ContainersFinance and InsuranceOperations

Safety warning as old containers are pressed back into service

TT Club, an insurance company, has warned on the risks of more and more old containers being pressed back into circulation during the ongoing supply chain crisis.

“One of the immediate repercussions of equipment imbalances, shortages and increase in new equipment costs has been a tendency for owners and operators to retain equipment that would ordinarily have been retired from service,” the TT Club stated in an update to clients.

There has also been anecdotal evidence of containers being brought back into service from retirement leading to concerns about stack collapses at sea.

“Ensuring that controls, processes, records and, importantly, maintenance regimes remain valid is critical to underpin safety,” the TT Club stressed.

With containers taking at least twice as long to reach their destination during the pandemic, and a severe lack of available empties at many locations across the world, the Chinese, who control more than 95% of box production, are ramping up the manufacturing of new containers this year.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. From a container traders perspective, this is happening but very little. Anyone vaguely professional would ensure the container is thoroughly checked over and repaired if necessary. The vast majority of older shipping containers we buy back from customers and sites do not go back into service – we can make the same money selling them on for storage use without a CSC update and there is a much lower burden on repair costs. They woudl only go into export service if young (for a used container) and structurally sound. I feel it would take a seriously unprofessional outfit to send out a container with structural issues or without proper checks,, backed by a very unprofessional forwarder and a line with very poor checks in place for this to happen?
    I appreciate it only takes one problem and the issues can be massive., but this is where an industry of professional container traders makes the difference versus leaving the sale of fleets of containers up to just anyone?

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