Things to Look Inside the Box Before Buying Shipping Containers | LOTUS Containers

The shippers and businesspeople who are buying shipping containers should always check the intricate details of it as they are meant for the work that sees a lot of wear and tears daily. It is used for rough & tough work, used over and over, in harsh weather, carrying tons of cargoes, loaded and unloaded multiple times. To comply, it has to be both externally and internally strong. While buying cargo containers, external surfaces are mostly visible but what misses our sight is the ‘internals’ of the box. 

If you can inspect the container in person, it’s best to do that rather than buying a container without seeing it. Inspecting freight containers from inside is similar to inspecting a house. You just have to step in and run an eye through everything- going by every corner, walls, ceiling, doors, floor, and at every part where the eye can reach. 

Before you hand over money to your container supplier and your supplier hand over the container to you, call for an inspection. Get inside the box and look carefully at every part suspecting damages.  

If you are also the one who keeps thinking, “What should I look for in the inner sides when buying a shipping container?” then take a look at the below-given details. 


The ceiling of the container must be strong, stiff, and dent-free. Since containers are stacked on top of one another, a weak ceiling will lead to the collapse, damaging your cargoes inside the box. You should check for the toughness and find whether the steel used for the roof is the same as the one used for walls or not. Look for dents in the roof that can collect water and eventually turn into a rust spot. These can eventually develop into a hole. You should also check for holes and cuts because that would give way to the rainwater directly to your cargoes. If there are holes, the light will shine through. 

The box should be completely packed from the top until it’s not an open top container. In the case of open top containers, the ceiling is made of tarpaulin which is either attached or removed based on the cargo’s height. But for the standard container, a packed ceiling is extremely necessary. 


Entering the containers, you must run your eyes through all four walls. When you are getting used shipping containers for sale, you need to be extra cautious. Second-hand containers may not offer you fresh walls and you may find some signs of dents & patches which are avoidable. But only to the extent that it should not damage the cargo within. If you find large holes or damage, you must ask your supplier to get them repaired or give you another container instead. 

Apart from this, another important thing you need to take into consideration is the structural integrity of the walls. Most of the boxes after being used for years get slanted and fail to stand erect. Such containers do not find compatibility while stacking. Hence, you must notice whether the walls are at 90 degrees from the ground or less or more than that. Anyhow, the walls must be perpendicular to the floor.  


The floors of steel containers are made up of marine plywood of 1-1/8” thickness. The wooden floors are treated with pesticides to prevent damage to the goods by insects and other critters. The floor may have developed some damages and holes after being used in shipping for a long. Hence, it’s important to assess the floors for signs of cargo spills or holes. 

If you are buying new boxes for building purposes, then you can make some specific requests by asking your suppliers not to treat plywood floors with pesticides. Alternatively, you can also request him for an alternative type of floorings such as steel or bamboo. 

However, if you are buying a used container for building purposes, then a certain amount of detective work will be required to conclude if the floors are safe for residential purposes or not. 

Sides & Corners

Sides and corners are the part of the box that needs proper inspection. The walls of shipping units are welded along the sides together to form cuboid-like boxes. The sides and corners of the box may have lost their joint after being used for years. Though they are welded strongly at the time of manufacturing, you never know how roughly they had been used by the previous owner. 

The tiny pores may seem tiny, but they would easily let rainwater get inside and damage your cargo. Inspect properly, to make sure that the doors are aligned and levelled, both top and bottom. If the door is covered with too much rust, ask your supplier for door replacement. Instead of getting a damaged piece, it’s better to invest a few minutes in the inspection so that you would not have to call your supplier for replacement. 

Door & Hinges

Door & hinges are never an issue with new metal containers. But for old ones, there can be an issue. Checking doors is always advisable because the used ones may have a broken handle or loose hinge. A hinge is a movable joint or mechanism on which a door, gate, or lid swings, when it opens and closes, or which connects linked objects. Check to see the doors and locking mechanisms are working properly if you need the container for storage. Even if it is not for storage purposes, you should still check the doors for any signs of serious damage, for a proper lock and seal, and good condition of the door fittings, seals, gaskets, and locking mechanisms. Ensure that the box is of wind & watertight quality by closing the door during daylight by being inside it to check the traces for any light penetration. 

No matter whether you are buying a new shipping container in USA or compromising with a used box, inspection is always required. Finding a good quality container is a complicated task for most novice buyers. Here, at LOTUS Containers, we help you get the best value for your money by walking you through the key things to look out for when buying freight containers in Denver and other parts of the USA and worldwide.