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Sea Containers Storage Costs: 2023 Rental & Buying Prices


Ocean containers are steel box containers designed to protect and carry cargo when on an ocean voyage. That’s why they’re also called sea-cans or sea boxes, amongst other names. They are fully waterproof, weatherproof, and sometimes ventilated. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can have a fully insulated and refrigerated ocean container or REEFER. A good quality container of any sort ensures complete isolation from the effects of the outside environment, whether extreme temperatures or humidity.  

Typically, purchasing a 20ft new standard-sized sea cargo container costs around $2,000, while renting costs around $100 to $150 per month or about $5/day. But remember that companies usually charge a minimum of a four-week rental period. Understand that these prices are only for the container. On top of this, you must pay for the container’s passage, storage in the port’s secure yard at both ends of the journey, and various types of insurance.  

We are a leading solution for sea boxes across the US. Our suppliers create and customize ISO standard containers for a large spectrum of commercial applications. We can help you find the best sea containers to satisfy your requirements. 

Sea Cargo Shipping Container Rental & Purchase 

The type of sea storage containers you require will differ depending on the type of cargo you intend to carry. Depending on the length of an ocean journey, the sea can rental costs might start to get out of control, so try to restrict these to cargo storage on dry land in the USA. However, if you intend to transport internationally, buying a sea container might be the best option. You can always sell it on, at the other end of the journey if you don’t need it anymore. 

Different ocean container specifications result in varying prices. So it’s best to make a list of relevant requirements before contacting us. We can then offer you the best solution at a good price point. 

Different container types 

There are a variety of different ocean cargo containers you can use. The design of each one determines its purpose and the corresponding price. The following list shows some of the more commonly used sea cans: 

  • 20ft sea containers. 
  • 40ft sea freight storage containers. 
  • Containerized shelters. 
  • ISO standard dry freight boxes. 
  • Dry & bulk sea high cube containers. 
  • Insulated sea cans. 

ISO standardized storage shipping containers have standard lengths of 20ft and 40ft. However, some cargo units have non-standard lengths and are usually used for other purposes besides ocean transit. Although if you wish, they can be certified for a sea voyage. Common, non-standard lengths include 10ft, 15ft, 30ft, 45ft. These have been converted from standard units, so they will cost more to rent or purchase. 

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Typically, a 20ft long sea shipping container has an inside cubic capacity of 1170 cu.ft. So, there’s plenty of room for most types of cargo. But to gain full use of this volume, your goods must efficiently use the interior width, length, and height (7ft 9in, 19ft 4in, 7ft 10in), or else you have wasted space.  

Weight limitations 

Your cargo must also abide by weight limitations, so you can’t necessarily fill the container to the brim. The total gross weight of a 20ft container must not exceed 67,200lbs (30,480kg). Therefore, if the tare weight is 4,806lbs (2,180kg), the maximum payload weight cannot exceed 62,394lbs (28,300kg). 

We can supply a full list of container dimensions on request. And don’t forget we can do personalized box orders too. But, ensure you tell our team exactly what you require because no two customized boxes will be the same. And, to make sure we’ve no problems along the way, one of our account managers will communicate with you during each stage of the process. 

Ocean Container Specifications 

As you can imagine, ocean containers must fit any container ship and efficiently use the expensive onboard space no matter which country it comes from. To make this possible, the International Standards Organization (ISO) specifies and regulates the dimensions of storage sea containers to be the same worldwide. In the USA, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulates the dimensions. ANSI ensures US sea boxes comply with the ISO standards so they can be certified as seaworthy. 

Here is a list of items that fall under the ANSI/ISO requirements. 

  • Marine Ply Flooring – The floor is designed to bear heavy loads, is waterproof, and withstands rot for many years. 
  • Standardized dimensions – The standard ISO dimensions are 20 ft or 40ft long, 8ft wide, and 8ft 6in high. The standardization ensures that containers from many different countries will stack on top of each other and can be connected to prevent toppling. 
  • Double doors fitted on one end – The doors have rubber seals and are hinged to provide the maximum opening space possible. Two closing bars secure each door, and they can be locked in place for the duration of the journey. 
  • Corten steel – The containers use this grade steel to withstand salt spray and keep them waterproof, strong, durable, and free from rust. 
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Sea Can Common Variations 

Usually, it’s enough to use sea boxes with standard dimensions. However, sometimes you need variations on these. Unfortunately, the further your requirements move away from the standard, the harder it is to source them. Either that or else they will simply cost more to produce. Don’t worry, it’s no problem for us to provide these if you require them.  

Here are some non-standard ocean container variants we can supply.  

  • Side opening containers – We can supply containers with doors on one long side and one of the short sides. These double-access entry points provide easier access for personnel and make it easier to load and unload wide cargo with fork trucks.  
  • Pallet wides – These containers have an extra 4 inches of internal width. The additional floor area enables two standard pallets to fit through the end doors and sit side by side. Thus, making better use of the interior space. 
  • Lengths – Although 20ft and 40ft containers are ISO standard lengths, ocean containers also come in other lengths. Typically these are 10ft, 30ft, and 45ft. In practice, we can usually make any size. But, alterations and welding must comply with certain standards to make them seaworthy. Sea box variants must be certified by third-party inspectors after manufacture and before setting out on the ocean voyage. After this, they must be recertified at regular intervals for signs of excessive damage and corrosion. 
  • Tunnel trailers – Sometimes, it’s handy to load and unload cargo from both ends of a sea box container.  In this case, we can supply shipping containers with lockable doors at both ends.  
  • High cubes – This variant has higher roof clearance. Its height is 8ft 6in, whereas the other container dimensions remain standard. This is a useful customization if the cargo is taller or has a greater volume than usual.  

100% Custom Sea Containers 

Even with a shipping container having standard dimensions or with variations on these, sometimes your cargo needs a container that is 100% custom made. Even with the higher expense of building and transporting non-standard ocean containers, it might be worthwhile to keep your valuable cargo safe and secure. The shipment might have a strange shape, might need built-in restraints or any number of special provisions. And so, you need a container designed and customized to suit your unique cargo.  We can provide this service from design to manufacture. Give us a call today to discuss your requirements. 

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CSC Safety Approvals 

It doesn’t matter who you purchase a shipping container from. If you intend to export it, you must provide proof that it is certified as suitable for this purpose. Some customized containers, especially those that have finished up as dry land storage units or living accommodation, are no longer suitable for export by ocean container ships. When you submit your cargo documents to the shipping company, you must supply proof of the ocean cargo container’s certification. Otherwise, the company won’t accept that it is sea-worthy and will refuse to carry your shipment.  

Incidentally, shipping companies will not even accept standard-sized ISO compliant containers if they have developed problems. These would be structural faults such as cracks (in sheet steel or the welds) or holes. Any damaged steel such as these implies that the box is no longer strong enough to withstand a sea journey. They might even damage the integrity of other containers nearby or be a safety risk to the employees handling them. 

CSC plate 

If you intend to export your container, it must be certified with a Container Safety Convention plate (CSC). This plate is a metal label affixed in full view to the container. It proves the box has been inspected and provides data about the container. The information plate lists: 

  • The date of manufacture. 
  • A unique identification number. 
  • Maximum gross weight. 
  • The stacking weight of the container. This data is the maximum weight allowed on the corner posts of the container when subjected to a force 1.8 times that of gravity. 
  • The racking test load value. This data is the maximum load stacking capacity before the container starts to warp. 
  • The date of the next examination. 

The CSC certification shows that it has passed the demanding checks and rigorous standards necessary to prove seaworthiness. And perhaps, more importantly, you won’t have valid insurance for your cargo without this certification. 

In contrast, your container won’t need this certification if you intend to use it for storage purposes on dry land. In that case, the only requirements are that the container is watertight and is of a condition to suit your purposes.    

Ready To Purchase an Ocean Container? 

A strong and durable CSC certified sea box container is exactly what you need to export your goods by sea. We can supply you and your company with containers and deliver them to your premises or anywhere else throughout the US. 

Give us a call today and discuss your requirements with one of our team. Alternatively, complete the form at the top of the page and receive up to three quotes.