The SOC container is well-known for its reliability and flexibility within the shipping industry. In this blog, we’ll explore the primary benefits of using SOCs amid container shortages and how they’re different from COCs.

When shipping goods, your number one priority is to get your cargo to the right place at the right time. Also high up on the list is to keep shipping costs down to a minimum. With the present port congestion and shortage of containers, it can be difficult to move your cargo at low prices as COC rates are spiking up. 

Luckily, there’s an easy way to move your cargo at low prices with SOCs (Shipper Owned Containers). SOCs increase your flexibility and are a great alternative to COCs. We’ll discuss more about this in this blog. 

But if you’re wondering where you can source SOCs for your shipment route quickly and easily, we present to you our container leasing marketplace. We’ve got over 100,000 containers available in 2,500 locations globally.

Simply use the public search below to find the best deals on a shipper-owned container for one-way shipment on your preferred route today! Or, talk to our experts to find solutions to your container shortage challenges.  

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      What is a shipper-owned container (SOC)? 

      SOC stands for ‘shipper-owned container’, which is a freight container owned by an individual or business for shipping cargo across long distances. On the other hand, a COC, or ‘carrier-owned container’, is a freight container owned by a carrier company and is rented out to various consignees.

      Simply put, a container is considered an SOC when the Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO), freight forwarder, or NVOCC organises its own container. So instead of using carrier-owned containers, you bring your own units. With SOCs, the shipper is responsible for acquiring, maintaining, and returning the containers themselves. 

      Let’s explore the difference between SOCs and COCs further in the next section.

      SOC vs COC container: What’s the difference?

      The key difference between an SOC and a COC is the container ownership. Shipper-owned containers are owned and operated by the shipper. Whereas a carrier-owned container is owned and operated by the carrier.

      By using SOC containers, you’re not liable to pay any demurrage & detention (D&D) charges which are applicable to carrier-owned containers. Take a look at the table below to understand the differences further. 

      SOC container COC container
      Owned and operated by the shipper Owned and operated by the carrier 
      Used to ship cargo over long distances  Rented out to various consignees 
      No demurrage and detention charges Demurrage and detention charges apply 
      Pick-up charges, per diem charges and free days apply Container cost often included in the overall shipping cost
      Duration of use determined by the shipper Duration of use determined by the carrier

      Now that you know the difference, let’s explore when it makes sense for your business to actually use SOCs over COCs. 

      When to use shipper-owned containers? 

      The current issues like the unavailability of containers, high freight rates, and port congestion make it a perfect time for your shipping business to use SOCs. Let’s understand this in detail: 

      To avoid demurrage and detention charges

      Demurrage and detention charges refer to the fees you pay to the carriers for using their containers beyond the allotted free days. Depending on where you ship your cargo, and considering the current port congestion, demurrage and detention costs can really start to pile up. So, if you’re looking for a way around this, bringing your own  SOCs will free you from the liability to pay these aforementioned charges to the carriers. Lease SOCs to avoid hefty D&D charges

      For shipping to distant or remote locations

      If you have a substantial amount of cargo to ship to a distant or remote location, leasing SOCs is a great choice. Not only is it cost-effective, but gives you more flexibility in choosing the route as compared to COCs that only cater to specific popular routes.

      To select good quality containers 

      By choosing your own containers, you can avoid getting units in poor condition that may not adequately protect your cargo.

      To prevent empty container repositioning

      Repositioning your empties can cost a lot of money. On our container leasing marketplace, you can find container users and lease out your SOCs for one-way moves to get them repositioned to your destination. This way you’ll save money on freight rates on empty container repositioning. 

      This one-way move can eliminate container imbalances in areas with surpluses or deficits, thus curbing empty container moves.

      For avoiding hefty COC charges: 

      By using SOCs over COCs you can avoid paying high COC freight rates as well. According to our monthly Where Are All the Containers? logistics report, “the early peak shipping season in the US, longer transit times due to rerouting around the Red Sea, bad weather, and port congestion in Asia have disrupted key trade routes.” This is causing a major spike in freight rates on routes like Asia to Europe for COCs. Download our free report here to find out more. 

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      Lease SOCs for one-way moves amidst container shortage 

      As we’ve already discussed, the shipping industry is grappling with a shortage of containers in 2024. The diversions around the Cape of Good Hope due to the Red Sea attacks along with congestion at major Asian ports have caused a shortage of empty shipping containers. 

      As a result, COC rates are surging. Amidst the ongoing container shortage, leasing SOCs for one-way moves can offer a practical solution for your business. SOCs provide flexibility and availability that COCs often lack in these conditions. By leasing SOCs, you can ensure timely shipments and avoid the delays and uncertainties associated with the current scarcity of COCs.

      Check container availability, current offers and leasing rates for your route.

      What does SOC leasing rates include

      Before we explore the SOC rates on key trading routes, let’s understand what SOC leasing terms and rates look like.

      First of all, please note that when you lease SOC containers for one-way shipment, you’re essentially only leasing the container and not the slot on the vessel. So, you’ll have to arrange containers and slots separately. 

      The SOC leasing terms include three main criterias: pick-up charges, per diem charges, and free days.

      Pick-up charges:

      The pick-up charge is a one-time leasing rate applied to each leased container. Depending on market conditions, either the supplier or the user may bear this cost. For instance, in areas where containers are in short supply, the user typically pays the fee. Conversely, if the user collects containers from an area with a surplus and transports them to a location with a deficit, the supplier usually covers the charge.

      Free Days: 

      Free days indicate the number of days containers can be used at no cost after pickup. This period begins when each container is collected and is calculated separately for each one. The number of free days varies based on the route.

      Per diem charges:

      Per diem is the daily rental fee for a container once the free days have elapsed. This fee varies depending on the container type and is negotiable for each transaction.

      On our leasing container marketplace, all these terms are completely negotiable, so you can find your container amidst shortage at a reasonable rate. Talk to our expert to see how SOC container leasing can help your business. 

      SOC leasing rates on key trade routes [2024] 

      Before you lease SOCs, you’ll need to know how much it’s going to cost you. Luckily on our container leasing marketplace, you can see the pick-up charges, per diem chargers, and free days upfront.

      To get a better sense of the pick-up charges for 20ft, 40ft, and 40ft HC SOCs, have a look at the data below from our leasing platform on popular routes. 

      Shipping from China to the United States 

      A popular shipping route is shipping from China to the United States where there’s a shortage of containers, leading to a spike in COC rates. According to Drewry, freight rates in June 2024 increased by $585 to $5,975 per 40ft box from Shanghai to Los Angeles. Also, rates from Shanghai to New York rose $379 to $7,214 per 40ft box.

      Here are the average leasing terms on this route on the xChange platform.

      -The pick-up charge for a 20ft trip from Xiamen to Chicago is $1,130, with 80 free days and a per diem charge of $5. From Ningbo to New York, it is $890 with a per diem charge of $5 and 75 free days.

      -For a 40ft SOC container from Shanghai to Charleston, the pickup charge is $1,300  with 75 free days $5 per diem charge.

      -The pickup charge for 40ft HC from Shanghai to Chicago is $1,580 with 83 pickup days and a per diem charge of $5. From Ningbo to Dallas, it is $1,350 with 86 pickup days and a per diem charge of $6. 

      Here’s an overview of the leasing rates for 40ft HC containers from China to cities in the US. 

      SOC container leasing rates from China to the US

      There are multiple offers for SOCs from different cities from China to the United States available on the Container xChange leasing marketplace. Check deals on SOCs and move your shipment at the best prices. 

      Find SOCs from China to the US

      Shipping from China to Canada

      -The pick-up charge for a 20ft container from Ningbo to Toronto is $1,230, with 70 free days and a per diem charge of $5. From Ningbo to Montreal, it is $900 with a per diem charge of $5 and 70 free days.

      -To move a 40ft SOC from Tianjin to Toronto, you’re looking at $1,500 with 90 free days and a per diem charge of $3.

      -The pick-up charge for a 40ft HC from Shenzhen to Vancouver is $1,450 with 70 free days and a per diem charge of $6.  

      Take a look at the graph below to get an overview of leasing rates from cities in China to Canada. 


      Looking for SOCs from China to Canada? Use the button below to choose from 100,000+ containers available. 

      Find SOCs from China to Canada

      Shipping from China to Russia 

      -The pick-up charge for a 20ft container from Xiamen to Yekaterinburg is $860, with 60 free days and a per diem charge of $5. From Qingdao to Moscow, you’re looking at $820 with a per diem charge of $4 and 60 free days.

      -The pick-up charge for a 40ft container from Ningbo to Moscow is $1,790 with 60 free days and a per diem charge of $8.

      -To move a 40ft HC container from Shenzhen to St Petersburg, the pick up charge is $2,220 with 60 free days and a per diem charge of $8. 

      Take a look at the graph below to get an overview of the leasing rates for 40ft HC containers from cities in China to Russia. 

      SOC container leasing rates China to Russia

      To check out leasing terms for your specific route from China to Russia, use the Container xChange leasing platform. 

      Find SOCs from China to Russia

      Shipping from Germany to China

      -The pick-up charge to move a 20ft SOC container from Hamburg to Tianjin is $300, with 70 free days and a per diem charge of $3.

      -The pick-up charge for a 40ft HC container from Duisburg to Ningbo is $720 and from Duisburg to Shanghai is $710. For both routes, you’ll get 67 free days and a per diem charge of $6.

      -The pickup charge for Hamburg-Tianjin for a 40ft HC is $700 with 77 free days and a per diem of $4.

      -For Hamburg-Xian, you’re looking at a pickup charge of $600 with 65 free days and a per diem of $5.

      Here’s a look at the leasing price trend for 40ft HC from cities in Germany to China since 2024. 

      SOC container leasing rates Germany to China

      Explore more offers on SOCs and move your cargo easily with the Container xChange leasing platform 

      Find SOCs from Germany to China

      Shipping from Belgium to China

      -The pick-up charge to move a 40ft HC container from Antwerp to Ningbo is $810, with 61 free days and a per diem charge of $6.

      -The pick-up charge for a 40ft HC container from Antwerp to Shanghai is $730, with 59 free days and a per diem charge of $6.

      Here’s an overview of the leasing rates for 40ft HC from Belgium to China. 

      SOC container leasing rates Belgium to China

      Want to find SOCs from your specific cities? Explore offers from 1,700+ suppliers below. 

      Find SOCs from Belgium to China

      How to find SOCs for one-way moves?

      Now that you’ve got a sense of the rates, let’s take you through how you can easily get SOCs on our platform. Get any container type, condition, and dimension under one platform with us in just a few steps.

      • Log on to our online leasing marketplace
      • Type in your preferred route and the container type you require
      • Hit the search button and browse through all the offers
      • Interact and negotiate deals with vetted members and suppliers
      • Select a deal that suits your budget

      Our platform also offers an easy and safe payment handling feature, in which we monitor all payments, streamline your invoicing, and reduce coordination efforts to pay or get paid when dealing with several partners simultaneously.

      Our expert team also helps you resolve any payment disputes you may face.

      So go ahead and connect with 1,700+ vetted container suppliers to get SOCs for your next shipment. Click the banner below to get started.

      Small banner for SOC container

      What are the benefits of using SOC containers?

      SOCs give you control over the supply of containers, provide you with more ownership, and are also cost-effective as they help you avoid D&D charges. Let’s explore this in detail below. 

      Control of supply

      One of the most important benefits of SOCs is that you can source the containers yourself. This is essential for locations where carriers are unable or unwilling to provide units, or only offer them at very high rates. 

      Control of ownership 

      With SOCs, you can choose:

      • The exact number of containers you want
      • Your preferred condition and shipping route
      • Time period you’ll need them for

      In this way, you get exactly what you want, no disappointments, no risks. 

      Cost control 

      In the current shipping landscape, managing costs is more critical than ever when COC freight rates are skyrocketing. For instance, rates from Shanghai to Rotterdam increased by $762 to $6,032 per FEU in the second week of June 2024.

      The rates are increasing every day due to market volatility caused by the Red Sea crisis. Additionally, D&D charges further escalate costs. Given the current port congestion, particularly in major hubs like Singapore, delays are almost inevitable. This congestion increases your D&D charges, making COCs even more expensive. 

      In contrast, shipper-owned containers offer a cost-effective alternative. By using SOCs, you can avoid hefty D&D charges and lease containers for one-way moves. For example, the average leasing rate for a 40ft HC container from Shanghai to New York on our platform is $1,220. 

      Benefits of SOCs

      Avoid demurrage and detention fees, save cash, and increase your flexibility today with the Container xChange leasing platform. Read on to know how. 

      Lease SOCs one-way to ship your cargo at the best rates  

      If SOCs are what you need, look no further than our leasing marketplace to find a cargo container that ticks all of your boxes.

      All you’ve to do is select the container type and size you need. Once you input your requirements on the xChange leasing platform, you’ll get multiple offers from vetted suppliers to choose from. When you find something that suits you, reach out to the supplier directly to negotiate the rates, terms, and conditions. 

      After settling all of the finer details with the partner, it’s time to pay. If this part leaves you in a cold sweat, don’t worry. You can make safe payments directly on the platform. 

      Sounds quick and easy right? Plus, here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy as a member of xChange:

      • Access 100,000+ containers in over 2,500 locations worldwide
      • Work with 1,700+ vetted and pre-approved suppliers
      • Compare multiple SOC offers in one place
      • Get complete price transparency
      • No hidden costs 
      • Negotiate deals directly with partners—No middleman

      Start your SOC journey with us today. Click on the banner below to see the leasing platform live, plus learn how to book your first SOC! Save big, increase your flexibility, and avoid demurrage and detention fees once and for all with Container xChange.

      Big banner for SOC container

      SOC container: Common FAQs

      What are SOCs?

      Shipper-owned containers (SOCs) in shipping are containers owned or leased by the shipper rather than the carrier. SOCs provide greater control over logistics and often reduce costs associated with delays like demurrage, and detention.

      What is the difference between SOC and COC containers?

      When the container belongs to a shipper (an individual or independent business), it is called an SOC, or shipper-owned container. When a container belongs to the carrier, it is called a COC, or carrier-owned container.

      What are the benefits of SOC containers?

      Using SOC containers gives you more flexibility to choose the containers that suit your needs, as well as avoiding demurrage and detention fees. SOCs are most cost-effective when there are port delays, congestions, or a lack of COCs in the market.