10 Factors That Affect Container Shipping Rates

5 April 2023
Team MUS

When you’re analyzing shipping containers costs, several factors affect the rates you’ll pay. Location, size of the container, type of cargo, the shipping company, etc you choose can all influence the cost of shipping. It’s important to compare rates from different companies and choose the one that offers the best value for your shipment and best prices for shipping boxes. Discounts may also be available for large orders or loyalty programs, so be sure to ask about any discounts that may apply to your shipment.

Several factors affect container shipping container moving prices. Here are ten of the most important ones:

  • Location 
  • Size and weight of the container
  • Type of cargo / Mode of transport
  • Shipping company
  • Time of the year
  • Service level
  • Discounts
  • Nature of goods
  • Types of good
  • Incoterms

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors:


One of the most important factors that impact container shipping costs is the location. The farther away the destination is, the more expensive it will be to ship a container there. This is because shippers have to pay for fuel, port fees, and other charges associated with traveling long distances. The distance the containers need to travel is one of the most important factors affecting shipping container price. Longer distances will obviously cost more to ship than shorter distances.

Container shipping rates vary depending on the ports of origin and destination. For example, rates from China to the United States are typically higher than rates from the United States to Europe. This is because there is more demand for shipping containers from China to the United States than there is from the United States to Europe. Therefore, while researching for container ship price of your shipment, first of all consider location and addresses. 

Size and weight of container:

The size and weight of the container also play a role in determining container shipping rates. Larger and heavier containers will cost more to ship than smaller ones. Larger containers cost more to ship because they take up more space on the vessel and require more fuel to transport. Similarly, smaller containers may cost less to ship but can only accommodate a limited amount of cargo. Therefore, shipping container size and cost have a direct relationship with each other. Shipping container size and prices are correlated in many ways.

Type of cargo / Mode of transport: 

The mode of transport also affects the average price of shipping container. Shipping by sea is usually cheaper than shipping by air, for example. The type of cargo being shipped also impacts container shipping rates. Hazardous materials or items that require special handling may cost more to ship than standard cargo. This is because shippers have to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of the cargo and the people handling it. Also, the heavier and larger the cargo ship cost, the higher the moving container cost will be. This is because it costs more to move heavier and larger items. Hence, research well while choosing cargo companies analyze cargo container price.

Shipping company:

The shipping company you choose can also decide container shipping rates. Some international shipping container companies charge higher rates for their services, while others may offer discounts or promotions. It’s important to compare rates from different companies before choosing one to ship your container.

Time of year:

Finally, the time of year can also fluctuate container shipping rates. Rates tend to be higher during the peak season (usually summer) than during the off-peak season (winter).

Rates are typically higher during peak season because demand is higher and vessels are fuller. Shippers may also charge seasonal surcharges during certain times of the year, such as summer or winter. Therefore, moving container costs can fluctuate depending on the time of year. Rates may also be higher during peak times such as holidays.

Service level:

The service level you choose can also affect container shipping rates. Express shipping is typically more expensive than standard shipping, but it will get your cargo to its destination faster. If you need your cargo to arrive by a certain date, you may have to pay a premium to ship it express.Shipping container moving cost largely depends on service level the shipping companies provide. 


Some companies offer discounts on container shipping rates for large orders or for loyalty programs. It’s important to ask about any discounts that may be available before you book your shipment.

Nature of the goods being shipped:

Another factor that can impact shipping rates is the nature of the goods being shipped. Some goods are more fragile or expensive than others, and so will require higher container shipping rates.

Type of container:

The type of container being shipped – Different types of containers have different container freight rates. For example, standard 20-foot containers typically have lower rates than 40-foot containers. This is because the larger containers can carry more cargo, which results in higher cargo ship prices (shipping container cost) for the shipping company. The average shipping container price depends largely upon the type of container being shipped.


Incoterms are terms used in international container shipping rates in a trade that specify who is responsible for what when goods are shipped from one country to another. The Incoterm used can affect shipping rates, as well as other aspects of the transaction such as insurance and liability.

Wrap Up:

These are just some of the factors that can affect container shipping container costs. By taking all of these into account, you can get a better idea of how much it will cost to ship your containers. By keeping these factors in mind, you can get a better understanding of how container shipping rates are determined. This knowledge can help you save money on your shipping costs.

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