We often get asked “what grade are the containers you sell? A, B, C? “, and we honestly always have trouble answering that question because there is no clearly defined universal grading system for containers. This paper is therefore intended to help clarify and alleviate some of the confusion you might find yourself in when dealing with container grading and certification. When purchasing new or second hand containers you will come across all sorts of “grades” and certification acronyms. This jargon usually sounds like: WWT, CW, IICL, CSC or ACEP… making it all sound complicated and confusing, when in actuality, it is fairly simple.
Let’s start with main acronyms you could run into when dealing with used shipping or storage containers:
As mentioned, when talking about grading standards it should be noted that grading is usually a company’s internal classification system and not an international standard for purchasing containers. This means, that although 2 companies could both classify their containers in terms of grade A, B, or C, it does not mean that a Grade A will be the same for both. These grading are not international standards, and tend to refer more to the cosmetics of the container rather than the structural quality. If you are offered a graded container make sure to ask for a CLEAR definition of the grading system. In effort to give readers an idea of what they could expect, we have compiled a table of the most common classifications associated with various grading categories:
Most importantly when purchasing a container you have to consider and define clearly your needs and preferences. The 3 basic questions you probably want to ask yourself are:
Those are the real questions that need to be answered when shopping for a container to better choose the container certification you need. Whether in a coastal city or inland, there are people that can supply you with used storage or shipping containers. A quick internet search will generally bring up a few names that you can call. Not all of them will be in your area, but that does not mean they won’t be able to come up with what you need.
Some of these people own the containers they sell, others will broker the deal, but in the end if they are professionals, and there are many of them out there, you will be able to find a used container. The internet is loaded with sites of companies that claim they can be everything to everybody and can deliver everything you might desire. Beware ! Many times you will notice that sites do not list an office address or anything about them or their owners and operators. If you don’t have a regular supplier, don’t hesitate to check with more than one source and ask for references. Choosing the right supplier is probably the most important step on your way to making a container purchase.