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Containers Direct logo
Quality you can see, experience you can trust.


Used shipping containers offer great value for money, as they are built to last, and withstand many years of heavy weight bearing and rough transit. They will be handled many times in ports and container depots throughout the world, and spend years on high seas. Naturally this will affect the cosmetic appearance of the container, but any container being sold on into the storage market should be structurally sound and watertight.

What to expect from a used shipping container

Typically our used shipping container products will be in the region of 15 - 20 years old. Dents and scrapes will be evident, as well as some surface rusting. However, this should not affect the performance of the container.

Pictures of typical used shipping containers

Shipping containers can be ply lined or melamine lined inside for a smart appearance and to eliminate condensation.

Common features of used shipping containers

Wear and tear of the floor

The marine ply floor is made up of several layers. Over time, these layers can start to peel away from each other and fracture. Shipping container floors are manufactured to withstand this however within used shipping containers, given their age and usage over time, evidence of delamination isn't uncommon. However, delamination doesn't damage the structural integrity of the used shipping container. If the delamination had progressed beyond the point of maintaining our standards for used shipping containers, we would repair this section of flooring with a steel plate.


Sometimes container repairs, or patches, can be seen on a used container. A patch is fully welded and sealed and will follow the line of the container corrugations. The patch work conforms to shipping standards and doesn't affect the structural integrity of the container, or the watertight-ness.

Water pooling

Pooling on used container roofs is not unusual and doesn't damage the container. Shipping containers are made from Corten steel, a type of weathering steel manufactured for marine use and is designed to surface rust to create a protective coating. Read more below.

Corten steel

The cosmetic appearance of a used shipping container is not indicative of its quality. Shipping containers are made from Corten steel, which is extremely thick and robust (bearing in mind shipping containers are often stacked up to 8 high), and also contains corrosion retardant properties. It allows surface rust to form as a protective layer on the container, sometimes referred to as weathering, or self healing steel - a little bit like a scab forming over a wound! For more on this process, see our full article on Corten Steel.


We appreciate that the cosmetic appearance of the container can be important to our customers. After all, who doesn't prefer things to look neat, or create the right impression? Therefore we offer a repainting option for used shipping containers. As you can see from the pictures below, repainting can considerably improve the look of the container, although indentations and flakes will still be visible in outline. We use rubberised marine paint, which can help extend the life of the container too. Check out the wide range of colours we offer.

If you haven't chosen the repainting option then we only repaint any new steel added to the container - ie new door types.

New/once used shipping containers

We understand that every customer will have their own requirements from the container they purchase, so if the appearance of the container is paramount, we recommend looking at our range of new and one trip containers. These are manufactured abroad, and transported with cargo to our shores, and upon arrival are immediately sold off - hence the name one trip containers.


"The choice and information was all available online, including the price which seems to be the biggest secret in the industry. If you're trading online, put the prices on. That pretty much swayed me to be fair. Another company I requested sent me a price for a new 20 foot? Not what I had asked for.

Communication was excellent from the start and on the day the office called re a delay to delivery with an estimate and later a direct call from the driver himself. The driver has clearly been doing these for a while and he did very well. He was in, manoeuvered, dropped it exactly on site as requested and gone pretty swiftly.

The container, although used, is well painted and clean inside. Good shelving as ordered. Good doors too. My opinion is this is a well run company, up front about everything, good communications from all departments/staff and made the process a simple straightforward deal. Thank you."

From Malcom at Halliday Holdings, who ordered a used 15ft container, repainted, with fitted shelving.

Read all testimonials here!

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