Compare removal quotes
Get connected to top-rated movers

Free - No obligation

Home Help & Advice Shipping Container

Shipping Container

Many people think that shipping containers are the preserve of large logistics companies who make thousands of international shipments over the course of an average year. However, this is far from the truth and smaller enterprises, as well as individuals, can hire them for moving items around without the need for expert knowledge. Read on to find out more about international containerisation, shipping containers costs, and how you can take advantage of this well-developed system.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship Via A Shipping Container?

This is a key question that needs to be addressed because many people assume that renting a container for their delivery will be so expensive that it is not even worth looking into. In fact, depending on the exact nature and size of the items you want to be transported for you, containers can be extremely cost-effective.

This is because, as a modular system, they can be picked up by lorries, cranes, aircraft and ocean-going vessels without any problem at all. One of the key principles behind global containerisation is that it lowers cost by making moving abroad and handling of diverse items standardised.

Shipping Container Costs

Destination Port20ft Shipping Container40ft Shipping Container
New York£1,500 - £1,700£1,900 - £2,000
Miami£1,550 - £1,750£1,900 - £2,000
Los Angeles£1,900 - £2,100£2,700 - £3,000
Montreal£1,100 - £1,250£1,800 - £1,900
Marseilles£900 - £1,000£1,400 - £1,500
Athens£950 - £1,100£1,500 - £1,600
Melbourne£1,200 - £1,300£1,900 - £2,000
Auckland£1,250 - £1,350£1,950 - £2,050

How to Find the Cheapest Shipping Container?

As you can see, distance is not the primary factor in determining costs. Shipping via a container is often cheaper on the most popular routes. Sea freight is a lot cheaper than air freight but this price is reflected in the longer journey times you can expect. You can compare the prices of the container services offered by several moving companies easily by sending a single quotation request – all of them free and with no obligation – by completing our easy-to-use form.

shipping container

Additional Shipping Container Costs

Like other forms of shipment, there are certain costs to take into account when planning an overseas service. Firstly, anything that will be sold or traded on arrival or that is being shipped in order to meet a customer order will probably be subject to some form of customs duty when it arrives at its destination.

1. Customs Declaration

Even if your shipping container is being loaded entirely for personal use – for a home removal job, for example – then you will need to make a customs declaration to explain why the shipment is being made. If you have your removal company or a customs agent do this work for you, then expect to pay a variable fee depending on the complexity of the shipment.

2. Customs Duty

Where items are subject to an import tax, otherwise known as customs duty, fees will depend on the nature of the items you are sending and where in the world they are going to. Anywhere that is subject to a free trade agreement with the UK – including EU countries while the UK remains a member – these should be zero-rated, of course.

4. Import Levy

However, if you ship a car or an item of furniture, for instance, to a territory like India, Australia or Mexico which the tax authorities might think will be sold on, then an import levy is likely.

What Are the Standard Sizes of Shipping Containers?

As you can see from the pricing, outlined above, there are two main container sizes used for international moving services. Although 8 ft and 10 ft shipping containers are made, these are generally not as commonly available as the two main sizes, 20 ft and 40 ft. The two main sizes are geared up for modern containerisation and will be suited to truck freight, rail freight and air freight as well as sea freight.

1. Medium Size Shipping Container

Larger shipping containers all have the same height of 8 ft 6 inches although you can find open topped ones if your shipment will not fit inside otherwise. Special arrangements will be needed to move such a load because it will not usually fit on a container ship and, if it is transported by road, certain routes will have to be avoided.

2. Normal Size Shipping Container

Along with their common height, both 20 ft and 40 ft containers have the same width which makes them easy to stack up on top of one another. Both are 8 ft wide. Therefore, a 20 ft container measures 6.06 by 2.44 by 2.6 metres in metric dimensions. The corresponding dimensions for a 40 ft container are 12.2 by 2.44 by 2.6 metres. Bear in mind that the internal dimensions of any container are slightly lower than this due to the width of the walls, floor, ceiling and doors.

Shipping Container Wither Extra Equipment

In addition, containers with extra equipment, such as chiller units, will have less available room inside. That said, a standard 20 ft shipping container offers over 33 cubic metres of space inside which is more than enough for the majority of international removal deliveries.

House ready for removals

Which Are the Two Most Important Forms of Documentation For Container Shipping?

Other than your all-important customs declaration that is always needed when shipments cross international borders outside of free trading economic blocs, you will need to a bill of lading and a freight bill with any delivery being made via a shipping container. In some cases, your shipping agent or delivery company will organise this paperwork for you.

Shipping Container Contract

Essentially, a bill of lading is the contract you have with the shipping company that outlines how and where the shipment is to be transported, for example, from London to Felixstowe by rail freight and on from Felixstowe to Dubai by sea. The freight bill is an invoice which details all of the shipping costs associated with the shipment, something that customs officials will need to inspect on arrival.

Advice When to Choose LCL or FCL Shipping

LCL stands for less than container load. It is a method of shipping items in a container that means you don’t rent all of the space inside. If you have a business delivery to make or are moving personal items overseas but don’t need a full container, then sharing your shipping container cost with another shipper can make it a lot cheaper.

Group Shipping Container

LCL means that a freight forwarder or shipping agent will establish whether or not another client wants to make a similar shipment from the same port or airport at roughly the same time and match your consignments up together. You still get your goods delivered from A to B but they may share the same space for a time, usually when at sea. Under an LCL arrangement, a container could be shared by two, three or even many more customers.

Full Container Load

On the other hand, FCL – or full container load – shipping makes sense if your consignment will take up all, or nearly all, of the space within a suitably sized container. It is also the best option to go for if you think that your items might be contaminated or damaged by sharing the same space inside a container with another delivery.

How to Save on Shipping Container Costs?

FCL also has the advantage that it occurs more quickly because delays at ports are minimised. Furthermore, less handling is needed to put orders together with one another which means the likelihood of accidental damage is reduced. That said, LCL is a great way to send smaller consignments and it often means making remarkable savings on the shipping container cost.

What Loading and Delivery Options Do You Have With Shipping Containers?

Port-to-Port container shipment

If you opt for a port-to-port container shipment, then you are responsible for getting your container to the air or seaport from where it will be transported. You can either do this yourself or arrange for your own contractor to take this work on. The same applies to the destination port. In other words, only the air or sea mode of the shipment which will take the delivery over an international border is catered for.

Door-to-Door container shipment

On the other hand, door-to-door service will provide you with all of the modes of transport needed to get your container from A to B. When relocating home, this is the sort of service to opt for because it means that you should have everything delivered to your new house soon after – or even before – you arrive in person. This option might be more expensive but considering your necessities might be very practical.

3 Tips for Making Your Shipping Container Cost as Little as Possible

1 – Size and volume

Work out the size of the shipping container you will need. The bigger shipping container cost more but a smaller one is no good if you cannot fit everything you need in and you end up shipping a couple of items separately. Remember that high cube containers exist which offer a greater cubic capacity but which still conform to standard container lengths. These may not be able to be transported by rail freight, however, depending on the route, because access to tunnels may not be possible.

2 – Group container

Another good tip is to look into sharing your container with another removal firm client. This is called less than container load, or LCL, shipping. By loading your items in with someone else’s you can make considerable savings. All that is needed is a similar shipment that is going to the same port around the same date you want your consignment to be dispatched.

3 – Compare Quotes

To find a shipper who can arrange your container and potentially hook it up with another consignment that will save you lots of money, fill out our request form with a few details. Soon you will be receiving competitive pricing that may well exceed your expectations.

Compare And Save On Your International Removal Costs

If you want to work out the most cost-effective way of shipping items out of the UK to overseas destinations, then fill out our simple, free quotation request form. You will receive responses from removal companies and shippers with international experience without any obligation to proceed unless you wish to.

comparing quotes for moving companies

Ready to connect with reliable removal companies?

Find out which companies match your move requirements in a matter of minutes.

Related Articles

Compare quotes from removal companies and save