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Container Shipping UK to Canada - Costs & Info

Find out everything you need to know about container shipping services from the UK to Canada. Get expert information on how much it costs, FCL vs LCL, how long it takes, prohibited items and much more.

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Just looking for a quote? 1st Move International provides guaranteed weekly container shipping direct from the UK to Canada. Whether just shipping a few items or the contents of an entire home, we've got you covered. Request a free quote today.

How Much Does it Cost?

Container Shipping Costs to Canada

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

Quick Answer: The average cost to ship a container from the United Kingdom to Canada is £2,000 - £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 Canada

Please find below current container shipping rates from the UK to Canada. 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.

Destination Port Shared Container Cost (GBP) 3 Bed House - 20ft Container Cost (GBP) 4-5 Bed House - 40ft Container Cost (GBP)
Montreal, Canada From £1,264 £3,900 £5,850
Toronto, Canada From £1,264 £4,600 £6,550
Vancouver, Canada From £1,377 £5,300 £8,100

What Other Costs Do I Need to Consider?

When shipping goods to Canada in a container, please be mindful of additional expenses you may have to pay. These include:

Packing Services

Professional packing services for personal belongings can cost between £100 - £300, depending on exactly how much you are shipping and your specific requirements.


The cost to insure your belongings is typically based on the value of your shipment. We recommend insuring any valuable, sentimental or hard-to-replace items when shipping to Canada via container.

Expect to pay between 2% - 5% of the value of the items that you wish to ship, depending on the shipping insurance coverage option that you choose.

Collection/Delivery (Door-to-door)

You can choose between a full door-to-door service, or you can deliver/collect your shipment yourself.

We provide nationwide UK collections and our trusted agents in Canada can safely handle onward delivery to your door in Canada.

Collection and delivery costs for container shipments to Canada will depend heavily on exactly where you are shipping from/to. To find out how much collection/delivery will cost you, please request a free quote, and we will email you with everything you need to know.

Customs & Paperwork

Our team at 1st Move International have been handling international removals and container shipping to Canada for over 25 years. We are experts on all customs formalities and paperwork and will handle these matters on your behalf. Our knowledgeable team will be on hand to help with any paperwork and keep you up to date on progress along the way.

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 Canada covers everything you need to know regarding paperwork and customs.

Destination/Port Charges

When shipping a container to another country, port authorities typically charge for handling, loading and offloading. These charges vary depending on the nature of your move and the chosen destination port in Canada. To get an accurate cost we recommend requesting a free quote. We'll use the information you provide to tailor a quote specific to your needs, with all costs and information included.

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Shipping Options

Container Shipping to Canada: FCL vs LCL

You have two main options when shipping personal belongings to Canada via container: shared container (LCL) or full container (FCL). Your choice will depend largely on how much you need to ship.

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 Canada?

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

  • Space: A sole use container offers a very large amount of space depending on the size of the container, and these containers can be packed and loaded directly from your home. A three-bedroom house will normally fit into a 20ft container, and a four or five-bedroom house move should fit into a 40ft container.
  • Speed: Unlike sharing a container with others, once your container is loaded, it will go directly to the port for immediate shipping on the first available vessel.
  • Security: Once your items are packed and loaded, the container is sealed and remains this way until it reaches the port where, after an initial inspection, the entire container can be delivered to you without its contents being handled by other individual customers. This is your container, so you have the added privacy of not sharing with others.

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 Canada?

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: If you're not moving a whole house worth of belongings, shared shipping is ideal. You won't be left with wasted space in a container, as you would with a sole-use service.
  • Cost-effective: One of the biggest advantages of shared shipping is the cost. As you are only paying for the space your belongings occupy within the container, it's typically much cheaper than using a sole-use container, making it an excellent choice for smaller shipments or for those on a tight budget.
  • Secure Professional Packing: With shared container services shipped by 1st Move, we always protect, pack, and palletise all shared house moves. This ensures that your items are packed in a way that maximizes space and provides them with the best protection during transit. It also means your pallets can be measured exactly to ensure clear and accurate billing.

Did you know? 1st Move International can get your belongings to Canada 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 Canada?

Transit times for container shipments from the UK to Canada can vary. We post regular, up-to-date schedules on our website that show upcoming shipments, vessel names, last moving dates and transit times for container services to Canada.

Per our Canada container shipping schedule, the port-to-port transit time from the UK to Canada ranges from 10 to 30 days (or 1.5 to 5 weeks).

Unlike traditional international removals and shipping companies, 1st Move International utilises consolidation services to allow us to ship out from the UK to Canada, 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 are prohibited or restricted when shipping from the UK to Canada in container.

As with any country, Canada places restrictions on certain items that are imported. Some items are outright prohibited from import.

Please see our guide on what you can and cannot bring into Canada for more information.

You can also find a full list of all prohibited and restricted items on the official Government of Canada website.

These include:

  • firearms and weapons
  • fireworks
  • live animals
  • soil, firewood and other plant matter
  • food, such as raw or cooked meats, fruit/vegetables, milk

Our team will advise you of any items that may be restricted or prohibited when you submit your inventory.

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 Canada

Container Shipping Ports in Canada

Canada, with its extensive coastline, is home to several major ports that play an integral role in the transportation of goods to and from the UK and other countries across the globe. Here are some of the main container shipping ports in Canada:

  • Port of Vancouver: The Port of Vancouver is the largest port in Canada and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo. It's a significant gateway that connects Canadian businesses with more than 170 trading economies globally. The port manages a vast range of goods and in 2022, it handled approximately 141 million tonnes of cargo.
  • Port of Montreal: The Port of Montreal is the largest port in Eastern Canada and the second largest in the country overall. It's a crucial hub for transatlantic trade, playing a critical role in the container shipping sector. In 2022, the port handled over 1.6 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units, a measure of cargo capacity).
  • Port of Halifax: The Port of Halifax is the largest port in Atlantic Canada and the deepest, ice-free port in North America, making it a preferred choice for container shipping. With its unique advantage, the port handled more than 550,000 TEUs in 2022.
  • Port of Prince Rupert: The Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia is the closest North American port to Asia by up to three sailing days, offering great access to key markets. It's renowned for its efficient and fast service, having handled approximately 1.2 million TEUs in 2022.
  • Port of Saint John: The Port of Saint John in New Brunswick is the third-largest port in Canada by tonnage. This port is a crucial shipping gateway, offering a strategic connection to over 350 ports worldwide.

We ship directly from the UK to all of the above ports. Please see our Canada container shipping schedule for up-to-date information on the next available vessel to Canada or get in touch to ask us any questions. Our team will be happy to help.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions About Container Shipping to Canada

Yes, we provide container tracking for all shipments to Canada via our online container tracking tool.

We will provide you with your container number and the name of the vessel, allowing easy tracking throughout the process.

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

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

UK to Canada Container Shipping Transit Times
Port Transit Time
Montreal 10 days
Toronto 12 days
Vancouver 30 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.

Whether you require a shared container service, a full 20ft container or a full 40ft container will depend on how much you need to ship to Canada. Whatever your requirements, we have a service to suit you. Please see the table below to help you determine which service option best suits your needs.

UK to Canada 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 Canada 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 Canada 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 Canada that details the paperwork we need and the regulations to be aware of.