9 Tips for Inspecting a Shipping or Storage Container

A storage or shipping container’s job is simple: to protect your goods from theft and damage during storage or shipping. Because containers are used and reused, they are going to experience some normal wear and tear.

Some wear won’t impact the security of your goods. But warping, corrosion and other damage could leave your goods vulnerable to damage or theft. Here’s how to make sure your container is suitable for use.

Take a look at the outside of the container:

1) Check corners and seams.

While some flange damage isn’t cause for concern, damage to weld connections is not okay. Watch for warping, rust, corrosion and cracks. These impact structural integrity.

2) Read the CSC plate.

The external plate will tell you the manufacturer’s name and the date it the unit was produced. Many have maintenance history as well. If there are any other adhesives on the container from, say, a previous shipment, they need to be removed.

3) Check out the doors and locks.

Swing the doors open and shut. Make sure the door shuts tightly, and that the locks are undamaged and in working order.

4) Inspect the roof and any cables, wires and tarpaulins.

Again, look for damage, cracks and corrosion that could weaken the integrity of the unit.

Take a look inside the container:

5) Look for cracks and leaks.

Go inside the container and close the door. If you see light coming in, it’s not watertight.

6) Make sure it’s dry, clean and odorless.

Look for residue and make sure that no chemicals or corrosives were left behind.

7) Inspect for protrusions.

Make sure there’s nothing that could damage your cargo, like an errant nail.

8) If relevant, inspect temperature controls.

Make sure the refrigeration and heat table tanks are in working order. Check that it is set to the correct temperature for your cargo and that the temperature recorder is running properly.

9) Look for wear and tear.

General paint deterioration, some wear on gaskets and fittings and some wear on the floor from routine loading are normal, and not cause for concern. If the interior is only slightly warped (less than 50mm or so) the unit is still suitable for cargo.

As a leading provider of on-demand storage and shipping units in the Twin Cities and Fargo/Moorhead areas, we prioritize the safety, security and integrity of all our shipping containers. Learn more about our shipping container features and applications.