Should I Buy or Rent a Shipping Container

Shipping Containers


Should I Buy or Rent a Shipping Container?

The versatility of Shipping Containers provides a functional storage solution for all kinds of businesses, logistics scenarios, and individuals, covering both short- and long-term requirements.

Whilst the specific use case and purpose will vary between users, along with the duration, being temporary storage or longer-term storage. The versatility of a repurposed shipping container can provide a quick, convenient onsite solution.

Low cost, safe and secure, with convenient access, providing an alternative to offsite storage facilities.

When should you Rent a Shipping Container?

While the needs and requirements of businesses and individuals will vary, if the requirement for a container solution is temporary, short-term, or seasonal, renting is a good option and it’s not necessary to consider purchasing. There is a significantly higher cost to purchasing a shipping container outright, compared to the lower cost of a container rental.

When you rent a container, you only pay for the actual usage, being the trucking and operational costs associated with the delivery event, followed by the monthly rental. The affordability of the rental will preserve your cash flow, and provide you with the use of the container, without incurring the capital expense associated with the purchase of the container. Business customers renting a container to manage a project for their clients, can rebill the monthly rental fee to their client as a project cost, or categorise the rental as a deductible tax expense.

The benefits of a container rental agreement include both the affordability, and the seamless process to order and receive the container, delivered to the nominated site with the flexibility to extend the lease, discontinue the lease, change the size type, or scale up or scale down in quantity, as the requirement changes. The return process is quickly commenced at the end of the lease, or once the requirement for the rental of the container has been fulfilled.

Although servicing and maintaining the container is not a consideration when renting a container, as the Lessor will retain this responsibility. It is a basic principle with rental containers, that upon expiration of the lease, the container is returned in the same condition as they were in, when the rental period commenced. If the probability is high that the container may be susceptible to damage, or require costly repair work after the rental period, then the motivation to purchase the container should be considered.

The leased shipping container can also be converted to a purchase, if it is decided that the use case has become long term.

Our Rental availability supports Export Shipments, Project Shipments, Construction Sites and Worksites, Peak and Seasonal Storage requirements.

Lighthouse Containers is currently providing a container rental solution for the Transocean drill ship, the m/v Deep Water Orion whilst on the berth in Coega Port, Port Elizabeth.


(Photo Credit: Chris,

This 3-month requirement for both 6M and 12M containers to support the contractors servicing the Drill Ship whilst berthed in Coega Port was delivered at short notice, meeting the timelines and providing a flexible short-term container rental solution.

When should you Buy a Shipping Container?

If the requirement for a container is long-term or continuous, or if the site address is a remote location associated with a significant repositioning cost, purchasing the shipping container may be considered as a better financial or logistical choice.

If the requirement for the container is special use and involves installation, customisations, branding and purpose modified fittings, purchasing the container will be appropriate.

Lighthouse Containers is currently providing a “lease to own” solution to a manufacturing business in Durban, who service the South African market. They required additional on-site storage at their factory premises to receive, store and distribute their arriving import inventory. Considering the long-term requirement, and the integration of the container stores into their smart factory production facility, the decision was to supply a batch of 6M New One Trip Containers on a “lease to own” basis. The use of new shipping containers provided a seamless expansion of their on-site storage requirements, and the structure of the lease to own, provided an affordable solution

Delivery to Site


If your decision to purchase or rent a shipping container will involve receiving the delivered container at your premises, it’s important that the arrangements and the preparations for receiving the container has been met.

Neglecting the preparations for the arrival of the container will compromise the usage and benefit of the container.

The weight and footprint of a steel container will necessitate the reservation of a dedicated area for the container to be placed, taking into consideration the working area that the truck delivering the container will require to operate safely and attend to the lift off and onsite placement of the container.

Once the location of the container has been determined, ensure that the ground and terrain is level, compact, and has drainage to manage rain and stormwater. A well-prepared base will guarantee that the container can operate reliably and provide a convenient on-site service. The scope of preparation will contribute to the lifespan of the container. The base of the container needs to be level, as it can be very inconvenient to use a container that has been installed on a base which is not level. A distortion because of an uneven floor can cause the container doors to become non-aligned and difficult to open and close. The steel frame of the container will ensure that the floor of the container will be 10cm above the ground. Placing the base of the container onto a concrete floor or cement blocks to ensure that the frame is level and off the ground is recommended to minimise subsidence especially because of heavy rain. A container can be rigged into position with the use of a crane truck and placed under a roof or an overhang, but this requirement has to be specified and included in the scope of work.

Prepare for the arrival of the delivery truck and the container before proceeding with the order to avoid any unnecessary costs or futile trips. By preparing in advance, you avoid any redundant stand-by and waiting time as well as any additional installation costs. Ensure that the site and access to the site is not restricted or impeded and ensure that there are no structures, power supply, trees etc which could prevent driving the vehicle onto the site, or lifting the container off the vehicle. Ensure that the arriving vehicle will have sufficient space to exit the site after the container has been grounded.

When receiving the container, the driver of the vehicle delivering the container will not be familiar with your site, unless a pre-site inspection has been previously requested and concluded. Ensure that the person of contact is available and on-site to ensure that the driver delivering the container is correctly informed of the area which has been reserved and prepared for the arrival of the container, plus which direction the container doors must face. This will ensure that the container is located correctly and according to the plans for use.

Delivery times can be affected by weather, road congestion and traffic delays, industrial action, and the distance which the driver has to travel. We will always keep you informed of the estimated time of arrival. Circumstance and requirements may necessitate that the delivery is scheduled for after hours, or to remote sites without a person on site to receive the container. Providing we have the necessary instructions and details of the site plan, we will attend to the delivery and keep you informed with a live link to the driver.

Containers that will be commissioned on site with electricity and water connectivity, such as site office containers, ablution containers, and refrigerated reefer containers require competent contractors to receive and attend to the connectivity to the respective utility and infrastructure.

Lighthouse Container Leasing is a supplier of shipping containers and container solutions, supplied on a purchase or rental basis.

Contact Lighthouse Containers today for an affordable container solution.

Scroll to Top


Click one of our contacts below to chat on WhatsApp