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The original intended purpose of the shipping container was to ease the transportation of cargo over long distances and different modes of transport. Over the years, however, people have come to realise that these modular steel boxes are capable of so much more than what they were created for and are now utilizing them for all sorts of applications.

Generally, businesses as well as individuals use shipping containers for three main purposes:

  1. Shipping. This is what shipping containers have always been known for and still is their core function. Cargo containers make shipping convenient and more economical by enabling cargo consolidation while giving it a standardised form that is easy to handle and transfer from one mode of transport to the next.
  2. Storage. Cargo containers are basically storage units that can be moved efficiently. This makes them useful for on-site storage use even when the stored items do not need to be transported to a new location. Their solid build ensures that items stored in them are protected from pilferage and burglary as well as the weather elements.
  3. Repurposing/conversion. A relatively new use for sea containers, conversion or repurposing container units has gained increased popularity and mainstream acceptance in recent years. Sea containers are being converted into all sorts of products including houses, shops, carports, sheds, ablution units, restaurants, offices and more.

With such a wide array of possible applications, it’s clear why so many people are in the market for this versatile commodity. But after you have evaluated your needs and determined that, indeed, you do need a shipping container, the next major decision you will need to make is whether to hire/lease the container or buy it outright.

Considerations for buying or hiring a container

Whether you decide to hire a shipping container or purchase one will depend on your particular needs and application. Here are the factors you should keep in mind when making your decision:

  1. Duration of use

Evaluate your particular situation to determine whether you will be needing a shipping container for a short time or a long time. If you only require the cargo container to fulfil a short-term need such as seasonal storage or one-off shipping, hiring will do just fine for you as this will keep your costs low and save you the trouble of disposing the container once you’re done with it.

For uses that are expected to stretch for a long time (more than a year) or indefinitely such as long-term storage and conversions, purchasing the cargo container outright would be the wise financial decision as hiring costs could equal or surpass the cost of buying the unit over a long time.

  1. Intended use

What are you planning on using your shipping container for? How will your use of the container affect the unit’s physical condition? If you plan to use the shipping container you acquire in a manner that will not fundamentally change its form and condition, then hiring instead of buying would be a viable option for you.

However, if your usage of the container requires you to make significant modifications that fundamentally change the original form of the container, then buying the unit upright is the only viable option you have. Usually, shipping container suppliers will not allow you to make any significant modifications to their rented containers as this would cost them money to revert when re-hiring the unit.

  1. Damage expected

Of course, the owner of a rented container will expect to get it back in almost the same condition they supplied it to you – with an allowance for any natural wear that’s expected with ageing. As such, you will need to look at your particular situation and determine whether the container will suffer any significant damage during the period of time that you have it.

For applications that will put the shipping container through extraordinarily rough conditions, buying the container should be the preferred option as this will save you the trouble of costing the damages with your supplier once the hire term is complete. Simply put: if it’s yours, you can break it.

  1. Budget/finances

In the short-term, renting a sea container will obviously be cheaper than buying one. While a container will retain its value pretty well if properly maintained – making resale after use viable – the initial cost of making the purchase could be prohibitive if you lack the cash flow to do it. Renting enables you to spread the cost over a long time making it more affordable.

Additionally, shipping containers will require some maintenance over time which – although not very expensive – is an added cost of owning one. If you’d rather not have to worry about maintenance, then you might find that hiring a cargo container is exactly what you need.

  1. Need evaluation

Are you on the fence on whether a shipping container will serve your particular need? If you are not sure yet whether to commit to owning a shipping container for any reason, hiring gives you the perfect opportunity to try one out in real life and see whether it’s what you need without making any ‘permanent’ commitments.

With a hired container, you can test out its usefulness for your particular circumstance, and if you are pleased with the results, then you can go ahead and commit to buying the unit. If it doesn’t work out as you expected, just contact your supplier and end the engagement.

By considering these factors, you will be able to make a quality decision on whether buying or hiring will work for you.

Tips for hiring or buying a cargo container

Whether you’re hiring or buying, acquiring a shipping container can be a relatively complicated affair. Here are some tips to help you out:

  • Bigger is better when you’re unsure. If you’re unsure of the container size that will suit your needs, it’s always better to choose a bigger container than to have to hire or buy an additional unit when the one you have proves inadequate.
  • Inspect before committing. Pictures might tell a thousand words but they are known to lie from time to time. Make sure to physically inspect the container you are prospecting before making a commitment to buy or rent it to ensure it's up to scratch.
  • Consider the logistics. Consult your supplier to find out how the logistics of getting the shipping container to your location will work and whose expense it will be. Also, make sure that you have an appropriate location for keeping the container with roads that are accessible for the delivery vehicle.

Published: about 1 month ago by webstrats.




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