Shipping Container Grades: What Are the Differences?

red yellow orange and burgundy shipping containers

Appearance condition and shipping grades are the top two considerations to keep in mind when buying new or used shipping containers. Today we’ll focus on the shipping container grades.

Your shipping container provider should provide transparent and upfront information with you regarding the condition of your container. Do your research beforehand so you can educate yourself.

New/One Trip

Built within the last two years, these containers may have been used only once – at most — for international shipping. All parts are in excellent condition, the best you can get.

A Grade

With minimal rust, these containers have doors and gaskets in very good condition. You can expect no large dents, few roof patches, and floors in good condition. This is a great container to buy, as it’s aesthetically pleasing and can be painted should you desire.

B Grade

Some rust may be present, but any corrosion is minor and superficial – no larger than six inches in diameter. You shouldn’t expect much rust around doors, gaskets, seals and hinges, but you may spot some patches on the roof or floor. Even though side walls may show a few deflections, this is overall a good quality unit. They are most often used for general storage purposes.

C Grade

Rust may be present but it’s mostly superficial even though the spots can be larger than six inches in diameter. Doors are functional; however light rust may appear on gaskets, hinges or door tops, with patches in the roof and floor. Delamination can be present on the floor. This container won’t win any beauty pageants but it’s affordable and structural sound.

D Grade

Rust is structural and predominant, and doors are likely difficult to open and close. This container will have loose gaskets and severe floor delamination and loose panels. Seals will have medium to severe rust, with sides that have large deflections or dents. Usually older than 20 years, these containers are your cheapest option and aren’t very good looking.

That said, they are still wind and water tight and make good storage units for four-wheelers, lawnmowers, and the like.

Many factors dictate which grade you will choose when it comes to your shipping container, but just be aware what you’re receiving for the money.

You will save the most on used or recycled containers, which cost about $3,000. New containers, while they look nice, will run you more than $5,000.

Prior to Buying: Checking the Condition

Check the condition of your desired unit before signing on the dotted line. Check out these tips:

  • Look at photos to determine the container’s condition and dimensions, but pay attention to the details as well.
  • Check the exterior by walking around the outside to inspect condition, paying close attention to corner castings, seals and paint.
  • Inspect the interior for damage, paying close attention to door fittings, seals, locks, gaskets and mold.

Contact A&M Container

Our team can help you decide between shipping container grades and explain them in full. Just contact us for a free quote today!