Container Shipping Prices (2019): Moving containers from South Africa

Here you can find container shipping prices and other relevant information you need to know when moving your belongings and furniture abroad. If you need an international mover, take a look at our top 10 movers list.

Container Shipping Prices

Country20ft Container Cost
Moving to UKR91,500 – R149,800
Moving to USAR111,500 – R183,000
Moving to NetherlandsR89,900 – R148,100
Moving to UAER83,200 – R138,100
Moving to AustraliaR149,773 – R186,440
Moving to New ZealandR205,000 – R210,328

Note: Please keep in mind that these container shipping prices are approximate costs and only include transport costs for an average 3-bedroom house. Any other additional service will be extra and ultimately increase the cost of your move.

There are two main factors that affect the cost of shipping a container: Distance and Volume (m³).

As well as these two reasons, the overall price of a move abroad depends on many other aspects, thus we recommended you have an idea how much an international move costs. The table above shows the average cost of shipping a container to a number of popular destinations when using a 20ft container:

Factors that affect container shipping prices

Removal companies base their cost calculation usually on the volume of your furniture. Therefore, we recommend that you find out the total volume of your personal belongings before requesting quotes to save time. If you don’t want to measure all your personal belongings yourself, you can use our quick and easy furniture volume calculator.

As well as the volume and distance, other factors that international movers use to calculate the cost of a move are:

  • Type of Transport
  • Time of your move (Summer is usually more expensive)
  • Departure and Arrival port
  • Additional services – Storage, assembling/disassembling, insurance
  • Type of goods

What size container do you need?

The size of the container that you may need all depends on how much you want to move. The most commonly sized containers are 20ft and 40ft, however, there are also smaller sizes that you could use or you can choose to share a container if you don’t have too many belongings you want to ship.

Shipping container sizeDimensions
0.8ft2.44 × 2.20 × 2.26 m
10ft2.97 × 2.44 × 2.59 m
20ft6.06 × 2.44 × 2.59 m
30ft9.06 × 2.44 × 2.59 m
40ft12.20 × 2.44 × 2.59 m
45ft13.72 × 2.44 × 2.89 m

To help put these containers into perspective, below is an approximation of what you can fit in the most popular containers, 20ft and 40ft:

  • 20ft container can hold around 30 – 35 cubic meters, which is anything up to a 4-bedroom house.
  • 40ft container can hold around 65 – 75 cubic meters, which is roughly a 4-bedroom house or bigger.

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

What can you fit in a 20ft container?

container shipping prices: What can you fit in a 20 ft container?

Shipping a 20ft container is the most popular size when moving abroad as it has enough space to transfer a persons belongings from an average South African sized house.

What can you fit in a 40ft container?

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

While a 40ft container offers more space than the 20ft, it can actually carry less total cargo due to the weight of the container itself.

Full Container Load (FCL) vs Less Container Load (LCL)

In this section, we will explain the difference between having a full container or sharing one with others.

Full Container Load (FCL)

This term refers to moves where you are paying for the whole container. This means that your belongings will be shipped all together and no one else’s goods are in the same container as yours.

Less Container Load (LCL)

This refers to moves that’s volume doesn’t require a full container. This means that your personal goods will share a container with another customer of the moving company. This can be effective if you have a small move however, it can sometimes be cheaper to just pay for a full container.

Modes of transport

There are 3 ways to transport a container: by land, air or sea. All moves will involve land at some point and some moves may need to use all 3, depending on where you are moving to. There are a lot of variables that need to be taken into account before deciding what type of transport you will use; therefore, it is important for the moving company to explain to you the process, so you can understand how your furniture will be transported but most importantly what you are paying for.


Moving containers abroad by boat is the most common, and usually by a fair amount the cheapest option. It is also the slower option out of the 3. This is due to the vast amount of ports that are available.


This isn’t a very common method when transporting a container as most destinations are overseas. The speed can therefore vary depending on the distance and conditions of the roads.


Air is the fastest method of transport but also the most expensive. On average it will cost around 4 times the amount in comparison to a move by sea. Usually, a plane cannot hold more than a 1 bed apartment, so for larger houses, several trips will have to be made. Which can end up you spending more money on a method that requires numerous trips.

What Next?

We hope that you have found this page informative and that you now know more about container shipping prices. For more information, you may find these pages of interest: