The most common question we get is, “can I pick a colour” and the answer is: sort of, sometimes. Because we’re essentially getting the next container off the stack at the intermodal depot that meets the criteria you requested, we can’t select a colour… For used containers we are unable to allow the customer to request their colour, however we can offer beige and grey colour options for One Trip containers. If you're ordering multiple units, we can usually guarantee matching units (upon request, based on availability).
We recommend pressure washing and painting used containers after delivery.
Northern Container Sales uses the shipping container grades that are used by shipping lines. CWO means “cargo-worthy” and that a container can pass a CSC inspection to be stacked and transported on a cargo ship.
WWT means “wind/water tight” with working doors that seal. A CWO box is also “wind and water tight” but a WWT box can no longer be certified for shipment (without repair). WWT boxes are more likely to have cosmetic issues simply due to their age, but all WWT containers can be repaired to CWO status.
“One trip” containers are “cargo-worthy” containers that were manufactured within the last 1-2 calendar years and generally have little to no cosmetic issues (maybe a few dings/dents and scraped paint from being stacked, but that’s it).
Exporting a container is far more complex than buying one. We highly recommend all customers who need to use their container for export work with a freight forwarder first... and then reach out to us to buy the container about a week or two before you plan to pick it up.
We also recommend that your freight forwarder coordinate all of the trucking. Because we offer ground level delivery, and can't move loaded containers, you'll likely need a crane to load your container onto the chassis when the truck comes to pick it up. A simpler option is to work with your freight forwarder to arrange a hauler to drop the container on a chassis so you won't need a crane to load it onto the trailer later.
We are happy to provide a cargo worthy (CWO) container, as well as coordinate a CSC survey at the depot prior to your hauler picking up the container (learn more about CSC surveys here)
We do not move loaded containers under any circumstance.
If you need moving services, we suggest calling companies like PODS.
We do not move containers we did not sell/rent.
If you need an existing container moved, we recommend working with a local heavy haul company or heavy duty wrecking/towing company.
Because the containers are stacked at the intermodal depot, we cannot obtain photos or guarantee a specific unit. The depots are storing empty shipping containers for shipping lines and intermodal equipment providers. When we place an order for our customers, they just get the next container off the stack that meets their criteria.
We help our customers buy containers from the depot, the same way the big national storage container companies buy their boxes. When you buy through Northern Container Sales, you’re buying a shipping container at wholesale, pulled directly from cargo circulation. We help you navigate the process of purchasing a used shipping container directly from the cargo pool.
Intermodal depots are extremely busy places, and 95%+ of container traffic at depots is cargo related. Unless you have specific business to attend to at the depot, we don't recommend visiting.
Customers who are picking up their own equipment will be provided with a release number and depot information... however unless you have a release number already we recommend waiting to visit the depot.
If you have the proper equipment to safely transport a shipping container, our preferred option is for the customer to pick-up their own box. After purchase, we will provide you with a release number and pick-up information. You can then go to the intermodal depot on the release and have the container loaded on your truck.
Please be aware you are required to comply with all instructions at the intermodal depot and Northern Container Sales cannot be liable for any issues during transport. If you don’t have a truck capable of safely hauling a container, we can help you with delivery.
We take your online security seriously. All payment processing happens on secure third party sites like Stripe, or Shopify's Payment Gateway (credit cards used in the Shopify portal are processed by Shopify Payments, which is powered by Stripe, and credit card payments for rentals are processed by Stripe). Northern Container Sales uses these third party sites because they are industry leaders in eCommerce transactions. We simply tell the payment gateway what you had in your cart and they manage your secure transaction.
Beyond the payment, our site is validated with the high level SSL encryption. Because all of our payment processing is managed by third parties, Northern Container Sales doesn't keep complete information regarding your credit card or payment method (only enough to identify your transaction). Our goal is to ensure a high level of transaction security for all of our customers.
We need 60' of additional space for 40' containers (100' total space) and 40' of extra space for 20' containers (60' of total space).
Probably nothing. Maybe paint…
There are several large national companies selling used shipping containers. The keyword there is selling. Northern Container Sales doesn’t pay our sales team direct commission on sales, nor do we have an executive management team requiring us to mark-up equipment 50% or more.
We run lean, and pass the savings to our customers. Northern Container Sales leverages our relationships with intermodal equipment providers and shipping lines to find the best used shipping container prices in each market, then we add a wholesale mark-up. That’s it.
A lot of our competitors use grades like “A Grade" but that’s a bit misleading, we think. If you call the big national rental companies and they tell you they can sell you an “A Grade” box that just means a container that is wind/water tight and may or may not have been painted since they bought it. Or maybe it's got less rust than you'd normally expect on an average WWT grade unit.
Either way, it's a grading system totally based on opinion and we've seen a lot of variability as to what people call "A Grade" around the country. If you hear “A Grade” you can safely translate it to "WWT" condition.
One trip containers sometimes have a paint or chemical smell because they’ve had their doors closed for 99% of the time since being built.
If you buy a one trip container and it has a paint smell, we recommend leaving the doors open for a few days to let it air out. If you’re still having issues after that, give us a call… but letting the container air out usually does the trick.
Similar to one trip containers, used containers have their doors closed with minimal air circulation for 99%+ of their existence.
It's not uncommon for a container to have a lingering odor, and it can usually be resolved by opening the doors and letting it air out (industrial strength odor neutralizers also help, and can be purchased at most hardware stores).
If you've ever been in a semi-trailer, your container will probably smell similar to the inside of a semi-trailer.
Yes. All used shipping containers will have GST/HST tax applied at checkout. If you're not paying sales tax, you're probably not buying from a reputable company.
We can waive sales tax for parties with a valid exemption form.
The customer has the right to refuse delivery if for some reason the container does not meet the criteria requested at purchase. Our goal is to give you a realistic idea of what you’re getting up front. Check out our sample photos and read about the process before purchasing a container for the first time.
If the container is rejected because the truck cannot safely drop the container exactly where you wanted it, the customer will be charged for trucking as well as a re-stock fee of 15% (when applicable).
Neither you nor Northern Container Sales wants the container to be rejected at delivery. Please make sure you check out the sample photos and have a full understanding of what you’re getting before you purchase for the first time.
If you’ve looked at everything on the site, and you’re still not sure, give us a call. We’re always happy to help.
Check out the video and information on the About Delivery page for an overview and the delivery process.
The most important thing is to have enough room for the truck to drop the container. 20’ containers require 60’ of space (20’ for the box and 40’ for the truck), while 40’ containers require 100’ of space (40’ for the box and 60’ for the truck).
If a 20’ container is delivered on a semi (for instance if multiple 20’s are being delivered on the same truck) please account for the additional space.
If delivery is rejected due to the driver being unable to safely back into the location, the customer will be charged for trucking plus a re-stock fee of 15%, so please make sure you have adequate space at your location.
The location also needs to be level. You can either lay concrete or gravel, or you can place railroad ties or blocks capable of supporting the container. A good rule of thumb on railroad ties or blocks is to have on under each end and then additional blocks every 10’ or so (depending on your surface area).
A level surface is crucial to doors lining up, so blocks are a good idea to have in place. Western Container Sales does not provide blocks, so please make sure you have your site ready at delivery.
The biggest issue with tough doors is an uneven door frame. If the ground underneath the door frame is uneven, or the container is loaded heavy to one side, or on a surface that causes it to bend or twist, the doors won't open and close properly.
Container doors are built to be open and closed when the container is sitting squarely on a chassis. Over the course of 20' or 40', it's possible for a container to twist just enough for the door frame to be out of whack.
Placing wood blocks under the door frame at the corner posts is the best way to solve that problem before it starts. You can also use an industrial lubricant on the hinges and work the doors back and forth for a few minutes to loosen them up...
Due to limited inventory availability and the complexity of managing delivery of 48' and 53' containers, we do not offer them for sale or rent.
Generally we consider a bulk discount to apply after 10+ units per order. For customers who would like to order more than 10 containers, we recommend filling out the contact form to request volume pricing.
PLEASE NOTE: Customers who purchase containers from us to re-sell to their customers must manage their own trucking.
We can still offer smaller discounts on purchases under 10 units. For that pricing, please open a chat or give us a call to let us know about your container needs.
We do not offer modifications of any kind and encourage customers to work with local construction companies to modify containers after delivery.
Because containers are generally considered a by-product of trade, they are not titled. In order to move a container, you'll always need a trailer (which will require a title and vehicle registration), but the container itself does not require title or registration in Canada.
You can't fit a lot of cargo in a 10' container, so they're not a commonly used size for shipping companies. 10's are usually only used for custom projects and are very uncommon.
Contact us if we weren't able to answer your question in the FAQ, we're always happy to help.