Container Shipping Costs (2018) – International Prices and Information

This page provides information regarding container shipping costs. If you are unsure as to what mover to use, we have created a list of the top 10 international removal companies that are happy to help you move abroad.

Container shipping costs & prices

Below, you can find a list of the container shipping costs to a number of popular destinations. Please acknowledge that the prices shown are only estimates and don’t take everything into account when calculating a price of an international move.

There are two containers listed below: 20ft and 40ft. These are the most used containers when moving a container abroad. There are other sized containers that you could use however, moving companies will mainly use these sizes.

Country20ft container cost40ft container cost
Shipping container Australia£3,700 – £4,200 £6,700 – £6,900 
Shipping container New Zealand£3,500 – £3,700 £5,000 – £5,600 
Shipping container Canada£4,000 – £4,200 £5,500 – £6,700
Shipping container USA£4,800 – £5,800 £6,400 – £6,500 
Shipping container South Africa£3,000 – £3,400 £7,000 – £7,300 
Shipping container Hong Kong£3,600£5,000
Shipping container Greece£4,200£5,800
Shipping container Cyprus£3,300£4,300

Notes on data: The container shipping costs that are shown do not include the full cost of a move, like a door-to-door move. Therefore, they may be additional costs for other services that you may use during the process of moving your belongings to your new home abroad.

Factors that determine the container shipping costs

The main factors that determine the price when shipping containers internationally is the volume and distance. Other factors include:

  • Type of Transport
  • Time of your move (Summer is usually more expensive)
  • Departure and Arrival port
  • Additional services – Storage, assembling/disassembling, insurance
  • Type of goods

What size container do you need?

Depending on what you are planning to move, there are a number of containers on offer when moving internationally. This is why it is extremely important to calculate the volume of your personal belongings beforehand, as it will enable you to choose the right size container and therefore hopefully save you money!

The dimensions for container sizes are as followed:

Shipping container sizeDimensions
0.8ft2.44 × 2.20 × 2.26 m
10ft2.97 × 2.44 × 2.59 m
20ft6.06 × 2.44 × 2.59 m
30ft9.06 × 2.44 × 2.59 m
40ft12.20 × 2.44 × 2.59 m
45ft13.72 × 2.44 × 2.89 m

To help you put these containers into perspective, below is an approximation of what you can fit in the most popular containers, 20ft and 40ft:

  • A 20ft container can hold around 30-35 cubic meters, which is anything up to a 4 bedroom house.
  • A 40ft container can hold around 65-75 cubic meters, which is roughly a 4 bedroom house or bigger.

For more information regarding the sizes of a container, click here.

What can you fit in a 20ft container?

What can you fit in a 20 ft container

Shipping a 20ft container is the most popular size when moving abroad as it has enough space to transfer a persons belongings from an average UK sized house.

What can you fit in a 40ft container

What can you fit in a 40 ft container

While a 40ft container offers more space than the 20ft, it can actually carry less total cargo due to the weight of the container itself.

Full Container Load (FCL) vs Less Container Load (LCL)

Full Container Load (FCL)

This term refers to moves where you are paying for the whole container. This means that your belongings will be shipped all together and no one else’s goods are in the same container as yours.

Less Container Load (LCL)

This refers to moves thats volume doesn’t require a full container. This means that your personal goods will share a container with another customer of the moving company. This can be effective if you have a small move however, it can sometimes be cheaper to just pay for a full container.

Container Shipping Costs

Modes of transportation for shipping containers

There are 3 ways to transport a container: by land, air or sea. All moves will involve land at some point and some moves may need to use all 3. There are a lot of variables that need to be taken into account before deciding what type of transport you will use, therefore it is important for the moving company to explain to you the process so you can understand what you are paying for.


This is the most common method when moving amongst the EU countries as well as moving in the UK. The speed can vary depending on the distance and the conditions of the roads however for a country outside of the EU, it may be more efficient if another method of transport is used.


Air is the fastest method of transport but also the most expensive. On average it will cost around 4 times the amount in comparison to a move by boat. Usually a plane cannot hold more than a 1 bed apartment so for larger houses several trips will have to be made which can end up you spending more money on a method that requires numerous trips.


Moving containers abroad by boat is usually by a fair amount the cheapest option. It is also the slower option out of the 3. The vast amount of ports that are available world wide make shipping usually the most common transportation.

Request free quotes

Thinking about moving containers abroad? We compare the best services for your move. All you have to do is  fill in the quote formThis will only take a few minutes and you can receive up to 5 quotes from moving companies that specialise in removals abroad. You can save up to 40% extra on your move. Read more information about this subject on our page International Removals Costs.