Shipping container cost guide

You will need to hire a shipping container if you wish to send goods from one place to another, usually over long distances. This can be a costly task and is said to be suitable in situations where there are no alternatives. However, in some situations, you may have no other option but to hire shipping containers. You can get a quote for shipping container prices by sending a request for prices to the provider and sharing details such as the number of units required, the length of hire, and so on. You may have to fill out a contact form in some situations and add items you will be shipping, such as a truck, as complete details are required when booking shipping containers.

How to estimate shipping hire container prices

It is quite easy to estimate shipping container hire prices. You only need to know the factors that impact the price and you will be able to estimate the final amount.

The Size of the Container

This is the most important factor since shipping containers are available in multiple sizes from 20 feet to 40 feet. As odd as it may sound, it is not always the size of the container that decides the price as it depends a lot on the demand and supply factor. You will need a large container if you need to transport large items such as furniture or a truck. Whereas, a smaller container will do if you only need to send personal effects such as household equipment and watches.

Your Route

Some routes are cheaper than others. Routes that are very busy with a lot of options such as the US to Melbourne, Australia, are usually cheaper compared to routes that are not very busy. Also, seasons do impact the price as the demand and supply formula comes into play. At the end of the day, a lot depends on availability as well.

Product Type

Some products require special care, which adds to the price. Many shipping companies, for example, will ask you to use a lock box if you wish to send very expensive or rare products. Similarly, you will need to choose dangerous goods containers if you wish to transport risky products such as chemicals. The shipping company will ask you questions about your product to be able to select a suitable container type for your goods. In some cases, you may need a vermin-proof container, which will again add to the price. But, this is very important to ensure a hassle-free journey.

Service Charges

Different companies have different service charges that include the cost of loading and unloading products as this may require special equipment and labor. In addition to this, there may also be service charges if your goods require special packaging. The company will usually include service charges when they send you an invoice for consideration. Make sure to contact the company to ensure there are no hidden charges as the general public is not always aware of additional charges.

Fines and Fees

There might be a variety of fines and fees based on your route, product type, etc. For example, the terminal fee may get added to your quote. There might also be fines for late embarking and over-crowding. The shipping company usually has to bear these fines but some may forward these to the consumer, so make sure to discuss this factor so that there are no surprises in the end.

Condition of the Containers

This is an obvious one – quality containers will cost you more compared to old or worn-out containers. Similarly, a container with add-ons such as a large door or lock box will cost you more. The more customisation you require, the higher will be the price. Technically speaking, old shipping containers are not always bad. In fact, they can prove to be suitable for a wide range of businesses as they are usually more affordable. However, they may not be right to deliver all kinds of goods. Make sure to inspect the condition of a container before you choose to hire it. Complete your inspection and only then make a hiring or buying decision, whether you're hiring a container in Melbourne, Australia, or any other country.

Hire Period

Some companies hire containers for a single journey, some like to book shipping containers for a month, and some even opt for longer durations. You will typically have to pay more if you book a shipping container for a short period. To sum it up, there are three factors that are of huge importance: the size of the container, your product type, and your desired location or route. We must mention that shipping container rates are not fixed, hence it is important that you study the market and collect container hire rates from different providers so you can choose the most affordable option. Also, as mentioned earlier, the demand and supply formula comes very strongly into play and it might be cheaper to book shipping containers in certain months or for certain routes. So, do your homework and choose affordable containers for the delivery of goods. 

Rates for 20ft shipping containers

This is one of the most popular sizes as it can fit a variety of goods. A 20 feet general purpose container will cost you about $150 per month excluding GST. In most cases, you will get this price if you book the unit for at least three months. On the other hand, a refrigerated container of 20 feet will cost you around $600, excluding GST. The price will be higher if you ask for more customisation such as additional security features.

Rates for 40ft shipping containers

Though double in size, this one does not always fit double the goods when compared to a 20 feet container, hence you will not be paying double the price either. A 40ft shipping container will cost you about $250 for a general purpose container and about $800 for a refrigerated container hire. Again, remember that the cost of hiring a shipping container will increase if you require additional features. In most cases, a hire starts for a month but some companies will not give storage containers for short periods and they have minimum commitment requirements starting as low as three months.

How are shipping container costs & transport rates calculated?

As mentioned earlier, shipping container costs depend on a variety of factors including the mode of transport, the type of goods to deliver, the weight of your cargo, the popularity of your route or destination, and the distance.

Tips for hiring shipping containers

Ready to hire a shipping container? Here are some shipping container hire tips you need to follow to ensure you get the best container type at the right price:

Choose FCL or LCL

You will have to choose between Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL) when choosing shipping containers. When you choose an FCL, you will be having the whole shipping container to yourself, whereas you will be sharing it when you choose the LCL option. The choice usually boils down to four factors: security, cost, volume, and urgency. In most cases, an FCL is a better choice when your delivery shipment is larger than 10 CBM. For a smaller delivery volume, you can go for LCL.

Have Everything in Writing

Make sure to have everything in writing from the size of the container to replacement cost to size container and delivery date. Your contract must also clearly mention additional features the container comes with and the period you have hired the shipping container for. It doesn't matter if the shipping container business is new or old, always request a written contract and go through it in detail before signing on the dotted line. This will allow you to avoid issues later on.

Make Sure to Ask for Insurance

Most companies offer shipping container insurance that is included in the shipping container hire prices. However, some might offer it as an add-on. Make sure to ask about this option so that you are safe and secure as shipping through the sea can be a little risky and insurance will cover your goods and ensure you don't have to face any losses.

Check Reviews and the Shipping Container

If possible, arrange a visit to the site prior to hiring or buying a container so you can assess its condition. If access is not always possible, then check details online and see what others have to say.

Find shipping container suppliers at iseekplant

The shipping industry is huge and you will have many companies offering shipping container hire options. However, not all shipping container businesses in Australia are made equal and it can be hard to find the most cost-effective option. Trust iseekplant to find shipping container suppliers for you so you can move your cargo safely and securely. Get in touch with our team today via email or use our Get a Quote Tool for quick and easy quotes.