So, you have closed that lucrative deal and earned some unexpected money, made savings over time, or taken a loan, and would like to reinvest it on something legit and profitable.

The first thing that comes into your mind is purchasing a used shipping freight container and fabricating it into something that will generate you some income.

But one thing is holding you back – finding a trusted and legit container seller.

This daunting process has obviously sucked all the energy out of you.

Let’s face it; The internet has made it very easy for container buyers to find sellers.

It has also made it very easy for impostors to target innocent clients.

These corrugated boxes have, for years, been hot property in the Kenyan enterprise environment, especially due to their logistical flexibility and the numerous creative ways available for fabricating them.

Needless to state, used containers have very many different uses.

But again, countless investors have lost hundreds of thousands of shillings to individuals masquerading as container salespersons with briefcase companies.

Statistically, up to ten Kenyans lose finances to marauding conmen every month.

These fraudsters have also invaded the used containers industry. The problem is this trend doesn’t look like it is going to end any time soon. In fact, it appears to be worsening.

For instance, on 24th May 2020, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) arrested two suspects posing as container sellers who were about to defraud a buyer.

Many other similar shipping container fraud cases have been reported by the DCI on their social media pages.

As unfortunate as it sounds, theft and fraud in the shipping containers industry has now entered the long list of criminal activities being investigated by the DCI.

This, therefore, calls for extreme vigilance from your side while entering into any deal related to used shipping containers.

In this article, we shall help you understand how and where to safely and legally acquire a used shipping container that suits your specific needs.

With years of experience in the Kenyan used shipping containers environment, as well as our vast knowledge of the legal requirements and procedures of buying shipping containers, we developed a concrete, reliable blueprint that will guide you in the buying process.

Should you ever look to buy a used shipping container in Nairobi, this guide may help you to smoothly navigate the entire process.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the important steps you should take when purchasing a used shipping container, especially as a first-timer.

1. Find a Reputable Used Shipping Container Company/Organization

The first step will be to identify a reputable company that sells or fabricates used shipping containers near you.

There are numerous used shipping container companies in Nairobi and all of them have their own unique ways of operation.

There are also numerous fraudulent individuals and companies purporting to sell used shipping containers around.

As noted earlier, you can easily find yourself in the hands of fraudsters who will take you in circles and eventually swindle you of your hard-earned money.

The good news is; genuine shipping container companies exist in Kenya.

Luckily for buyers, dozens of company profiles are available on the internet.

But this doesn’t mean that you should trust any seller profile you see on the internet.

Find their contacts and reach out to them to see whether they have a physical location or a container yard that you can visit any time.

Armed with this formal information about your target seller, you conveniently kick start a process of safely purchasing a shipping container.

2. Study and Analyze the Company’s Website and Background

People in business identify with websites as instruments of credibility.

If a purported used shipping container seller doesn’t maintain a functional website, that is a red flag!

It is critical to ensure that the company you are dealing with has a functional website that is frequently updated.

A website is the soul of a company. It helps you acquire reliable data such as history, reviews, past clients, acceptable communication platforms, physical address, and contacts.

Also, check the website about us page and the contacts page to gauge their experience in the industry and professionalism.

Check out the services they provide since different organizations specialize in different services such as selling containers, hiring out containers, offering storage services, handling, fabrication, and transportation of shipping containers.

Credible internet profiles are a fortune to any buyer.

That is why here at Container Works Africa, we are dedicated to making our website and online platforms informative to our clients and prospective clients.

We are very open and transparent with what we offer, and what you see is exactly what you get.

If you are satisfied with the information on your target seller’s website, you can readily undertake the next step.

3. Visit the Company’s Physical Location

A fraudulent container seller will be elusive with details about their physical location.

Most of them will not have a physical container yard and will want to meet you in an office somewhere in the CBD and give you endless stories about whatever happened to their container yard.

If you encounter such individuals, up your guard and back off the deal before it’s too late.

Physically visiting the location of the seller gives you an enhanced understanding of the personnel, structure, and the capability of the people you are going to deal with.

If you walk into a small 50×50 yard with a single container on display at the corner and the seller is promising to handle a 20 million project in two weeks, RUN!

Any serious company that deals with shipping container products and services should at a minimum have a physical address and a sizeable yard with at least 10 containers on display.

The visit also allows you, the buyer, an opportunity to physically inspect and select the containers for purchase and get ideas on what to expect on the final product.

At the same time, it gives you an opportunity to inquire about your contact person and their position in the company.

Here, you can speak to other members of the company present in the office about your contact person.

This is perhaps the most important reason for the visit and may save you a lot of trouble before releasing any payments.

Once you are satisfied that the physical address and your contact person are credible, you can then take the next step.

4. Verify the Documents of the Containers You Intend to Purchase

Just like vehicles, ships, and planes, cargo shipping containers are extremely sensitive equipment.

Their involvement in storage and transit of different types of goods makes them so.

As such, each freight container has a specific serial number that exists nowhere else in the world.

These numbers are ISO approved and are functional in coding, marking, and identification.

In Kenya, every shipping container seller is required by law to provide the buyer with three documents;

  1. logbook bearing the container serial number and other container details
  2. A formal receipt or invoice which confirms receipt of funds
  3. sale agreement that affirms transfer of ownership from the seller to the customer.

After confirming that your container seller will provide these documents, you can finally select the container(s) you would like to purchase.

5. Making Payment and Collecting

You have worked diligently worked to get to this stage. You are now leveling up your next step; shipping container ownership.

The used shipping container is now partially yours, pending payment.

We cannot overstate enough how important it is that you PERSONALLY handle the payment process.

This is because bank transactions and transaction records are exceptionally important.

And authentic container dealers will insist that you pay via their bank accounts, either by cheque or bank transfer.

For the transaction, the seller furnishes you with a proforma invoice bearing their bank account details.

You make the transfer for the agreed amount and collect all the essential legal documentation. In this case, you receive a logbook, a receipt, and a sale agreement.

Note that the supplier will have to retain copies of the documents whereas the purchaser keeps the original documents.

Even so, because you personally made the transaction, you retain records of the bank transfer.

Should you be unavailable, your representative collects the documents on your behalf and oversees the delivery of the equipment to your location.

Congratulations! You are a legal and genuine owner of a shipping container!

If you want further fabrications or services from the seller, engage them on the specifics such as the additional fabrication costs, timelines, and logistics which may include delivery to your preferred location.

Read Also: How Much Does a Used Shipping Container Cost in Kenya?

Final Word

Dance a little. Sing in the rain. Pop champagne; because daunting as it may seem, the process of used shipping container acquisition is pretty simple.

It merely needs a noteworthy level of keenness, and perhaps some small sacrifices here and there!

Here at Container Works Africa, we are dedicated to ensuring our customer’s experience when buying used shipping containers is as smooth as a cucumber.

We will help you with the paperwork and make sure that you get value for your money.

You are our boss and you deserve a stress-free and hustle-free experience when spending your hard-earned cash.

Contact us today for all your shipping container needs.