How Much Does It Cost To Transport Shipping Containers?


How Much Does It Cost To Transport A Shipping Container Blog Cover

Now that you’ve purchased your shipping containers, you need to get them transported to your plot of land so you can start converting them into your new home.

In some situations getting your containers delivered can be very expensive, however if you’re purchasing your containers locally you can save on the delivery cost.

When arranging the delivery of your containers, consider these things:  insurance, site access, and which company to use. It can seem like an unnerving task but if you follow the steps in this article you will be getting your shipping container delivered in no time.

Today we’re going to look at generally how much it costs to transport a shipping container and the key things you need to consider when arranging your delivery.

International vs. Local Delivery Charges

From where are your containers being delivered?

If you’ve purchased used shipping containers, then, chances are you purchased them locally. It’s likely that if you purchased brand new shipping containers, they will be coming from Asia. This has big implications on the delivery cost.

Locally Sourced Container Delivery Costs

We called a local shipping container supplier to get some idea about delivery cost. They explained that to transport a 20-foot container would typically be several hundred dollars and a 40-foot container would be twice that amount. The rate is commonly based on a price per mile, starting at around $2.00, for the total distance that the container is being transported.  The price may or may not include the charge for unloading the container.

Transporting a Container With A Truck

Internationally Sourced Container Delivery Costs

If you have purchased new containers, then chances are they are coming from Asia. This means you have two choices.

You can either ship your containers empty and pay the full delivery cost or you can allow your containers to be used to transport cargo and pay part of the delivery fee (these are known as one trip containers).

If you pay to ship them from Asia to the US, it is extremely expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars depending on the number of containers you are shipping and the distance.

The cheaper option is to allow a freight company to use your containers for a single shipment of goods (also known as one trip).

If you do this, then the freight company will pay to ship your container to your local port. You will need to arrange this with them and find out exactly when they are next delivering to your local port. If you live near a busy international port, they will likely be shipping there multiple times a month.

All you will need to do is pay for the delivery of your containers from your local port to your plot of land.

Size of Shipping Containers

Another factor that can significantly alter the cost of delivery is the size of the shipping container which you’ve ordered.

Different Sized Shipping Containers

We mentioned above that the difference between delivering a 20-container and a 40-foot container is nearly double. There is one more option in the US. There are 56-foot containers which are not as popular as 40-foot containers. They do provide an extra 120 square feet of living space each, though.

These 56-foot containers are even more expensive to deliver because of their length. They don’t fit on regular rollback trucks and require a more specialized truck to transport them.

Note that usually freight companies don’t charge more for transporting high cube containers since they are the same length as standard containers.

Charge for Siting Containers

Don’t forget to include in your calculations the cost of siting your containers. Siting your shipping containers is the process of removing the containers from the delivery truck and onto your foundation.

When siting your shipping containers, consider these things:

  1. the accessibility to your plot of land
  2. the foundation that you have prepared

Both of these factors affect which piece of equipment you can use to site your containers, and therefore the cost.

If there is good access to your plot of land and foundation, then you’re in luck. Assuming the containers are being transported on a tilt flatbed trailer, the driver can back right up to the foundation and let the container slide off the trailer onto the foundation. This is by far the least expensive and easiest method.

Shipping Container Getting Delivered On To Foundation

Courtsey of Larry Wade

However, if your foundations aren’t easily accessible, then you will need a crane to lift the containers up and drop them in place.

Where to Find Companies to Ship Your Containers

The only way to get an exact quote for shipping your container is to contact  a freight company for a quote.

How do we find a freight company?

Whenever possible, buying the containers and arranging their delivery from a single supplier is preferred. If this isn’t possible and you are transporting shipping containers from a local port, a good place to find a freight company is uShip.

uShip is an online marketplace for shipping services. Here you can create a job advertisement and then people bid for your work.

If you purchased your containers abroad you will need to use an internal freight company such as Maersk Line to transport them. You can use World Freight Rates’ freight calculator tool to get a quote.

Can I Move The Containers Myself?

A great way to reduce the cost of transporting your shipping containers is to do it yourself. Unfortunately, most people are unable to do this due to licensing issues or not having access to the right equipment.

If you are buying your containers locally and have a commercial driver’s license, you could hire a rollback truck and transport the containers yourself. This would save you several hundred dollars. However, for most people, this isn’t practical.

When Do You Pay For Delivery?

If you are using an international freight company such as the Maersk Line, then you will need to pay in full before your containers are shipped.

If you are transporting your containers locally and are using a smaller freight company, you normally pay an order deposit, and then pay the remaining balance once the containers have been delivered.

How Long Does Delivery Take?

Getting containers delivered from a local supplier is by far the quickest way to get your hands on shipping containers and start construction on your building. You will typically have to wait at least a week to arrange the delivery and then your containers are on site ready to convert.

Unfortunately, the international delivery of shipping containers is much longer and can take up to several months.

International Shipping Container Delivery

It takes approximately 35 days for a container ship to go from China to New York. If you add to this, time to order and load your containers, then time to take your containers from the port in New York to your plot of land, you could be looking at 2 calendar months.

Should I Insure My Containers For The Trip?

Before you consider insuring your shipping containers, the first thing you need to consider is how much your containers are worth.

If you are constructing your building using a single, used, 20-foot container which you purchased for $1,000 it probably isn’t worth the additional fee to insure the container while it is being transported.

However, if you’ve just purchased several brand new 40-foot shipping containers which are being shipped from China for more than $5,000 each, then it’s definitely safer to insure them.

Most major freight companies will normally include insurance as part of their fee to transport the containers and the companies that don’t will provide the insurance as an optional upgrade.

With the strange container cargo insurance rules, it’s definitely worth insuring your containers if they are going to be traveling by sea.

Let us know below how you decided to transport your shipping containers.

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