An overseas move can prompt feelings of excitement and anxiety. Moving to another country to live your life is a unique and special experience but transporting your belongings overseas can create stress.
Before you get too overwhelmed, it's essential to remember that the more prepared you are, the easier it will be. Preparedness essentially means understanding what kinds of steps go into the overall process of moving overseas.
If you're looking to relocate overseas, the chances are high that you'll be renting either a Full Container Load (FCL) or a Less Than Container Load (LCL). Larger-scale moves will call for Full Container loads that aren't shared, while Less Than Container Loads are shared with other freight movers. The two general container sizes are 20ft and 40 ft.
While it's easy to see that FCL will be more expensive than LCL, you might be wondering how much your container will cost.
Let's take a look.
How Much Does Moving a Container Overseas Cost?
After poking around, we found an estimate that states the average cost of sending a 20ft container overseas runs between $1,300-$3,200.
Containers registering under the $2,000 estimate tend to be LCL. The above cost estimate excludes add-on fees that consist of door-to-door delivery, insurance, and packing/unpacking. Door-to-door service is the most expensive form of transportation due to the convenience of having transport employees come to the home you're moving from, help you pack, then deliver straight to the home you're moving to.
World Freight Rates is an excellent resource if you're looking to get some quick and general estimates for your specific overseas moving situation.
You're probably wondering how shipping companies calculate these specific rates—so let's cover that next.
How Are Overseas Moving Container Costs Calculated?
The five main factors that overseas shipping companies use to calculate the rate consist of your cargo's weight and volume, the type of transportation, how long your journey is, where the destination is, and the time of year.
Before we give some background info on these factors, it's essential to know that the two methods of shipping containers overseas include air freight shipping and sea freight shipping. Airfreight shipping is less standard than sea freight shipping due to the higher cost. While sea freight shipping costs less, your belongings will get to you in a more timely and secure fashion.
The time of year tends to be one of the more overlooked factors that will affect the overall cost of sending a moving container overseas. It's not so much the weather that drives shipping prices up and down, but more so the peak shipping seasons.
January-February and August-September are the peak shipping seasons, so if you're looking for more of a bargain, try working outside of these time frames.
While it may seem obvious that your items' weight and volume will impact your quote, it's essential to know precisely why. When it comes to shipping through air freight, the weight of your goods is more important as an aircraft can only support so much. When utilizing sea freight services, the dimensions of your belongings since you need to think about your possessions being stored in the context of a cargo ship with many other containers.
Lastly, the distance you're traveling and what port your items will be landing in makes a significant impact on the overall cost. The fees that ports present aren't universal due to varying custom duties and service charges.
How Do I Know What Shipping Container Size I Need?
20 ft. Shipping containers typically have enough storage for items within a three-bedroom house. Double that estimate for 40 ft. Containers.
Evaluate what you do and don't need to potentially save money on the amount of container space you're purchasing. While certain personal items can be challenging to let go of, there are plenty of things we own in our lives that can be replaced.
Less Than Container Loads are perfect for people moving into smaller-sized apartments—but take more time to deliver as you're sharing the container with other people. It's naturally going to take longer to unload a shared container and pack different owner's items onto various trucks for delivery.
Is Air Freight Overseas Shipping Worth the Extra Cost?
If you have the budget flexibility to send a container overseas via airfreight, it may be worth it as you receive extra security and a more expedited flight process. A flight will hold fewer items than a cargo ship, which decreases the chance of being targeted for theft. The security in airports tends to be a bit tighter than ports due to closely monitored air controls.
What Types of Extra Fees Am I Subject To?
It's vital to understand what types of fees you'll be facing when sending a moving container overseas, so you better prepare to pay the final price tag. The main additional costs you'll have to account for when shipping a moving container abroad include container inspection fees, inland delivery charges, quarantine fees, customs duties, container inspection, general rate increase, and an insurance cover.
The only time you'll be subject to a container inspection is if customs have reason to believe that there's something suspicious in your shipping container. Inland delivery charges are associated with door-to-door delivery, which is ideal for anyone moving to another country. Save yourself some time and stress from picking up your items at a port by going for door-to-door service.
Quarantine fees only occur if customs feel like there's an item being shipped that can cause illness in the country it's entering.
Customs duties are standard charges that stem from tax, service and handling charges. Each country's custom duty charges vary, so do some research ahead of time to know what you're in.
General rate increases (GRI) indicate the average rise in a company's base shipping rates. These rates are constantly fluctuating due to the rise and fall of demand.
What Do I Need to Know About Oversea Container Insurance Costs?
Insurance is a must when sending a moving container overseas. Shipping companies provide insurance quotes based solely upon the monetary value of your belongings.
Even with insurance, you might be worried about the safety of your belongings. While it can be easy to worry about the items you own being stolen or damaged, the international shipping industry's security has evolved in recent years.
The way items are transported changed in the sense that employee handling of goods is reduced, so your container is unloaded less frequently, ergo your possessions are at a lower risk of being stolen or damaged. These days, it's common for a shipping container to go from your home to the ship to a delivery truck that reaches your house.
Tracking is a standard offering for shipping companies to help customers achieve peace of mind while their items are in transit. Add an insurance rate to these offerings, and you'll obtain a more seamless experience.
Let's end on quick tips for packing your moving container.
How Do I Pack Items In My Shipping Container?
Here's how you can pack your shipping container more efficiently:
- Ensure your items are tightly sealed in moisture-resistant containers
- Distribute the weight of your possessions evenly in the shipping container
- Utilize shrink wrap to protect more delicate items including furniture
- Follow proper labeling guidelines
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.