Container leasing. Containers may be offered for carriage of goods by the carriers themselves or the carriers may not actually own the containers, rather leasing them from lessors. Other parties, such as shippers, may also wish to lease a container. Therefore the containers can be owned by the ocean carriers, the lessors and also other transport operators, such as railway companies, shippers C themselves and large freight forwarders.
A carrier can directly own the containers offered to his customers, he may lease them financially (somewhat similar to a “demise charter” of a vessel) or hire them similar to a “time charter” of a ship. Also similarly to charters of ships, a container can be rented on a “spot lease” or on a “trip lease”. “Master leases” are for longer terms, from one to three years. A leased container is considered to be part of the carrier’s “fleet”. Just as in the ownership of container vessels for a liner company being counted in “fleets” of ships, so also containers for lessors or carrier-owners are counted in “container fleets”. In the United States, the rented containers are called “operational leases”. In the United Kingdom, “leasing” is generally called “rental”. Most of the lessors’ containers are on rent to carriers and others. Finance-leased containers are in a small proportion.