Grading Shipping and Storage Containers

The buying and selling of shipping containers has become mainstream, and not just for those who want to ship items around the world. The reality is, these containers can be used for many different purposes with storage being a common option.

What can be confusing to new buyers is the grading system involved when deciding on the condition of a container. Luckily, we’ve been able to produce this handy guide to help you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

The Shipping Container Industry

You will quickly learn that many suppliers often choose to grade their containers themselves, usually opting for a sliding scale along the lines of A-E etc. This in no way should be taken for an official grading system so don’t be surprised to see a completely different system being used elsewhere.

The most common type of container used is known as the ‘dry’ container and is available in sizes of 10, 20 and 40ft.

Some other terms and phrases you may come across include:

  • IICL-5 (Institute of International Container Lessors rating)

This identifier code means that the container conforms to the international leasing inspection and repair standard, which is generally considered to be the most stringent in the industry. Any container labelled with this rating should be in near excellent condition.

  • CSC plate (Container Safety Convention plate)

A CSC plate is a safety approval plate, confirming the containers suitability for international transport and shipping. This should mean that it will be free of holes and cracks, that its doors open and shut properly and that it is watertight and dry.

  • CW (Cargo Worthy)

This is the standard used by several shipping lines, and denotes that the container has been inspected by a licensed cargo inspector and deemed worthy of ocean cargo transport.

  • WWT (Wind and Water Tight)

This means the container is in a good enough condition to protect its cargo from wind and rain and is internally dry. Perfect for those projects where protecting the contents of the container is vital.

  • SG (Storage grade)

Storage grade containers are no longer suitable for shipping. They are usually still secure and reasonably weatherproof, but may have considerable wear and tear. You will need to make a decision as to whether this grade of container is suitable for your needs.

  • AI (As Is)

This is often an indication that the container is damaged in some way, or it may have succumbed to corrosion and rust. There is no guarantee it is weatherproof or suitable for transporting cargo. However, depending on the nature and extent of the damage, it may still be suitable for use in construction projects.

Sourcing a Shipping Container

You could come across any one of these terms on your journey to finding the right container. We would suggest that you always seek a guarantee of quality from your supplier so you have some recourse available to you if the container isn’t what it was sold as. You can find used shipping containers for sale through numerous suppliers so search for one that is willing to deliver to your part of the UK. Make sure that you shop around to ensure value for money.

Finding the right shipping container needn’t be time consuming or expensive, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for and buy accordingly.

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