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Container Shipping for Overseas and International Moves

Moving is challenging enough, and thinking about moving overseas can be just plain daunting.
Between packaging and organizing all of your items, locating a new place to live, vacating your old one, and preparing all of your precious household items for their big journey, there’s plenty to think about as you draw closer to your overseas move.
In a situation like this, though, the last thing you should be thinking about is the safety and security of your items. This is why so many people moving overseas choose container shipping.
Affordable, efficient, and painless for to-be expats, container shipping is a wonderful way to transport your personal items to your new location safely and efficiently.

What is Container Shipping?

Container shipping is the process of using a large shipping or freight container (generally between 20-40 feet long) to ship items via sea freight vessels. When an expat chooses to utilize container shipping, the expat purchases the shipping container and fills it with his or her household items. Once the shipping container is filled and packed securely, it goes on a sea-faring ship for transport to the new location.

Who Uses Container Shipping Services?

Container shipping is an excellent idea for anyone who is relocating to anywhere outside of Europe.  Thanks to the popularity of freight routes and ample delivery opportunities, people who are moving to Europe can generally conduct the transport of their household goods overland. For people heading anywhere besides Europe, however, container shipping is the most affordable and efficient option.

How Much Do Shipping Containers Hold?

One of the most-asked questions about container shipping is how much each container can hold. For a 20-foot container, professionals assume the container can hold the following items, which are the equivalent of a three-bedroom home:

While the holding capacity of each shipping container will vary depending on the size, weight, and configuration of your unique items, shipping containers are quite spacious and can be packed to contain your entire home quite easily.
Plus, if a 20-foot container isn’t large enough for your household items, most sea freight services accommodate 40-foot containers, as well. 40-foot containers accommodate an average of 28 packing boxes as well as all household items named above and a personal vehicle. The added space makes a 40-foot container ideal for large households or families with plenty of personal items to transport.

Shared Container Shipping

While many people opt for a 20- or 40-foot shipping container, it’s also important to mention that some people are moving from tiny apartments or flats, and have only a few items to transport overseas. In these cases, “shared” container shipping is a fantastic option.
In a shared transportation arrangement, several to-be expats consolidate their household items into a single shipping container scheduled for delivery at a given destination. While this is a wonderful way for people with limited belongings to save money on container shipping, it’s also wise to remember that shared container shipping takes more time, as the freight service will not ship the container until it is full.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Container?

Shipping containers are transported on sea freight vessels that travel popular trade and commerce routes. While container shipping is often the most affordable and efficient way to get household items moved from one location to another, it’s not a transportation method known for its speed. On average, moving items via shipping container can take several weeks to a month, so it’s important for soon-to-be expats to be prepared and plan accordingly.
If you choose to utilize container shipping for your overseas move, you’ll need to pack in advance and leave plenty of time for your items to arrive at your new location. This prevents you from arriving before your household goods and spending several days or weeks in a bare home!

How Much Does Container Shipping Cost?

Container shipping costs are determined by the following measurements:

With those measurements in mind, it’s clear that the cost of container shipments varies significantly depending on origin and final destinations and the volume of items shipped. What’s more, container shipping often includes extra cost, such as “door to door” removal services, where a company picks the loaded container up at your old home, transports it to the shipping port, sees that it is loaded onto the freight vessel, picks it up again from the destination port, and delivers it to your new home. Since most to-be expats don’t want to deal with the organization of all of these details, door-to-door services are a commonly incurred expense associated with container shipping.
There’s also insurance and inspection fees to consider, and some container shipments will be subject to import duty or delivery fees.
While you’ll need to take all of these expenses into account when planning your container shipping, this breakdown of container shipping costs will give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay. Keep in mind that all of these prices include door-to-door service:

Additional Cost Considerations for Container Shipping

One of the most commonly overlooked costs associated with container shipping is the delivery charge. To get started with container shipping, you first need to purchase your containers. There are two different ways to do this: either you buy them new or used.
If you purchase containers new, you’re likely buying them from Asia, which means they’ll have to be transported to your current location so you can pack and ship them. Unfortunately, this transport costs (known as the delivery charge) can be incredibly expensive. Luckily, though, there are a few ways to mitigate it. The best way to offset the cost is to allow your new container to be used to transport goods on a one-way trip. If you choose this option, the company shipping the cargo will pay part of the delivery cost for you.
If you’ve chosen to purchase used shipping containers, you may be buying them locally. In this case, you’ll need to locate a local delivery service to transport your shipping container from the port nearest your area to your home. Delivery charges vary for this, and it’s wise to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Why Choose Container Shipping Over Air Shipping?

While container shipping is the most attractive transport option for to-be expats, it’s not the only one. Air freight is also an option, and it presents many benefits. In addition to being faster, air freight is often seen as easier than container shipping. All this aside, however, air freight is also dramatically more expensive than container shipping and is out of financial reach for many to-be expats.
Because of this, container shipping stands out as the most attractive option for expats moving overseas.

The Pros and Cons of Container Shipping

Container shipping is a great moving option with many benefits and drawbacks. Understanding both the positives and the negatives of this process allow you to make more informed moving decisions.

Pros

Cons

The Case for Container Shipping

If you’re planning an overseas move, container shipping is a fantastic option for transporting your household items. Your house is your whole life, and the objects within it tell your story. It’s understandable that your belongings are precious to you, and you don’t want to trust them to anything less than the best. With the help of professional container shipping, it’s easy to ensure your precious items arrive at your new location safely and securely, without the hassle and stress associated with doing it all yourself.
While many to-be expats are intimidated by the idea of container shipping, it’s simpler than most people think. Once you’ve purchased your containers, you’ll simply need to locate a reputable sea freight company to transport your packed container for you. If you’d prefer not to pack any of your items on your own, it’s easy to hire movers to do this for you, or to find a door-to-door service that includes packing, loading, transport, and unpacking at your new location. These are popular options among many expats, and they can help keep the stress associated with moving overseas to a minimum.
Regardless of how you choose to structure your move, it goes without saying that container shipping is one of the most effortless ways to get your treasured household items from one distant locale to the next. In addition to the fact that shipping containers are roomy and easy to pack, they’re also secure and will help protect your delicate, bulky, or heavy household items from damage during the moving process.
For these reasons and much more, container shipping is one of the most popular long-distance transport options among expats. More affordable than other shipping methods and drastically more accessible to many, container shipping stands out as one of the most popular and straightforward ways to start your new life abroad – without the stress and hassle of a difficult moving process!