Average Container Shipping Costs

Let’s start by talking figures. You can expect the costs of container shipping to be between £1,000 – £4,000.  This might seem like a lot, but keep in mind that this is only an estimate and you’re not necessarily going to end up on the high end, unless you plan to ship your belongings somewhere very far away and with few shipping lanes.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Container Shipping

Distance – This may be self-explanatory, but it’s important to remember that distance plays a big role in determining the final cost of container shipping. The greater the distance between the point of departure and the point of arrival, the greater the container shipping costs will be.  

Volume – The more belongings you move, the more container space you’ll need. Thus, it’s important to note that there’s a price difference between a 20ft and a 40ft container –the smaller container being the cheapest alternative. So, it’s advised to consider the volume of your move and perhaps reduce it before you relocate.

LCL vs FCL – If you have a low volume, shipping by Low Container Load (LCL) will help you save money, as you’ll be sharing the container with another person. On the other hand, if you need all the space due to a high volume, it doesn’t make sense to share and, thus, a Full Container Load (FCL) will be the best choice for you.

Season – You may not know this, but container shipping has peak seasons. During these peaks, shipping container costs can be much higher. Our advice, book your move during any period other than summer.

Choice of removal company and service – The real container shipping cost comes down to the mover that you choose and the services you want. Taking charge and bringing your goods to the port may prove cheapest, but you might prefer to have a company that will come to your door and help you move. This will save you time and stress. A great example of a service that can save you a lot of precious time is Sirelo.co.uk. Their services enable you to easily compare removal companies and find the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Additional Costs to Consider

Taxes and Customs – While you might have bought all of these goods in the UK, they may still be subject to VAT equivalents and other taxes as you import your belongings to a new country. This is certainly something to be aware of, especially if it’s a temporary move, as you might even have to pay to bringing them back home! Therefore, we suggest that if it’s not a permanent move, consider placing items in storage.

Insurance – If you intend to move your household, it’s advised to take out an insurance policy on your move –no matter how long or short the journey is. While it may add to your shipping container costs, accidents can happen and it’s always best to be prepared. At the end of the day, you don’t want to have to add the expense of a new fridge to your move!


So far, we’ve given you the average costs and some factors associated with container shipping rates. Of course, that information might seem rather abstract and vague as it tries to cover an immense geographical area in one range. To help make everything a bit clearer, below you can find the cost of shipping a container from the UK to popular destinations for British expats:

Spain                                £800    – £1,200
Australia                          £1,300 – £2,000
– New Zealand                 £1,500 – £2,300
– USA                                   £1,800 – £2,600

Car Shipping Costs

Like many people who move overseas, it’s likely that you might be considering bringing your vehicle with you. To ensure that your vehicle arrives safely at its destination, there are a couple of things that you need to know.

Firstly, some countries might not let you import your car into their territory at all. Therefore, it’s best to check with the relevant authorities in the country you’re moving to about restrictions surrounding car imports.

Secondly, when calculating car container shipping costs, it’s important to account for the import tax on your car. It can get costly, so once again, check with the relevant authorities for car import costs.

Thirdly, you need to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that you’ll be taking your car abroad.

Finally, a car will usually fill in a 20ft container by itself, which doesn’t leave room for much else. So, you may want to consider getting a 40ft container to fit everything and save a bit of money. Just make sure you pack everything securely, ensuring it doesn’t move around and damage your car.

We hope this article was elucidating on the costs and considerations of container shipping. We are sure that you’re beyond prepared to start searching and negotiating your way to the best price. We wish you the best of luck with your move!