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Shipping containers: what to bear in mind when buying shipping containers

What are shipping containers?

Shipping containers – also known as “sea containers” – have long established themselves as the medium of choice for both land and sea freight. With standardised dimensions (ISO) and a stackable design, they help modern businesses transport their goods as cost-efficiently as possible.

Characteristics of shipping containers

Made of anti-corrosive corrugated sheet metal, shipping containers are robust enough to withstand harsh weather conditions on the roughest of seas. Our sea containers also have the following features:

  • Windproof and waterproof design (CSC plate for international shipping)
  • Corten steel frame and wooden floor
  • Steel doors with a galvanised lock
  • Stackable design for use with forklifts and pallet trucks
  • Choice of colours (RAL colours)
  • Available in a variety of sizes

Operational areas for shipping containers

Although designed primarily for transporting goods over land and sea, shipping containers are also put to many different uses in a wide range of industries.

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Storage in shipping containers

Sea containers are equally effective as storage units, protecting stock from moisture and dirt while also keeping it safely under lock and key. In many cases, these mobile containers are ideal for temporary storage, sparing businesses the expense and inconvenience of building a new warehouse or expanding existing facilities. Our shipping containers can also be rented, which often proves to be the more cost-effective option for short-term storage.

Insulated and refrigerated shipping containers

Sea containers can also be fitted with insulating units, allowing a constant temperature to be maintained over a long period of time. Those that are additionally fitted with cooling units are known as refrigerated containers or “reefer containers”. These are the shipping containers of choice for many of our customers, particularly those whose business involves transporting and storing food and other perishable products.

Shipping containers as temporary structures

Owing to their robust and secure design, shipping containers are frequently deployed as makeshift offices on building sites, as first-aid centres at large events or even as mobile medical stations during humanitarian crises.

Our modification experts can repurpose any shipping container by installing windows, hatches and even additional doors or partitions. Not to mention all the technology you need to turn your sea container into a temporary office.

20 feet container, small but functional!

Key factors when buying a sea container

As with any investment, there are a number of important factors to consider before deciding on the best shipping container for you and your business. And as with any investment, it all comes down to what promises the best return.

Types of shipping containers

The sea container model that most people are familiar with is the “dry van container”. These standard containers have double-wing doors at the front and, as their name suggests, are used for transporting dry cargo – in other words, dry, solid goods that require no special precautions during the shipping process.

Two variations on this standard model are double-door shipping containers with double-wing doors at the front and back, and side-door shipping containers with an additional door on one of the longitudinal sides.

Our range also includes two other notable variants: while open-top containers allow cargo to be loaded through the top of the container, flat-rack containers have walls at the short end only, making them ideal for transporting extremely bulky items that will not fit in regular shipping containers.

Different sizes of shipping containers

Shipping containers come in standard sizes so they can be stacked efficiently on ships and in warehouses. In addition to the classic 20- and 40-foot containers, many of our customers opt for the compact 10-foot or – for maximum capacity utilisation – the 45-foot high cube model.

The following table shows the internal and external dimensions of each of our sea containers, including volume, weight, width and doorway dimensions:

Container type

Interior measurements in


(L x W x H)

Exterior measurements in

(L x W x H)

Door opening in mm

(L x H)

Interior base area in m² Capacity in m3
8-ft Container
2.278 x 2.112 x 2.060 2.438 x 2.200 x 2.260 2.100 x 1.949 4,812 9,92
10-ft Container
2.831 x 2.352 x 2.390 2.991 x 2.438 x 2.591 2.338 x 2.280 6,66 15,9

20-ft Container

(1 TEU Container)

5.898 x 2.352 x 2.390 6.058 x 2.438 x 2.591 2.338 x 2.280 13,88 33,1


High Cube

5.898 x 2.352 x 2.690 6.058 x 2.438 x 2.896 2.338 x 2.585 13,88 37,4

40-ft Container

(1 FEU Container)

12.032 x 2.352 x 2.395 12.192 x 2.438 x 2.591 2.340 x 2.280 28,37 67,7


High Cube

12.032 x 2.352 x 2.698 12.192 x 2.438 x 2.896 2.340 x 2.585 28,37 76,4


High Cube

13.556 x 2.345 x 2.695 13.716 x 2.438 x 2.896 2.340 x 2.597 31,79 86,0

Cost of shipping containers

Shipping containers vary in price depending on size, condition and additional accessories. While you can expect to pay around 4,000 EUR for a brand-new 20-foot sea container, you can usually acquire a used “cargo-worthy” sea container for around 2700 EUR. However, it is worth bearing in mind that, since almost all shipping containers are made of steel, purchase prices are often affected by fluctuations in the price of steel on international markets.

Modifying shipping containers

Given the wide array of industries in which sea containers are used, it is only natural that some customers will choose to modify them according to their own specific needs. As well as lighting and electrical sockets, the accessories available include double floors, collecting trays and ventilation grids.

And if you ever need to ship or store temperature-sensitive products, we have a whole range of refrigerated shipping containers – or “reefers” – for sale or hire.

The right shipping container for your business

By now, you will hopefully have a clearer idea of which type of sea container is the best fit for your business, what you can expect to pay for it and what additional accessories will add value to your new investment.

However, if you are having trouble identifying the best shipping container for your needs, please contact our team of seasoned experts, who are always on hand to provide practical advice.

40 feet container, the perfect mobile storage!

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