How Much Does a Container Cost in South Africa?

How much does a container cost in South Africa? There are a few factors that determine this but don’t worry - we will be providing actual costs at the end of the article to answer your question. We believe it’s important to understand the nitty-gritty so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you and/or your business.

The Benefits of Shipping Containers

Although commonly used to ship cargo around the world, containers are in high demand for many other reasons:

  • Their robust design allows you to store and transport goods safely
  • Their lockable doors make them easy to secure
  • You can quickly add additional storage space to your business without overheads like building plans, materials and labour
  • Containers are modular so you stack them on top of each other for space efficiency
  • Shipping containers are easy to move when you need to

What determines container costs in South Africa?

Containers for Sale vs Container Rental

Essentially there are two options when considering container costs - buying a container or renting one.

Why would you buy a container?

Buying a container outright means it's an asset that belongs to you. This is ideal if you’d like to use it for a long-term fixed structure like a container home, office or shop. 

Buying a container also means you can modify it as you see fit. There is almost no limit to what you can do with container conversions. Almar Container Rental and Sales does not implement container conversions in South Africa but can point you in the right direction.

If you anticipate any sudden changes in your business where you might no longer need a container, containers for sale may not be the ideal solution, in which case rather look at renting a container.

Why would you rent a container?

The obvious benefit of renting a container means you can return it when it is no longer needed.

Containers for hire are charged at a daily rate making them budget friendly. A good container rental company will offer you flexible leasing options so you can use it for as long or as short as you need with the minimum rental time being one month. 

The downside is that you won’t be able to make any modifications to the container.

New vs Used Containers

Another factor determining the cost of containers in South Africa is its condition: 

Why buy or rent a new container?

New containers are understandably the most expensive. They are in excellent condition and have no dents or rust. They are imported directly from China and are only used once on the import leg.

It makes sense to buy or rent a new container when it needs to represent your brand or if it is going to be public facing. New containers are also purchased for high-end container conversions, food grade requirements or IMCO (Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organisation) movement.

Why buy or rent a Used Container?

Second hand / used containers are most commonly bought or rented as a static on-site storage solution. Cost-wise they are graded in descending order as per below:

  1. Refurbished containers are wind and watertight, in good condition with moderate dents. External primers and paint has been applied.
  2. Grade B containers are wind and watertight, in good condition with minimal dents and rust.
  3. Grade C containers are wind and watertight, in fair condition with moderate dents and rust.

Container Sizes

Shipping containers come in three standard sizes. 10ft, 20ft and 40ft. There is also the 40ft high-cube version which is taller than the standard 40ft container.

The larger the container, the more you can expect to pay. 

Download our container size spec sheet to determine the right fit for your needs.

Location

One of the factors determining how much a container costs in South Africa is your location.

In the pricing table at the end of the article you’ll get a general idea of how container prices vary in each region. This is because stock availability of containers varies in each region. Limited stock in a particular region means that the cost of sourcing containers will increase container prices slightly. 

Watch Out for Container Fraud

Unfortunately, container fraud is rampant in South Africa and if you’re not careful you could get scammed. Here are some steps to avoid this:

  1. Investigate what companies are charging for containers in general. A significantly cheaper price should raise concerns.
  2. Don’t be bullied into a sale with limited time offers or claims that “this is the last container at this price”.
  3. Only deal with container companies that are established and have a historical track record you can verify.
  4. Don’t rely on website reviews which can easily be fabricated. Rather check out third-party-reviews like Google.
  5. No landline number on their website means that the “container supplier” has no physical presence.
  6. If they have an address on their website, don’t take it for granted that it’s genuine. Google Maps is your best friend to verify.
  7. You should call the seller. If they have a foreign accent this should raise the alarm. Some fraudsters operate from overseas without any South African presence.
  8. Check the container company’s website domain registration date at whois.com. If registered in recent months, treat them with suspicion.
  9. If you’re asked to confirm the bank account you’ll be using for payment, only mention the financial institution. They could be buying time to open up an account to receive your payment.
  10. All legitimate local companies ask for full payment upfront. Usually scammers ask for 50% payment upfront with the balance due on delivery of the container but they don’t deliver.
  11. Contact container associations like CTIA (containa.org) and COA (containerownersassociation.com) to check if the company is registered.
  12. If you do discover the company you are dealing with is fraudulent, please visit https://www.containerfraud.co.za to report your findings.

Container Transport Costs

When buying or renting a container, transport costs must be taken into account.

For container rental, transport costs will be associated with delivery to and from the site and for containers for sale it would be for delivery to the site only.

At Almar Container Rental and Sales, we outsource container transportation with costs calculated based on:

  • Your location in South Africa
  • The distance the container needs to travel
  • The time it takes to deliver the container (i.e. is the route on main roads or on infrequently travelled roads?)

Almar Container Rental and Sales is very transparent regarding transport costs but the following information needs to be disclosed by customers to ensure there are no surprises that could incur additional costs:

  • Roads need to be roadworthy enough so that trucks can gain access
  • There are no obstructions which could deny access
  • The site itself needs to be accessible by truck
  • The site needs to be prepared so that the container can be placed correctly (i.e. hard, level surface or slabbed placement area)
  • Will the container be placed in an open, unrestricted area? Or will it be placed in a warehouse, under an awning or over a fence in which case rigging will be required? Rigging will come at an additional cost.

OK… so how much does a container cost in South Africa?

Hopefully, all the above information has helped you decide what’s going to suit your unique situation best.

So, without further ado, here are your shipping container costs:

It’s important to note that the current volatility of the global economy and other factors related to the shipping industry cause prices to differ on a weekly basis. The prices below are based on the time of writing this article (Mid August 2022).

To get accurate costings please use our chatbot on the bottom right of your screen or alternatively contact Almar Container Rental and Sales on +27 31 561 6767 or email us at sales.za@almar.co.za

Download Container Size Specifications

What does it cost to buy a container?

10ft Container Pricing Table

10ft ContainersCape TownDurbanPort ElizabethJohannesburg
New ContainerR42 500R42 500R42 500R42 500
*Prices exclude VAT

20ft Container Pricing Table

20ft ContainersCape TownDurbanPort ElizabethJohannesburg
Grade C ContainerR37 500 R37 500 R40 000R40 500
Grade B ContainerR41 500R41 500R42 500R44 500
Refurbished ContainerR48 000R45 000R47 000R48 000
New ContainerR71 000R71 000R73 000R73 000
*Prices exclude VAT

40ft Container Pricing Table

40ft ContainersCape TownDurbanPort ElizabethJohannesburg
Grade C Container R60 000 R61 000 R60 000 R63 000
Grade B Container R63 000 R63 000 R63 000 R67 000
New ContainerR102 500R102 500R104 500R105 500
*Prices exclude VAT

40ft High Cube Container Pricing Table

40ft High Cube ContainersCape TownDurbanPort ElizabethJohannesburg
Grade C Container R68 000 R68 000 R67 000 R70 500
Grade B ContainerR70 500R70 500R70 500R73 500
New ContainerR105 000R105 000R105 000R105 000
*Prices exclude VAT

What does it cost to rent a container?

Container Rental Pricing Table

Container Rental - Nationwide20ft Container40ft Container
Daily RatesR30R40
*Prices Exclude VAT. Minimum rental period: 1 month.

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