Guide To Know About International Container Shipping

Moving with moving container to another country but don’t know where to start? Should you choose air freight or ocean freight? Rent a full or partial moving container? Do you need a 20ft or 40ft moving container for your stuff? How do you find out your best options? Relax, as this post will answer all you questions and concerns.

If you are relocating to an overseas country, you may get the best service from a moving container company, making sure your move is completed as easily as possible.

However, this moving type is associated with its significant challenges, so it will be helpful to know much about the process so you can easily go through the move comfortably.

Guide To Know About International Container Shipping

In this article

Special Considerations for Overseas Moves

When you are looking to move to another country, and you decide to hire a storage container company to take care of the shipping, there are some things you need to note, such as paperwork, insurance, as well as security.

Shipping to another country is not similar to transporting household items in the continental of United States, where your belongings are covered by your homeowner’s insurance while in transit.

Therefore, you must buy another policy to provide coverage for your belongings against theft, loss, or damage, while the container is on its way.

You also have to take an inventory of all the things you packed into the moving container. Even though doing this on any move is nice; however, its importance is much more recognized on an overseas move.

Make sure the moving container is sealed by the company and assigned a tag number before they pick it up from your property. Make sure the documents are always kept closer to you while your container is on its way.

Which of Full (FCL) and Partial (LCL) Container should you get for your International Move?

You have two types of shipping options available, and they include a full container, which is also referred to as Full Container Load or FCL, and groupage, which is also referred to as Less than Container Load or LCL.

The latter option is popularly known as a shared container, while your household belongings will be loaded in a shared container with other people’s goods. The overall quantity of your personal belongings will determine your choice, whether FCL or LCL.

If you are shipping just a few items, then the international moving costs on LCL shipping will be beneficial to you as it is one of the most affordable options available.

But you probably will need to ship with the FCL option considering the fact that international moves often require shipping of vehicles, large furniture, and multiple boxes.

Should you get a 20-Ft or 40-Ft Container for your International Move?

The next step after choosing to ship FCL is to pick your container size. You may have to choose between the 20ft or 40ft container, as well as a 40ft high cube container.

The dimensions of each container are different, so you have to figure out the accurate total volume of your belongings to be shipped to identify the container’s best size. The two popular sizes of containers for international moves are the 20ft and 40ft.

Below are the dimensions of the two containers:

Moving with a 20-Ft Container Overseas

The dimension of a 20ft container is 5.898m (length) x 2.353m (width) x 2.393m (Height). Its capacity is 32.6m3 and can contain goods loaded in an 80m2 apartment.

This implies that all the furniture and appliances in the living room, bedrooms, kitchen, bicycles, and motorcycles, with 20 moving boxes, can be loaded in a 20ft container.

In case you know you will need a minimum half-space of the 20ft container, then we suggest you go with the FCL as it is likely cheaper and better than LCL, which is one good way to reduce your overall moving cost.

Moving with a 40-Ft Container Overseas

The dimension of a 40ft container is 12.025m (length) x 2.353m (width) x 2.393m (Height). Its capacity is 67.6m3 and is capable of holding all the goods in an apartment that measures 100m3 with a car and few bicycles of motorcycles.

You definitely need a 40-ft container for your international move if you are moving your car with you. You can as well choose one of our best car shipping companies.

When the Moving Container get to its Destination

Do not sign the delivery note just yet after your moving container arrives. Make sure you carefully inspect it for any damage. Although most moving companies are knowledgeable and experienced enough to ship moving containers to another country, there can be turbulent weather in the sea, and containers may experience jostling if they were not properly secured, so you should check your delivery well.

Essential Documents to hold with you

There are some vital documents you will need to hold with you during an international move. These include:

  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Important shipping information such as the name of the international moving company, their address, your container number, the number of units and seal numbers
  • Inoculation records
  • The date of sailing for your container and the expected date of arrival
  • Cash and credit cards

Cost of International Container Shipping 

You may also find it hard to discover rates for international container shipping; however, we have covered this for you. In this guide, you will find all you need to know about your household possessions’ overseas moving.

Shipping rates for a container from the United States

Destination Port 20ft Container Cost 40ft Container Cost
London, UK $859 (USD) $1,140 (USD)
Vancouver, CAN $2,140 (USD) $2,838 (USD)
Sydney, AUS $1,529 (USD) $2,028 (USD)
Le Havre, FRA $820 (USD) $1,087 (USD)
Melbourne, AUS $1,500 (USD) $1,990 (USD)
Auckland, NZ $1,757 (USD) $2,330 (USD)
Montreal, CAN $2,133 (USD) $2,829 (USD)
Hamburg, GER $828 (USD) $1,098 (USD)
Barcelona, ESP $920 (USD) $1,220 (USD)
Dublin, IRE $883 (USD) $1,171 (USD)

Other International Moving Costs

The above-listed rates are for international container shipping, but they are not the only associated costs with international relocation. The following fees may apply when relocating from one country to another:


If you plan to ship your entire household to another country, it is essential that you ensure everything. So, be sure there is enough maritime insurance available with your shipping company. You will have peace of mind that you are covered in the case of any damage during the international move.

Packing Costs:

Most, if not all, international movers will mandate packing service during your international move. Although you may see this as an additional cost to your move, there are actually good reasons behind it.

Firstly, it protects you against fraudulent insurance claims, which increases the cost for everyone. Also, it may be needed for taxes and duty.

Taxes/Duty/Customs Charges:

Before moving your home overseas, we recommend that you conduct some pieces of research on how international moves are being handled by your destination country. Some will mandate taxes and/or duties on the value of the items entering the country. You need to figure out the cost of these before you start moving out, so you don’t face any tough surprises.


Additionally, you need to figure out the cost of storage in your home country if you are relocating temporarily to a new country. This may be cheaper than transporting your belongings to an overseas country then back to your home country again, especially if there are also taxes and duties on imported goods by your home country.

Choosing an International Moving Container Company

The majority of moving container providers say they offer international shipping among their services. Still, you may sometimes figure out that this wasn’t what you actually needed as there are restrictions on each moving company on where their services reach.

Some storage container providers only offer services within the United States and Canada, while others may add Puerto Rico to the list. Regardless of the two cases, they both qualify as international or overseas or country-to-country shipping.

If you know the country you are moving to, be sure to ask the container company’s representative if they serve the country or not.

Let this be your first question, and it will save you a lot of time and stress. To obtain the best outcome, go with an international shipper with enough experience in shipping moving containers from one country to another.


Finally, make sure you give the international moving container company your destination address and phone number so they can easily contact you if needed. Then proceed to find your best price. This can be simply done by using the form located on the top of this page, and about six different suppliers will contact you with their moving quotes.

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