Now that you’ve purchased your containers, you need to transport them to your land plot so you can start converting them into your new home. In some situations, container delivery can be very costly, but if you buy the containers locally, you can save on delivery costs.
When organizing container delivery, consider the following: insurance, site access, and which company to use. It may seem like a daunting task, but if you follow the steps in this article, you’ll receive your container without any issues.
Today, we’ll take a general look at how much it costs to transport a container and the key things to consider when arranging its shipment. Please note that the data is in US dollars for the United States.
International expenses vs. local expenses Where are the containers being delivered from?
If you purchased used containers, it’s likely that you bought them locally. If you bought new containers, they probably came from Asia. This has significant implications for the delivery cost.
Costs of delivering locally sourced containers
We contacted a local container supplier to get an idea of the cost. They explained that transporting a 20-foot container would typically cost several hundred dollars, and a 40-foot container would be double that amount. The fee is commonly based on a price per mile, starting at around $2.00, multiplied by the total distance the container is transported. The price may or may not include the unloading fee.
Costs of delivering internationally sourced containers
If you bought new containers, they most likely came from Asia. This means you have two options. You can send the containers empty and pay the total delivery cost, or you can allow the containers to be used for transporting cargo and pay part of the delivery fee (known as one-way containers).
Paying to ship them from Asia to the United States is extremely expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the number of containers you are sending and the distance. The most cost-effective option is to allow a transportation company to use the containers for a single shipment of goods (also known as a one-way trip).
If you choose this option, the transportation company will pay to ship your container to your local port. You’ll need to arrange this with them and find out exactly when they will deliver them to your local port. If you live near a busy international port, they will likely ship there several times a month.
All you need to do is pay for the delivery of the containers from your local port to your land plot.
Another factor that can significantly impact the delivery cost is the size of the container you’ve ordered.
As mentioned earlier, delivering a 20-foot container versus a 40-foot container is almost double the cost. There’s another option in the United States: 56-foot containers, which are not as popular as the 40-foot ones. However, they provide an additional 120 square feet of living space each.
These 56-foot containers are even more expensive to deliver due to their length. They don’t fit on regular cargo trucks and require a more specialized truck for transport. Note that transport companies usually don’t charge more for transporting high cube containers, as they have the same length as standard containers.
Placement fee for the containers
Don’t forget to include the cost of placing the containers in your calculations. Placing the containers refers to the process of removing them from the delivery truck and positioning them on their foundation.
When placing the containers, consider the following:
- Accessibility to your land plot.
- The foundation you have prepared.
Both of these factors affect the equipment that can be used to place the containers and, therefore, the cost.
If there’s good access to your land plot and foundations, then you’re in luck. Assuming the containers are being transported on a tilt-bed trailer, the driver can back up to the foundations and let the container slide off the trailer onto them. This is by far the least expensive and easiest method. However, if your foundations are not easily accessible, you’ll need a crane to lift the containers and place them in position.
Finding companies to deliver the containers
The only way to get an exact quote for shipping your container is to contact a transportation company and request a quote.
How do you find a transportation company?
Whenever possible, it’s preferred to buy the containers and arrange their delivery from a single supplier. If this is not possible and you’re transporting containers from a local port, a good place to find a freight transportation company is through uShip.
uShip is an online marketplace for services where you can create a job listing, and people will bid on your job.
If you purchased the containers overseas, you’ll need to use an internal transportation company like Maersk Line to transport them. You can use the World Freight Rates’ freight rate calculator to get a quote.
Can I move the containers myself?
An excellent way to reduce the cost of transporting the containers is to do it yourself. Unfortunately, most people cannot do this due to licensing issues or lack of access to the right equipment.
If you’re buying the containers locally and have a commercial driver’s license, you can rent a cargo truck and transport the containers yourself. This would save you several hundred dollars. However, for most people, this is not practical.
When do I pay for delivery?
If you’re using an international transportation company like Maersk Line, you’ll need to pay in full before the containers are shipped. If you’re transporting the containers locally and using a smaller freight transportation company, you’ll usually pay a deposit when ordering, and then pay the remaining balance once the containers have been delivered.
How long does delivery take?
Getting containers delivered by a local supplier is by far the fastest way to get containers and start building your structure. Typically, you’ll have to wait at least a week to arrange the delivery, and then the containers will be on-site ready to be converted.
Unfortunately, international container delivery takes much longer and can take several months. It takes approximately 35 days for a container ship to travel from China to New York. If you add to this the time to order and load the containers, and the time to take them from the port of New York to your land plot, you could be looking at 2 calendar months.
Should I insure my containers for the trip?
Before considering insuring the containers, the first thing to consider is how much the containers are worth. If you’re building your structure with a single used 20-foot container that you bought for $1,000, it’s probably not worth the additional cost to insure the container during transport.
However, if you’ve just purchased several new 40-foot containers, each being shipped from China for over $5,000, then it definitely makes sense to insure them.
Most major transportation companies will normally include insurance as part of their fee for transporting the containers, and companies that don’t will offer insurance as an optional upgrade. Given the peculiar rules of container cargo insurance, it’s definitely worth insuring the containers if they are traveling by sea.
Let us know below how you decided to transport the containers.