Used Maersk containers in brief
When is a container no longer usable for Maersk Line?
We stop using the containers when they are 15–18 year-old or when they are too damaged to be worth repairing.
How many containers per year leave active service in Maersk Line?
50,000–60,000 each year, and more in the coming years.
Worn-out containers, where do they usually go?
Anywhere you can imagine. Some are fixed and returned to transportation service, others are refurbished for other purposes like houses, hospitals, etc. and those that are too damaged are recycled for their steel content.
Previously, third parties sold Maersk Line’s used containers on the shipping line’s behalf, managing the customer relationships and taking a large chunk of the profit in exchange. Now that Maersk Line has direct control of the business, the opportunities and challenges are lining up.
“It’s a fascinating market because people are all still exploring the variety of uses for shipping containers,” says Rune Sorensen, Managing Director of Maersk Line Container Sales. “You could say the market doesn’t know itself, so one of our tasks is to help potential customers imagine how they can use our containers.”
The business starts from a strong position: Maersk Line has roughly 2.5 million containers in circulation globally and the world’s largest vessel network to distribute them where they are needed. As of January 2015, approximately 80,000 containers were available for sale through Maersk Line Container Sales. All of them have fulfilled 15-18 years of service—Maersk Line’s cut-off for carrying cargo—or are too damaged to be worth repairing and put back into service.
“Maersk’s presence almost all over Africa means that as we expand the business we don’t have to worry about supply. It is important, that we can get containers no matter where we are next,” says Berman.