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Container Shipping for Moving Overseas

The Ultimate Guide

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Are you planning to move abroad? While it can be a thrilling adventure, moving can also come with its own set of challenges. One of them is considering how to transport all your belongings overseas. That’s where container shipping comes in.

Container Shipping Companies

Are you looking for a removal company to move overseas? Take a look at the best container shipping companies below!

1) Square One Relocation

With a rating of 9.3 out of 10 on Sirelo and a 4.4 out of 5 on Google reviews, the reliable international removal company is known for its professionalism and expertise in handling moves of all sizes while also praising its competitive prices and exceptional communication throughout the process.

2) Total Moving Solutions Ltd

This international removal company offers various services including international house removals, packing and storage solutions. They have a rating of 9.5 out of 10 on Sirelo and a 5 out of 5 on Google reviews, with very positive feedback for their competitive prices and good communication with customers.

3) Burke Bros Moving Group

With over 35 years of experience, this global relocation company has received a rating of 9.1 out of 10 on Sirelo and a 4.1 out of 5 on Google reviews. They have received excellent customer reviews for their efficient, professional and friendly service.

4) Traslo Service

The London-based removal company has been reviewed as professional and efficient, the customers appreciate their helpful and friendly customer service. They have a rating of 9.1 out of 10 on Sirelo and a 4.2 out of 5 on Google reviews.

If you’re searching for the most extensive information available about container moving costs in the United Kingdom, including how to find reliable removal companies, whether permissions are required or tips on having a seamless move – look no further! You’ve arrived at the perfect place. Let’s begin!

Container Shipping Costs

Generally speaking, the shipment price of a container from the United Kingdom to preferred locations such as America, Canada, Australia or Japan ranges from £1,800 – £3,000. Check all the average container shipping costs on our page below:

See Container Costs

Ultimately, to understand the reasons behind the current container shipping rates, you need to understand the various factors at play that can drive the costs up or down:

Distance, Size, and Services

It’s not surprising that one of the major factors is distance. Shipping to a nearby country like Germany will be less expensive than shipping across the globe. The further it is, the more costly it becomes.

Custom duties and service fees charged at the ports of departure and arrival are often surprises, and the size and popularity of the port can have a significant impact on the shipping costs of your relocation.

✍🏼 In certain circumstances, a smaller port may also result in greater expenses due to the lower efficiency level when it comes to managing containers.

Are you moving a lot or just a few items? The size of the container you select for your removal – based on your needs – will impact the overall cost. Commonly, 20ft and 40ft containers are available. However, even though conventional wisdom might suggest that bigger translates to more costs, this is not always the case. Some shipping companies may charge extra to ship fewer goods since this space could have been used for another shipment.

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How to Reduce the Costs of Moving Overseas?

A cost-effective way of relocating is through Less Than Container Load (LCL) services. Wondering what that even means? LCL allows you to save on costs by sharing a container with other individuals who are taking the same route as you. Unlike FCL (Full Container Load), where you fill an entire shipping container with your items and belongings, this option provides more flexibility in terms of budget and space allocation.

Another useful tip to save money is to plan your international move. Start requesting quotes from different container shipping companies at least 2 or 3 months in advance and compare prices to find the best deal.

Popular Container Shipping Destinations

When moving abroad, every country is a different world, with unique cultures and ways of life. Whatever your reason for moving, it’s crucial to do some research and understand what to expect. Thankfully, container shipping companies are available to provide services around the world, making it effortless for you to transport your possessions from one nation to another.

Container Shipping to Europe

The well-connected ports and road networks make container shipping a great solution for your house removal. While shipping by air is faster, sending your belongings by sea will be cheaper and still will only take less than a week to ship your stuff. For example, shipping a container from the UK to Germany can cost you around £1,000 – £3,500.

💡Since the UK made its exit from the EU, there have been new regulations and customs requirements for items crossing borders. To prevent any surprises or additional charges, make sure to research these prerequisites thoroughly before moving forward with your shipment.

Container Shipping to USA and Canada

To give you an idea of what it’s like, shipping a container from the UK to the USA can cost from £2,500 to £5,500 and £3,400 – £5,400 to ship your belongings to Canada.

If you’re in a bit of a hurry to relocate, air freight is your best bet for speed – it will only take 1-3 days. However, be forewarned: this option can cost quite a pretty penny! Alternatively, sea freight may require up to four weeks depending on whether you are travelling east or west coast; yet it could potentially pay off with some considerable savings over air shipping.

Moving across the Atlantic is a big deal, so we recommend you get quotes from several container shipping companies to ensure you’ll get the best service and price.

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Container Shipping to Australia and New Zealand

The range of shipping a container from the UK to Australia or New Zealand is around £7,500 – £10,000.

Moving to Australia or New Zealand by air and sea freight varies remarkably from one another. As the former involves traversing an entire ocean, it could take up to a month while transportation by air can have your items arrive in only seven days.

Australia is home to many major ports that facilitate the loading and unloading of container shipping. Of these, the most bustling are situated along its eastern coastline; namely Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane – all highly populated regions.

In New Zealand, the largest port is in Auckland, located on the North Island. Due to logistics, keep in mind that if you’re moving to the South Island you might want to consider shipping your container on the east coast of Australia. They have more frequent shipping options and can help you reduce your costs.

Both countries have strict restrictions on imports to protect their agriculture and natural environment. For example, food, plants and animal products are restricted or even prohibited to import. Ensure to check which of these items you’re not allowed to take with you when shipping your container overseas.

Shipping Your Car Overseas

Planning to take your car along in your overseas removal? That’s great! Don’t worry about the process, it’s easier than it seems.

Since it can be quite expensive, we recommend first doing some research and comparing removal quotes to get an impression of typical prices and to find a reliable car shipping company. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to make the right move.

Notably, the costs depend on how your car will be shipped. The most affordable option is Roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) shipping— which involves parking your car on a ship and fastening it securely to the deck. For an added layer of security, you may also opt for shipping your car in a container. Though more expensive than RoRo, this method ensures greater protection for your vehicle during transit.

Once you’ve settled on the removal company and shipping method, all that remains is to get your documents in order (title, registration and insurance) as well as prepare your vehicle for shipment (cleaning it out, securing any loose parts or draining the fuel tank).

Container Shipping Transport Modes

As we mentioned, the type of transport you opt for will influence your container shipping costs. Learn more about the pros and cons of each down below:

Sea Freight


 Affordably covers long distances
 Cheapest option
 Best choice for larger volumes


 Long time to arrive

This is the most common method of transport. If you are completing an international move, which is of significant volume and weight, this is likely to be your only option.

Air Freight


 Very quick (just a few days)


 Elevated costs
 Only for transporting small amounts
 Higher environmental impact

This is a good option if you have a small volume of goods, time is of the essence, and the costs of container shipping are not a concern. If you have the budget, it is a very efficient mode of transport.



 Entire move with a single company
 Door-to-door delivery


 Only for domestic moves or countries with ferry connections/tunnels

As the UK is an island, international container shipping moves with a truck can be more complicated and expensive.



 Cheaper than by lorry


 Longer than via truck
 Limited to rail connected routes

Again, this only applies if you are travelling across the land or relocating to Europe, through the channel tunnel.

Is Container Shipping a Better Transport Mode?

Overall, container shipping is a highly cost-effective choice if you’re planning to move overseas or over a long distance. The possibility to move large quantities of items efficiently and the eco-friendly nature of this mode of transport – compared to air freight -makes it the best option to move overseas.

💡If you want to continue learning about the factors that can impact your removal costs and know the average prices from the UK to the most popular destinations, continue reading our article by clicking here!

LCL vs FCL: Which is Best for Your Move

LCL stands for Less Than Container Load. Some removal companies offer this service, which consists of sharing a container with other people moving to a similar destination. If you’re only transporting a small volume of items, this is an ideal solution.

On the other side, there’s Full Container Load (FCL) which just means that you’ll have the container to yourself. This is ideal for when you fill the container, but be aware that the costs will be higher. But, price isn’t the only difference between LCL and FCL, we’ve outlined a couple more below:

LCL is…

 Slower (waiting for others)
 Ideal for volumes of 15m3 or less
 Pay for what you use
 Less secure
 Not recommended for shipping cars

FLC is…

 Ideal for greater volumes
 Pay for the whole container
 More secure
 Suitable for shipping cars

Types of Shipping Containers

If you’re uncertain about what size or type of shipping container to select, a range of options is available. It will depend on your requirements and how many possessions you have:

  • 20-foot container: Usually suitable for medium-sized moves. It can hold the contents of a small apartment or a 1–3-bedroom house. This includes furniture, appliances, boxes and two-wheel vehicles.

Size: 6.1m x 2.4m x 2.6m

Total volume: 1,179 ft3 (33.0 m³)

Total shipping load: 54,783 lbs (24,850 kg)

  • 40-foot container: As this container is larger, it can hold larger home belongings or a four-bedroom house. This includes all the items a 20ft can contain plus larger ones, like a car.

Size: 12.2m x 2.4m x 2.6m

Total volume: 2,714 ft3 (76.0 m³)

Total shipping load: 66,577 lbs (30,200 kg)

These shipping container sizes are available in different variations uniquely designed to suit specific needs. For instance, an open-top container is perfect for transporting bulky items or tall objects too large to fit into a standard container. Refrigerated containers, on the other hand, can be used when shipping temperature-sensitive goods such as plants or food items.

If you want to know the average price of shipping your furniture and items abroad concerning the size of the container, click here to find more information about costs.

Loading and Delivery Options

Disclaimer: if you have chosen to go with an LCL, then the following options will not be available to you, so we suggest you skip past this section.

  • Port to port – As its name suggests, your goods will be shipped from one port to the other, but you’re responsible for getting your goods to and from the ports. However, it will shave some expenses off your international container shipping costs.
  • Drop and fill – This is when the container is dropped off at your house, and you fill it yourself. It’s up to you how you fill it, but you might want professional help to make sure things don’t move around on the trip.
  • Door to door – Don’t enjoy a logistical headache? You are not alone; despite being the most expensive option, door to door shipping is still the most popular as the removal company will help you pack, unpack, and move the container for you, it’s very convenient. So, unless your container shipping cost budget is really digging for coppers, we strongly suggest opting for door-to-door delivery.

Start Planning Your Move Overseas

After reading this guide, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of what to consider when moving internationally. It can be a daunting project, but don’t be discouraged if it seems overwhelming! With a bit of planning and organization in time, you’ll be on your way to a successful move.

Request Free Quotes Now

If you need more assistance to get your move ready, make sure to check out all our resources or request free quotes from removal companies to start comparing prices and services.