Comparing Shipping Container Sizes If Relocating Abroad

We get calls every week from people wanting to know the optimum shipping container sizes for their household goods. Sometimes they end up purchasing a used container from us in cargo worthy condition they can resell at their destination. However, others prefer to use a removal company because they have enough on their minds.

Shipping Container Sizes Vary and So Do the Costs

Most of the containers we see on ocean-going ships (and occasionally falling off) are either 20 ft. or 40 ft. ones. However, there are other smaller and larger ones in the below list:

  • 8ft. Shipping Container = 2.44 × 2.20 × 2.26 meters
  • 10ft. Shipping Container = 2.97 × 2.44 × 2.59 meters
  • 20ft. Shipping Container = 6.06 × 2.44 × 2.59 meters
  • 30ft. Shipping Container = 9.06 × 2.44 × 2.59 meters
  • 40ft. Shipping Container = 12.20 × 2.44 × 2.59 meters
  • 45ft. Shipping Container = 13.72 × 2.44 × 2.89 meters

Carrying Capacity in Terms of Household Goods

The most popular shipping container sizes for household moving are 20 ft. and 40 ft. ones. As a general rule of thumb:

  • A 20 ft. container is large enough for the contents of a 3-bedroom house
  • A 40 ft. container may be needed for the contents of larger home

However, it’s rare to find a family needing exactly 30 or 65 cubic metres. Hence many people relocating share containers with others moving to the same location.

How Full Container and Less Container Loading Works

Your shipping agent will help you calculate the optimum size. You may find leaving the leather lounge suite behind achieves a greater saving than the cost of a replacement one overseas.

If you pay for a ‘full container load’ (FCL) you don’t have to ‘stand in a queue’ while your household goods travel somewhere else first. However, a ‘less container load’ (LCL) can work out cheaper if you don’t mind waiting a little longer.

Run the Numbers First Before Deciding

Shipping household goods from Durban to the UK can cost between R100,000 and R150,000 depending on container size, insurance costs, final destination etc. Cape Town to Sydney can cost between R150,000 and R200,000. You could have more money in your pocket towards setting up your new home by making the right decision when choosing between shipping container sizes wisely.

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