Renting a shipping container can seem like a tedious process. But we’re here to help. Read this blog for a step-by-step guide on how to rent a shipping container. Or, learn how 1,700 companies are renting containers globally.

Leasing a container can be quite complicated. You need to keep in mind certain factors, such as container types, trustworthy suppliers, and affordable leasing rates.

The best solution is to find a platform where you can get all these features in one place. Well, Container xChange can do that for you. We are a leading online marketplace to buy, sell or lease containers.

On our online container leasing platform, you can find containers in 2,500+ locations globally within seconds from vetted members. Our platform makes it possible to find container deals, and compare and negotiate leasing prices – all in one place. And we do it without charging any commission. 

Want to find the best container leasing deals? Simply use the leasing search below by filling in your desired container type and route. Then, you can choose the deal that’s within your budget easily!

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How to rent a shipping container in 7 steps 

There are 12 types of shipping containers you’ll find for your cargo shipping needs. Every container comes with different conditions and gradings, depending on its usage and structure. So, knowing which container to choose and how to rent it is very important. 

That’s why we’ve curated 7 simple steps for you to follow to rent a container of your choice. These steps will help you understand your needs and make an informed decision for your business. 

Step 1: Buying vs renting shipping containers 

The first thing you need to consider is whether it makes sense for you to buy shipping containers or lease them. That decision depends on your situation.

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

Leasing a shipping container

Container leasing is your ideal choice if you only need to use a small number of containers. You could also need a large number of containers, but only for one way. Or simply need the containers for a short period of time. 

If you find yourself in any of these situations, leasing a container would be the best option for you. When you lease a container, it’s cheaper in the short term than when you buy. Because here you only have to pay the leasing rate. If any of these points resonate with you, then you can look for one-way containers for lease here.

It’s also important to understand the difference between leasing, renting and hiring a container before making a deal. 

  • Hiring: For a monthly payment, a user has access to a container that belongs to another party.
  • Renting: One user is allowed to use a container that belongs to another party in return for payment.
  • Leasing: In leasing, there is a mutual agreement where one user buys a container and gives it to another user for use for a decided period.

Buying vs leasing a shipping container

Buying a shipping container

Buying a container would make more sense for you in the following situations:

  • If you only need a few containers for storage
  • If you need containers for an indefinite period
  • Use containers frequently
  • Don’t need too many of them

While buying a shipping container, it’s important that you’re sure you’ll use the container for a long time. This is because you’ll make a one-time upfront payment. 

Many businesses think of buying containers as an investment. You can recover your costs by selling containers in the second-hand container market or by leasing them out. Check out the prices of containers in your location to get a better idea of how much they cost.

Step 2: Choose your ideal container type and size 

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. It all comes down to what goods you’re shipping.

If you need to ship paper or other common dry cargo, renting a standard container can be the best choice for you. Here, you can choose between the most common container sizes— 20ft and 40ft – as well as their taller sibling, the high cube. 

But if your cargo has special requirements, there’s a long row of special containers for you to choose from. If you’ll be shipping foods, chemicals, or medicine, you should look into the 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, you’ll need specialized containers such as flat racks, open tops, hard tops, etc. 

You can get the full overview and learn more about these containers in our in-depth blog article on different container types.

Step 3: Choose the condition and grade of the container

When you’ve figured out which container type is right for you, it’s time to decide on the condition of the container. It will depend on what you need the container for.

For shipping goods, you can choose between new, cargo-worthy, or one-trip containers. These container conditions are ideal for shipping your cargo safely. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to rent storage containers, you can go for wind & water-tight (WWT) containers. They’re perfect for storage purposes and cost less than renting a new container. 

Read more about different container conditions and gradings to get a full overview. 

Step 4: Find out how much it costs to rent a shipping container

When it comes to renting a container, finding affordable rates can get a little tricky, as the costs are dependent on many factors. This includes the type of leasing agreement you have, supply and demand, location, and current market trends. 

That’s why it’s important to rent containers from transparent marketplaces like Container xChange. On our platform, you can see prices upfront, negotiate further, and make sure you’re renting containers at the best prices. 

To give you a better understanding of the rates on our platform, we have covered the pick-up charges for 3 stretches below:

1.The average pick-up rate for a 20ft container from Shanghai to Moscow is US $825.

2.The average pick-up rate for a 40ft container from Ningbo to St. Petersburg is US $1,160.

3.The average pick-up rate for a 40ft HC from Qingdao to Toronto is US $791

Note: The rates above are based on the transactions made on the xChange platform and are subject to change.

Find affordable rates on shipping containers for rent at Container xChange

On Container xChange’s leasing marketplace, we offer full market price transparency. You get competitive and comparable rates upfront on one dashboard. These rates can be negotiated with your supplier to choose a deal that works best for you. You get all this without worrying about hidden fees, too.

Apart from the competitive rates you see on our platform, you also get the benefit of only working with trustworthy suppliers, as all members go through a mandatory vetting process to ensure your safety. You can also view the profiles of companies, see the ratings and reviews given to them by their partners, and decide whom you want to work with.

You get all of this on a single platform! Take the next step to enjoy these benefits and lease a container at affordable rates by clicking on the banner below.

Step 5: Choose your ideal lease agreement 

Now that you have an idea of average pick-up rates, it’s time to understand the different types of lease agreements you can choose from. Take a look at the table below to get a brief overview.

Master lease   Long-term lease   Short-term lease   One-way lease 
Duration can vary 5–8 years Longer than 6 months Duration can vary
Maintenance done by the leasing company Repair or maintenance done by the lessee Maintenance done by the lessee Usually, maintenance is done by the lessee
Drop off location is restricted here The drop off location is restricted Drop off location very restricted The drop off location is at shipper’s desire 
Higher cost as lessor takes charge of the process Negotiable rates after a few years based on market changes High rent due to market conditions Costs less as it’s only for one stretch

Out of all the agreements, the one-way lease is the most popular, as it helps curb empty container repositioning. How? Well, a one-way lease allows the movement of a container across one stretch (from point A to point B). With this, a container user moves their cargo by paying the usual freight charges, and the owner transports their box. So, it’s a win-win for both parties!

On our container leasing platform, you can connect with 1,700 such container owners to lease containers for one-way moves. Check out container leasing offers in your desired route now. 

Step 6: Hire a container surveyor 

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. 

But how do you hire a container surveyor for your containers? Right here on xChange! 

Our platform also allows you to book container surveys in a matter of seconds. Once you finalize your deal on our platform, just click on the ‘Request Survey’ button on the dashboard to book a survey. We’ve got a strong network of licensed container surveyors in almost 4,000 depots globally.

Step 7: Transport the container

The final step to renting a shipping container is to transport it to your desired location. This is especially important if you’re looking for storage containers for rent. This means figuring out the scheduling, booking slots on the vessel, trucking, or transporting by rail. Some companies offer delivery services, making it convenient for you, but it’s essential to discuss this with your lessor and confirm any associated costs. 

How to rent a shipping container at the best rates on Container xChange

Renting a shipping container is quick and easy through the Container xChange leasing platform. We help you with all the steps that we’ve mentioned above in the leasing process. 

Here’s how you can lease a container on our platform. 

  • Log on to
  • Type in your location and the container type you require
  • Hit the search button and browse through all the offers
  • Use xChange Insights to get real-time container pick-up rates in 180+ locations
  • Interact and negotiate deals with vetted members and suppliers
  • Say yes to a rate that suits your budget and close your deal
  • Track your shipment and receive a monthly invoice via your xChange Wallet

Container xChange’s leasing platform makes it easy for you to find a good rate on a box from a certified supplier in just a few clicks!

So, don’t waste any more time searching online for how to rent a shipping container, let our expert team show you our marketplace in action, and help you get your box by clicking on the banner below.

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How to rent a shipping container: Common FAQs

How much does it cost to rent a container ship?

The cost of renting a 40ft container varies depending on the market situation, the demand and supply of that exact container. But you'll have to spend somewhere between USD 2,800 to USD 3,100 to rent a 40ft container.

How do you buy and rent a shipping container?

To buy and rent a shipping container, become a member of the Container xChange. On the platform you can buy and rent shipping containers.

How do I rent a container?

To rent a shipping container, become a member of the Container xChange. On the platform you can rent shipping containers by going to the leasing page.