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Container Shipping UK to Australia - Costs & Info

Looking for container shipping services from the UK to Australia? If you’re in need of a shipping container to ship your belongings overseas to Australia, you’re in the right place. Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about shipping containers to Australia, including how much it costs, your shipping options, transit times for containers to Australia, customs information (such as prohibited items) and more.

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Just looking for a quote? Here at 1st Move International we specialise in container shipping from the UK to Australia for private individuals who are looking to safely ship their belongings overseas. Simply request a free quote here today or get in touch with a member of our team, and we’ll be happy to help.

How Much Does it Cost?

Container Shipping Costs to Australia

Want to know how much it costs to ship a container to Australia in 2024?

Quick Answer: The average cost to ship a container from the United Kingdom to Australia is £5,000 - £8,000. This cost is based on shipping a full 20ft or 40ft container and may vary depending on the details of your shipment (how much you are shipping, your chosen destination port, etc.)

Container Shipping Costs from the UK to Australia

Please find below current container shipping rates from the UK to Australia. Container shipping costs are based on the size or volume of your move. The bigger the move, the higher the cost. Collection, packing and destination charges will also affect the final price, so please ask us for a quote.

Move Type Shipment Size Cost (GBP)
Small Move / Essentials Part Load £760 to £985
1 Bed House / Flat Shared Container £1100 to £1550
2 Bed House Shared Container £1900 to £6275
3 Bed House 20ft Container £7250 to £9750
4 Bed House 40ft Container £9750 to £11500

What Other Costs Do I Need to Consider?

When shipping to Australia in a Container there are other costs involved that you will need to be aware of.

Packing Services

If you require professional packing for your belongings, expect this to cost between £100 - £300. This will of course depend on exactly how much you are shipping.


When shipping via container to Australia you should always insure your belongings, especially if you are shipping any high value items.

Insurance costs are based on the total value of your shipment. As such, we cannot provide a meaningful estimate here, however, you will typically be looking at 2% - 5% of the value of your items, depending on your chosen cover.

When shipping with 1st Move International, we provide 3 tiers of insurance for your protection and peace of mind, from basic cover (2%) to super cover (4.5%). You can learn more about our shipping insurance options here.

Collection/Delivery (Door-to-door)

While you have the option to deliver and collect your shipment yourself, you can also make use of our nationwide UK collections and great relationships with our trusted partners in Australia who can safely handle delivery to your door in Australia.

If you opt for collection and delivery when shipping in a container to Australia, the cost depends on exactly where you are shipping from/to. To find out how much this might cost for your specific circumstances, simply request a free quote, and we will email you with everything you need to know.

Customs & Paperwork

International removals & shipping companies such as 1st Move International can handle all customs formalities and paperwork on your behalf. The cost for this can range from £45 to $250, depending on the complexity of your shipment and your destination.

Our guide on the customs formalities and paperwork when importing personal effects into Australia covers everything you need to know regarding paperwork and customs.

Destination/Port Charges

When shipping a container to Australia, the port authorities will charge for any handling required, such as for loading/offloading. These charges will vary depending on the size/complexity of your move. As before, we recommend to request a free quote to receive an up-to-date estimate with everything included.

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Shipping Options

Container Shipping to Australia: FCL vs LCL

When shipping your household goods from the UK to Australia, sea freight container shipping is typically the method of choice. Depending on the size of your move, you can either choose a Shared Container or a Full Container service. Continue reading to learn more about these types of services and how to choose the right one for you.

What is FCL?

FCL stands for ‘Full Container Load’ and provides you with the full use of your own dedicated 20ft or 40ft container.

Benefits of FCL Container Shipping to Australia?

Choosing a sole use container to ship your household goods to Australia has several benefits:

  • Space: With this option you have sole-use of your own dedicated 20ft or 40ft container. The ideal option for those shipping larger quantities of belongings, such as the contents of a 3-5 bed home. For reference, a 3 bed home can typically fit in a 20ft container once packed. For 4-5 bed house moves we typically recommend 40ft containers.
  • Speed: Once your container is loaded, we immediately book it onto the next available vessel for shipping to Australia
  • Security: All containers are security sealed and tracked from the moment of departure. Your belongings remain untouched until arrival. You can track your container on it's journey from the UK to Australia and delivery to your door can be arranged.

What is LCL?

LCL stands for ‘Less than Container Load’ also known as ‘Shared container’ or ‘Groupage’. This allows you to share the space and the cost of a 20ft or 40ft container with others.

Benefits of LCL Container Shipping to Australia?

Shipping your household goods in a shared container, often referred to as a "groupage" service, also has a number of advantages:

  • Ideal for Smaller Moves: Perfect for those shipping less than the contents of a 3 bed house as it allows you to share container space with other smaller shipments.
  • Cost-effective: Sharing container space also means sharing the cost of the container, making it the most cost-effective option if you do not require the space of a full 20ft or 40ft container.
  • Secure Professional Packing: All shared container shipments are meticulously packed and palletised to protect your belongings during the shipping process, and to ensure easy handling and clear identification of your shipment from others. This also allows for more accurate billing. You only pay for the exact space that your pallet requires.

Did you know? 1st Move International can get your belongings to Australia faster with our faster shipping services. How? We use consolidators to allow us to ship out every week, guaranteed. We never have to wait around for our containers to be full before shipping. This could save you 2-3+ months compared to traditional shared container shipping services. We also provide unbeatable packing to ensure the best protection for your belongings in transit.

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Transit Times

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Container to Australia?

We post regular, up-to-date shipping schedules on our website that detail the next available weekly container ship headed to Australia, as well as it’s exact destination, vessel name, last moving date to meet the vessel, exact departure date and the expected transit times.

Per our Australia container shipping schedule, the port-to-port transit time from the UK to Australia ranges from 45 to 57 days (or 6.5 to 8 weeks).

Unlike traditional international removals and shipping companies, 1st Move International utilises consolidation services to allow us to ship out from the UK to Australia, every week. This could save you up to 3 months of waiting before your shipment leaves the UK.

Customs Information

Prohibited & Restricted Items

Find out which items you can/cannot ship to Australia via container.

When shipping to any country, there are certain items that are either prohibited or restricted. Australia is no exception. Check out our guide on prohibited and restricted items when shipping to Australia for more information.

You can also find a full list of all prohibited and restricted items on the official Australian Border Force website.

These include:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • live plants, bulbs, tubers, corms and cuttings
  • prohibited and restricted seeds
  • unidentified seeds (including spices)
  • live animals (including pets) that require an import permit
  • biological products including some plant based, herbal medications
  • unprocessed goods of plant or animal origin
  • soiled goods, or goods containing organic residues
  • goods knowingly infested with pests or a disease.

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry also provide very helpful information and tips when it comes to importing your items into Australia by container. Check out their guide on importing personal effects for more information.

Customs Clearance and Paperwork

At 1st Move International, we handle all customs formalities on your behalf and will help you ensure that all paperwork and documentation is correctly filled out and submitted on time.

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Main Container Terminals in Australia

Container Shipping Ports in Australia

Australia has several significant ports that serve as the main hubs for container imports. These ports play a crucial role in the country's trade and commerce by handling millions of Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) each year.

  • Port Botany (Port of Sydney): One of the most significant container ports in Australia, Port Botany is located in Sydney, New South Wales. It has a dedicated terminal for containerized goods and is the second-busiest container port in Australia, handling over 2.5 million TEUs per year.
  • Port of Melbourne: The Port of Melbourne is Australia's busiest container port. It handles around 36% of Australia's container trade, which translates to over 3.2 million TEUs per year. The port is well-equipped with modern facilities to manage large volumes of cargo.
  • Port of Brisbane: Situated in Queensland, the Port of Brisbane handles over 1.3~ million TEUs annually. It is one of Australia's fastest-growing container ports and has a dedicated terminal for container shipping.
  • Port of Fremantle: The Port of Fremantle, located in Western Australia, is a significant hub for container shipping in the region. As of 2021, it manages around 792,021 TEUs annually.
  • Port Adelaide: Located in South Australia, Port Adelaide, also known as the Flinders Ports, is a significant hub for container trade. It handles around 219,000 TEUs per year.

We ship directly from the UK to all of the above ports. Please see our Australia container shipping schedule for up-to-date information on the next available vessel to Australia.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions About Container Shipping to Australia

Yes, you can track your container on its way to Australia using our container tracking tool.

All shipments are provided with a container tracking number and the name of the vessel to allow you to check the progress of your shipment along the way.

Transit times to Australia can vary depending on your chosen destination port. Below are typical transit times from the UK to the main container ports in Australia

We guarantee weekly shipping to Australia to help get your belongings shipped faster.

UK to Australia Container Shipping Transit Times
Port Transit Time
Sydney 50 days
Melbourne 45 days
Brisbane 57 days
Adelaide 48 days
Fremantle 47 days

The full cost to ship a container, including the freight cost, packing, insurance etc. can vary depending on your specific circumstances. Please request a free quote to find out exactly how much it will cost you.

1st Move International provides both full container and shared container services for 20ft and 40ft containers. This means that we can accommodate all shipment sizes, from just a few items to the full contents of a 5 bedroom home. The container size that you need will depend on how much you need to ship. Our moving experts will be happy to advise on this, but as a rough guide here is a general guide:

UK to Australia Container Shipping Transit Times
Move Size Recommended Container Size/Service
Small Move (less than 20 boxes) Shared Container
Medium Move (more than 20 boxes) Shared Container
Contents of a 1-Bedroom Flat/Apartment Shared Container
Contents of a 3-Bedroom House Full Container (20ft)
Contents of a 4+ Bedroom House Full Container (40ft)

As one of the top container shipping companies in the UK, 1st Move International uses some of the largest container shipping lines to ship out of the UK to Australia on a weekly basis. These include:

  • Maersk Line
  • MSC
  • Evergreen
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • One Line

We are members of the British Association of Removers (BAR), registered freight brokers and members of The British International Freight Association. This gives us direct access to commercial trade routes and services with the world's largest sea freight shipping lines. This means that your household goods and personal effects will ship out every week to Australia and on the best available shipping line to suit your requirements and travel plans.

As registered customs brokers, our team will handle all customs formalities and paperwork on your behalf. We provide a customs guide for importing personal effects into Australia that details the paperwork we need and the regulations to be aware of.


Useful Australia Information Resources and Guides

International Removals UK to Australia

Get the latest information on international removals from the UK to Australia including costs and services.

Shipping Furniture, Personal Belongings & Household Goods to Australia

Everything you need to know about shipping personal belongings from the UK to Australia, our UK to Australia shipping services, costs and answers to common questions.

Australia Moving Guides

Whether you're looking for basic moving tips, city info, or full visa and immigration guides we've got you covered.

Car Shipping to Australia

We ship cars too. Get more information on our car shipping service.

Australia Container Shipping Schedules

We post up-to-date sailing schedule information and as part of our weekly shipping promise we'll tell you in advance what ship we can get your personal effects on.

Shipping Personal Effects to Australia Customs Guide

We cover all the legalities of shipping household goods from the UK to Australia.

Australia Customs Quarantine Info

Australian customs are known to be one of the strictest in the world so we've detailed what you can and cannot ship in to the country.