One-trip containers – what to expect?

New “one-trip” containers represent the best quality available on the market. However, they are used for a single trip with cargo and will sometimes have light wear and tear. This guide explains what to expect when buying a new one-trip container from Boxhub.

Team Boxhub

June 25, 2018

One-trip containers – what to expect?

New “one-trip” containers represent the best quality available on the market. All dry shipping containers are manufactured in China. Some of these join the shipping line fleets, but a portion is manufactured specifically for the storage and modification markets. These are called “one-trip” containers as they are used only one time before reaching their final destination.

Why are they used for cargo, instead of being sent empty?

Sending an empty 20ft container from Shanghai, China to Los Angeles, CA will cost ~$1,100. To save this expense, our suppliers will use the container for a “one-way" transport i.e. one shipment with cargo from Shanghai to Los Angeles. In this way, it’s possible to save the $1,100 as the container is used for cargo rather than going empty. This makes the one-trip containers considerably cheaper to buy once they arrive in Los Angeles.

"As-new", but not 100% new

The containers have been used for a shipment which involves:

  • Loading with cargo at the customer site in China
  • Loading onto a ship in Shanghai
  • Sea journey to Los Angeles (~20 days)
  • Off-loading to the port in Los Angeles
  • Transport to the Customer for offloading
  • Transport back to the container depot in Los Angeles

Although the wear will be very light, the container will receive some scratches and minor dents, which is almost inevitable when handling containers on containers ships and in container depots.

What you can expect

You can generally expect an excellent unit with only minimal wear and tear. Below is an example of a unit we delivered to a client in Houston, Texas:

However, there will sometimes be signs of wear and tear which is almost inevitable to happen during transports. Acceptable wear & tear includes:


  • Minor dents and scratches on the sides (corrugation) from containers being handled at the port and in the container depot
  • Scratches and scrapes on the corners and the end-frames from being loaded and offloaded with cranes


  • Minor dents and marks on sides & roof from loading cargo, or in case cargo moves during the transport
  • Scratches and marks on the floor from cargo being loaded/unloaded with forklifts

What is NOT acceptable

Boxhub will never ship containers to customers with more than the acceptable level of wear and tear expected from a one-trip container. We ensure this by requiring the container depot to the check the container prior to release and by instructing our delivery driver to do a double check of the container before loading it on the truck. Unacceptable wear & tear includes:


  • Structural damage to the sides
  • Structural damage to the corner castings
  • Structural damage to the roof interior & floors
  • Structural damage externally


  • Dirty interior (floors and walls)
  • Any holes in steel work
  • Damaged floors (holes or similar)

Below is an example of a rare (but acceptable) case of minor dents in a one-trip container delivered to a customer in Tampa, Florida


New “one-trip” containers from Boxhub represent the best quality containers available on the market. Some minor wear and tear is unavoidable based on the usage from the "one-way” trip with cargo from the factories in China.
Boxhub will never deliver one-trip containers with wear and tear exceeding the acceptable levels mentioned above. In the rare case that this should happen, Boxhub will either repair or replace the container at no cost to the buyer.
We look forward to delivery your new one-trip containers of the highest quality. Check out today and let us know how we can help.