How to Transport a Shipping Container Overseas

How to Transport a Shipping Container Overseas

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Francisca Olive / May 2023

Transporting a container overseas requires specific logistics to get it done correctly. Working with a company that transports containers is your best bet, but it’s always good to know the details. Whether you need to ship your container from the U.S. to Mexico or haul it across the pond, we’ll provide you with the details to get it done right. 

Choosing The Right Shipping Container Size

20ft container haul

Like selecting a box size at the post office for domestic delivery, choosing the appropriate container size for your shipment is essential. These containers come in two main sizes (20-foot and 40-foot) and typically take up 20-50 feet of space. Although larger containers may cost more money, they also provide more space for packing your items securely. It’s also possible to ship an empty container if necessary.

Deciding Between FCL and LCL

In addition to container size, you should consider the load’s capacity relative to the chosen container. If you have a lot of things and can afford it, you should choose full container load (FCL). FCL means that your belongings will fill the entire container. Since the container contents belong to a single sender, this method is typically more convenient for you, the sender, and the shipping company.

If you want, however, you can go with less container load (LCL), which implies that your things will likely be sent together with the items of other senders within the same container. This is a fantastic alternative if you’re on a tighter budget or shipping a few things. Nevertheless, keep in mind that this method presents some logistical issues.

hauling a 20ft container

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Get an Estimate of How Much International Container Transport Will Cost

Moving a container overseas is still expensive, even if you take some measures to cut down on costs. Costs might go as high as $3,000, so prepare yourself.

Most shipping providers determine the exact cost for each client using the same criteria. To receive a rough price estimate, head to the shipping company’s website and fill out a quote form.

Below are some of the factors that generally affect the price:

➤ The size of the shipping container

➤ Weight of the shipment

➤ The volume, in addition to whether or not you have chosen LCL or FCL

➤ The distance to be traveled

➤ Month: When it comes to international shipping, peak seasons coincide with the summer months (August through September) and the time right after Chinese New Year

➤ The last port of call, which might include country-specific customs and service fees

➤ Loading and delivery method. You can choose between port-to-port, door-to-door, and drop-and-fill.

Loading The Container

Given the intricacies of transporting a shipping container overseas and how valuable your items are, it’s essential to know how to load a shipping container properly.

Shrink wrap is a great all-around packaging material for protecting fragile things like furniture during transport. You should also coat the inside of the container’s roof and walls with the moisture-absorbing paper if you want to store anything with high moisture content (for example, cocoa beans or unroasted coffee).

Also, all items containing liquids should be placed as low as possible in the container to lessen the risk of damage to other products from any potential leaks. In addition to ensuring everything is sealed correctly, you must ensure that the boxes and packaging materials you use are moisture-resistant.

Consider Custom Regulations

It’s crucial to be aware of customs laws in both the nation of origin, the United States, and the country where the product will be delivered.

For example, importing e-cigarettes into the United Kingdom may require further approval because of the country’s strict regulations on the sale and distribution of tobacco products.

You must have the proper customs forms for both countries to avoid delays. These forms ought to be stored with any other pertinent paperwork.

Weighing the Shipment

Next, check your shipment’s official weight. To get an accurate reading, you can either weigh everything packed within the container as a single unit using certified industrial scales or weigh each item individually and add the total weight to the weight of your container when empty.

Labelling The Container

Make sure to mark your packages correctly as instructed by the shipping company. The required labels, including port markings, gross and net weights, the customer identification code, and a few more, must be applied to the containers before transport. You should avoid revealing the contents of the container on the label to deter theft.

Check That All Shipping Documents Are In Order

Moving a container overseas requires a great deal of specialized paperwork, so the shipping company should work with you to complete this process. In addition to the bill of lading, the following documents are required for international container transport: (1) a certificate of origin, (2) an insurance certificate detailing the coverage you have selected for this shipment, and (3) a shipper’s export declaration form.

Key Takeaway

By understanding the different shipping methods, associated costs, necessary paperwork, and preparation tips, you can ensure that your container arrives at its destination safely and on time. Whether you are moving for personal or business reasons, following the steps outlined in this article will help make transporting a shipping container overseas much more manageable.

William Thomas

William Thomas

Heavy Transport Specialist

Being able to lead a team of such talented logistics agents has been a wonderful experience over the past ten years. If you would like to know anything more about the heavy equipment transport services we offer, don't hesitate to give us a call!