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Should You Buy or Hire a 40ft Shipping Container?


pasted-image-0.pngPurchasing shipping containers constitutes a definite investment in their present and future utility. Although this may make sense for your business or personal needs, ownership is not always the ideal option.

There are just as many reasons to hire a 40ft shipping container as there are to buy one outright. The 40 ft shipping container is the largest shipping container size in common use. It is used worldwide to carry cargo over great distances and store items safely for extended periods of time.

Despite typically weighing in at around 4,000 kilos, these containers can support more than 27,000 kilos in stored weight without bending, buckling, or breaking. Such outstanding performance is the reason for their wide use. Buying your own is easy enough, but it might not be necessary should your needs be temporary or very specific.

Below, we compare the most important reasons for purchasing or hiring a shipping container from both a professional and personal perspective.

Reasons to Buy

There are a number of reasons to go ahead with purchasing your own 40ft container, including repeated use and potential for damage.

Here are a few major motivators for securing your own container:

Multiple Back-and-Forth Uses are Much Easier to Handle
Renting a shipping container can often save you on upfront costs should you need to use it only once. However, if you foresee yourself or your company utilising the same container multiple times in a row, then it will likely be best for your bottom line to buy one outright.

Time spent waiting for rented containers to be delivered to your location can also cost you money, negating any savings you may have been hoping for by renting in the first place.

You Plan on Keeping the Container in Use for Longer Than Six Months
Besides buying if you intend to use a single container more than once, it also makes sense to buy the container if you aim to use the same one relatively consistently for six months or more.

Rental fees can pile up quickly, costing you more on average than a one-time purchase would when it comes to long-term use.

You Need to Use the Container in Hazardous Conditions
Hiring a container can be great for cutting costs, but your savings could disappear sooner rather than later if you damage it significantly during use.

For any scenario you have planned that is highly likely to damage your container, it may be best to buy one instead of renting it.

Though shipping containers are designed to withstand the numerous dangers of sea transportation, these dangers can still threaten the integrity of a standard shipping container. Additionally, any containers you plan on transporting by land over difficult terrain will likely need to be bought to save on damage fees.

You Intend to Alter the Container's Design
Significant alterations to the design of your chosen container might not be allowed when you've chosen to hire instead of buying. Purchasing your own shipping container grants you full freedom to modify it in any way you need.

Restrictions on alterations typically include minor alterations as well as large ones, so even installing lockboxes or security systems could be forbidden by your rental contract.

Reasons to Hire

Hiring a shipping container of this size can help you keep ongoing costs to a minimum.

Here are the main reasons to consider hiring your next shipping container instead of buying one:

A 40ft Container is Overkill for Your Usual Shipments
If you generally get by with smaller container sizes, buying a 40ft container can turn out to be an altogether unneeded expense.

For example, if you need to ship a full-sized vehicle in addition to other items, but will not need to do so again, renting makes this possible without forcing you to splurge by buying such a large container size.

Items You Need to Ship Come from More Than One Location at a Time
If you are finding it especially difficult to come up with a system in which you can reasonably coordinate several containers arriving at individual locations on time, then it could make more sense to opt for hiring containers instead.

You Only Need a Container Once
For one and done tasks like packing up home belongings or office equipment for a move, hiring a container makes a lot more sense than purchasing one outright.

Hiring as many containers as you  need to handle whatever tasks you have at hand allows you to complete projects relatively quickly without needing to commit to a long-term investment for a single use.

You Need to Use Special Container Features Temporarily
There are a number of special shipping container varieties to choose from and each of these provides a host of benefits for certain types of cargo. The following are best rented if you have no immediate need for them beyond a single use:

Reefer Containers
These unique containers combine the usual security features of a standard shipping container with climate control technology for temperature management of sensitive items.

Perfect for perishables, these containers facilitate the preservation of plants, foods, and more over long journeys with cooling equipment and insulated sides. Reefer containers can carry understandably higher price tags thanks to all of their helpful features, making them a bit cost-prohibitive to purchase for minimal use.

Hiring one of these containers makes it easier to keep your costs low when cargo climate control is absolutely necessary.

Insulated Containers
Although these containers are not quite as well-equipped for handling especially sensitive items as reefers are, they can still help to preserve and protect delicate cargo from drastic swings in temperature.

These types of containers can actually satisfy the same climate control requirements as reefer containers over short distances when designed and constructed properly.

Insulated containers are also ideal for handling any non-perishable items that can benefit from steady temperatures. This includes machinery, furniture, and many more.

These special containers make transporting irregularly shaped objects a bit easier by eliminating the long sides and top of the container. Vehicles and heavy pieces of machinery are often shipped in these types of containers when it is important that they be kept in one piece. Renting these containers instead of investing in them by purchasing makes a lot of sense if your usual cargo can fit comfortably inside a standard container.

Hazardous Substance Containers
Containers built to accommodate the storage and shipping of potentially dangerous substances come with special floors, ventilation systems, and shelving options. These containers also meet regulatory guidelines for handling dangerous chemicals and other potentially hazardous materials.

Unless you regularly ship volatile cargo, you would best be served by renting one of these containers for the odd task that requires them rather than buying one to keep on hand.

Open-Top And Side-Access Containers
These containers grant more convenient access to interior storage space for loading using heavy machinery. An open-top container allows for cargo to be poured in to fit, drastically speeding up the loading process for loose materials.

Side-access containers make loading with pallet trucks alone possible. Such features are not necessary in the majority of shipping cases, which means these containers are usually more cost-effective to rent than to buy.

You Need to Cut Maintenance and Storage Expenses
Purchasing shipping containers allows you to make consistent use of them without incurring constant rental costs as the months go by. However, renting can turn out to be far more affordable when factors such as container maintenance and storage are taken into account.

Shipping containers take up a lot of space when they are not in use. Space you dedicate to housing them is space that could be used for other purposes. By renting, you can sidestep the opportunity cost of wasted space and let your container supplier handle storage instead.

Maintenance of shipping containers involves lubricating doors, consistent washing/dust removing, and periodic inspections to maintain viability for transporting purposes. Handling these tasks might not be particularly integral to your business plan and you may want to pass them on to your supplier instead. Renting separates you from the maintenance work involved without keeping you from capitalising on containers when needed.

40ft shipping containers come in a number of configurations, but they all offer exceptional storage capacity coupled with impressive durability. If you foresee a need for such containers, be sure to keep the above points in mind before deciding whether to purchase or hire one.

After reading this article, tell us if you are you leaning towards buying or hiring your own shipping container:

Image Source: Pexels, Birds-eye View Photo of Freight Containers