22 Aug 2012
by Ean Parsons
Time was that trading in shipping containers was straight forward. Like many, we came into the business from the freight industry, knowing our way around containers and where we could buy the from when the shipping lines were finished with them. It was all nice and straight forward. Shipping lines bought lots of containers every year to use for cargo and they depreciated them every year until they had a low book value then when they arrived somewhere where there was a demand - they sold them. There was a small market for secure site storage. Then of course, people started making things with them, like anti-vandal cabins and later on self-storage using shipping containers came along. In the meantime, the quality of containers increased dramatically and the storage and site services users demanded higher quality and the Chinese were only too happy to oblige and manufactured containers just o make one trip from the Far East to Europe and then be sold for storage etc. To feed sales of new containers the Chinese scrapped old ones and the re-sale market changed completely.
The upshot is that there is a real mix of containers in the storage and site ervices market and those in the container resale business have to keep a sharp eye on how things are changing.
We now buy containers from shipping lines and manufacturers as well as buying them back from customers and also buying from auction sites like ebay. Types of containers have changed and expanded too. As well as the ubiqutous 20ft we can get 40fts, reefers, half-heights, open tops, refrigerated, flatracks and others.
It all makes for an interesting life. Gone are the days of ‘you can any size as long as its 20ft’!