An Overview of the SOC Container

Learn from Hariesh Manaadiar (Shipping and Freight Resource) about the main benefits of SOC Containers and don’t forget to take the SOC Assessment to test your knowledge, and get certified afterwards.

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Summary

Be prepared to get your own SOC containers with this masterclass. Learn how some companies use their SOCs, the challenges of being a container owner, and the paperwork needed.

Hariesh Manaadir, the representative of Shipping and Freight Resource, shares his experiences with SOCs in this masterclass.

Before we get started, let’s briefly summarize the difference between SOCs and COCs.

SOC: When the container is owned by the shipper it’s called a SOC – the shipper owned container.

COC: When the carriers own the container, it’s called COC – the carrier owned container. The majority of the containers are owned by the shipping lines, aka carriers.

How companies use SOCs

Let’s imagine a situation:

There’s a remote construction site, where the cargo is delivered with COC containers. As soon as the COCs are brought on-site, they need to be emptied fast. Because with COCs, you pay expensive costs for keeping the containers.

But in reality, unpacking and using the cargo at the same time is hard to do within a short period of time. Eventually, project executives will end up paying high fees for detention charges.

Shipping lines charge these fees because containers are moveable assets and they make revenue only when they are moving. And if they’re stagnant they aren’t generating any.

As Hareish Manaadir explains, large companies, the likes of ABB or Siemens, often use SOCs for such project cargo shipments to avoid these expensive charges:

“If there’s a project happening in Central Asia, and almost 150-200 containers with cargo are required, the containers can’t go and sit there – waiting to be unpacked. It’s going to be very expensive for the customer. Therefore, multinational project customers like ABB or Siemens, etc. they prefer to buy containers for their own use.”

Challenges of owning your own container

SOC containers give you increased flexibility. But there are also challenges to be aware of. Hariesh Manaadir names a few:

  • It’s expensive to buy containers: whether it’s new or second-hand, the prices may vary between a couple of thousands of USD.

  • They require maintenance: containers need to be repaired, fixed and inspected before every trip, which is also quite costly.

  • Late returns give you extra problems: if the container is sent off to another destination and doesn’t come back on time, you have no container to use.

  • There are important extra processes: before the SOC gets on a vessel you need to gather certifications and serial numbers for the box.

Which certificates do you need?

The shipping lines always want to know that every container on the vessel is cargo worthy and seaworthy; and that all the fittings on the container are strong enough for multiple handlings. To ensure the good conditions, they require inspection certificates. As a SOC owner, you’ll have to bring your own documents:

  • ACEP Certification: Stands for Approved Continuous Examination Program. It’s an inspection certificate. This means that a container has to be certified at regular intervals. It must be examined, inspected and fit for transportation in all respects.

  • CSC Plate: Stands for Container Safety Convention certificate. It must be put on the container and it must be valid at all times. It ensures that the container is safe for transportation and meets all the international safety requirements.

  • Additional Documents: Shipping lines can always ask for some additional documents and you should be prepared for it.

New Container Markings

There are different compulsory container markings that must be on all containers, visible on the door. Each of those markings play a significant role in transportation. They are important for the monitoring and general safety of a container.

In the case of buying a SOC container, markings on the containers must be changed according to the new owner’s data.

“For example, if you buy a container from MEC, the container number can be MEC-U, which is a prefix used by them. If you’re buying a container [from them] for your own use, you have to change these,” Hariesh Manaadir says.

We explain the container markings in full details in our separate blog.

How to source SOC container

There are many ways to source SOC containers. Here are some of the common ways to get them.

• Buy a brand new one from the manufacturers (but they mostly sell in big batches),
• Buy a used one from shipping lines,
• Buy one from leasing companies,
• Buy one from second-hand dealers,

Or visit Container xChange and find your next SOC in a couple of clicks.

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