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One-Trip Shipping Containers Vs. As-Is Containers: Which Is Better?

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Choosing the right type of container for your customization project is crucial. One-trip shipping containers are often easier and faster to modify, but an as-is container might be necessary for those who need to stick to a strict budget. When you need a custom shipping container, you’ll want to ensure you receive the highest quality construction. With no universal grading system to judge container quality, you might not be sure which type is best for you. This article will help you understand what as-is and one-trip shipping containers are, how they’re different, and why one might be better than the other for your next modification project.

What is a one-trip shipping container? 

One-trip shipping containers are the newest containers available in the United States. Approximately 85% of the world’s container manufacturers are in China. This makes it almost impossible to receive a brand-new, unused shipping container in the U.S.

One-trip shipping containers are newly constructed and loaded with cargo. They make one overseas trip to their final destination before being repurposed for uses other than shipping. One-trips are the highest quality containers available here. They have only minor dings and dents from their limited time spent at port and sea. So, they’ve endured less wear and tear than other containers. Their corrugation is straight, the floor joists are straight, and the roof is flat so it won’t hold rust-causing water.

A one-trip shipping container only makes one trip overseas.
One-trip containers are the newest containers available in the United States. They make one trip overseas with cargo and are then repurposed for other uses.

What is an as-is shipping container?

As-is shipping containers come in a broad range of conditions, varying greatly in quality and appearance. These containers have seen extended use carrying cargo. They may have been at sea for more than a decade. All ISO containers are designed to maintain structural integrity and durability for 25-30 years. But as-is containers likely have rust spots or more significant dents than one-trip shipping containers. They also may have chipped paint and generally look more worn. Because of this, as-is containers are a more budget-friendly option than one-trip shipping containers.

SMS container getting washed.
As-is containers are used multiple times to transfer cargo from overseas. They can show signs of wear but are more affordable than a one-trip container.

Modifying as-is and one-trip shipping containers

You can use both one-trip shipping containers and as-is containers for modification purposes. But as-is containers need more repairs for a high-quality custom shipping container.

As-is containers need preparation before modification begins. Rust needs spot-grinding. Bent metal needs straightening back to factory specifications. And holes need patching. This takes time, increasing the total project timeline by 10-20%. In contrast, a one-trip shipping container is ready for modification as soon as it arrives at our fabrication facility. This makes taking accurate measurements faster than with a banged-up as-is container.

What kind of container is right for me?

Which shipping container is best for you will depend on your specific modification project. There are far too many factors to say for sure. But there are some general considerations when evaluating your choices.

1. What do you need from your custom shipping container?

You can use shipping containers for a multitude of purposes. No two projects will be exactly the same. Maybe you’re removing the roof, so an as-is unit’s distorted one doesn’t matter. Or perhaps you need a quick turnaround time, and a one-trip shipping container fits your timeline. Think about the problem you’re trying to solve and your project requirements to determine which option best fits your needs.

2. What’s the budget for your project? Is it flexible or strict? 

Your project budget will be a significant determining factor in what container is right for you. Once you’ve set a limit you’re willing to spend, think about the modifications you’re considering adding to the container. As-is containers are generally cheaper because they’re not in the same pristine condition as one-trips. But some customers find upgrading from an as-is to a one-trip shipping container costs only a little bit more for the same modifications, and the higher quality is worth the price.

3. How presentable do I need it to be? Will nosy neighbors complain?

Will your custom container be visible to the public, affecting customer or community opinion? If so, you may want to go with a one-trip shipping container unless you’re completely improving the cosmetics of its exterior. One-trips have fewer cosmetic flaws, creating a better first impression.

As-Is or One-Trip Container For Your Next Project?

Whether you’re looking for secure car storage, mobile wastewater treatment systems, or something unique, as-is and one-trip shipping containers are reliable solutions for various needs—quality matters when you’re doing something meaningful and showing it to the world. No matter what container you choose, you can rest assured it’s in the capable hands of our fabrication experts, who bring over 500 years of combined experience to the job.

The easiest way to discover what container suits your needs is to talk with our helpful team of sales representatives. They’ll be happy to help you find the correct container for your project. Start by submitting a quote request online.

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