Buying Shipping Containers in Australia
So you need a shipping container? Why? New or old? How long for? What size? In this article we will consider these and other questions you need to ask yourself when buying a shipping container in Australia.
Why will you need it?
This is a fairly obvious question – you obviously have some idea as to why you would want one or you wouldn’t be reading this! Though shipping containers were built to move goods securely between places, ingenuity and invention has given them all sorts of other reasons to be used. Amongst other common uses they have been used for:
- Temperature controlled storage
- Secure storage
- As building blocks for buildings or as standalone portable offices / toilet blocks / cafes
- Animal shelters
- Extensions to buildings
- Moving house (internationally and domestically)
You may well have a different idea – go ahead and discuss your needs with us!
Will you need the container long term?
Once you know what you will be needing the container for, you can determine how long long you need it for. Is it something you want for a temporary or permanent basis?
Many companies, including us at Gateway Containers offer a leasing deal, where you can hire a newer container for a short period of time. But ultimately after a certain time you will be paying more for the lease than the value of the container so it will make sense to buy it outright.
What are the different types of containers?
Containers are standardised but aren’t just simple boxes these days! Here are some examples of different shipping containers:
- General purpose containers are stock standard containers for general transportation and storage
- Flat rack containers for carrying awkward shaped cargo like cranes and trucks
- Refrigerated containers have refrigeration units and can be used as a fridge or freezer
- Side-opening containers have doors on the side as opposed to one end
- Open top shipping containers can load awkward or bulky goods from the top
- Insulated containers are designed to protect stored goods from extreme temperatures
- High cube containers have more volume and can store bulky items
You can also convert a shipping container beyond these general types. It is just a blank canvas.
What size do you want?
There are three general sizes of shipping container:
Your choice of size will start with what you need it for but will then be down to how much space you have for it. Budget comes in too.
What’s your budget?
If you’ve the money then a new shipping container could serve you for 15 years or more. A used container comes in different grades, have a read of this article to learn more. The older it is the less pretty it will look (though you can paint it) and also less likely to be weathertight or vermin proof. However, even if it allows snakes and rain in, it can still keep human crooks out!
You get what you pay for, and it is worth noting that the market varies through the year – there is a higher demand for containers in early summer ahead of the Christmas delivery season, for example, so they will be more expensive. Come January and February they could be cheaper thanks to demand falling.
Rules & regulations on food imports
Please do remember that Australia has quite tight regulations on what food and live plants/animals can be brought into the country. Our government has banned a lot of imports of things, like seeds, cheeses, and meats.
If you’re after a reefer container to import fresh produce, check carefully that you’re allowed to bring it in as it could end up a wasted effort. If it gets past customs it could result in a heavy fine too.
Choosing a shipping container supplier
The final thing you need to consider when preparing to buy a new or used shipping container is the company you’re going to buy it from. As ever, due diligence is necessary ahead of any capital purchase.
Before signing the contract to buy, consider the following:
- How long has the vendor been trading?
- What’s their reputation like?
- Do they have online reviews that aren’t crammed with invited customers?
- Do they know what they are talking about?
- Are they charging market rates? Too high or low a price should make you walk away
- Can they deliver to you?
- Are they happy for you to inspect the container yourself?
- Is it an Australian company?
- Do they have the container you want in stock?
- Can they make the modifications you need to the container?
With these answers in mind you can proceed with the final purchase.
Choose Gateway for quality new and used shipping containers!
Given the criteria we’ve covered above, Gateway Containers will tick most of these boxes from the outset. We’re well established and have a good reputation here in Brisbane. We’re Queensland family owned too, and have many different types of containers in stock – if not, we can generally source one through our network of suppliers. Finally, we have the experience and skills to convert them too.
Talk to one of our friendly team today to discuss your needs!