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Container Shipping Prices 2024

Cost Saving Tips and Information

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Uncover the most up-to-date, cost-saving tips on container shipping from South Africa. Dive into our insightful guide and master everything you need to know about container shipping costs. Start your journey to smart and efficient shipping today!

Shipping costs from to
20ft Container
40ft Container

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Container Overseas?

Container shipping from South Africa varies in cost, typically ranging from R125,000 to R380,000, based on where you’re moving to. For a more detailed breakdown of costs to various destinations check out our table below.

Container Shipping Prices and Sizes from South Africa

Moving to 20ft Container Cost 40ft Container Cost
UK R155,000 R195,000
USA R280,000 R380,000
Netherlands R165,000 R225,000
UAE R125,000 R195,000
Australia R155,000 R235,000
New Zealand R155,000 R235,000

Disclaimer: These figures are averages and are merely estimates and only cover the container shipping price. Instead, the final number will be influenced by various factors, which we cover in more detail here.

Request Shipping Container Quotes

We know that understanding container shipping can be a daunting task. That’s why we’re here for you. We help you find reliable and trustworthy container shipping companies. By requesting 5 free quotes you can compare the container shipping costs between companies and find what meets your needs. Not only will this save you money on your container shipping cost, but it’ll also reduce the stress of moving.

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Factors that Affect the Cost of Shipping a Container

Grasping the cost factors can not only save you money but also significantly reduce your moving stress. Let’s unpack the factors that will affect the cost.

The Volume of Your Move

A container can only hold so much! The volume of your belongings will directly affect the container shipping cost. The higher the volume the more it’ll cost. If you are choosing to travel via sea freight, then the volume is more important, but if you’re opting for air freight, then weight takes the reins.

Prepare for a smooth move by calculating your moving volume to cut costs

The Distance Travelled

Given the unchangeable nature of distance, the 8,000-mile trip to the UK will naturally cost more than the 1700-mile trip to Madagascar. The further you need to ship your belongings the higher your container shipping costs will be. It’s a key budget consideration to keep in mind.

The Service You Choose

There is one factor relating to the distance that you have control over, whether you choose a port-to-port delivery or a door-to-door service. This choice of loading and delivery option affects the final container shipping cost.

Mode of Transport

When it comes to container shipping prices, the mode of transport has an impact. It comes down to whether you want to save time or money.

  • Time: If time is a priority, then choosing to ship your container from South Africa via air freight is your best option. However, this does limit the volume, and will cost more
  • Money: Do you want to keep your container shipping cost low? Then a boat is for you! Shipping by sea is by far the most popular mode of transport given the cost.

The Port of Departure and Arrival

There are three ways in which the port you are arriving in affects your container shipping prices:

  1. Popular routes are cheaper than obscure ones as competition lowers prices.
  2. Every port will have service charges for handling a container. These will differ from port to port, so make sure you know what you are expected to pay.
  3. Customs duties and taxes on imported goods. Before you panic and start throwing everything away, most countries waive duties on household goods.

✍️Research the customs duties and taxes for your specific country before your move to know all the relevant information

The Time of Year of Your Move

Typically, summer sees higher demand and lower capacity, resulting in higher container shipping costs. To optimise your shipping costs, consider avoiding peak season. If your schedule allows, an off-season move could offer significant savings.

Choosing the Right Mode of Transport

It’s time to unpack this topic a little more. Your container shipping rates are determined by what mode of transport you choose. However, it’s not all about money! There are other pros and cons associated with the different transport options, which are explored below:

Sea Freight

Sea freight is the standard for international moves from South Africa, especially for furniture relocation. However, understanding its pros and cons can help avoid unexpected issues.


 Can cover long distances
 Usually has the cheapest container shipping cost
 More environmentally conscious than air travel


 Takes a long time for the container to arrive

Air Freight

Air Freight is ideal if you have packed light and are not too concerned about costs. Don’t rule this option out if you have the means to consider it or for the items you’ll need quickly.


 Very quick arrival time (5-7 days)


 Bad if you have a high volume
 Not environmentally-conscious


Trucks will inevitably be a part of your move at some point. If you are moving within the continent, this can be a good option. This often-overlooked method can help reduce the container shipping cost from South Africa.


 Logistically convenient as you can complete the entire move with 1 company


 Only possible if you are not crossing oceans


Another option to consider is trains when you’re moving within Africa. While not often used, it is worth mentioning, nonetheless.


 Often cheaper than shipping container costs via truck


 Can take quite some time
 Only possible for moves within the continent

Shipping Container Sizes

If you remember, the table of container shipping prices had columns for 20ft and 40ft shipping containers. But how big are 20ft and 40ft containers?

20ft Container

A 20ft container is one of the two standard sizes for shipping a container. In terms of volume, it can hold a volume of less than 33m2. This makes it a good option when shipping a 2- or 3-bedroom house.

Container shipping prices - 20ft container

Size: 6.1m x 2.4m x 2.6m

Total volume: 1,179 ft3 (33.0 m³)

Total shipping load: 54,783 lbs (24,850 kg)

Is a 20ft container what you need? Then click below and receive moving quotes that include the cost of shipping a 20ft container!

Request quotes for a 20ft container

40ft Container

For those with a house larger than 3-bedrooms, or who just happen to have a lot of furniture, then a 40 ft container might be the right fit. It can hold a volume of 76m2.

Size: 12.2m x 2.4m x 2.6m

Total volume: 2,714 ft3 (76.0 m³)

Total shipping load: 66,577 lbs (30,200 kg)

Wondering about a 40ft shipping container’s price? Then just click below and you can receive up to 5 moving quotes that include the cost of shipping a 40ft container!

Request quotes for a 40ft container

Can You Share a Container?

Above we cover everything relating to Full Container Load (FCL). However, if a 20ft container is a little too big for your move, you’ll be glad to know that you can share a container and the shipping price!

The industry term for a shared container is Less Container Load (LCL), a useful term to know! With LCL, you only use a portion of a container and only pay for the space that you use, thus saving you money on your container shipping cost.

Be aware that it will only be worth it if you’ll be using less than half (<16m2) of the container. Also, you may have to wait a bit longer for your belongings to arrive as the removal company will wait to fill up the container with other people’s belongings before shipping it.

Loading and Delivery Options

Another important factor in your container shipping cost is the loading and delivery options. These choices are available only for FCL. You’re almost there, keep going!

  • Port to port: This straightforward option involves moving your container from port to port. You’re responsible for filling the container at the port, which can lead to significant cost savings if managed independently.
  • Drop and fills: A container is delivered to your chosen location for self-loading. Ensure you have adequate space for placement and loading!
  • Door-to-door: For those who want a stress-free experience, this is the best option, even though it will increase your container shipping prices. The moving company will handle all the labour, including the loading and unloading of your container.

Not sure how to go about finding the right moving company for you? Our list of the top 10 international movers in South Africa is a great place to start your search!

Other International Moving Costs

We thought it was important to briefly mention the other factors affecting your container shipping costs. The list is to help show you some extra costs that are worth considering:

  • Insurance: You must, and we repeat must get your belongings insured when moving house. No matter how prepared you are, there is always a chance for errors which can lead to catastrophic results.
  • Moving a car: Can’t bear to part from your four wheels? Factor in the cost of this alongside your container shipping prices.
  • Packing costs: If you are strapped for time you may want to pay extra for your removal company to help you. Want to DIY? Read our expert packing guide for tips!
  • Storage costs: For logistical reasons, you may have to pop a few bits in storage, which will incur extra charges.

What’s next?

Congratulations! You are now a master at container shipping from South Africa. We hope you found this page informative and that you have a better grasp of what container shipping prices entail.

Don’t delay your move! Request quotes through Sirelo today to get started on your moving journey. Good luck with your move!

Frequently asked questions

How Much is a Shipping Container in South Africa?

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a 40ft Container from South Africa?

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a 20ft Container from South Africa?

What Influences Container Shipping Prices?