Container Shipping Costs 2019: Rates and Information

Last updated: September 9, 2019

Here is our breakdown of international container shipping costs as well as information regarding factors that affect the overall cost. Take a look at our international moving costs page for a rundown of all the cost that come with moving overseas.

International Container Shipping Costs 

This section will show you the average cost of international container shipping to popular locations across the world.

Shipping Costs to New Zealand:

Destination20ft Container40ft Container
Auckland$860 – $950$1,180 – $1,320
Christchurch$880 – $970$1,210 – $1,345
Wellington$880 – $970$1,210 – $1,345

As you can see from above, if you’re planning on moving to New Zealand, the cost of containers are on the low end. If you’re moving further than New Zealand, then look below at the other costs to different areas of the globe.

Shipping Costs to Asia: 

Destination 20ft Container 40ft Container 
Indonesia $1,900 – $2,100$2,635 – $2,810
Japan $1,715 – $1,900$2,390 – $2,630
Singapore $1,880 – $2,100 $2,600 – $2,950

Shipping Costs to Europe:

Destination20ft Container40ft Container
Denmark$5,110 – $5,600$7,000 – $7,860
France$4,360 – $4,745$5,945 – $6,600
Germany$5,060 – $5,620$7,025 – $7,760
United Kingdom $5,270 – $5,800$7,290 – $8,060

Shipping Costs to Africa:

Destination20ft Container40ft Container
Ghana$6,600 – $7,400$9,275 – $10,260
Kenya$3,865 – $4,360$5,355 – $5,900
South Africa$5,960 – $6,600$8,250 – $9,135

Shipping Costs to North America:

Destination 20ft Container 40ft Container 
Canada $5,060 – $9,420$7,030 – $12,930
United States $5,620 – $11,385$7,030 – $12,510

Shipping Costs to South America:

Destination 20ft Container 40ft Container 
Argentina $7,590 – $8,320 $10,400 – $11,525 
Brazil $7,450 – $8,170$10,260 – $11,320
Chile $5,160 – $5,710$7,140 – $7,400

Source: WorldFreightRates.com.

They are estimated prices based on the port-to-port transportation of a full container load of household items worth $75,000. These amounts are based on the average value of the contents of a three-bedroom house in Australia, all being shipped from Sydney to major ports in each country listed.

The only way to find out how much your move will cost is to request removal quotes. This is so that the removalists can tell you what sized container you’ll need and can give you a price based on that.

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The Five Biggest Influences on Price

There are several factors that influence how much international container shipping costs. Below you can find the five main influences to look out for:

1. Mode of Transport

There are different ways that a container can be shipped overseas and, ultimately, this will influence the cost. If your belongings are being shipped door-to-door then you can expect that they will end up in a truck or train at some point of your move. However, there are two main ways that your belongings can be shipped internationally:

  • Air

Shipping containers by air is the fastest option, however, with speed comes a higher price. If you’re prepared to pay a much higher price for your belongings to arrive quickly, then this may be a good option for you.

  • Sea

This is the cheapest and most common way of shipping containers overseas. If you’re in no hurry for your belongings to arrive then we recommend you take this option. You should be aware that it is much slower to ship containers and can take weeks if not months for your belongings to arrive.

Container Shipping Costs

2. Size of Container

As you can see from the beginning of this page, a big influence on price is the size of containers. If you’re going to bring a lot of furniture and personal items, then the cost will be much more expensive as you’ll need to take up more space in a container or a bigger sized container.

3. Distance of move

Obviously, if you’re moving to the other side of the world, the price will be a lot higher than if you’re only moving across to New Zealand.

4. Time of the year

Moving in the summer is a lot more expensive as that’s when most people want to move! Choosing to ship your belongings will be cheaper in the winter but may take longer due to weather conditions.

5. Destination Port

Every port will have different customs duties and import taxes. So, make sure that you’re aware of how much you will be expected to pay once your belongings arrive.

Additional Container Shipping Costs

There are ways that you can save money on your move and lower the amount of container shipping costs that you must pay. The biggest way to save money is making sure you have the right sized container! You may want to transport your entire household or only a few pieces of furniture. Either way, if you know what size container you actually need will save you from overspending on container space that you don’t need.

When you hire an international removalist, the most common sized containers are 20ft and 40ft. As you can see below, a 20ft container holds around 30-35 cubic meters, which is about a three-bedroom household.

Container Shipping Costs 20ft container

In comparison, a 40ft container fits twice the amount of belongings. If you want to transport a house with four or more bedrooms and perhaps a car, then a 40ft container will be better value for you. Take a look at the image below for a better idea.

Container Shipping Costs 40ft container

Our Biggest Money Saving Tip

A FCL, short for ‘full container load’ is when you pay for the entire container. There will be a flat rate for this, and you have access to the entirety of the container. However, you may not need an entire container all for yourself and you could waste money on space you don’t use.

Most removalists offer the chance to have a LCL, short for ‘less than a container load’, which is when you only pay for how much space you use up in the container and share the other space with someone else.

This is a much more cost-effective way to use a container to transport a smaller volume of belongings overseas. However, it is a little more expensive per cubic meter so it will only work out cheaper if transporting a few pieces of furniture. Furthermore, it may take longer to arrive at your final destination as the removalists will wait to fill the entire container before transporting it.

What Next?

We hope that this page was helpful and that you now know a little bit more on what container shipping costs to expect when moving overseas. These other pages may be of interest to you:

We hope that your move overseas is a success!