When the time comes to make that exciting international move, the task of transporting your belongings to your new home can be daunting, to say the least. Many expats-to-be opt for the convenience of hiring an international removals company, who can arrange everything from packing to shipping.

But if you don’t mind doing a little legwork yourself, you can make serious savings by dealing directly with the shipping company.

Important questions to ask when choosing a shipping company include:

Are they accredited? Look out for membership with networks like the International Air and Shipping Association (IASA), Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC).

Do they ship to your desired destination? Sounds obvious but many international shipping companies specialise in specific routes, so you’ll need to check.

Do they have offices based in your home country? Being able to deal with somebody in a local office can make the process much easier.

What level of insurance cover do they offer? Check their terms and conditions and purchase extra insurance if you think you need it.

Do they offer additional services? Things like door-to-door services and outsized cargo shipping can be invaluable.

To make things a bit easier, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 shipping companies to help get you started:

Maersk Line

This Danish shipping giant has over 630 vessels, 374 international offices and they ship a whopping 12 million containers a year. Maersk Line offers global shipping to over 120 countries from Australia to Venezuela. They’re known for their eco credentials and reliability.

Prices are based on a Basic Ocean Rate (BAS) – that’s the basic cost of shipping your container – plus any mandatory surcharges that apply, such as terminal handling and peak season charges. You can then choose from a range of additional services, at an extra cost, including a controlled atmosphere in your container or keeping your garments on hangers. Special delivery services and inland transportation are also available.

DFS Worldwide

You might have used this company to courier a parcel, but did you know they also offer international freight shipping? Known for their competitive rates, DFS Worldwide offer 20ft and 40ft container shipping and customs clearance. They ship to all major ports around the world and their user-friendly computerised tracking system means you can follow the progress of your container.

Depending on the size of your shipment, opt for door-to-door services for convenience or choose port-to-port to keep costs down. They offer LCL (less than container load) shipping, allowing you to share a container if you don’t need to fill a whole one – again, keeping costs low. Great for singles and students.


If you have XL cargo to ship, such as a beloved luxury car for example, French shipping group CMA CGM are top of that game. As the third largest shipping company in the world, they specialise in shipping cargo with non-standard dimensions.

Their fleet of 428 modern ships call at no less than 450 ports around the world. And what’s more, their bamboo-floored containers are leading the way in environmentally-conscious shipping.

Evergreen Line

Taiwanese shipping and logistics company, cover all aspects of shipping from door-to-door collection to customs paperwork. Their ships are much smaller than many of the other large shipping companies, which means they fill up with containers faster – and that can make for shorter shipping times for you. It also keeps their prices competitive.

Evergreen Line operates in around 80 different countries. Their busiest routes run between Asia and the US, but they also ship to Europe, Asia and the US East Coast. Their UK to the US East Coast route is one of the fastest services of its kind.

E Pearson & Sons

Still going strong after 100 years in the business, Pearson specialises in European removals. While they operate the UK’s largest fleet of international removals vehicles, they work with trusted global partners to cover long-distance shipping and air freight.

Customer service is at the heart of this company, so expect a dedicated personal Move Manager, great insurance, packing and furniture assembly services – and even cleaners to save you the trouble of getting your old house spick and span.

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC)

Recently merged with another shipping big hitter, Hapag-Lloyd, the UASClinks ports from all over the world including the US, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. With a mega-fleet of vessels at their disposal, their routes are extensive and their transit times reliable. You’ll find some express routes, with Southampton to New York taking just 9 days.

UASC pride themselves on accessible customer service, with hundreds of global customer service offices and an easy-to-use online system. They can handle outsized cargo and offer both 20ft and 40ft containers (as well as flat rack, refrigerated and open top options).

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Pacific International Lines

The Singapore-based company, Pacific International Line, specialises in shipping cargo between Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia (although they also have some routes to Europe and the US). Their online Track & Trace system allows you to keep an eye on progress and they are happy to ship special, outsized cargo.

Anglo Pacific

Anglo Pacific is the UK’s largest international removals and shipping company. Handling over 20,000 shipments a year, they partner with Maersk Line to link Europe with Australasia, the States, Asia and Africa for a truly global network.

You’ll find a range of specialist services on offer including car shipping, fine art handling and a complete packing service. Plus, they’re accredited with the Overseas Group of the British Association of Removers (BAR).

Mediterranean Shipping Company

As one of the largest shipping companies in the world, the Mediterranean Shipping Company offer a wide range of routes and services. Their vast fleet depart regularly, making for fast transit times and fantastic reliability.

With 480 global offices, you’re likely to be able to deal with a local office. Their network of road, rail and river services mean they can usually deliver door-to-door services, wherever in the world you are heading.

American President Lines (APL)

Based in Singapore, American President Lines specialise in linking Asia with the US, Australia and Europe. They are known for their extra-large 53ft containers, which they credit with making loading easier and transit times shorter. They offer a range of value added services, such as transit time guarantees.

China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO)

COSCO are a huge global shipping company with over 1,000 vessels. While much of their network is based in China, they operate over 80 international routes linking Europe, the Pacific area, Africa, the US and Latin America.

With local offices on all five continents, as well as online tracking, door-to-door pickup and a handy mobile app, they are known for their excellent customer service.


MoveCorp, based in the UK, may not command their own shipping fleet – but they do have an extensive global network of service partners who can get the job done! As such, they offer a versatile service covering everything from one box deliveries to full-blown international removals. They can save you stress by packing everything up and you’ll be assigned your own personal Removal Co-ordinator to handle with your move.

With a list of accreditations as long as their arm – including the International Association of Movers (IAM) and the Federation of European Movers Association (FEDEMAC) to name just a few – they’re a trusted choice.

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM)

Known for their top of the range vessels, car manufacturers Hyundai has also branched out into international shipping. As one of the smaller shipping companies, they have a limited selection of just 50 global routes.

What they lack in choice, however, they make up for with state-of-the-art equipment, reliable handling and great customer service.

Baggage Hub

UK company Baggage Hub provides a one-stop shop for anyone moving overseas. They cover storage, shipping by air, sea and road, and all of your packing requirements. They can even help you settle into your new country – from advising on international banking to finding temporary accommodation.

Popular with students thanks to their cost-effective shipping and expert student services, Baggage Hub also offers bespoke relocation services to more seasoned expats and corporate customers. Online tracking, a transparent Rate Calculator and comprehensive customer service keep things running smoothly.


Netherlands-based TriGlobal is relative newcomers to the global removals industry. While not a shipping company themselves, they have developed online tools to match international removals companies with relocators. A proud member of the International Association of Movers, they serve over 180 countries worldwide – facilitating 500,000 moves in recent years.

Whichever company you go for, leave yourself plenty of time to make the arrangements. Talk everything through with the shipping company so they know your needs and you know exactly how the process will work. Time spent preparing now means less stress later!