Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose Ace Containers?

1. A reputation that you can trust

Ace Containers has been trading under the same name, from the same area and under the same management since our doors first opened 19 years ago. Our Managing Director John Hanson has 35 years of continuous experience in all aspects of the container industry, so we have a long-standing reputation that you the customer can place your trust in.


2. We have our own depot, so why not come and take a look?

Having our own depot means that customers can visit us and view our containers. Whether to view the quality, compare different sizes or types, one-trip quality vs. used, this shop-front experience allows our customers to see what they are getting and buy with confidence with no surprises upon delivery. Because we have the units here in the depot, we check all units before they are released for delivery for your peace of mind.


3. A one stop shop

The team at Ace Containers and Northern Containers have decades of experience in all aspects of the container industry. Bespoke container conversion projects are carried out at our premises in Leeds where we offer:

  • Steel fabrication in our main workshop,
  • Painting and Grafotherm application in our newly opened paint shop
  • Joinery and internal fit-out in our dedicated joinery shop
  • Electrical works, and just about any other modification our clients may need.


Because we try to carry out as much as possible “in-house” your project is always under our control and will be carried out to our high standards, on the occasion where we do need to use outside contractors, for specialist elements of the conversion, we can either provide our own trusted contractors who work to the same high standards or if you wish to use your own contractors we can prepare the unit to spec, ready for them to carry out their work.


Do you modify shipping containers?

YES we do! Not only do we modify shipping containers, we LOVE container conversions and modifications as they often show novel uses and applications for converted containers as well as giving our fabricators a chance to show off what they can do! Previous conversion applications include: generator housings, boiler housings, self-contained modular workshops, catering units and training units for the fire service.


Do we buy back containers?

YES, we are always interested in purchasing used containers, whether they were originally purchased from us or not. If you have a container that you no longer need and think it may be of interest to us, the best way to get the ball rolling is to email us some pictures of the unit with the subject line “Used container for sale”, along with its location to

We will assess the quality of the unit based on the pictures you provide and make you a fair offer based on the condition of the unit, current market value and its location (taking into account the cost to get it uplifted and brought back to us).


Are containers weatherproof?

YES, shipping containers are designed and constructed with the primary aim of moving all kinds of cargo around the world, while protecting this cargo from the harsh elements at sea. They have strong rubber gaskets fitted around the doors (the only place where water ingress is likely) which create a watertight seal when closed.

Because used containers have spent most of their life in use by shipping lines, they sometimes pick up damage or wear and tear which compromises their weather-proof properties, however we repair all used containers sold by Ace Containers to WIND AND WATERTIGHT standard unless our client states that they do not need the units to be in this condition. So you can be confident that the used container you purchase is fit for purpose.


How much does an empty container weigh?

The gross weight of a container in a given size can vary between manufacturers, and sizes which are cut down from a 20’ or 40’ unit can vary depending on the materials used and their construction. However, below are some approximate empty/tare weights for sizes which are factory-built or commonly cut down:

  • 6’ x 6’ cube: 450 KG
  • 8’ x 8’ cube: 630 KG
  • 10’: 825 - 1100 KG
  • 20’: 1950 - 2250 KG
  • 20’ side access: 3000 - 3150 KG
  • 30’: 3000 - 3250 KG
  • 40’: 3700 - 4100 KG


What materials are containers constructed from?

The vast majority of containers are constructed from Corten steel, with the panels being 1.6mm to 2mm thickness depending on the age and manufacturer. The cor-ten steel that shipping containers are made from oxidises on the surface to protect itself from corrosion when the paintwork is damaged and it is exposed. Floors are commonly constructed from 28mm hardwood ply although some newer units have steel floors and some manufacturers are moving toward using bamboo flooring because of its renewable properties.


What is a shipping container?

Intermodal shipping containers are large boxes constructed from steel for transporting goods. Intermodal meaning they are designed to universally suit various modes of transports e.g. sea, road and rail. The International Standards Organisation governs the construction of shipping containers; hence they are sometimes referred to as ISO containers.

Their steel construction makes them incredibly secure and weatherproof, able to withstand just about anything the elements can throw at them, especially when the steel panels are properly protected either by a factory paint finish or a professionally applied aftermarket finish such as we provide.

Shipping containers are in ideal solution for short or long-term storage as they are portable, secure and weatherproof. Also, because of their uniform size and shape they also lend themselves to being converted into offices, machinery housings, modular workshop spaces or just about any other purpose you can imagine. If it can be achieved using containers, we CAN and WILL do it.


Are containers secure?

The steel construction of containers is designed for strength and this strength makes them inherently secure.

From a security point of view the weakest point of a shipping container is the doors. We recommend the use of a lockbox, a steel assembly designed to protect the lock from attack when it is in use and we also provide hardened steel straight-shackle padlocks that work perfectly with the lockbox design that we use.