Container shipping prices - Components

Container shipping prices in this article mean the cost of transporting cargo, or container ocean freight. If you’re interested in the cost of purchasing or hiring a shipping container, you can see container prices.

So how much is shipping cost for your cargo? It’s hard to have an exact answer. Prices fluctuate between wide ranges and are affected by many relating factors including: transport distance, transport modes involved, types and value of cargoes, transit time…

For rough estimation, shipping rates should be somewhere around a few hundreds to some thousand dollars per dry general container. With reefer, flatrack or other special containers, the shipping costs should be much higher.

Shipping prices should include following basic components:

  • Ocean freight,
  • Surcharges (BAF, CAF),
  • Local charges (D/O, THC, DOC)

For door delivery/pickup, additional cost arises:

  • Customs brokerage fee
  • Trucking
  • Handling
  • Others: documentation, fumigation, sanitation, etc.

In reality, to move cargo all the way from origin to final destination, all relating expenses incur. Depending term of commercial contract that you’re involved, however, you may only account for certain items, the remaining to be settled by your trading partners (seller or buyers)

For an illustration of shipping cost components, let’s see container shipping prices in a quotation. A shipping company offers below rates for a shipment of 1x20’ of Sport Nutrition from Long Beach, USA to Haiphong, Vietnam as follows: 

Ocean Freight $1,260
AES (Automated Export System) $50
Handling charge $50
PSS (Peak Season Surcharge) $250
Bunker Surcharge $349
Total (USD) 3,591

Above rates not include: local charges at loading and discharge ports, door pickup or delivery, if any

So, container shipping prices usually go specifically with detail information about cargo types, routes, value-added services, etc. and offered in form of many items, includes ocean freight cost, surcharges, local charges…

Shippers are generally interested not only in ocean freight, but also the total cost for whole requested service in general. So, in many cases, freight forwarders offer an all-in rates, which basically includes all costs and & fees to move your cargo from origin to destination.

An all-in rate sounds convenient to inexperienced shippers, who only care about how much they got to pay. But, that inherently includes a well-hidden high markup amount, which freight forwarder earn for themselves. Because they don’t show you which is which, they tends to charge you higher than if they have break down all the costs.

To check freight rates for your shipments, you may want to see How to get container shipping rates.

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