Choosing the right shipping containers might seem like a difficult task to the shippers but in reality, by following certain tips you can get hands-on the perfect shipping containers.

Shipping containers have been with us for decades helping us in innumerable ways. They play the most important role in our life by transporting cargoes ranging from daily needs, luxury, healthcare, to food items and whatnot. Thanks to different types and dimensions of shipping containers available to us! 

But the big question here is, “How to choose the right container?”

So to help you with the million-dollar question we have come up with some tips to help you grab the perfect ones. Let’s see in detail.

1. Find the size that fulfills the Purpose

When it comes to size, you would find different dimensions of containers in the market- 8ft, 10ft, 20ft, 40ft, 45ft, 48ft, 53ft, and 60ft to cater to your needs. You have to look for the size that is best suited for the purpose. If you get too small or too big container, then rather than helping the business you will end up wasting the money. Keep in mind about the space where you will put it or the cargo that you have to fit in and when you are thorough with the points, you can zero in on the right size based on the factors. 

2. Find the space that fits it all

Whether you have to put goods in one or multiple containers, you have to decide on a place where you can safely store them. If you have multiple shipping units, you can easily stack them on one another and transform the shed into a multi-storage shed.

3. Decide on the Specific Container Type

Choosing the right container type is essential as every container serves a different purpose. If you have to transport frozen food items and you get a dry van container then all the goods will become stale which will incur a huge loss.

There are diverse container types like dry van that is suitable for dry merchandise. The flat rack and platform containers are perfect for out-of-the-gauge shipments. The reefer and insulated containers are suited for the cargo that needs maintenance at a certain temperature. The open-top and hard top open top ones are suitable for large and tall machinery or goods. The bulkers are needed for shipping bulk items and the tankers are used to carry liquid loads. The High cube containers are the ones that provide the shippers with added volume as they are higher in size and best suited for huge loads. The pallet wide and other containers are specifically designed to carry out different works to meet up the shipper’s needs.

While deciding on container type, one should see what they want to store or ship in the shipping boxes, and then get the perfect one that fulfills all the needs.

4. Check the Condition

Checking on the condition is mandatory for choosing containers. By checking on the condition one can choose between new and used shipping containers as per their business needs. The basic factor affecting the choice may be budget options where buying new ones may be expensive when you are buying shipping containers for the short term. But when you are getting the shipping boxes for a longer duration buying SOC containers is a perfect choice.

And when the shipper feels tight on the budget they may choose used containers as they perform the same functions by providing IICL-5, cargo worthy, and wind and watertight quality. There may be some dents but when it comes to work, they provide the same efficiency.

Before choosing between a new or used one, you should consult the shipping container supplier who will make sure that you get the shipping units that give the maximum output.

5. Check the Material of Container

The containers can be made of steel or aluminum. Both the options are good but you have to check for what purpose you are taking it for. The steel shipping containers are sturdy, rigid, strong, and resilient and best suited for weighted cargoes. They are chosen for long distances.

The aluminum ones are lighter and less hard than steel. If you have to move goods to the nearer place they are perfect as they can easily carry the load to smaller distances.

6. See the Grade of the Container

Before buying a container, you must see whether they pass certain grades are not as different grades of shipping containers are available in the market. New or one trip containers are perfect for longer durations and save the shippers from detention, demurrage, and other hidden charges.  

The container suppliers will have all the updates on the grades for used containers and provide you the best. IICL-5 quality shows that shipping units have all the properties needed for longer duration usage and is defined by the Institute of International Container Lessors.

By cargo-worthy quality, it is meant that the used containers are in a perfect state with all the needed efficacy to work more. The shipping unit should not have any damage and is suitable to carry heavier loads for a longer duration.

Wind and watertight quality refers to the quality that they should provide resistance from any extreme weather conditions. They may look withered from outside but it is necessary that they are void of any defects and should be rodent-proof as well.

The other grade is ‘as is’ which the shipper can only choose when they are totally tight on budget as they are the ones with huge damages and the suppliers also don’t give any warranty for the boxes. You have to inspect it personally before buying it.

How to check the structural worthiness of a container?

Frame of Container

The metal container comes with 12 steel beams fitted on the edges of the six faces. The beams should be examined carefully as the damaged beams are hard to be fixed. They are the ones that give structure to the shipping box and keep it in its shape. Normal surface rust is not a matter of worry but one should be worried if the rust has reached the beam’s deeper cores as it is going to affect beams’ strength.


The underside is the part that is not visible from outside but an equally important one. It is one that is screwed under the plywood floor panel which makes it difficult to inspect them. By using a stick camera and applying some caution one can inspect the underside part while the container is suspended for loading or unloading heavy equipment or loads. This is not too difficult to repair if required and doesn’t need too much mastery. It should be maintained for better functionality to serve all the purposes.


The floor of the shipping box is mostly made from plywood. Though it can be made from other materials as well. Being made from wood, the floor is permeable and the chemicals may seep through it in case of damage that cannot be detected easily. In such cases, the first test is keeping the door closed for some days and then open it. If just after opening it smells moldy or has some chemical whiff on it, it might suggest that you need to get it checked properly by experts. If the shipper is thinking of reusing the old floor, they need to check it for big dents, holes, or any missing floor pieces.


The interior and exterior walls should be properly inspected in order to detect any damage. You must see the container shouldn’t have any holes, rust, or cuts as they create a problem in the longer run. The other aspect to consider is that the shape of the wall should be intact. It should not bulge from inside or outside due to overloading and the top rails of the walls should also remain intact and in good shape.


The roof should be checked for any rust building due to water clogging on the roof. And the dents on a beam of the roof should also be inspected properly to save the shippers from putting money on the container that is not worthy of buying.


Checking on the container doors is mandatory as they are the ones through which the cargo is put inside. It should be checked that the doors can swing open easily. The locking rods should be straight and the doors should not require extra effort while opening. The gasket seals should be intact as through damaged gasket the water may seep inside thus damaging the merchandise and the container.

Last but not the least, finding a reliable and trustworthy container supplier is mandatory to save the shipper from all the problems and provide the best container solutions. Hence we see that how shippers should choose the right shipping containers to save themselves from extra charges and grab a versatile container that fulfills their all needs. 

At BOXXPORT, we are known to deliver the quality products and services. Our online market place is tailor-made to help you find the right shipping container for your cargo type.

Want to know how? Get it right away in this video.