Understanding Shipping Container Grading

You may have heard of a shipping container being graded and asked yourself, what exactly does that mean? To better explain the grading or condition of a storage container we’ve broken the common grade terminology down for you.

Cargo Worthy (CW)

Cargo Worthy containers have been inspected and have been deemed worthy to be used on a cargo ship based on various criteria. These containers are structurally sound and may have very minor imperfections. Cargo worthy containers have no defects or damage that would threaten their integrity or ability to use for transport.

Wind and Water Tight (WWT)

These containers may not be as aesthetically appealing to the eye, but, as the name suggests, these units are built to withstand wind and water. If you were to go inside one of these units and close the doors, there will not be any visible light or holes. Wind and Water Tight units will have some minor dents and dings and may have some rust on the exterior.

As-Is (AI)

As you might suspect, these shipping containers come as they are and have been damaged in one way or another. The container will have surface rust, dents, dings, and the factory paint will be faded, scratched, or rubbed off.  As-is containers will have been used over many years and are typically deemed retired for cargo ship transport at this stage, but will however suit most storage needs.


These types of containers can be cargo worthy or wind and watertight grade that have been repaired. Typically, they have been pressure washed inside and out, a fresh coat of paint has been applied, and any major dents and dings have been pushed out. Sometimes locking hasps, locking rods, door seals, and other door accessories are fixed or replaced so that the doors work properly and smoothly. These used containers have been made over to more appealing to the eye.