International container shipping rates start from £1,250 GBP up to £15,000 GBP depending on a number of factors; primarily the volume of your goods and the distance you need to move them. To get an accurate quote fill in the form above.
Shipping Container Prices by Country and Container Types
This guide to international container shipping explains how shipping fees are calculated and provides indicative costs for shipping your belongings to selected destinations worldwide, helping you budget for your move abroad.
|Country||Sea Port||20ft Container Cost||40ft Container Cost|
|South Africa||Cape Town
|Hong Kong||Port of Hong Kong||£3,600 GBP||£5,000 GBP|
|Greece||Athens||£4,200 GBP||£5,800 GBP|
|Cyprus||Nicosia||£3,300 GBP||£4,300 GBP|
How are shipping quotes calculated?
International shipping prices are always based on two elements: The cubic volume of goods to be transported, and the distance from the originating port to the destination port.
Sea freight containers are generally available in two sizes - a 20-foot container or a 40-foot container. A 20-foot freight container will typically hold the contents of an average three-bedroom family home. If you’re shipping one or two vehicles with the contents of your house, you will definitely need a 40-foot container.
Shipping Container Sizes
Where larger volumes of items are to be transported, the cost will normally be based on the ‘exclusive use’ of a container, i.e. the contents of the container are solely your property.
20 Foot Container:
What you can fit in a 20 foot container
A 20ft shipping container has a cubic capacity of 1,170 cubic feet. A container of this size will be able to fit the contents of a two bedroom house with a car - the perfect size for a small family.
40 Foot Container:
Everything you can fit in a 40 foot container
The 40ft shipping container has a cubic capacity of 2,390 cubic feet.
These containers are typically used by families moving abroad with large houses or big items such as vehicles. Roughly, it can transport the contents of a four bedroom house with large appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers.
When shipping smaller volumes of items which partially fill a freight container, it may be more cost effective to consider ‘groupage’ or ‘shared’ shipping.
This is where a number of separate, smaller shipping consignments for the same destination are consolidated into a single freight container. While this may reduce the overall container shipping cost of your items, it will increase the delivery time, as the container will not be shipped until enough consignments have been acquired to fill it.
Transportation by sea can take several weeks. That’s why it’s important to plan your move well in advance to allow sufficient time for shipping. If you remember to do this, everything should go smoothly.
For further ways to save money on your move abroad, check out our top 10 tips for the cheapest ways to move abroad.
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Air freight vs Sea freight
Removals to Europe are often done overland. Outside Europe, the most reliable and cost-effective means of shipping larger volumes of household items is by sea in freight containers.
While transporting smaller cargos by air freight is quicker, sea freight is less expensive and is the only realistic option for moving large volumes of possessions overseas.
The table below shows the comparison of pricing for shipping household items that should fit into 20 feet of container from the 1 bedroom flat from the UK to different locations.
|Country||Sea Port/Airport||Air Freight Cost||Sea Freight Cost|
|South Africa||Cape Town Johannesburg||£10,700 GBP
|Hong Kong||Port of Hong Kong||£3,100 GBP||£800 GBP|
|Greece||Athens||£3,700 GBP||£900 GBP|
|Cyprus||Nicosia||£3,900 GBP||£1,000 GBP|
MoveHub generates its costs based on an industry benchmark. See source
When researching the best international removal company for you, make sure that any quote you’re given is fully itemised so you can see exactly what service is provided for the fee you’re quoted.
Other shipping prices to consider
International container shipping rates will only account for a fraction of your total removal fee, as there are a number of additional factors which may affect the overall cost.
In theory, the international container shipping cost covers the transportation of the freight container from the ‘home’ port to the destination ‘port’.
However, most people opt for a ‘door-to-door’ service. This is where the removal company collects your possessions from your home, loads them into a container, transports the container to the freight ship and then delivers to your new home overseas. This option will add to your removal fee.
You may also need to pay extra for insurance fees and any additional charges levied at the destination. These can include customs inspection fees and import duties, or costs resulting from unconventional delivery requirements, such as restricted access to a property, delivery to a high-rise apartment, etc.
Other methods of relocating your belongings abroad include by truck and by rail.
Most moves tend to use a truck at some point during the journey, especially with moves to mainland Europe. Movement by truck is usually quicker than ship, depending on traffic, but usually costs a little more.
Train freights are not affected by traffic so are normally quicker than shipping freights but are usually more expensive.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ‘haggle’ if you feel there’s scope to negotiate the price with an international container shipping provider, as the competition in this field often makes it a buyer’s market.
Shipping container security
Most containers are now intermodal containers, meaning that they can travel over sea, land and rail. The benefit of this is that the contents of the containers do not have to be transferred to new containers ports, which reduces the risk of loss and damage to your items.
Each container also has its own unique number, and messages are sent every time the container leaves or arrives at a port. This means that the containers are easily tracked, and shipping companies know where they are at all times.
Despite the fact that modern shipping techniques are highly secure, we still strongly advise those wanting to ship their belongings to invest in removals insurance.