Buying a shipping container may seem simple, but it can quickly become overwhelming without proper guidance. To ensure a successful purchase, follow our step-by-step guide, covering all the essential factors you need to consider. Plus, we’ll reveal the cheapest way to buy shipping containers.

When purchasing shipping containers for your shipping, transportation, storage, modification, or construction business, you must know how to buy shipping containers to secure the right deals. Otherwise, you may end up paying the retail price for containers you can buy at wholesale.

So how do you purchase shipping containers at the best price? On Container xChange, you can buy containers at negotiable, wholesale, and brokerage-free prices in 2,500+ locations.

Whether you require containers for one-time use or you are a regular container buyer, our marketplace makes it possible to find container offers directly from 1,700+ vetted all in one dashboard. Explore current container offers in your location using the public search below. Browse through the negotiable deals from verified suppliers in seconds!

Find containers online

0 results found on the platform.

Container prices start from 0/unit.

Currently no match for your search

Change your search criteria or fill out the form below to get notified via email when there is a new match for you on xChange!

    Looking for something in particular?

    Let's schedule a call, and we'll help you out.

      Showing 0 of 0 results

      Load more

        Looking for something in particular?

        Let's schedule a call, and we'll help you out.

          Interested in this deal? Let us give you a call and fill you in on all the details

            Interested in xChange and want to learn more about container opportunities in your area?

            Call one of our experts at +1 (213) 458-5411, or simply fill out the form, and we will get back to you promptly.

            How to buy a shipping container: 8 easy steps to follow

            There are different types of shipping containers available in the market. Every container has different conditions and gradings, depending on its usage and structure. Knowing which container type and condition to choose, the right price, and how to purchase it is very important. 

            That’s why we’ve curated 8 simple steps for you to follow when buying shipping containers of your choice. These steps will help you understand your needs and make an informed decision for your business.

            How to buy a shipipng container

            Step 1: Should you buy or lease a shipping container?

            The first thing you need to be completely sure about is, whether you should buy shipping containers or lease them. This decision depends on your requirement, purpose, and duration of usage. 

            Let’s look at some of the different scenarios for you to consider.

            Buying a shipping container

            You should buy a shipping container if you have a long-term need. If you anticipate needing the container for several years or indefinitely, purchasing might be more cost-effective in the long run. The same goes if you:

            • Use containers frequently
            • Need to modify container units
            • Can cover overhead expenses like storage, transportation, repairs

            When buying a shipping container, you must be sure you’ll use the container for a long time. Since you’ll be making a one-time upfront payment, it’ll take some time to recover the cost, depending on your shipping container business.

            However, you can also recover it later by selling it in the second-hand container market or even using it for other purposes like storage. Overall, shipping container investment is a good option if you’re willing to commit funds upfront and adopt a long-term perspective.

            And, this is why you need to minimize your shipping container costs by purchasing shipping containers at wholesale prices. Want to see what wholesale container offers look like? Check out container deals in your location. 

            Leasing a shipping container

            On the other hand, you should lease a container  if you have a short-term need. If you only need the container for a short period, leasing can be more cost-effective than purchasing outright. The same goes if you:

            • Have budget-constraint
            • Don’t want the responsibility of maintenance & repair
            • Don’t use containers frequently and need them only for a brief duration. 

            If you need containers for shipping cargo, you can either buy containers to build your own fleet like traditional shipping lines and NVOCCs. If you want to avoid charges like storage, demurrage and detention, etc., and want flexibility in your shipping process, consider leasing SOC containers for one-way moves. Learn more about one-way leasing in this blog

            buying vs leasing

            Step 2: Choose the right Container Type

            Now that you know if you should buy or lease the containers, you’re ready for the next step: Deciding on which container type you need. The type of shipping container you should buy for your business depends on several factors, including the nature of your business, the items you need to transport or store, and any specific requirements you may have.

            When you start looking for containers, the first thing you need to consider is: Do I need a standard container? If you need to store or ship dry goods, a standard container is the best solution for you. Typically, have a selection of the most common sizes available, including 20ft and 40ft container, as well as their taller version: high cube containers.

            Standard containers are the go-to choice for storage and modification businesses.

            How to buy a shipping container

            But if you have special requirements, there’s a long row of special containers to choose from. If you’ll ship or store foods, chemicals, or medicine, you should look into reefer containers. Reefers help maintain a steady temperature inside the container (perfect for cold chain logistics).

            Or, if you are shipping out-of-gauge or project cargo and items, you’ll need specialized containers such as flat racks, open tops, hard tops, etc.

            If you need containers at a construction site, you may opt for a double-door (also called a tunnel container) to access it from both ends. This container type is a go-to choice for storing and transporting vehicles.

            You can get the full overview and learn more about these shipping container types here.

            Step 3: Choose condition and grading while buying shipping containers

            Once you’ve determined the container type that suits your needs, the next step is to choose the container grade. Your choice will hinge on your specific requirements. The correct container condition and grade ensures smooth customs clearance and can also affect the container cost. Keep reading to explore the various container gradings.

            Container conditions and gradings:

            • Grade A or One-trip container: These containers have already been used once before they reach their destination, and are thus called one-trip shipping containers. They have only been shipped from the manufacturer to the owner and are practically new. Typically, this is the most expensive shipping container condition in the market. Buy one-trip containers if you want prime container condition with 25+ years of lifespan. 
            • Food grade container: A food-grade container is a new container, which can be used to ship and store food. It has not carried any toxic chemicals or products before. 
            • Grade B or Cargo-worthy container: This shipping container condition is deemed suitable for cargo transportation but may have some cosmetic flaws or signs of wear and tear. These flaws could include scratches, dents, or surface rust. So, if you have cargo to send out, this box will do the trick. Buy this container if you want a good container condition with 10-15 years of lifespan. 
            • Grade C or Wind & Water-tight (WWT) container: A container is wind and water-tight (WWT) if no wind or water can penetrate the container. Grade C containers would have undergone several repairs and are often used as storage containers. But these containers if you want affordable containers 5-10 years of lifespan. Please note that these containers are not suitable for international shipping.
            • Grade F or As-is container: These are damaged containers that have been taken out of commission from the shipping industry. They could have majority damage on the roof or walls, damaged floors, bad seals, doors that are difficult to open, or structural damage. These containers are not ideal for storage as they are not wind or water-tight. Buy these containers if you want containers with <5 years of lifespan.

            When learning how to buy a shipping container, it’s crucial to consider a wide range of options. Exploring shipping containers for sale on Container xChange provides access to various conditions, sizes, and locations. Whether you need a new, used, or one-trip container, our platform offers diverse choices to ensure you find the right container to meet your specific needs and budget

            Step 4: Find out how much to buy a shipping container

            The next and most important factor you need to pay attention to is the shipping container cost. Knowing how much does it cost to buy a shipping container beforehand can help you negotiate better deals with sellers. Here are the prices of 20ft and 40ft standard containers in popular locations.

            Standard container prices (cargo-worthy)




            USA $1,000 – $2,100 $1,200 – $2,300
            China $1,200 – $1,500 $1,300 – $1,700
            India $800 – $1,400 $1,400 – $1,600
            Europe $600 – $1,300 $600 – $1,800

            Now that you know the average current prices of containers, you can easily buy containers at the best prices.However, container prices fluctuate regularly and depend on a variety of factors like location or container type. For example, a used shipping container will cost less than a new container.

            That’s why it’s important to keep track of prices, especially if you’re part of the shipping industry. Our container marketplace gives you complete transparency on current market prices in 2,500+ locations globally. Once you enter your container requirements, including type, size, and location, you get multiple offers in one dashboard. Browse through the prices and select for further negotiation with the seller. 

            You can see the current offers with prices stated upfront right away. Use our public search to see current container prices in your location. 

            Step 5: Where to buy shipping containers?

            There are multiple places you can buy shipping containers from. Let’s have a look at a few of them.

            • Around the ports: There are usually plenty of container suppliers near ports. So if you want to buy a shipping container, that’s one place to look. However, as easy as it can be to find the containers closer to the ports, it also has its downsides. The pricing can be higher given the ease of accessibility and lack of transparent pricing. This gives you little chance to know the reasoning behind the cost and added fees. 
            • Local container dealers: You can also find containers through local container brokers, who have regional networks. But here too, you can’t be sure that you’re paying the right price. Container brokerage fees can cost you anywhere between $100 to $500. And this range is set to increase if you require more containers. This fee is added to the final container price, making the container more expensive than the market rates.
            • Send emails: The other solution you might then consider would mean you spending hours sending out email after email, hoping that someone in your network knows someone who might have shipping containers for sale.

            Cheapest way to buy shipping containers

            If it’s a part of your business to buy and sell containers regularly, we’ve got an offer you don’t want to miss! By choosing to buy shipping containers through our online container marketplace, you will be purchasing shipping containers at the best price in no time at all. 

            • Find vetted partners and make deals risk-free: All companies undergo a mandatory vetting process before becoming members. This means you can do business with all xChange members. Risk-free. On top of this, all companies also have public profiles. Here, you can see reviews from previous partners – and how they’ve rated them. Want an extra layer of security? Keep on reading!

            • Get containers at wholesale, negotiable & brokerage-free prices: Discover the advantage of purchasing shipping containers at unbeatable prices through our platform. Our marketplace offers access to containers at wholesale rates, with the added benefit of negotiating directly with sellers to secure even better deals—all while bypassing unnecessary middlemen. And we don’t charge any commissions on your container transactions. It’s a straightforward, cost-effective solution tailored to your needs.
            • Get 7-day money-back guarantee: Not only does xChange ensure that all sellers are vetted but we also protect the buyers from shipping container scams. So, you don’t have to worry about getting the wrong condition or quality. Through our Safe Payment Handling feature,  we keep your money on hold with us for 7 days for you to inspect the containers you’ve purchased. If unsatisfied, we’ll return your money. Our dedicated Customer Service team makes sure your container operations go smoothly and that your payments are completely secure.
            • Choose between 100,000+ boxes and make unlimited deals: Do you need a container type that you can’t find in your current sourcing channels? Don’t worry. With over 100,000 containers located across 2,500+ unique locations, Container xChange makes it easy for you to find the containers you need.

            You get all this right at your fingertips and much more with xChange. More than 1700 companies such as Trident, Seaco Global, and SeaCube are already finding value in xChange. Learn how you can get the best deal for shipping containers.

            Want to explore shipping container options for your one-time buying needs or discuss your regular container requirements? Share your details by clicking the banner below and we’ll ensure your purchase meets your expectations. Get in touch now to get started.

            How to buy a shipping container

            Step 6: Inspect the container or hire a container surveyor

            Before buying a shipping container, inspect thoroughly for container damages like rust, dents, or holes. Ensure doors close properly, check flooring integrity and make sure the container is wind and water-tight. You should also check if the container has enough space for your cargo.

            You can also hire a container surveyor for this. However, reaching out to a surveyor is mostly relevant if you want to lease the shipping containers.

            A container surveyor usually conducts inspections, surveys, and examinations of container equipment either before or after a company leases a container to make sure the container is in the desired condition.

            This is often something the leasing companies make sure to do to insure themselves. You can learn more about the different inspections a container surveyor offers here.

            Step 7: Obtain necessary permits 

            In certain areas, permits are necessary for purchasing or storing containers. For example, international containers in some countries like India have to be domesticated after six months. Only domesticated containers are legally allowed for domestic and you have to pay an import duty to the authorities for this.

            Contact your local authorities to ensure you have the required documentation before proceeding with transporting the container to your location.  International containers in India have to be domesticated after six months.

            Step 8: Transport the container

            Once you’ve figured out how to purchase a shipping container at the right price, it’s time to figure out how you’ll move your box to your location. This means figuring out the scheduling, booking slots on the vessel, trucking, and transporting by rail.

            If you’re planning on shipping your containers empty, we’d like you to think twice. Because why should you spend more money on the empty container repositioning when you can get someone to move it for you – and then you don’t have to pay any delivery costs!  

            You might want to consider using your container as a one-way container. Let’s say you need to move your box from Los Angeles, the US, to Shanghai, China. This means that a container user leases the shipping container for that one journey. And that’s a situation where you both win.

            The container user gets to move the cargo and you get your container to where you need it. To make it even better, the container user pays for the shipping of the container. Meaning you don’t have to pay any shipping cost to get your container to your preferred location.

            But how do you find partners who want to ship cargo through the same route? Through our leasing platform; you can put up leasing offers and find vetted members to move your box. Check out how you can put up leasing offers yourself.

            Need help with your shipping container purchase?

            We can help you with that. If you have a regular need for containers, you can simply become a member of our marketplace and enjoy a range of benefits such as:

            • buying containers at wholesale prices (which your wallet will thank you for)
            • finding vetted suppliers
            • negotiating and accepting deals that fit your bill 
            • 24×5 customer support

            However, if you need assistance selecting the perfect shipping container for your one-time project, we can help you with that too! Whatever your requirement is, share your details and preferences by clicking on the banner below, and we’ll contact you within 24 hours.

            Buy shipping containers

            How to buy a shipping container: Common FAQs 

            How much does a shipping container cost?

            The average price of standard 40ft cargo worthy container can be anywhere between $1500 to $2500. It depends on the size, location and condition of the container.

            What is the average price of 20ft shipping container?

            The price depends on the container's condition and location. However, it can be anywhere between $1000 to $2000.

            How to buy storage containers?

            To buy a storage container, you should first choose the right container type and size. Then find out the average prices and look for sellers in your location.

            How to purchase a shipping container?

            To buy a shipping container, you should first choose the right container type and size. Then find out the average prices and look for sellers in your location.