors are excellent because they seal tight from rodents and the elements. They also give you the ability to open the entire end of the container and load very large items.

How are containers delivered and installed?

The rollback (wrecker) trucks have fixed axles and very in terms of maneuverability but as a general rule of thumb these trucks typically require 60 ft. in a straight line to back, or pull into the area you need the container. After the truck pulls into the location of desire, the driver will then lift the front end of the bed and pull straight forward until the container slides off the truck and onto the ground. Most small businesses, contractors and residential users choose 20′ containers since they provide easy access, take up less space and do not require as much room for delivery as the 40′ containers. 40′ models provide almost three times as much storage space but also require three times as much space to deliver.

What applications can the containers be used?

shipping container modify

  • Jobsite Container Storage
  • Pre build self storage facilities
  • Construction Storage
  • Mobile field office
  • Tool Storage
  • Overflow Equipment Storage
  • Inventory Storage
  • Work Area / Work Shops
  • School Buildings, surplus supplies
  • Firework stands
  • Military training
  • Movable exhibition spaces
  • Agriculture Storage
  • Farm Equipment and supply storage

What are the dimensions of the common types of containers?

Exterior                                                      Interior                                                                        Door Opening

Length  Width    Height   Length  Width    Height                     Width    Height

10′ Standard       10′           8′              8’6″         9’3″         7’8″         7′ 9 7/8″                 7’8″         7’5″

20′ Standard       20′           8′              8’6″         19’3″      7’8″         7′ 9 7/8″                 7’8″         7’5″

40′ Standard       40′           8′              8’6″         39′ 5″     7’8″         7′ 9 7/8″                 7’8″         7’5″

40′ High Cube     40′           8′              9’6″         39′ 5″     7’8″         8′ 10″                       7’8″         8′ 51/2″

45′ High Cube     45′           8′              9’8″         44′ 5″     7’8″         8’10”                        7’8″         8′ 5 1/2″

20′ Reefer             19′ 10.5″  8′              8’6″         17′ 11″  7’6″         7’6″*                         7”5″        7’3″

40′ Reefer             40′           8′              8’6″         37′ 11″  7’6″         7’6″*                         7”6″        7’6″

40′ HC Reefer     40′           8′              9’6″         37′ 11″  7’6″         8’4″*                         7”6″        8’4″

 

What are the Typical Weights / Capacity?

Cubic Capacity  Tare Weight        Max Gross            Max Payload

20′ Standard Dry Container         1,165 sq. ft.         5,050                       67,200                    62,150

40′ Standard Dry Container         2,350 sq. ft.         8,000                       67,200                    59,200

40′ High Cube Dry Container       2694 sq. ft.          8,775                       67,200                    58,425

45′ High Cube Dry Container       3043 sq. ft.          9,810                       72,800                    62,990

20′ Refrigerated Container          1,010 sq. ft.         6,503                       52,800                    46,407

40′ Refrigerated Container          2,051 sq. ft.         9,700                       67,200                    57,450

40′ High Cube Refrigerated          2,380 sq. ft.         9,590                       70,550                    60,960

The mobility, durability and low cost of shipping containers make them the most cost-efficient option for a variety of structural needs. Contact our experts at Saf-T-Box to rent or buy your next shipping container.

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