The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Shipping Container Cost

shipping container cost

Shipping container cost is a major consideration for individuals and businesses looking to transport goods overseas. These large metal containers are essential for the transportation of goods from one country to another. They provide a secure and weather-proof option for shipping various types of cargo.

However, the cost associated with shipping containers can vary greatly depending on various factors. In this article, we will explore the different factors that can impact the shipping container cost. We will also provide tips for finding the most cost-effective option.

So, if you are in the process of planning an international shipment, read on to learn more. That way, you can save money on your next shipment.

Let’s get started!

Container Type

The type of shipping container you choose will greatly impact the cost. There are several types of containers available in the market. Each of these is designed for different purposes and cargo.

Standard dry containers are the most common and affordable type. Refrigerated containers are more expensive due to their cooling capabilities. Some more options that come at a higher cost include:

  • flat rack containers
  • open-top containers
  • high-cube containers

It is essential to choose the right type of container that suits your cargo’s needs and budget.

Container Size

The size of the container also plays a significant role in its cost. The standard shipping container sizes are 20 feet and 40 feet. These are high-cube containers offering an additional foot of height.

Smaller containers may come at a lower cost. But, be mindful of your cargo’s size and ensure it fits comfortably in the container.

Moreover, some shipping companies offer discounts for larger containers or multiple containers. So, it is worth considering if your cargo requires more space.

Container Condition

New containers will naturally come at a higher price than used ones. However, used containers may have wear and tear. This can impact their structural integrity and potentially lead to damage during shipment.

It is crucial to inspect the containers thoroughly before making a decision. This is especially true if you are opting for used ones. Consider factors such as:

  • rust
  • dents
  • overall cleanliness

This will ensure you choose a container that is both cost-effective and suitable for your cargo.

Location and Destination

The destination of your shipment can also impact the shipping container cost. Certain locations may have a higher demand for shipping containers. This can be due to their popularity as trade hubs or remote areas with limited access to containers.

This can result in higher shipping costs. So, it is worth comparing prices for different destinations before finalizing your shipment.

Moreover, some international shipping companies may have more extensive networks and can offer better rates for certain locations. Do your research and consider all options to find the most cost-effective destination.

Supplier and Additional Services

It is best to get quotes from multiple suppliers and compare their rates. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best, as quality and reliability should also be considered.

Additionally, some suppliers may offer additional services such as loading and unloading assistance, tracking services, or insurance for an additional cost. These services can provide added convenience and security but also add to the overall shipping container cost.

Delivery Charges

Delivery charges can also impact the cost of shipping containers. If you are purchasing or renting a container from a supplier, they may charge for transportation to your desired location. Again, it is worth comparing prices and considering factors such as distance and accessibility when choosing a supplier.

The delivery charges may also vary depending on the type and size of the container, so be sure to clarify this with your supplier before making a final decision. This will help you accurately calculate the total cost of your shipment.

Customizations and Modifications

Some businesses may require customized or modified containers to suit their specific needs. This can include:

  • additional ventilation
  • insulation
  • specialized flooring

These customizations can significantly impact the cost of a shipping container. It is essential to consider if these modifications are necessary for your cargo and if they justify the extra cost. If not, opting for a standard container may be a more cost-effective option.

If you are considering some customization, a freight calculator can help you estimate the costs involved in modifying a shipping container. For international shipments, an international freight shipping calculator can assist in determining the total cost, including customizations and shipping fees.


Insurance is another factor that can impact the shipping container cost. While it may add to the overall cost, purchasing insurance for your shipment can provide peace of mind and protect you from any potential damages or losses during transportation.

It is important to carefully consider the value of your cargo and decide if insurance is worth the additional expense. Many shipping companies offer insurance options. So, be sure to inquire about this when obtaining quotes.

Regulatory Compliance

Certain countries have strict regulations regarding the type and condition of containers allowed for imports. If your container does not meet these standards, you may face additional fees or delays during customs clearance.

It is crucial to ensure that your chosen container meets all requirements to avoid any unexpected costs or complications during shipment. This includes proper labeling, structural integrity, and cleanliness.

Long-Term Costs

While purchasing a new container may seem more expensive upfront, it may save you money in the long run if you plan on using it for multiple shipments. Renting or buying used containers may be more cost-effective in the short term, but they may require maintenance or replacement sooner.

Consider your business’s long-term shipping needs and budget when deciding on the most cost-effective option for your shipping containers. This will help you make a more informed decision and save money in the long run.

Understand Shipping Container Cost Before You Ship

As you can see, several factors can impact the shipping container cost. It is essential to consider these factors and do your research before finalizing your shipment plans. This will help you find the most cost-effective option for your business and potentially save you money in the long run.

Remember to carefully consider these factors when calculating the total cost of your shipment. By doing so, you can make an informed decision and ensure a successful and cost-effective international shipment. So keep these factors in mind, and happy shipping!

For more articles, visit our blog