Shipping Container Condition, Grades & Selection Option

When making the decision to purchase a shipping container, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the distinctions between container conditions and grades. This understanding will ensure that you choose the most suitable container to meet your specific requirements.

There are three primary container conditions to consider: Used, One Trip, and Refurbished. Each condition is further categorized into different grades, which provide insights into the overall condition and structural integrity of the container. It’s important to note that the condition and grade of the container will directly impact its price.



Our most popular container, used general purpose containers have been in heavy-duty shipping service for 5 to 15 years before being “retired.”

Most used shipping containers will have the original paint and shipping line markings. The equipment will also show signs of wear and tear, such as surface rust, dents, and scratches.

Used shipping containers might not look good on the outside and inside, but depending on their grade, they will be structurally sound and some may still be suitable for cargo transportation, storage solution, and more.


New One Trip shipping containers may have minor dents, dings, and scrapes which are a result of regular shipping and handling during their long ocean journey.

These new shipping containers are manufactured in Asia and then shipped to our various depots around the world. In order to reduce the cost of shipping and provide our customers with the best prices we load these new containers with cargo 1 time. This helps us offset the re-positioning costs and pass on the savings to our customers.


Refurbished containers are used Wind and Water Tight (WWT) containers that have been prepped, primed, and repainted. Refurbishing gives a shipping container a new lease on life and can extend the container’s lifespan. We offer three levels of refurbishment on a Used Wind and Water Tight container:

  • Typical refurbishment – The exterior is repainted. The container exterior is prepped and painted. Prep includes wire wheeling to remove loose rust, spot priming exposed metal, and painting the exterior including the roof. Typically we paint over locking rods, gaskets, and decals.
  • Complete refurbishment – Similar to Typical Refurbishment but includes painting the interior.
  • Factory refurbishment – This is a complete overhaul of the container with new interior and exterior paint, new gaskets, and new container markings.

Used shipping containers are inspected and graded according to age, structural soundness, exterior and interior condition, number of miles traveled, damage and repair history, as well as the weather conditions that it was stored and shipped. When looking for a container, you’ll find the following grades.


Our most popular grade, Wind and Water Tight containers are used shipping containers that are guaranteed not to leak.

Although they won’t leak, you can expect WWT shipping containers to have original paint, surface rust, dents, and abrasions from heavy-duty shipping services. The external appearance might even be ugly for these containers


Cargo Worthy shipping containers have been inspected and deemed to be structurally sound and safe for international transport by sea, rail, and road.

Externally, it will have original paint (color may vary), old shipping markings, surface rust, abrasions, and dents. If you need a container for export, it will need to have a container survey and a valid CSC inspection sticker.


An IICL container meets the stringent inspection requirements set by the Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL) and is deemed suitable for export.

IICL containers will have a higher book value because of their excellent condition. Their external appearance will look much better than a WWT container.


An As Is container is a shipping container that has been inspected and found to be damaged so severely that it will cost too much to repair to make it Wind and Watertight.

There will be external and internal issues with the container such as holes, broken flooring, and other structural issues. Generally, we do not recommend that customers buy an As Is container unless it will be used for some purpose where structural soundness and exterior are not required.