International Container Shipping Rates Chart: May 2024 (2024)

International container shipping rates are extremely volatile right now because of geopolitical in and around the Middle East and Red Sea.

Nevertheless, Container shipping remains by far the cheapest way to ship goods internationally, but prices vary widely between where you’re moving from and where you’re moving to.

You can get the most accurate and up-to-date data by using the quote form at the top of this page.

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Container Shipping Rates Chart May 2024

International Container Shipping Rates Chart: May 2024 (1)

Chart from Drewry Supply Chain Advisors

Container Shipping Rate Highlights

  • Container shipping rates fell throughout 2023 but rose sharply in early 2024. They do appear to now be falling back somewhat.
  • For example, cost of the the Shanghai-Rotterdam and Shanghai-New York routes are both up over 50% in the last year.
  • Drewry’s World Container Index puts the global average price of shipping a 40ft container at $2,706 (USD) for 25 April 2024.
  • Whereas the Freightos Baltic Global Freight Index (FBX) put the cost of shipping a 40ft container even lower at just $2,383.60, although their data tends to lag slightly.

Here are some highlights from rates on major shipping routes for a 40ft container courtesy of Drewery Supply Chain Advisors:

RouteRoute code25 April RateAnnual change (%)
Composite IndexWCI-COMPOSITE Index$2,706Up 55%
Shanghai – RotterdamWCI SHA – RTM$3,056Up 92%
Rotterdam – ShanghaiWCI RTM – SHA$749Up 26%
Shanghai – GenoaWCI SHA – GOA$3,615Up 65%
Shanghai – Los AngelesWCI SHA – LAX$3,395Up 87%
Los Angeles – ShanghaiWCI LAX – SHA$700Down 31%
Shanghai – New YorkWCI SHA – NYC$4,369Up 57%
New York – RotterdamWCI NYC – RTM$624Down 33%
Rotterdam – New YorkWCI RTM – NYC$2,214Down 54%

However, keep in mind the rates above are for the cost of shipping the container only and do include all the additional costs associated with getting your household goods to and from the port.

The maps and tables below show 2024 international container shipping rates & costs for sample moves originating in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

To learn more you can jump to the relevant section using the following links: US, UK, Canada, Australia, 20ft vs 40ft Containers, LCL vs FCL, Land Freight, Sea Freight, Air Freight, , Other Costs.

Rates from the United States

Destination Country (Port City)20FT40FT
Mexico (Manzanillo)$3,865$4,536
Philippines (Manila)$2,061$2,472
Canada (Toronto)$2,343$2,389
Canada (Vancouver)$2,093$2,261
Israel (Haifa)$1,724$2,120
Italy (Trieste)$1,666$1,715
UK (London)$2,443$2,398
South Korea (Busan)$895$1,100
Germany (Hamburg)$1,632$1,773
France (Marseilles)$1,641$2,066
Brazil (Santos)$2,624$1,937

Click here for the full list of container shipping rates to and from the United States

Rates from the UK

Destination Country (Port City)20FT40FT
Australia (Sydney)$1,878$2,803
Spain (Barcelona)$561$838
United States (New York)$1,548$1,729
United States (Los Angeles)$1,625$1,855
Canada (Toronto)$2,386$2,959
Canada (Vancouver)$2,090$2,772
Ireland (Dublin)$292$436
New Zealand (Auckland)$1,912$2,854
South Africa (Durban)$4,575$4,575
France (Marseille)$836$1,103
Germany (Hamburg)$173$224
Cyprus (Limassol)$506$875

Click here for the full list of container shipping rates from the United Kingdom

Rates from Canada

Destination Country (Port City)20FT40FT
United States (New York)$2,343$2,389
United States (Los Angeles)$2,189$2,474
Hong Kong$1,732$2,046
United Kingdom (London)$2,386$2,959
Lebanon (Beirut)$1,793$2,403
Australia (Sydney)$3,105$4,544
China (Shanghai)$7,010$8,596
South Korea (Busan)$5,208$10,434
Germany (Hamburg)$1,697$2,092
United Arab Emirates (Zayed)$2,687$3,953
France (Marseilles)$4,135$6,358

Click here for the full list of container shipping rates from Canada

Rates from Australia

Destination Country (Port City)20FT40FT
United Kingdom (London)$7,467$12,406
United States (New York)$12,085$15,370
United States (Los Angeles)$10,808$13,663
Greece (Thessaloniki)$8,723$8,723
Maldives (Male)$1,561$2,083
New Zealand (Auckland)$1,561$2,083
Spain (Valencia)$8,723$14,807
Bermuda (Hamilton)$1,561$2,083
Italy (Trieste)$8,723$8,723
Lebanon (Beirut)$6,750$6,750
UAE (Jebel Ali)$6,750$6,750

Click here for the full list of container shipping rates from Australia

Note on data: The prices listed above are a sample of sea based port-to-port cargo rates and costs from various data sources based on trips between the ports listed only! They are based on moves involving household goods and were accurate as of late 2023. However, given the nature of the international shipping industry you’ll need to get a quote for more accurate prices.

Moreover, the prices listed above do not include the full cost of door-to-door moves. Given that each move is different, the only way to get an accurate cost estimate for your move is to get a free moving quote.

When comparing prices for international container shipping and moving, it’s important you understand what you need and how that affects the price you’ll end up paying.

The first thing to understand is the difference between an international mover and a freight forwarder also known as non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC). Basically, a mover can arrange your full move for you including pick-up, delivery and shipping.

Freight forwarders and NVOCC’s can provide very similar services as an international mover, but they tend work more with commercial container shipments for businesses, rather than one off moves. That said, if you are shipping a full container load (see below) you may also want to look into freight forwarders.

Here are other key things to understand:

What affects international container shipping rates?

International Container Shipping Rates Chart: May 2024 (6)

There are 5 main factors that affect how much you’ll pay to ship your goods. These are:

1. Mode of Transport

Mode of transport is by far the biggest factor affecting how much you’ll pay to ship a container. Sea freight (sending by boat) is the cheapest method, followed land (usually via trucks but sometimes via trains) with air freight (sending by plane) being the most expensive.

In most cases, air freight is prohibitively expensive so you’ll most likely use a combination of sea and land and/or just land only depending on where you’re shipping from and to.

2. Departure & Arrival Destination

This is the next most important factor. And while distance is important, what’s more important is the shipping volume (in both directions) on a given route. The more volume, generally speaking the lower the price, especially if there’s mismatch volumes between the origin and destination ports.

The best example of this is shipping anything to China which is usually extremely cheap. The reason is because there is a large volume of goods exported from China which require a large number of container ships. However, these ships often can’t be filled up for the return journey, and so offer great price. In fact, container rates to China are often among the lowest in the world.

3. Volume/Weight of Your Move

The bigger your moves the more it will generally cost. For most container shipping, volume is the most important factor rather than weight. Larger moves will require a 40ft container whereas smaller ones might be able to get away with using a smaller 20ft container. (see more below for more on the size differences between the two)

Weight only really comes in to play in a big way for air freight. It is charged primarily based on weight rather than volume. However, in most cases it’s not really suitable for a full move, but can be sued to ship a few key items.

4. Distance Of Your Move

As mentioned above the departure and arrival destinations of your move is one of the biggest factors affecting cost. Related to this is the distance of the move itself. Generally speaking closer moves are cheaper than longer distance ones.

That said volume of trade is still more important distance. For example, it’s usually significantly cheaper to ship a container from the UK to the US than from the UK to Canada even though the distances involved are roughly the same simply because there are ships going to the US than Canada due to the volume of trade.

5. Time of Year

Time of the year can also play a role in shipping costs. Globally, the summer high-season is the most expensive time to ship so is best avoided if possible.

Shipping to and from China is also more expensive around Chinese New Year (Jan and Feb) if you’re planning on shipping goods to and/or from there.

What Impact Do These Factors Have On How Rates Are Calculated

Container shipping costs are influenced by a variety of factors and can vary significantly depending on the specifics of the shipment. Here’s an overview of the primary elements that determine shipping costs for containerized freight:

  1. Container Size and Type: Shipping costs vary based on the size (e.g., 20-foot, 40-foot) and type of container (e.g., standard, high cube, refrigerated, open top) you need. Larger or specialized containers typically cost more to ship.
  2. Cargo Weight and Volume: The weight and volume of your cargo can affect shipping costs. Carriers have limits on the weight a container can carry, and exceeding these limits can lead to additional charges.
  3. Shipping Mode: The mode of transportation (e.g., sea freight, rail, road) and whether you choose Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL) shipping impact the cost. FCL is typically more cost-effective for larger shipments, while LCL is suitable for smaller cargo but might be more expensive per cubic meter.
  4. Distance and Route: Longer shipping distances and routes passing through regions with higher transit costs or risks (such as piracy) can increase the overall shipping cost.
  5. Port Charges: Fees associated with the use of ports, including handling charges, terminal fees, and documentation fees, contribute to the total cost. These fees can vary significantly from one port to another.
  6. Fuel Prices: Fluctuations in the price of fuel can have a substantial impact on shipping costs. Higher fuel prices generally lead to increased shipping rates.
  7. Demand and Supply: The balance of supply and demand for shipping capacity on specific routes at different times of the year can influence rates. Peak seasons may see higher costs due to increased demand.
  8. Customs Duties and Taxes: Depending on the cargo’s origin and destination, customs duties and taxes may apply. While not directly a part of shipping costs, these are necessary expenses related to the import/export process.
  9. Insurance: Insurance costs protect against loss or damage to the cargo during transit. The cost is typically a percentage of the cargo’s value.
  10. Currency Exchange Rates: For international shipping, fluctuations in currency exchange rates can affect the final cost, especially if there’s significant volatility between the time of booking and payment.
  11. Additional Services: Costs for additional services, such as pick-up and delivery, packing, loading, and unloading, storage, and special handling for hazardous materials, can also add up.

Given these factors, calculating the exact cost of shipping a container can be complex. Rates can change frequently, and obtaining quotes from shipping companies or freight forwarders is often necessary to get an accurate estimate.

Container Size – 20ft vs 40ft

International Container Shipping Rates Chart: May 2024 (7)

Intermodal container size comparison by Kcida10 at Wikimedia

There are two standard intermodal shipping container sizes in use throughout the world, the 20ft and 40ft (see above). We’ve provided rates for both sizes above to give you and idea about the relatives costs of each.

Other common variations include the 40ft high-cube container and the 45ft high-cube container, along with refrigerated containers and tankers for liquid.

However, for almost all international container moves, you’ll likely need either a 20ft or 40ft container. Let’s have a look at key stats for each type:

20ft Shipping Container

Suitable for: 1-2 bedroom moves or a car with only a few boxes.

Typical measurements:
Size (LxWxH): 19′ 10.5″ x 8′ 0″ x 8′ 6″ (6.1m x 2.4m x 2.6m)
Total internal volume: 1,169ft³ (33.1 m³)
Net shipping load: 61,289lb (28,200kg)

40ft Shipping Container

Suitable for: 3-5 bedroom moves or a car plus a typical two bedroom move

Typical measurements:
Size (LxWxH): 40′ 0″ x 8′ 0″ x 8′ 6″ (12.2m x 2.4m x 2.6m)
Total internal volume: 2,385ft³ (67.5 m³)
Net shipping load: 57,759lb (26,600kg)

Note: While a 40ft shipping container can typical hold about twice as much (in volume terms) as a 20ft one, it can actually carry less total cargo weight due to the weight of the container itself. Thus, if you’re looking to ship a car and a large household you may need more than 1 container.

20ft vs 40ft Side by Side Comparison

20ft Container40ft Container
Min Internal Length19 ft 3 in (5.867 m)39 ft 4+3⁄8 in (11.998 m)
Min Internal Width7 ft 7+3⁄4 in (2.330 m)7 ft 7+3⁄4 in (2.330 m)
Min Internal Height7 ft 8+1⁄2 in (2.350 m)7 ft 8+1⁄2 in (2.350 m)
Internal volume1,169 cu ft (33.1 m3)2,385 cu ft (67.5 m3)
Common Max net load weight62,350 lb (28,280 kg)58,820 lb (26,680 kg)
Household Move SizeUp to 3 Bedroom House3+ Bedroom House
Number of Cars You FitUp to 1Up to 2

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

International Container Shipping Rates Chart: May 2024 (8)

Another, set of term you may come across are LCL and FCL.

Less Container Load (LCL): This refers to moves or shipments that require less than a full container (either 20ft or 40ft). However, most companies will impose a minimum shipment volume, sometimes as low as 35.3 ft³ (1 m³). This can be the most cost effective option for very small moves, but it can often work out cheaper to just pay for a full container.

Full Container Load (FCL): This refers to moves or shipments where you pay for an entire shipping container. This means all your goods as shipped together as one and means no one else’s goods are shipping in your container. Shipping companies generally prefer when people pay for FCL as it makes the logistics at both ends much simpler.

FCL vs LCL: Which is Better?

FCLLCL
CostCheaper for large moves, more expensive for smaller onesCheaper for small moves, more expensive for larger ones
SpeedFasterSlower, have to wait until container is filled
Move SizeLarger than than 500 cu ft (15 m3) or 2+ bedroomsSmaller than 500 cu ft (15 m3) or up to 2 small bedrooms or 1 normal sized bedroom
SecurityContainer is all yours Container is shared with others
Can be used to ship a car?YesNo

Shipping Modes of Transportation: Land, Sea and Air

There are 3 ways to move freight internationally: by land, sea and air. All moves will involve at least some land transportation and some could involve all 3 methods. Here are the important things you need to know:

Land (Truck & Trains)

There are two types of land transportation used to ship containers: trucks and trains (via rail).

Truck

Virtually all moves will involve a truck. Domestic and international moves within the same continent will likely be done entirely by truck and usually by one company.

Whereas moves overseas can result in coordination between trucking companies. Any moving company you choose should make it clear how these costs break down and who will be responsible for what during the moving process.

Speed: Trucks can generally drive as quickly as road conditions will allow.

Costs: Moderate, but are unavoidable.

Examples moves: Domestic moves within the same city or country, United States to Canada or Mexico, Canada to the United States, United Kingdom to mainland Europe or Ireland (via ferry), and moves between countries in Europe.

Trains

The use of rail transportation to move shipping containers is also very common and can be much more cost effective than shipping via truck for long distance moves within a continent.

Speed: Depends on origin and destination, but usually slower than trucks.

Cost: For some journeys can cost less than using a truck.

Examples moves: Moves between the East and West coasts of North America, long distance moves between Eastern and Western Europe and some domestic moves within Australia.

Sea Freight

Sea freight or shipping via container ship is by far the cheapest way to move goods internationally but also the slowest. However, if you’re moving goods between continents, you normally have little choice but to send them via container ship.

Speed: Slow, depending on routes can take from a few days to several weeks.

Cost: Given the distances involved, very low

Example moves: United States to Australia, United Kingdom to the United States, South Africa to Canada, New Zealand to Australia.

Air Freight

Air freight is only rarely used in full household container moves due to the extremely high cost. Shipping via air can easily cost 10X as much as shipping via sea. Therefore, if you have some items you want to have with you as soon as you arrive in your new country, you should ship them via plane, but it’s much more cost effective to send the bulk of your goods via boat.

Speed: Very fast

Cost: Very high for large moves, but reasonable if only shipping a few boxes.

Example moves: Any two cities that have airports.

Loading & Delivery Options

Another important factor that affects cost is how you plan to load and deliver your shipping container. If you’re planning an FCL move you may have up to 3 options depending on your mover/freight forwarder/NVOCC:

1. Port to Port

This is the most basic option, and is what the rates at the top of the page are based on. Basically, with port to port shipping you are responsible for getting your goods to the origin port, the shipping company ships them to the destination port and then you’re responsible for getting them to your new house.

2. Drop & Fill

This is where the shipping company drops off a shipping container at your house and you fill it yourself. You may be able to use local movers and packers who work separately from the shipping company to help out.

Similarly this can be an option at the other end of your move, where the shipping company just drops the container at your new house and you are responsible for unloading it.

3. Door to Door Moves

By far the most common choice for people moving abroad is a complete door to door moving service. Depending on the options you choose your mover will arrange to have the container delivered to your house, packed, moved to port, shipped, moved to your new house and then unpacked.

If you don’t have much experience moving internationally and/or are shipping an LCL load this is the recommended option.

Other International Moving Costs

We listed international container shipping rates above, but these are by no means the only costs involved in any international move. When moving between countries you could face some of these costs as well.

Insurance: If you’re planing to ship your entire home overseas (or even just around the corner), it’s very important everything is insured. So make sure your shipping company has adequate maritime insurance. This will give you peace of mind that should anything get damaged or broken during your move, you’re not out of pocket.

Packing Costs: Most, if not all, international moving companies will make it a requirement that they pack your goods for you. While it may seem this is just way to add on an extra cost, there are good reasons for it. First, it helps prevent fraudulent insurance claims, which drives up the cost for everyone. Second, it can be requirement for taxes and duty (see below).

Taxes/Duty/Customs Charges: Before shipping your home overseas, it’s highly recommended that you do some research into how the country you’re moving to treats international moves. Some will impose taxes and/or duties on the value of the goods entering the country. It’s good to find out how much these are likely to be, before you move so you’re not faced with any nasty surprises.

Storage: Also, if you’re not planning to move abroad permanently it can be worth checking how much storage in your home country costs. This can sometimes work out cheaper than shipping goods overseas and then back again, especially if your home country also imposes taxes and duties on goods being shipped.

No reason to pay twice for the same things.

Can an international moving company arrange to ship my container?

Yes, an international moving company can arrange to ship your container as part of their services. These companies specialize in managing the logistics of moving personal belongings and household goods across international borders. Here’s how they can help:

  1. Packing and Inventory: They can provide professional packing services to ensure your items are securely packed for transit. They’ll also create an inventory of your items, which is crucial for customs and insurance purposes.
  2. Container Selection: Based on the volume of your belongings, they can advise on the most appropriate container size and type (e.g., 20-foot, 40-foot, standard, high cube, or specialized containers) for your needs.
  3. Freight Forwarding: International moving companies often act as freight forwarders, arranging the transportation of your container via sea, air, or land. They have relationships with shipping lines and other carriers, allowing them to find competitive rates and ensure your container is shipped on a suitable route.
  4. Customs Clearance: Navigating the complexities of customs regulations can be challenging. Moving companies handle the paperwork and formalities required for clearing your goods through customs in both the origin and destination countries.
  5. Door-to-Door Service: They typically offer door-to-door service, taking care of the transportation from your current home to the destination, including any inland transportation needed to get the container to and from ports.
  6. Insurance: They can also arrange insurance for your goods during transit, providing coverage for loss or damage.
  7. Storage Solutions: If needed, they can provide storage options at either end of your move, whether for short-term or long-term storage.
  8. Special Requirements: If you have items with special requirements, such as vehicles, pets, or sensitive equipment, many international moving companies can manage these as part of the move or advise you on the best approach.

When selecting an international moving company, it’s important to:

  • Check Credentials: Ensure they have experience and a good reputation in international moves. Look for affiliations with professional moving and freight forwarding associations.
  • Get Detailed Quotes: Obtain detailed quotes from several companies. Compare not just the prices but also the services included.
  • Understand the Insurance Coverage: Make sure you understand what is covered by their insurance and consider any additional coverage you might need.
  • Clarify the Services Included: Understand exactly what services are included in their quote, such as packing, loading, unloading, and customs clearance, to avoid any unexpected costs or tasks you need to handle yourself.

The Best International Container Shipping Deals With Free Quotes

With the glut of container ships on the market, now is a great time to get a good deal on international container shipping. However, basic rules of economics still apply and you’ll pay more for long distance moves and/or moves that involve less trafficked shipping routes.

In all cases the easiest way to ensure you get the best deal is to get a free moving quote. Your move is unique and so there’s really no way to give you a fully accurate estimate without getting more details from you about your move.

Fortunately, we’ve made it extremely simple. Just fill in the form at the top of this page with a few basic details, and we’ll get started trying to find you the best rate possible.

International Container Shipping Rates Chart: May 2024 (2024)
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