Transporting shipping containers can seem like a hefty task to undertake. From packing correctly to understanding the regulatory standards of shipping across the country or internationally, there are a lot of logistics to plan.

Read on to learn how to transport a shipping container safely and effectively so that your cargo can get to where it needs to be in one piece.

How Much Does it Cost to Move a Shipping Container?

Using a cargo container to transport items comes with a lot of perks, the price being one of them. The average cost of moving a container within the United States is about $3,000, with the price ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. Size, weight, and distance all impact the final cost.

Shipping a container internationally will naturally cost more since you need to factor in getting the container to the shipping port, whether that be by truck or train, the cost of unloading the container, customs duties and fees, and potential inspection costs.

Experts also recommend getting insurance when moving items in a container. While it might be tempting to save and skip out on this extra fee, it will be worth it in the long run in case something goes wrong.

Packing Best Practices

Before the actual transportation part can begin, it is important to thoroughly evaluate your items and determine the best way to pack them to protect both the goods and container itself.

To avoid damaging items in transit, you must take into account the fragility and weight of the cargo as well as how much will actually be stored within the container. It is recommended to securely pack and fasten heavy equipment and boxes since shifting items inside might impact the balance of the container. Heavier items should be loaded first toward the front and on the floor. Lighter items can then be placed on top.

While you don’t want to overpack your container, you also don’t want anything sliding around inside. Gaps between items should be filled with packing materials like bubble wrap, cardboard, stretch film, and other padding.

Securing Your Cargo

Now that your container is packed, it is important to secure the container firmly to the truck or boat that will be used for transport. Most likely, the move will require the use of a heavy-duty forklift or crane to place the container on a trailer or flatbed truck. Forklifts should only be used for a 20-foot container, since a larger container would be too big for the machine. Operating this machinery requires special licenses, so it’s best to hire a pro who is qualified and experienced.

Once on the truck, trailer or ship, you’ll need to properly fasten the container in place. Lashing is the process of securing cargo containers using ropes, cables, and chains to prevent containers from shifting or tipping during a bumpy drive or rough seas.

If your container is traveling overseas, the placement of the container on the ship is extremely important. The type of container and its contents need to be considered for optimal stacking so that loading and unloading is streamlined and everyone’s cargo arrives safely.

State Transportation Regulations

If you are moving a container across state lines, it is important to check the requirements for transporting large goods. Some states ask for permits, so be sure to check every state you drive through on the journey from point A to point B.

Researching weight limits for road, rail, and ocean travel is also a vital step in the process. The combined weight of a vehicle, trailer, and loaded container should be taken into account in addition to the size in case there are limitations due to highways, bridges and overpasses. In the United States, the combined weight of the vehicle and container should not exceed 80,000 pounds.

International Shipping Regulations

An estimated 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea, and roughly 60% of that is packed in shipping containers. Moving items over oceans involves not only expert packing, but adherence to international regulations.

All containers traveling on a cargo ship must have a CSC plate, or safety approval plate, which is fastened to the container when it is manufactured. On that plate is information including the date of manufacture, the container operator’s number, and the maximum weight-carrying capability among other information. Containers must also undergo periodic inspections to ensure they are still in good condition.

If you’re in California, Nevada or Oregon, contact us today for a quote!


Running a business comes with many challenges, and whether you are tasked with finding a place to store inventory, finished goods, tools or even securing more office space, shipping containers are a great solution that offer a wide variety of uses. Cargo containers are becoming increasingly popular among individuals and businesses for their versatility.

There is no question that shipping containers can greatly benefit a business, but knowing when to buy or rent a shipping container is the big challenge. There are many pros and cons to each side, and while the decision can be a tough one, determining which option is best can save your business both time and money.

To help inform your decision making, here are some questions to consider to help you decided if you want to rent or buy a shipping container for your business:

What’s Your Budget?

Up front, storage containers can be a big financial commitment, with some container prices reaching into the tens of thousands. Renting, however, costs significantly less per month, with an average range spanning from $50 to $500 a month, based on your needs. If your business plans on using a container for a few months, it would be more cost-effective to rent, but once you begin renting for multiple years, the monthly payments begin to stack up. Long-term, you will get more bang for your buck by buying a container.

How Long Do You Need the Container?

Now that we know that time plays a big role in the long-term costs, it is important to evaluate how long you need the container for. If you plan on permanently installing your container in one location, you will need to buy it. Purchasing a container is ideal if you plan on using the structure for many years.

Short-term rentals are ideal for seasonal needs. There is also more flexibility if your timeline changes. If plans change, you can modify your pick-up and delivery dates. You also won’t have to think too much about up-keep, as the containers are designed to be durable and weatherproof. Owners on the other hand, need to maintain their container to maximize its life-span or possible resale value.

Do You Plan on Moving the Container?

While shipping containers are designed to be transported, moving a cargo container requires special equipment and money. Moving containers is a labor-intensive process, but when you rent, you can typically have the containers delivered right to where you need them, plus this service is often embedded in the rental cost. Rented containers can more closely be compared to traditional travel trailers, since they can be moved about and won’t be installed permanently.

Owning and moving a container can often pose challenges. If you need to change locations, your business will most likely need to hire someone to move it for you, which can come with a hefty price tag.

How Much Space Will You Need?

Shipping containers vary in size, with some smaller containers measuring in at under 10 feet in length while others are over 50 feet. Big containers are great for storing large quantities of cargo and materials, however not every business has a space to keep such a hefty container.

Businesses are constantly evolving and their needs change. One year you might find that a small container will do the trick, and the next you require multiple large containers. Renting is an ideal solution if adaptability and fluidity is something you’re after. This way you have some wiggle room to find the best container option for your business.

Will You Need to Make Modifications?

Most container rental companies offer two types of containers: offices and storage units. These containers come very bare-bones, and while they are designed to suit a variety of needs, they won’t be customized to your particular business wishes.

Purchasing a storage container can open up a world of possibilities for your business. Units can be modified and adjusted to fit your specific requirements. Whether that means additional doors, windows, ventilation or even cosmetic changes, buying offers much more flexibility.

Final Thoughts

When deciding whether to buy or rent a cargo container, there are many pros and cons depending on your business needs. If you plan on using your container all year for many years to come in the same location, purchasing is the way to go. This will allow for more flexibility when it comes to customizations and possible reuse in the future.

Alternatively, renting can offer a lower commitment at less cost if you plan on using your container seasonally or for less than a year. This is also a better option if you foresee needing to swap out for an upgraded model or move the location of the container.

Trust NorCal for Your Shipping Container Needs

With these key questions to consider, you can now make an educated decision on whether your business should buy or rent a container.

If you live in Nevada, California or Oregon, NorCal wants to help you find the right shipping container for your business. Known for our affordable prices, reliable shipping and customer service, you will be in good hands. Check out our selection to find the right solution for your business.


When it comes to storage, there is nothing more important than finding a secure and dependable location to stow away your precious cargo. Whether you want to keep materials for your business safe or free up some space around the house, shipping containers are the unsung heroes of the storage world. With the ability to hold anything from heavy-duty construction materials to small and valuable household items, containers are a practical option that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Versatile and reliable, shipping containers have begun to shed the reputation of only transporting cargo across oceans. These steel giants have found a new calling as an efficient storage solution.

Their popularity has boomed in recent years and will only continue to grow. You might be surprised to find out just how convenient an option this might be, so let’s dive into the top five advantages of using shipping containers for storage.


When using a shipping container for storage, one thing is for certain: you will get your money’s worth. The biggest pro is of course the size. Standard shipping containers are typically 20 to 40 feet in length and 8 feet in width, which is almost four times the average storage locker size.

Shipping containers offer a generous amount of space without a hefty price tag attached. While purchasing a container can be expensive up-front, you won’t need to worry about monthly fees which can add up over time. Long term, cargo containers are the more affordable option.

There are also many things to consider when deciding what kind of storage container to buy. The most affordable option is to buy one used, however it is important to check the container thoroughly to make sure it matches your expectations and is free of any defects.

What’s more, shipping containers offer both durability and security, resulting in a long-lasting solution that is a worthwhile investment. Keep reading to learn more about these amazing benefits.

Unmatched Durability

When it comes to storage, you want to be certain everything inside the container remains intact and in perfect condition. Made of steel that is resistant to both rust and corrosion, shipping containers are specifically designed to be extremely durable. Most containers have a lifespan of around 25 years, and many, if well taken care of, can last even longer than that.

These containers can withstand harsh conditions and are built to be weather-proof, waterproof, and even pest-proof. By effectively keeping the elements out, you can rest easy at night knowing your goods are protected inside the container.

Safe and Secure

 No one wants to store their things and worry about whether or not they are safe. Shipping containers, with strong steel panels and a sturdy construction, offer a high level of protection. Especially if the container is secured with a quality lock, it would be very difficult for anyone to break in and steal your belongings. Even if someone tried, it would be an impossible task without creating some kind of racket, which will alert others in the area to a potential break-in.

Safety is never something you want to compromise on. With a shipping container, you can have peace of mind that your belongings are protected.


What makes shipping containers such an appealing storage solution is their ability to be customized to your needs. Containers come in various size configurations and can be modified to suit any purpose. From installing shelves, windows, insulation and more, containers can be adjusted any which way.

No other storage option can boast this much versatility. Whether you need storage for a retail space or business, or even a home, the unique ability to choose the size and adjust the space to fit your desires makes shipping containers an ideal solution.


Shipping containers have always been used to transport cargo from one location to another, whether it be across oceans or over land. The biggest advantage to using a storage solution with this history is that wherever you go, your cargo container can likely go with you.

Containers are designed with shipping in mind, which makes transporting your things a breeze. Life happens and circumstances arise where relocation is necessary. By using shipping containers, moving your storage doesn’t need to be a hassle.

Find Your Next Storage Solution with NorCal Containers

There is a reason shipping containers have become increasingly popular in the storage world. These hefty metal boxes have proven to be a fantastic option for all your storage needs, and NorCal Containers is ready to help you find the best and most affordable containers so you can store your belongings with confidence and ease.

NorCal has an extensive inventory and is known for their affordable prices, reliable shipping, and excellent customer service. If you are looking to invest in a unit to fulfill your storage needs, we want to help. Explore our high-quality shipping containers today!


If you’re thinking about buying a used shipping container, there are some critical points you need to know first. Whether transforming it into a living space or using it for storage, understanding key details can save you time, money, and potential headaches in the long run.

That’s why we’ve put together a handy checklist of the top 12 must-know facts for buyers like you. We’ll cover everything you need to know about buying containers, from pricing to logistical considerations. Keep reading to make sure you’re well-equipped with what to consider so you can make a successful purchase.

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Used Shipping Container

This handy and comprehensive checklist will provide you with valuable insights, expert advice, and practical tips for a smooth and efficient buying experience.

Shipping Containers Are Rarely Scrapped and Often Reused

There’s a fascinating phenomenon that occurs within the shipping industry called the trade imbalance. Simply put, more containers arrive in the United States and Canada than are sent out.

Since the useful cargo life of a shipping container is 10 to 12 years at sea, rather than being discarded and crushed into a scrapyard, most containers either become reloaded, sent back empty, or sold for storage, which can extend their lifespan to about 25 years.

The Port is Not The Place for Purchasing Shipping Containers

Can you buy a shipping container directly from a port? Before you google “how to buy shipping containers from the port,” let us save you the searching time. It turns out that you can’t walk in or place an online order and buy one since the port or depot doesn’t own the containers. They store them for shipping lines or intermodal equipment leasing firms that are typically based in Asia or Europe.

To buy a shipping container, you’ll need to go through a company. See our last fact for tips on choosing a reliable company!

Prices for Buying Used Shipping Containers Are Based on Cargo Volumes

How much does it cost to buy a used shipping container? You might think that the demand from people wanting to buy storage containers determines the price, but cargo volumes have a more significant influence. A higher cargo volume requires more containers, which increases demand and raises prices. However, recently, an oversupply of containers has caused prices to fall.

No Need for Container Surveys (Unless Used for Export)

You may have come across recommendations online suggesting that you should have your container inspected to ensure it is in good working condition. However, we believe it’s a waste of time and money for most customers, especially if you purchase from a reputable seller. Only if you plan to use the container for export does having it surveyed become relevant.

Don’t Base Quality on the Appearance When Buying Old Shipping Containers

Don’t worry too much about its appearance when buying a storage container. Instead, focus on its shipping readiness. As long as the container is CWO (cargo worthy) and WWT (wind and watertight) or rated at an IICL (International Institute of Container Lessors) standard, you’ll be good to go. Remember, shipping companies care how well the container can keep their goods dry and undamaged, not how it looks on the outside.

Rust and Dents Do Not Impact the Durability of Steel Containers

Can you buy shipping containers without dents and rust? Unfortunately, unless you’re buying a brand-new container, your used container will most definitely have rust and a few dents. However, despite their cosmetic imperfections, shipping containers are made from Corten steel, which is highly durable and corrosion-resistant. Even though a container may have some rust on the surface, its overall structural integrity remains intact.

Shipping Containers Can be Repurposed in Many Ways

The next time you see a shipping container, think outside the box and consider all the exciting possibilities that lie beyond their original purpose. Whether you’re looking for a sustainable housing option, a portable shop, or sculptural artwork, these containers can be transformed into just about anything you can imagine.

Used Shipping Containers Can Be Customized

Shipping containers provide a blank canvas for adding design and practical options. You can let your creativity run wild by adding doors, windows, ventilation, insulation, or anything else to customize this space to make it comfortable and functional.

Permits May be Required When Buying a Container for Storage

In some cases, you may need a permit to legally place a storage container on your property. The regulations surrounding storage containers can vary depending on where you live and the specific rules put in place by your local authorities.

The Delivery and Set-up Needs Plenty of Space

Before you schedule the delivery of your shipping container, you need to measure whether you have enough space for both the container and the truck that’s bringing it to your doorstep. The truck that delivers the container is quite a bit larger than the container itself. So, you need to make sure it has room to maneuver into position and safely drop off your container without any hiccups.

The Container Doors Must Be Square for Proper Opening

When the shipping container is placed at your desired location, take steps to ensure it’s sitting on the ground just like it would rest on a chassis. Once in place, give your container’s doors a good look, double-checking they are square and aligned correctly so that your doors will continue to open and close smoothly.

A Reputable Sales Company is the Best Choice for Buying a Shipping Container

If you’re wondering how to buy a used shipping container, your best bet is to go through a sales company. Take time to research the company before buying. Container companies come in all sizes, from inexperienced dealers looking for a quick commission to those with knowledgeable, professional teams.

You can trust NorCal Containers to provide versatile and reliable shipping containers that are fully customizable to meet your specific needs. We have an extensive inventory at affordable prices and always provide excellent customer service. Check out our selection today to find the ideal solution for your business or shipping company.


But with shipping container homes on the rise, you might wonder whether this option is worth it, the costs of building a shipping container home, and the safety of this option. This article will help you get started by exploring the world of shipping container homes, their pros and cons, and anything else to know about this emerging trend. Let’s get started!


While some businesses rent shipping containers, other companies have discovered that purchasing their own can alleviate many logistical headaches. Likewise, owning a container gives them complete control over to do with it. There are a lot of factors that can affect the price you'll pay for a shipping container. Fortunately, containers have been standardized since the 1950s, making it easier to estimate overall costs.


Shipping containers are known for their practicality in transporting goods across the globe. But what if we told you that these sturdy metal boxes have a hidden talent? Prepare to be amazed as we explore eight alternative uses for shipping containers that will have you laughing out loud.


We call them “boxes” for short, but the names people call them and the various uses for them seems unlimited. The following is a short list of the names we’ve heard and the uses we’ve seen. An ocean container was used for living space for the homeless. A cargo box was converted to a bar...

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