Container Shipping Prices (2022)

A Complete How-To Guide from Sirelo

Understanding container shipping prices is a crucial step to budgeting efficiently and thus saving money on your move. That is why we have put together this page, which indicates the shipping container prices from South Africa, along with tips and tricks to ensure your move does not break the bank!

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Container Shipping Prices from South Africa

Let’s get the ball rolling by showing you the cost of shipping a container from South Africa to various locations across the world. Whether you are bound for an Australian adventure, or a European escapade, we have got your covered!

Moving to20ft Container Cost40ft Container Cost
UKR80,200 – R89,000R114,000 – R126,000
USAR84,000 – R93,000R119,000 – R131,000
NetherlandsR80,000 – R89,000R114,000 – R126,000
UAER54,000 – R60,000R76,000 – R84,000
AustraliaR51,000 – R57,000R73,000 – R80,000
New ZealandR60,000 – R66,000R85,000 – R94,000

This table is applicable for container shipping prices from South Africa for a three-bedroom house.

However, it is important to note that these figures are merely estimates and only cover the shipping container price, and no other international moving costs. There are no universal container shipping prices! Instead, the final number will depend on the details of your move, most notably the exact distance travelled and the volume of your belongings.

Sirelo Top Tip: Not sure how much stuff you have and don’t fancy spending your Sunday with a tape measure in hand? Use our furniture volume calculator which does all the hard work for you!

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Factors that Affect The Cost of A Shipping Container

As mentioned, shipping container prices vary with every move. Learning about these variables is crucial if you want to save money on your move (who doesn’t?!).

The Volume of Your Move

Are you a hoarder? Or perhaps you prefer the minimalist lifestyle? It’s not rocket science; the more stuff you have, the higher your container shipping prices.

It is important to note, that if you are choosing to travel via sea-freight, then the volume is more important, but if opting for airfreight, the weight takes the reins, but more on the pros and cons of different modes of transport later 😉

The Distance Travelled

Again, it goes without saying, travelling the 8,000 miles to the UK is going to cost more than hopping across the pond to Madagascar.

However, container shipping prices do have a little more nuance to them than that (yes, they are the crème de la crème of sophistication!). Whether you choose a port-to-port delivery service or a door-to-door one also affects the final cost of your shipping container. The latter is more expensive but still vastly preferable – unless of course you are up for carrying a 40-foot container yourself?

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

Mode of Transport

Want to save time or money? That is the ultimate question! If time is a priority, then choosing to ship your container from South Africa via airfreight is your best option. Do you want to kepe the cost of your shipping container low? Then a boat is for you!

Saying that travelling via airfreight is merely a little more expensive is a massive understatement – it can be up to five times pricier! Furthermore, if you have a larger volume of possessions, air travel simply isn’t an option, as there is a limit to how much a plane can hold.

Travelling via sea is by far the most popular mode of transport given the cost and limitations of air travel. All in all, it really depends on whether you are concerned with the time your belongings will be in transit or if keeping the shipping container price lower is more important to you!

The Port of Departure and Arrival

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

  1. It’s great to be unique, but not when it comes to container shipping prices! Popular routes are cheaper than obscure ones as competition lowers prices.
  2. Every port will have customs duties and import taxes on your belongings. These will differ from country to country, so make sure you know what you are expected to pay if you want to lower your container shipping prices.

The Time of Year of Your Move

An easy way to save on your container shipping prices is to avoid moving during peak season. The summer months are usually very popular, so if your move date is flexible, take advantage of this and move off-season. Although, it gets somewhat confusing if you are crossing hemispheres!

As a general rule, however, in the summer demand is higher and capacity is lower, leading to surplus charges.

Container Shipping Prices

Shipping Container Sizes and Types

To help you save on your container shipping prices, below you will find an explanation of what the two most commonly used containers are 20ft and 40ft.

Take a look what the specifications are of different sized containers:

20ft Container:

This size container can hold around 30 – 35 cubic meters, which is anything up to a 4-bedroom house.

Container shipping prices - 20ft container

40ft Container:

A container this size can hold around 65 – 75 cubic meters, which is roughly a 4-bedroom house or bigger.

container shipping prices: What can you fit in a 40 ft container?

Types of Shipping Containers

Above are examples of Full Container Loads (FCL), where you will have access to the entire container. However, if you think that you won’t need an entire container, then we suggest finding an international mover that offers Less Container Loads (LCL).

LCL means you use up only a portion of a container and only pay for the space that you use, so it’s a much more cost-effective way of moving your belongings overseas. Be aware that it will only be worth it if you’re only taking a few items with you as the price per cubic metre is a bit more expensive. Also, you may have to wait a bit longer for your belongings to arrive as the removal company will wait to fill up to container with other people’s belongings before shipping it.

Choosing the Right Mode of Transport

It is time to delve into this topic a little deeper. As mentioned, your container shipping rates are partly determined by what mode of transport you choose. However, it’s not all about money! There are other pros and cons associated with different transport options, which are explored below:


This remains the most common option when it comes to shipping a container from South Africa. If you are completing a cross-continental move, which is too heavy for an aircraft, this is likely to be your only option. Even so, it is important to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of sea-freight shipping to avoid any nasty surprises.

✅ Can cover long distances.

✅ Usually is the cheapest option.

✅ More environmentally conscious than air-travel.

❌ Takes a long time for the container to arrive.


Air is a good option if you have packed light and are not too concerned about costs. Life is too short to sit around waiting for a container sometimes, so don’t rule this option out if you have the means to consider it.

✅ It’s speedy! You will be reunited with your container in a matter of days 😎.

❌ More than a little on the pricey side…

❌ Bad option if you have a larger volume of possessions.

❌ Not environmentally conscious.


It is inevitable that trucks will be a part of your move at some point. But just how much you want them to be involved is at your discretion. If you are moving within the continent, this can be a good option. While this is an option brushed aside by many, the cost of shippping a container from South Africa can be lowered with this method.

✅ Logistically convenient as you can complete the entire move with one company.

❌ Only possible if you are not crossing oceans.


Another option to consider is trains if you are 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.

Loading and Delivery Options

We know this is a lot of information to take in but hang on in there – you’re smashing it! Loading and delivery options are another aspect of your container shipping prices. The choices available are outlined below:

  • Port to port: This is as basic as it gets. As the name suggests, your goods are picked up at the initial port and dropped at the destination one, with no help transporting them to and from the ports. If you think you can organise this yourself, we commend you…and you will save some precious pennies.
  • Drop and fills: The container is dropped at your house for you to load yourself.
  • Door to door: For the sane among us who prefer a stress-free lifestyle, this is the best option, even though it will increase your container shipping prices. As it sounds, the legwork is done for you here, with your container being picked up and dropped off at your door.

Bet you didn’t know there was so much to container shipping prices! Well, you learn something new every day.

Other International Moving Costs

Congratulations! You are now container shipping rate experts 🤓 Before you settle down for a well-deserved rest, we thought it was important to briefly mention the other factors affecting removal costs. The list is not exhaustive, but we hope it gets your brain ticking:

  • Insurance: You must, and we repeat must get your belongings insured when moving house. No matter how prepared you are, there is always room for error 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.
  • Custom charges: It is likely you will have taxes or duties imposed on your goods when importing them to a new country.
  • 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 Next?

We hope you found this page informative and that you have a better grasp of what container shipping prices entail. Before you go, consider exploring other parts of the Sirelo website to answer all you other moving related queries.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Just remember: if we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet. Request quotes through Sirelo today to get started on your moving journey.

Good luck with your move!