Shipping Container Grading

A Guide to Shipping Container Grading

Absolute Containers offers a variety of new and used containers to suit our clients’ requirements. Container grading is important because not all containers are created equal, that is why we make use of a grading system to help distinguish between containers of varying quality. Containers are known for having a robust structure that can withstand harsh shipment, storage, and handling conditions. Shipping containers grades are based on the factors of aesthetics and structure and should be considered independently from each other. For instance, a container might be structurally sound while still having a few dents and some rust.

All shipping containers can be classified in terms of; One Trip (aka New), grade A, B or C and so on. Each container is graded by the depots based on age, condition, dents, rust, etc.

At Absolute Containers, we do not sell containers lower than C grade, with the aim of ensuring all shipping containers are graded wind and watertight to meet relevant standards.

When considering container repairs and patches, it may not necessarily affect the containers grading but should follow the International Convention for Safe Containers requirements.

A container that is wind and watertight means there are no holes in steel work and doors still open and close properly.

Cargo-worthy containers still meet transportation requirements as long as the container is CSC certified, it can be used for shipping purposes.  It is important to consider whether a container is cargo worthy if you are looking for a high-quality container with various uses.


(New “One-Trip Containers”).

New “One-Trip Shipping Containers

New containers that offer high-quality storage solutions, that is cargo worthy and wind and watertight.

These containers offer the best quality available in the shipping container market. There are no “New” containers in South Africa, only One Trip Containers.


A – Grade Containers

A - Grade Shipping Containers

These are just below One Trips. They are still in excellent condition but usually used for more than one trip or have gained a few more dents than the other one trip units.

Ideal for: storage, container conversions and international shipping uses.


B – Grade Containers

B – Grade Shipping Containers

Used containers in a good condition, with minor dents and rust, that is cargo worthy and wind and watertight.

Ideal for: storage, worksites, container conversions and fully wind and watertight


C – Grade Containers (Used Containers, “Sold as is”.

C - Grade Containers (Used Shipping Containers, “Sold as is”.Used containers in a fair condition, with moderate dents and moderate rust.

These containers that are wind and watertight are generally not ready for shipping but offer safe structural conditions.

Ideal for storage or conversion projects. Containers that are sold “as-is” can be repaired and re-used in building a spaza unit, pop- up store or other structures that do not require too much heavy loading.


Container grade classification does not guarantee that they are or will remain wind and watertight or cargo worthy for an extended period. Some containers have sustained extensive damage that is not easily repaired.