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It is estimated that about 95% of the world’s cargo moves by sea. This feat is – for the most part – possible because of the modern shipping container.

Ever since its advent back in 1956 by one Malcolm Mclean, the modern shipping container has changed the way we ship goods by reducing loading and offloading times; improving the security of goods from pilferage and weather damage; and maximising space usage on cargo ships. This has in turn reduced shipping costs while increasing efficiency in the shipping industry.

(Source: https://www.porttechnology.org/news/10_unknown_facts_about_shipping_containers)

For the most part, ever since their invention, shipping containers have been generally used for the aforementioned purpose; shipping. But with so many being manufactured each year (about 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units), there has been a surplus in the supply of these steel boxes in recent years. It is because of this surplus that shipping containers are stepping out of their comfort zone and acquiring new functions out of their usual realm. 

(Source: https://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch5en/appl5en/ch5a3en.html)

Because of their durability, wide availability and affordability, shipping containers are being converted into offices, storage spaces, homes, workshops, kitchens and more with very little modifications. This is why a significant number of people outside the shipping industry are buying these “wonder boxes”.

Just because you are in need of a shipping container, however, does not necessarily mean that you have to buy one. Sometimes leasing makes more economic sense than buying the cargo container. Some of the reasons why it would be wiser to lease a shipping container instead of buying it include:

1. Temporary storage. Sometimes businesses and individuals require extra storage space to store goods that are not needed immediately. Circumstances such as goods going out of season, renovations or relocation can create the need for extra storage space. Because these needs are only temporary, buying a shipping container which will only be used for a few months at most and then left idle would not be wise. It is here that leasing offers the best solution. By leasing the cargo container, you can have it around for the duration you need the extra space and then return it to the owner once you are done with it.

2. Factory storage overflows. Manufacturers often find it more economical to produce goods in large batches and then keep them in storage for future sales. This requires extra storage space which shipping containers can provide easily. By leasing instead of buying, the manufacturer will spend less and still get the shipping container for the duration they need it.

3. Sporadic shipping. Cargo containers gained popularity in the shipping industry due to their ability to consolidate small unit loads into one big load with a regular shape. This eases handling and transportation as containers can be transferred from ship to train to truck seamlessly. If you need a shipping container for one-off transportation needs, then buying one would be more expensive than leasing.

4. Trying before buying. Sometimes we are not exactly sure of what we want. By leasing a shipping container instead of buying, you can experiment without risking a large sum of money and then decide whether to make the purchase or not.

5. Easy disposal. If you have ever tried reselling something you no longer needed, then you know it can be quite hard. This is something you won’t have to worry about with a leased container. Once you are done using it, you’ll just need to contact the leaser and have them take it back. That easy!

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