cost of shipping container from usa to australia August 6, 2023 – Posted in: Uncategorized

The Cost of Shipping a Container to Australia: A Comprehensive Guide

cost of shipping container from usa to australia

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Shipping Container to Australia


cost of shipping container from usa to australia

If you’re planning to ship a container to Australia, it’s important to understand the factors that influence the cost. Shipping costs can vary significantly based on several key factors, making it a complex issue to navigate. However, with the assistance of a reliable moving company like Three Movers, you can easily ship your container to Australia with ease. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various factors that affect shipping costs to Australia and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions. Let’s dive in! cost of shipping container from usa to australia

Factors That Affect the Cost of Shipping a Container to Australia

The cost of shipping a container to Australia is influenced by several factors that need to be taken into consideration. Understanding these factors will help you estimate and plan for the expenses involved. Here are the key factors that affect the cost of shipping a container to Australia:

1. Volume/Weight of the Goods

The volume or weight of your belongings plays a crucial role in determining the shipping costs. When shipping via sea, the dimensions of your packages are more important than their weight. On the other hand, when shipping via air, the weight becomes a significant factor. The volume or weight of your goods will determine the cost of sending them to your new location. It’s important to take stock of your belongings and assess their volume or weight to estimate the shipping costs accurately.

2. Type of Transport

The mode of transportation you choose will also impact the cost and time it takes for your goods to arrive in Australia. Air freight is generally faster but more expensive compared to sea freight. Sea freight, on the other hand, is a more cost-effective option but takes longer. It’s important to consider the time constraints and budget to decide which transportation mode is best suited for your needs.

3. Distance of the Journey

The distance of the journey plays a significant role in determining the overall shipping costs. Shipping your belongings halfway across the world will naturally be more expensive than a shorter distance. Additionally, the cost of shipping is also affected by whether your goods are transported from door to door or port to port. Opting for door-to-door services can help you avoid logistical issues and ensure a smoother shipping process.

4. Destination Port

Each country has its own customs tariffs and service costs that are unavoidable. In Australia, customs tariffs on most imported products are typically 5% of the value of the goods converted to Australian dollars. It’s important to be aware of the specific customs tariffs and service costs in Australia to account for these expenses when calculating the shipping costs.

5. Time of Year

International shipping, like any other industry, has peak seasons. Summer (mid-August) marks the start of the peak season for shipping in Australia, while winter is considered the low season. Prices for delivering goods to the port of Brisbane, for example, are typically higher during the peak season due to increased demand. To secure the best deals, it’s advisable to avoid shipping during the peak season.

Choosing the Right Size of Shipping Container

When shipping a container to Australia, it’s important to choose the right size container to accommodate your belongings. While there are various container sizes available, the two most commonly used sizes for residential moves are the 20ft and 40ft containers. Here’s a breakdown of the sizes and their capacity:

1. 20ft Container

A 20ft container is typically suitable for the contents of a three-bedroom home. It can accommodate furniture, televisions, refrigerators, storage bins, and mattresses. Visualize the size of a single garage, and you’ll get an idea of the size of a 20ft container.

2. 40ft Container

A 40ft container provides twice the space of a 20ft container at a fraction of the additional cost. If you have a significant amount of belongings to move, a 40ft container is a better value for money. It is especially beneficial if you need to transport larger items such as a car along with your household items.

Understanding the Different Types of Freight Transportation

When it comes to international shipping, the mode of transportation you choose can significantly impact the cost and delivery time. Here are the different types of freight transportation options to consider:

1. Sea Freight

Sea freight is generally more cost-effective for shipping to Australia compared to air freight. It’s a slower mode of transportation, but it offers significant savings in shipping costs. Additionally, container ships are considered more environmentally friendly as they produce less carbon emissions compared to air freight.

2. Air Freight

If you need a quick and time-sensitive delivery, air freight is the best option. Shipping via air can significantly reduce the transit time between destinations. However, it is a more expensive option compared to sea freight. Consider your budget and time constraints when deciding between air and sea freight.

3. Truck Freight

Truck freight is a reliable and straightforward method of transporting goods domestically. Unlike train freight, truck freight allows for direct delivery to your home without the need for additional loading and unloading. Truck freight schedules are usually more flexible compared to train freight, making it a convenient option for domestic shipments.

Additional Shipping Costs

In addition to the basic shipping costs, there may be additional charges and fees that you need to consider. These can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your shipment. Here are some common additional shipping costs to be aware of:

  • Customs duties: Customs duties are fees imposed on imported goods and vary depending on the country and the value of the goods.
  • General Rate Increase (GRI): GRI is a temporary increase in freight rates imposed by shipping lines to cover rising operating costs.
  • Container inspection fees: Some countries may require container inspections, which can incur additional fees.
  • Inland delivery charges: If your shipment needs to be transported from the port to your final destination, there may be additional charges for inland delivery.
  • Quarantine fees: Quarantine fees are charges imposed for the inspection and clearance of goods by quarantine authorities.
  • Insurance cover: It is advisable to consider insurance coverage for your shipment to protect against any damages or losses during transit.

Delivery & Loading Options

When shipping a container to Australia, you have several options for delivery and loading. Depending on your preferences and requirements, you can choose from the following options:

1. Port to Port

Port-to-port shipping is the basic option where your goods are delivered to the origin port, and you are responsible for arranging their transportation to the final destination. This option provides the most flexibility but requires additional coordination and logistics on your part.

2. Drop & Fill

With the drop & fill option, the shipping company drops the container at your home, and you can fill it yourself. Alternatively, you can hire domestic packers and movers to assist with the loading process. This option gives you more control over the packing and loading process.

3. Door to Door Moves

The door-to-door moving service is the most comprehensive option for overseas moves. With this service, the moving company takes care of everything from delivering the container to your home, packing and loading your belongings, shipping them to Australia, and finally, unpacking them at your new location. This option provides the highest level of convenience and reduces the hassle of coordinating multiple services.


When shipping your belongings overseas, it’s essential to consider insurance coverage to protect against any potential damages or losses during transit. Make sure to check if the moving company you choose provides adequate maritime insurance. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you are financially protected in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Packing Costs

Many moving companies require that they handle the packing of your goods to ensure proper handling and to prevent fraudulent insurance claims. While this may add some additional costs, it helps maintain the integrity of the shipping process and ensures compliance with customs regulations.

Taxes/Customs/Duty Charges

Before shipping your goods to Australia, it’s important to understand the tax and duty charges imposed by the destination country. Some countries may levy taxes or duties based on the value of the imported goods. Understanding these charges beforehand will help you avoid any unexpected surprises and plan your budget accordingly.


If you do not plan to permanently settle in Australia, it may be more cost-effective to consider storage options in your home country. Shipping your entire household goods abroad and back again can be expensive, especially if your home country also imposes duties and taxes on shipped goods. Evaluating the storage costs in your home country can help you make an informed decision.cost of shipping container from usa to australia

Shipping Cars to Australia

In addition to household goods, you may also need to ship your car to Australia. Three Movers offers international auto transport services to Australia via roll-on roll-off (RoRo) and container ships. Here are some key details regarding shipping cars to Australia:

  • Container Car Shipping: You can choose to ship your car in a container to ensure its safety and protection during transit. Sedan and SUV options are available for container car shipping.
  • RoRo Shipping: RoRo shipping is a more affordable option for shipping non-running or higher-value cars. The car is driven onto the vessel and secured for transportation.

Three Movers provides detailed transit insurance coverage for car shipments to give you peace of mind and protection throughout the shipping process.

Cost of Shipping Furniture to Australia

When moving to Australia, you may want to bring your furniture with you. Shipping furniture via sea is a cost-effective option compared to air shipping. Before deciding to ship your furniture, consider the condition of the items, their relevance to your new home, and their compatibility with the Australian lifestyle. It’s important to disassemble furniture when packing to make the process easier and more efficient.

The cost of shipping furniture to Australia depends on various factors, including the distance, weight, volume, and dimensions of the items. Three Movers offers competitive rates for shipping containers, and you can request a quote based on the specific details of your furniture shipment. cost of shipping container from usa to australia

Average Container Shipping Rates Estimates

Here are some average container shipping rates estimates to help you get an idea of the costs involved:

Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping Rates

  • 20 ft Container: $1550
  • 40 ft Container: $1850

Less Than Container (LCL) Shipping Rates

  • LCL: $55/CBM (Cubic Meter)
  • Household Goods: $450
  • Personal Effects: $360

International House Moving Costs

  • Partial House (2000 lbs & Less): $460
  • 1 Bedroom (3850 lbs): $2340
  • 2 Bedroom (4500 lbs): $2800
  • 3+ Bedroom (8750 lbs): $3870

Container Car Shipping

  • Sedan (Container): $1850
  • SUV (Container): $1900
  • Sedan via RORO: $700
  • SUV via RORO: $750

Please note that these rates are estimates and may vary depending on the specific details of your shipment. It’s always advisable to request a personalized quote from the moving company to get accurate pricing information.

Necessary Documents for Shipping to Australia

When shipping goods to Australia, certain documents are required for customs clearance. These documents include:

  • Informal Clearance Document (ICD) or Customs Entry: This document declares the details of the goods being imported.
  • Bill of Lading (BLAD) or Air Waybill (AWB): These documents serve as invoices and provide information about the shipment.
  • Invoice and Other Supporting Documents: Standard commercial invoices, receipts, and bills of lading are acceptable, and they should include details such as the seller’s name and address, monetary unit, and country of origin.

It’s important to stay informed about the specific requirements and regulations of Australian customs to ensure a smooth customs clearance process.


Shipping a container to Australia involves various factors that influence the cost and logistics of the process. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions and plan your move effectively. Whether you’re shipping household goods, furniture, or a car, Three Movers offers comprehensive services to facilitate your move to Australia. Request a quote and consult with their experts to ensure a seamless and cost-effective shipping experience. cost of shipping container from usa to australia