Moving by Container: Calculation and Price Range per M³

Moving by Container

Moving by Container: Calculation and Price Range per M³

Moving by container by sea is the most common method of shipment for international moves outside the USA, as it is cost-effective and fast.

The table below shows the price range for moving by container per m³:

Moving volume

Moving price per container

10 m ³ $2800 – $3000
20 m³ $3000 – $5000
30 m³ $5000 – $7500
40 m³ et + > $7500

Please note! This table represents only estimates, there are several factors that will influence the cost of your move by container. If you want to have a precise idea, you must ask for a moving estimate.

Some rates for a move by container

This second table will also give you an idea of the prices for sending a container abroad. You will find here some prices for different countries

These rates are based on a standard move:


20 feet

40 feet

United States $2500 $4500
Canada $2500 $4500
Australia $4000 $7500
New Zealand $4500 $7500
China $2000 $4000
England $700 $1500

Sending a container abroad: what influences the price?

When it comes to an international move, it is very difficult to determine precise prices. As you can imagine, there are several factors that influence the price of a move:

– The type of shipment: you have the choice between a complete and exclusive container for a volume greater than 30 m3, or a grouped shipment that you will share with another removal.

– The port of origin: some ports with a higher frequency of passages are more economical.

– The weight and volume of the move.

– Extra services: packing, disassembling/reassembling of goods, loading/unloading, etc…

– The type of goods to be transported in the container: a piano or a car are special goods for example.

– The choice of packing method: basic packing or special precautions?

So, to understand how these factors affect prices, you can consult our page dedicated to international moving prices.

What additional costs to consider?

As mentioned before, the price of shipping a container is not the final price of a move. Thus, a container move also includes:

– Door to door service: the container must be taken and unloaded at the new home.

– Home insurance: which costs between 1 and 2% of the value of the goods.

– Customs fees: normally at your expense, but the mover must inform you and include it in the final price.

– Other costs: you may sometimes face additional costs when moving your belongings by container. Take the time to discuss potential additional costs with your mover.

Container size: what dimensions?

Before contracting the shipment of your belongings by container, it is important to find out about the container sizes and dimensions.

The most common container sizes are 20 and 40 feet. Generally, a 20-feet container would be more than enough for a small move. A 40-feet container can hold a 4 bedroom home.


Volume (in m³)

Dimensions (in m)

20 feet 33 m³ 6.06 x 2.44 x 2.59
40 feet 77 m³ 12.20 x 2.44 x 2.59

In order to better interpret this table, estimate your moving volume with our volume calculator if you have not already done so.

It should be noted that although the 40-feet container is twice the size of a 20-feet container, it is not possible to carry twice the weight of the cargo due to the weight of the container itself.

You can also take a look at the illustrations below to get an idea of what you can fit in the different container sizes.

What fits in a 20-feet container?

A 20-feet container can hold 30 to 35 cubic meters and is suitable for a 1-2 bedroom home.

What fits in a 40-feet container?

A 40-feet container can hold between 65 and 75 m³ and is suitable for a 4+ bedroom home.

So how do you choose the size of your container for a move?

First of all, it is important to use a volume calculator to properly evaluate the cubage of your move. In this way, you will be able to have a more precise idea of the size of the container to choose.

Thus, we suggest two tips for your move by container:

– If you are moving a small volume: the Less Container Loads groupage shipping option gives you the opportunity to share your container with another individual who is moving. This way, you can reduce the cost of your move.

– If you are moving a large volume: with the exclusive Full Container Load, you can transport large volumes.

What are the options for moving by container?

Door to door service

Moving is a door-to-door service, and moving by container is no exception. In this case, the mover picks up your goods on site, loads them into the container, transports them to the port, and finally unloads them at your new home.

Other possibilities

There are other possibilities than the door to door service for your move by container:

– Port to port: you will be responsible for the loading and unloading of the goods as well as the transportation from the port of arrival to your home.

– Loading and transportation: the movers will take the container to the front of your home upon departure. They will load the container with your goods and take them to the port. You will then be in charge of unloading the container upon arrival.

Which shipping method for a container move?

There are 3 ways to send a container abroad: by boat (sea), by truck (land) or by plane (air). Most shipments will require a truck to transport the container to the port or airport.

Shipping by truck

All overseas container shipments require a truck during the process, as mentioned above. However, if you are moving inside of America, the shipment will be done exclusively by land.

Logically, ground shipping is the cheapest way to ship, and the deadlines are easily estimated and met. Overland transport also involves the train as a means of transport.

Sea transport

Moving by Container

For a move outside Europe, the option of sending a container by sea is usually the most economical. And even if this transport involves an initial trip by truck, the price is still cheaper than by air. In addition, destinations such as the United States, Canada or Australia do not leave any other options. The only disadvantage of this mode of transport is that, despite the easily estimated delays, they remain sensitive to many parameters.

Air transport

Very uncommon, moving by container via air is quite difficult. First of all, there are very few companies that offer it. In addition, the prices tend to be very high. Generally, transporting a container by air would cost 3 times more than by ship.

What’s next?

We hope this article has answered all your questions about moving a container overseas. Now that you are well informed, hope this post will help you go about finding the right service provider for you.


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