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Shipping Container Grades/Condition

When shopping for a New or Used Shipping Container, it can be confusing comparing quotes because of the different container grades or conditions out there.  In the shipping container industry, most vendors and steamship lines use the following to describe the condition of a shipping container:

  • NEW – One-Way or One-Trip
  • USED – Cargo Worthy
  • USED – Water/Wind Tight
  • AS IS – Lowest grade of a shipping container (we don’t sell this grade)

Some vendors may even use the term “shipping container grade” in addition to condition to describe the subjective measure of how they rate their inventory.  These subjective “grades” are not tied to industry standards and can confuse a lot of first time buyers. 

Container Sales Group can take the confusion out the buying process.  Feel free to call us at 708-639-4783 or read below for more information on the different types of containers available in the market.   Once you decide on a container grade/condition, you can choose the best size of container to fit your needs:  10 ft., 20ft40ft40ft High CubeDouble Door Open Side, Open  Top and  Flat Rack

20 ft New
New 20ft Container
40ft NEW Side Angle
New 40ft Container

These containers are often called One-Trip, One-Way, or One-Use.  Manufactured in China and had a one-way move with cargo from the manufacturer to the United States.  New / One-Trip containers will be in great condition, as they would not have suffered the wear and tear of multiple trips at sea. 

What You Can Expect: All New/One-Trip Containers may have minor blemishes on the floor from the forklift moving the cargo in and out of the container.  All of which are considered acceptable for a One-Trip container.

When To Buy New Condition: New containers are great choice for those looking for the highest level of quality, durability, and aesthetics.

WWT 20 ft
WWT 20ft Container
WWT 40 ft
WWT 40ft Container

A “Used” shipping container has been previously owned and used for commercial transport by the steamship lines. They have moved a wide variety of products worldwide. Used, Water/Wind Tight Containers are usually 10-15 years of age and are retired or off hired from moving cargo overseas and mostly used for storage and building.

What You Can Expect:  The exterior condition of these containers may have some rust, dings, dents, and professional welded patches, but they are structurally sound and durable.  All shipping containers are made with Corten Steel and have exceptional weathering resistance.

When To Buy Used, Water/Wind Tight Condition: These units are typically more affordable than New/One-Trip Containers and ideal to use for ground-level storage or building purposes.  Since used containers can vary, it is important to research the exact condition to ensure it meets your needs.

CW 20ft Container
CW 40 ft
CW 40ft Container
IICL Container

A “Cargo Worthy” container is sometimes used to describe containers that meet certain structural and safety criteria for ocean export. In most cases, the exterior (condition-wise) of a cargo worthy container is the same as a water/wind tight container.

An IICL shipping container is a container that meets the stringent inspection requirements set by the “Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL) and is deemed suitable for export.  These containers represent the highest grade of a used shipping container are more expensive than WWT and CW containers.

What You Can Expect:  Cargo Worthy and IICL Containers are for transporting products overseas.  Consider hiring an independent surveyor who is authorized and licensed to inspect shipping containers for structure and safety.  They will provide a written survey certificate that the container is deemed for ocean export especially if the steamship line you are using requires it.

When To Buy Used, Cargo Worthy Condition:  Both Cargo Worthy & IICL shipping containers are suitable for moving products overseas. They are higher in price than water/wind tight so you may not want to consider using them for storage, construction, or other non-shipping purposes when Water/Wind Tight is an option.

Container Sales Group Container Grades

Container Condition NEW / One-Trip USED / Cargo Worthy USED / Wind & Water Tight USED / As Is
Conditions CSG never sells AS-IS Containers
Water & Wind Tight Yes - Guaranteed Yes - Guaranteed Yes - Guaranteed Not Guaranteed
Floors - Free of Holes Yes - Guaranteed Yes - Guaranteed Yes - Guaranteed Not Guaranteed
Doors - Fully Functional Yes - Guaranteed Yes - Guaranteed Yes - Guaranteed Not Guaranteed
Suitable for Storage Yes Yes Yes Not Guaranteed
Suitable for Export Yes Yes Yes No
Suitable for Modification Yes Yes Yes Yes - With Repairs
Paint New, Original Factory Paint Original Factory Paint Original Factory Paint Original Factory Paint
Exterior Appearance Minor Dents & Scratches Are Acceptable Dents, Repairs, and Minimal Surface Rust Are Acceptable Dents, Repairs, and Minimal Surface Rust Are Acceptable Possible Major Dents, Repairs and Surface Rust
Floor Appearance Like New Minor Delamination Acceptable Minor Delamination Acceptable Cracks, Holes and Missing Layers

Why Buy from Container Sales Group?

Now that you understand the different shipping container grades, it is important to find the right shipping container supplier.  Container Sales Group has been selling quality shipping containers since 1998.


  • Competitive Pricing on New and Used Shipping Containers.
  • Water/Wind Tight Guarantee.
  • Industry-Leading Customer Service.
  • Secure, Easy Purchasing Experience.
  • Knowledgeable Staff- Experience in the Shipping Container Industry since 1998.
  • Professional, On-time Delivery.


In addition to offering quality containers at competitive prices, our company believes in making a difference in our world and giving back. The organizations we have selected to give back represent an area of passion to which our employees feel connected. When you do Business with Container Sales Group, we give a portion of our proceeds to support American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, and Wounded Warrior Project.

We hope this article has helped clear up any questions or concerns you may have had about purchasing containers. If not, please don’t hesitate to call us – we would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

At Container Sales Group, we work hard to make the process of purchasing shipping containers as smooth and easy for you as possible. Call us and Get a Quote Now!

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