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Understanding Shipping Container Grades/Conditions

Understanding Shipping Container Grades/Conditions

There are a few cargo container industry terms to describe what the condition of a shipping container is in. E & S Equipment believes it’s very important to educate our customers on the different grades of containers.  Customers need to know what kinds of containers companies offer for sale and customers should also be clear as to what type of container to expect at time of delivery. 
New 40' Shipping Container


After manufacture overseas, containers are shipped around the world to an array of shipping lines that use containers over a leased period of time to ship cargo.  When these new containers are shipped it is cost effective for the manufacturer and the country of origin to load the containers with cargo before heading to their respective destinations.  By doing this the cargo helps pay for the shipping costs of these containers.  These brand new containers are noted as “1-Trip” Shipping Containers as they’ve made one sailing and most likely carried 1 load of cargo on its maiden voyage. 

IICL Shipping Container


This grade of shipping container is a used container, in most cases 10 years old or newer and hasn’t had much use or wear and tear.  Very minimal rust is also a trait of an IICL Shipping Container.

Cargo Worthy Shipping Container


Cargo worthy containers are normally within 10-15 years of age and have been actively used in the intermodal industry.  However just because they are used doesn’t mean they aren’t any good!  Cargo worthy containers must still meet US Coast Guard guidelines.  Which means they cannot have any holes or leaks, the marine grade plywood flooring must be in good condition, the container doors must open and close properly, the door seals and container vents must be in good condition and any dents in the shipping container cannot be more than 1.5″ deep.  There will be slightly more rust areas on cargo worthy containers than on IICl containers but even in this condition, it’s kept to a minimum.

As-Is Shipping Container


If the name fits it….!  As-Is containers are containers that are no longer cargo worthy and can no longer sail on container vessels.  There can be holes, leaks, major dents and issues with floors and doors.  Storage containers that have been considered scrap containers and then repaired and repainted are still classified as As-Is Containers due to the fact they cannot be Coast Guard certified.

E & S Equipment inventories all grades of containers however the only time we provide As-Is containers to our customers is if they specifically ask for that type of container.  For 10+ years we’ve proudly provided good quality containers to our over 1700 customers and repeat customers and would never pass off an As-Is container as something of better quality.
In summary and in most cases, the old adage stands…you get what you pay for!  It’s good to be an educated consumer before making a storage container investment.