Shipper-owned container at a dock to be loaded

Shipper-owned container at a dock to be loaded

We recently added a new page to our website about shipper-owned containers and preparing your container for shipping. We provide containers for people to ship overseas.  We work with freight forwarders,  logistics providers, and individuals to provide them with the right container for their project.

If you are shipping a container for the first time, the first question to ask yourself is if you want to own the container when it gets to its destination or if you want to give it back.  If you do not want to own the container, you can use the shipping line's container.  Contact your shipping line, freight forwarder or logistics provider to arrange for that.

If you want to own the container when it gets to its destination, then you want what is called a shippper-owned container.  We can provide you with used or one-trip containers for this.  If you want a used container, it needs to be in "cargo-worthy" condition, which means that it is structurally sound enough to be used for shipping overseas.  In addition to it being in that condition, you will need proof for the shipping line that it is cargo-worthy.  We can survey the container for you and provide you with a certificate that the container is cargo-worthy.

Trucking and shipping your container is handled by your shipping line, freight forwarder or logistics provider.  We do not provide trucking for containers being shipped overseas.  We bring containers out and set them on the ground.  However, the trailers used to bring the container into the rail yard or port cannot pick up containers, so you would need a crane to lift up a container and set it on the truck for transport.  Since most people and companies do not have that, it is simply cheaper and easier to have your shipping line, freight forwarder or logistics provider arrange to pick the container up from us, bring it to you for loading and then continue with it to the rail or port. Our drivers do not have the proper documentation to go into the rail or port, so we cannot do that trucking for you.

If you are planning to modify your container once it is at the destination, we also have kits for adding in doors, windows, partitions, skylights and more.  You just need someone to cut and weld at the other end.  For more information on that, check out our modifications page to our website.

Used cargo-worthy containers in use

It is spring time and you are gearing up for a busy summer.  Let containers make all those projects go smoothly and on time.  Containers are great on jobsites for secure storage and as a work area in bad weather.

Containers are made from cor-ten steel, which means it takes them longer to rust than regular steel.  It also makes them very secure.  Add a lockbox on the door and any potential thief would need welding tools to get at your tools.

Since containers are mobile, you can move them from jobsite to jobsite.  Keeping your tools onsite keeps your guys to your schedule.  Unlike keeping tools in a truck and depending on that truck being to the jobsite on time every day, your tools and supplies are right where you left them the night before.

You can work out of the container when the weather doesn’t cooperate.  If you plan on working in the container often, you can even modify it with venting, electricity, insulation, windows and/or additional doors to make the container be your perfect workshop.  Modification kits make it easy for you to do the modifications exactly the way you want.

Container toolboxes are a great way to provide secure storage and work space on your jobsites.

If you were planning out your perfect container toolbox, what would you include?  Venting? Lights? Secure shelving or drawers?

We have covered what size container to buy, how it will be delivered, how you can modify it, and a whole list of different uses for containers.  But one huge question is – where are you going to put that?  Of course you need enough room for a truck to get in to deliver the container, but beyond that, what do you need to think about?  Here are three things to keep in mind when planning your container location.

1)       Access. Your container will come on a large truck.  That truck needs space to get in and deliver the container.  Make sure you not only have enough room for the truck to maneuver, but also that the ground the truck will be driving over can handle the weight involved.  This means steer clear of lawns, soft dirt or anywhere where a truck can sink into the ground.  The last thing you want is to pay to get a tow truck out to pull out your container.  Best bets:  paved ground, graveled areas or packed dirt.  Also remember that if you are going to have the driver go over packed dirt or gravel that can be affected by rain, check the area before delivery so you can reschedule if there are any issues.

2)      Terra Firma. Your container is made of steel.  That is heavy.  And it is going to sit there for a long time and you are going to put more heavy things inside it.  The bottom line – you need some firm ground underneath your container.  This can be a concrete or asphalt pad, gravel or packed dirt.  20’ containers weigh 5,000 pounds and 40’s are just under 10,000 pounds – empty.  Over time, your container will sink if the ground is not firm enough.  This can cause problems in opening the doors and keeping the container floor in good shape.  If you don’t have firm ground where you want the container, you may want to consider adding gravel to that spot.  It will provide firm ground that drains well and sits a little higher than the rest of the ground in that area.  All of those things will help in the long run.

Good blocking, but VERY SOFT ground

Good blocking, but VERY SOFT ground

Firm Ground

Firm Ground

Plenty of access, with firm ground

Plenty of access, with firm ground

3)      Blocking. This is a personal preference.  You can block or not block your container.  The pros to blocking are that they raise the container up a little bit, which helps if you are putting it in an area that does not drain well.  It will extend the life of your container.  Also, if you are concerned with the container shifting, you can readjust the blocking by using a car jack to lift of that corner of the container enough to reposition the blocking.  The pros to not blocking is that the container will be closer to the ground if you plan on rolling items into it.  You will still need a ramp to get up the 6” of flooring.  Also, if you are putting the container on a paved surface, the container will settle in more consistently than just in the areas where the blocking is.  If you are going to get blocking, try either railroad ties or take a 6”x6” or 8” x 8” and cut it into 2’ pieces.  For 20’ containers, have at least 4 pieces, for 40’ containers at least 6-8 pieces of blocking.

One other big rule of thumb – if you have questions about placement, it is definitely something that needs to be discussed.  No one who drives a large truck wants to get stuck or not be able to make a delivery, so save everyone some headaches by discussing your concerns ahead of time.  Pictures can really answer so many questions, so feel free to take pictures of your delivery area and the area the driver will have to go to access the delivery spot.  This can help everyone problem-solve before the container is loaded and your delivery will go smoothly.