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Classification of used containers

Classification of used containers

Returning to the question of the condition of the containers we sell. We are often asked why one used container is different from another, what are the "conditions" - classes A, B, C? Sometimes it is quite difficult to answer these questions, so in this blog we will try to tell you all the nuances associated with the condition and classification of containers.

When buying a container, you will hear all the possible abbreviations that are possible for you, just a set of letters: WWT, CW, IICL, CSC or ACEP ... This makes the process complicated and confusing, although in reality everything is quite simple.

Let's start with the main abbreviations that you may encounter when working with used shipping or storage containers:
• IICL - Institute for International Container Lessors - an organization that brings together the world's largest container leasing companies and transport chassis. The IICL establishes repair standards according to which all repairs are carried out for members of the institute when the container is leased. IICL is the strictest criterion for used containers.

• CW - Cargo Worthy - the criterion according to which a used container is considered suitable for the carriage of cargo in accordance with TIR/UIC/CSC and meets all the standards set out in the original specification. A decent CW Cargo standard usually assumes that the container has a valid CSC plate. This criterion can be verified by a third party inspector or surveyor after physical examination of the shipping container.

• WWT - Wind & Water Tight - the criterion according to which containers are literally “wind and water tight”. The container is completely sealed, does not let light through the doors and roof.
A container is not safe for the carriage of goods, if it has not been confirmed by the surveyor to comply with a valid CSC. WWT is commonly used to qualify secure storage containers. If WWT has a valid nameplate, the CSC container is CW.

• CSC - Convention on Safe Containers, adopted in December 1972. The Convention has two objectives: first, to maintain a high level of safety of human life during the transport and handling of containers by adopting generally acceptable procedures; the second is to facilitate the international transport of containers by creating uniform international safety requirements that would apply to all types of land transport. The convention establishes the owner's responsibility for maintaining the container in a safe condition and for periodic inspection.

• ACEP - Approved Continuous Examination Programs implemented by container owners to monitor the health and maintenance of their containers. While the container is being monitored by ACEP, the CSC does not need to be checked again.
Leaving a program where a container was (originally) built and serviced (if sold) means that containers will need to be inspected by the CSC to be cleared for shipment, and the permit will be time limited.

• ISO - International Organization for Standardization - an international organization based in Geneva, working on the harmonization of world technical standards; including those regulating the construction of sea containers.

It should be noted that the company's container classification system is solely a policy of the company itself, and not an international standard for the procurement of containers. If several companies classify their containers into groups A, B, C - it does not mean that group A will be the same for all companies. The classifications and groups will relate to the cosmetic characteristics of the container rather than the quality of construction. Below, for your convenience, we have made a table with the most common classifications and assessment criteria:


When choosing a container, we would always advise you to describe exactly for what purpose you need the container, clarify what documents the supplier provides you, whether the container is cleared and whether the container has technical passports and certificates, in which case the container will serve you for a long time and you will be satisfied purchase.