Containers are purchased wholesale in USD dollars, so the retail price will fluctuate depending on the USD at the time of purchase.  Other factors to consider are:

  • The size and type of the container required. Is it a standard size, high cube or specialised?
  • Age and condition – whether you are purchasing new or used?
  • Do you require additional features such as ventilation, locking boxes or other modifications?
  • Cost of delivery – are you arranging transport or is the supplier delivering for you?
  • Site accessibility, for example tight spaces may require a crane.
  • Do you need CSC certification for rail or shipping?
  • Are permits required by your local Council?
container loading in a cargo ship
stack of containers

Where Are You Are You Buying From?

As with many industries, there are some container dealers that run a less than desirable operation, so it is worth doing your research when comparing prices. Many companies advertise excluding GST and will not provide photos of the actual container you’ll be getting. When shopping around make sure you are matching like for like.

You should also check that the shipping container is not stolen and be wary of requests for cash only. Always request a Tax Invoice and check the company has a valid business address where you can visually inspect the container if need be.

Container Price Points – New V Old

Containers are manufactured from Corten steel and built to last.   Generally, the newer the container, the higher the price.   The condition of a container will depend on the number of journeys it has endured, the products it has previously carried and how well it’s been maintained.

New Builds have been utilised once for cargo shipping and may have slight scratches and scuff marks but will typically have no damage.  Always the most expensive, a 20ft one trip standard size will cost anywhere between $3500 – $4000 with a 40ft one trip over $6000.

welder welding a container

When comparing used containers think about used cars.  As with cars, a container’s market value will be contingent on its age and condition.  Just because a container is used though, it doesn’t mean that it is unsuitable for transport, storage or modification.  In fact, many people choose to buy used as the cost can be significantly less than a new container.  There is no universal grading standard.  Companies will rate, grade and price their used containers differently but the following can be used as a rough guide:

A Grade  –  generally the best, being only a few years old with few dents and scratches and minor surface rust.

B Grade  – average quality container, will have surface rust, dents, scratches or possible repair patches but will still be water and air tight.

C Grade – fair quality, container will be a lot older and possibly extensive corrosion, interior staining and may or may not be wind and watertight

AS IS – these containers are sold without no expressed warranty and may have holes, damaged floorboards, seals or bent locking rods.  The more damage the cheaper the container will be, but if you’re handy and have the time you could save some costs undertaking your own repairs.

The price indication for a 20ft GP standard size used container from a reputable supplier may vary from $2,000 to $3,000.   A 40ft GP could cost anywhere between $2000 – $4000.  High cube containers, will be a few hundred dollars extra, depending on quality and availability.

Some container yards offer interior refurbishment, meaning the floors have been sanded and interior walls painted.  This is usually an additional fee between $150 to $200.

Tip: Ask for photos of the exact container you will be receiving and make note of the container number to   ensure it is the same that you were quoted for.  Make sure there’s a guarantee the container is wind, watertight and vermin proof.

modified-white container

Additional Costs To Consider

As well as the purchase price of  the container, there are other costs that may be applicable including:

Specialist containers – If you’re looking for anything other than a typical size, such as a refrigerated container, side opening or curtain side, expect the price to be much higher than a standard unit.

Repairs – Be mindful of purchasing a container AS IS, without knowing exactly what you’ll be getting.  Although cheaper, the cost or repair may outweigh any savings.

Modifications – These costs vary depending on the type of modification you require.   Whilst installing ventilation and locking boxes is generally quick and easy, adding things like doors or windows can add thousands of dollars as additional steel, cutting and welding is required.  Welding is a fine art and you want to make sure the job is getting done properly.

Transport – All containers are from overseas and would have originated via the port in Melbourne, thereby the further you live from Melbourne the higher the transport cost will be.  To get your container delivered involves hiring a specialist truck, fit for purpose that can lift and transport ex container yard to your site.

CSC Certification – Obtaining a CSC certificate is mandatory for rail and sea transport.  It states that your container has been inspected by a qualified marine surveyor according to Container Safety Convention and that specifications and guidelines have been met for safe travel.  Expect to pay a small fee anywhere between $80 – $150.

Here at Container Space, we have a large range of used and new shipping containers for sale.  We pride ourselves on being competitively priced and will give a fair quote on enquiry.  We also have an onsite team who can undertake any modifications or repair work.