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How to Buy Abandoned Shipping Containers

Introduction to buying abandoned containers

The question is, how to buy abandoned shipping containers? is one that often stumps investors. The answer to this question can be as complex as the shipping line itself.

Shipping lines all operate with different procedures for abandoned containers, and the main concern is getting the equipment back into service.

Moreover, banks often play a role in trade finance, which is why they’re interested in getting their capital back. In order to get the most out of abandoned containers, you’ll need to find out which shipping lines you can do business with.

Unclaimed freight auctions

You can learn how to buy abandoned shipping containers in unclaimed freight, or “unclaimed” freight auctions, by going through an online source. While it sounds like a very easy process, it is not. Each shipping line operates in a different way, with its own set of procedures for abandoning its equipment.

You can also purchase packages from online retailers that can’t find the owners. To learn more, read on!

First of all, you have to know how to locate unclaimed freight auctions. There are warehouses where unclaimed freight items are sold. While they may be hard to find, they are out there! By performing a specialized Google search, you can find them. You can then decide if you want to attend an auction or not.

Make sure you come prepared with a flashlight so you can inspect the items closely.

Another way to determine if an abandoned shipping container is salvageable is to look at the contents.

Cars, machinery, white goods, furniture, and other items can be packed inside of them. Some containers may be empty or maybe refilled with household items. Unclaimed freight auctions can be a great way to buy a container for a fraction of the cost. There are many advantages to buying an abandoned shipping container.

Recovering costs of shipping

With the cost of a 40-foot shipping container soaring to an unprecedented level, Asian exporters are taking steps to reclaim the excess inventory. As a result, the average price for a 40-foot shipping container has quadrupled since last September.

A 40-foot container shipped from China to Europe now costs $11,000 compared to just $1,300 a year ago. With the global trade imbalance only getting worse, recovering the costs of shipping containers to Asia is becoming more difficult.

The Suez Canal blockage accelerated the container supply surge, but the subsequent bottlenecks at the key gateways led to long delays. Backlogs in ports affect the entire supply chain, leaving containers in short supply.

According to Sea-Intelligence ApS, six-hundred-fifty percent of incoming ships in 2021 will be more than a week late. This backlog will only increase, and new mega-alliances between carriers will be necessary to restore the balance.

As of March 2021, only 3% of the world’s manufacturing output is delivered by sea. The disruption in the supply chain is expected to add a small amount to the inflation rate. But the global economy will still be under pressure to recover its costs, and the Suez canal blockade is expected to add to this short-term pressure.

The ECB’s Economic Bulletin estimates that the disruption will continue for the next three years, resulting in higher prices for shipping.

Identifying “force majeure” clauses

Before signing an agreement to buy an abandoned shipping container, it’s important to understand “force majeure” clauses. These clauses prohibit a forwarder from fulfilling a shipment if the shipment is subject to an event beyond the forwarder’s control. For this reason, a forwarder must be aware of such clauses and should preemptively send notifications to customers.

There are a number of reasons why cargo gets abandoned, ranging from bad weather to port congestion, technology malfunctions, or customs violations.

While none of these circumstances is natural, a delay in delivery can cause a significant loss. If a container is left unattended for a period of time, it may incur demurrage on its contents, and port storage charges can be high.

In the event that the container is not claimed for more than 90 days, the shipping lines are obligated to pay port fees and storage fees. In such a case, the vendor will seek compensation from the shipper or freight forwarder, unless it can demonstrate that the container was abandoned because of a force majeure event.

The vendor must also make a reasonable effort to keep a record of all communications and send notices to contractors in writing if they fail to perform.

Registering for auctions

You can register for auctions to buy abandoned shipping containers by networking with fellow auction junkies or finding out about them from friends. These auctions are usually held by shipping agents looking to recoup some of their costs, but the only way to be sure that you won’t miss the best deals is to ask around.

Contact port agents in your area for information on unclaimed containers that might be on the auction block. In the U.S., there are some of these in Colorado, Georgia, and Idaho.

Generally, these shipping containers have been left behind after their owners went bankrupt, or the goods were not needed. Many port authorities decided to auction off these containers to clear space and recover the costs associated with storing them.

Since the containers’ prices are high, the bidding is often in the tens of thousands. You can get a real bargain by purchasing a whole container instead of just the contents.

If you're interested in buying a single container, you might have to register for auctions to buy multiple items. However, if you're interested in buying a container and selling it for a profit, you can also buy a container by registering for a container auction that's local to your area. 

These auctions are very profitable and can help you build your business. It can also help you network with fellow auction hunters, who may provide you with new leads and sales.

Bidding at auctions

To bid on an abandoned shipping container, you must first register. Some auctions allow online registration, while others may require an in-person visit. To place a bid, you need to know the value of the contents and have a working calculator handy.

If you are unfamiliar with auctions, you can also contact local police for assistance. Once you’ve registered, you can attend the auction and start bidding.

Buying an abandoned shipping container may sound like a good way to make a fast buck, but the process is not always straightforward. Shipping lines operate under a certain protocol. Their primary goal is to get the equipment back in use. Banks often finance auctions of abandoned containers.

In return for the money they invest in the auctions, they need to recoup the money they invested. Bidding at these auctions is one way to make this happen.

The most important thing to know about the process of bidding at auctions for abandoned shipping containers is the rules of the auction. Auctions for these items are often highly competitive. You should be prepared to bid higher than the auctioneer’s reserve price.

During an auction, you should bring a flashlight to assess the value of the merchandise inside. In addition to a bidding war, a shipping container should be inspected thoroughly before it is purchased.

Buying at auctions

One way to get your hands on some salvaged cargo is by buying abandoned shipping containers at auctions. These containers often contain merchandise that was shipped by mistake and has since sat in storage.

Oftentimes, these unclaimed containers are just packed with regular household items and will be sold at an auction to recoup the cost of storing them. These auctions are often held by shipping lines, but the process is slightly different.

Before you attend one of these auctions, make sure to bring a flashlight so that you can inspect the items. Auctions typically aren’t advertised widely, so if you can find them, you have a great chance of scoring a great deal. Additionally, the prices for these items are generally very high.

Some containers sell for thousands of pounds, and the contents don’t sell for as much. Nonetheless, this method is worth a try if you’re looking to save a bunch of money.

Purchasing abandoned shipping containers at auctions can be quite a good investment, especially if you're looking for a bargain. These containers can be almost anything you'd want to buy. Since shipping agents typically sell containers as whole lots, they often want to recoup the cost of unpaid cargo.

So, be sure to network with your fellow auction junkies and check out some local port agents. You’ll never know when they’ll have a container auction taking place in your city.

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