The most common question that our sales team gets asked is whether they can make a recommendation between a new or one trip container and a used shipping container and what the differences between these types of containers really are. Unfortunately, they cannot make the decision as to which container best suits everybody’s needs but they can make a recommendation and help clear up any confusion there may be.

It is important to understand that new containers are not as new as when they are manufactured at the factory. They are called one-trip containers for the simple fact that they have made one trip from their production facility in China to Canada or the US. During this trip, each container is loaded with goods to transport and once they arrive at their destination, the contents are unloaded and the containers get sent to their container depot. All new containers have made this one trip voyage. If containers were shipped empty to their destination, the container itself would cost 4X as much.

The one-time loading/unloading process generally means that even “new” containers may have minor scuff marks or scratches from their handling at each port or rail during the shipment process.

Despite the one-time usage described above, the difference between new and used containers is still significant. Used shipping containers for sale are generally 10-12 years old and will likely have surface rust and minor dents. However, the sea cans are inspected to ensure they are wind and water tight, have structurally sound flooring and fully functional doors. These containers are classified as cargo worthy. On the other hand, one trip containers are aesthetically more appealing as they have a fresh coat of factory marine paint and virtually no dents. They share the same wind and water tight qualities as used containers, solid flooring and secure and functional locking mechanism however, the flooring is brand new and there are virtually no dings and dents on the walls of the containers.

Another difference is that used shipping containers are not all the same color – when purchasing a used sea can, some flexibility exists in choosing the color of the container unless a repaint is feasible. Additionally, it is possible to sometimes see patches placed on the container walls or roof in order to cover up old holes or tears in the metal. Rest assured, the patches are professionally sealed and they maintain the wind and water-resistant qualities of brand-new containers. Lastly, it is important to remember that new containers are equipped with a secure lockbox to maintain your storage secured. Lock boxes are available on used equipment as well however, at an additional cost.

For any questions about our new or used shipping container equipment, please reach us by telephone at 1 866 493 4863 or by email at For shipping container accessories, please visit our website for further information.