Containers and Transport Costs: Your Complete Guide

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If you’re in the market for getting some heavy cargo on the road, you’re likely going to want to budget carefully before you even leave the driveway. Whether you are a small business or are dispatching cargo on behalf of a bigger corporation, it makes sense to gain insight into what can affect shipping costs. This is even more important if you are moving shipping containers up and down the country!

Transporting shipping containers via road haulage can and will have varying costs. That’s why it is important to know your exact measurements and demands before you get in touch with a haulage expert. Here at Reliant Couriers, we will always make sure to give you the complete lowdown on what you pay for. What’s more, we will always be happy to fine tune your container haulage shipping right down to the finest points.

Before you call us regarding shipping container logistics however, take a look at the following breakdown of what you need to know before you buy.

What Goes Into Shipping Container Transport Costs?

All shipping container transport and haulage costs are based on a few key elements – the transport needed, the weight, the volume, the distance, the destination, and when you want to deliver or receive your cargo.

These are key elements that our experts always keep in mind when building your bespoke quote. What’s more, you will always be able to see the complete breakdown before you buy.

Let’s take a look at each of these elements in a bit more detail.

Transport Needs

Depending on the type or size of cargo you need delivering (and we’ll come to that next), you may have to pay a little more for specialist support. Reliant focuses on truck and road transport, which means you’ll have the pick of our convoy depending on the further factors we discuss below.

This side of things is pretty easy to explain – the bigger the vehicle or the larger the fuel consumption, then generally, the more you can expect to pay. Of course, needs must – but we ensure that you never buy into a vehicle that offers you too much space for the sake of it.

As you can imagine, transporting shipping containers (and cargo in general) overseas will carry further charges – for example, if you choose air transportation.

Container and Goods Bulk

The weight and volume of the item you wish to transport will also have an impact on the price you ultimately pay. In some cases, it will be the volume that matters more than the weight, whereas in others, the weight will be more important in pricing. However, when it comes to road delivery with Reliant Couriers, you can be sure that we take the whole picture into account.

After all, the type of truck or vehicle you hire from us will largely revolve around the size and weight of your container. You’re going to need a truck that’s going to stand the weight of your cargo without buckling! What’s more, you are also going to need a full HGV to really get the biggest of containers up and moving from point to point.

This factor normally ties in well with the vehicle choice – meaning we charge for the two elements in tandem.

Distance to Travel

This is another key factor that is fairly easy to explain! The more fuel that’s needed to carry your cargo from point A to point B, the more a transport company is going to request in terms of pricing.

However, this can also tie in again with the two factors listed above. Fuel expense can increase if a bigger truck or vehicle is needed, or if there is considerable bulk placing pressure on an HGV.

Therefore, a large shipping container moving hundreds of miles is going to be a pricier project than, say, a smaller unit travelling the same distance. Therefore, make sure you always consider the fuel economy in your budget, not just the size and heft of your container.

container haulage


Destination costs only really ramp up if you are taking your cargo via air or sea, though if you are paying for haulage across customs zones, then you can expect a logistics company to add extra costs to your bill to cover this eventuality. It is only reasonable to expect this!

That said, travelling up and down the UK normally won’t incur any additional costs, even if you are hauling containers in and out of Wales, Scotland and England. Therefore, there’s not much to be concerned about if you are sticking to a local delivery.

Time of Delivery

Shipping and logistics have periods across the year where they are in more demand than others. Peak seasons vary from case to case, but it’s normal to anticipate that haulage will be in greater need during the summer as well as during the winter.

Therefore, if you arrange a shipping container or large cargo delivery option during these periods, you’re likely to see an additional charge applied. However, periods of increased interest can occur at any time.

The best thing to do if you are ever concerned about booking delivery or transport during a peak time is to consult with your logistics experts first. At Reliant Couriers, we will offer you a clear picture of what you can expect from your haulage quote based on all of the above factors.

Shipping Container Sizes and Logistics

On the whole, shipping containers commonly used in transportation measure 20ft or 40ft. These tend to be large and extra-large in size – though yes, there are many container sizes that are actually smaller and larger than these two options. Generally, you’ll expect the extremely large shipping containers to be used for industrial moves and purposes.

One of the key things to consider when hauling cargo via shipping container on the road, of course, is which of the two options is most likely to fit your needs the closest. The last thing you’re going to want to do is to pay out for a container that’s too large. Luckily, there’s enough difference between 20ft and 40ft containers that it’s not too difficult to work out which option is going to be most comfortable.

Choosing a 20ft Container

20ft containers tend to be great for home moves. You’ll normally receive up to 28 cubic metres of space in the interior of these containers, which is more than enough to move bulky furniture and units into. In fact, you’ll probably be able to fit the equivalent of 50 full-size refrigerators in one go. These units are surprisingly roomy despite being the ‘smaller’ option!

What’s worth remembering is that the interior space of any container is smaller than the outside by some distance. Just because a 20ft shipping container measures around 33 cubic metres altogether, doesn’t mean you are necessarily going to get that kind of volume when you look inside.

Essentially, if you can fit all of your cargo in a standard size of garage, then a 20ft container is a good pick.

Choosing a 40ft Container

40ft containers give you double the above – simple! However, you can probably expect a maximum of around 58 cubic metres on the inside.

40ft containers tend to be good choices if you need to move vehicles off the road, such as a standard size of family car. Otherwise, these containers tend to be great for moving larger homes as well as for moving offices from one location to another.

In many cases, it is worth opting for the safer choice of a larger shipping container. After all, going too small means leaving some items behind. That’s why we always make sure to quote you carefully before we get started!

What are FCL and LCL?

FCL stands for Full Container Load, and this is an option where you will pay for the whole of a container. LCL, meanwhile, stands for Less Than Container Load, and this pricing system allows you to only ever pay for the interior space you actually need.

In some cases, FCL can be better value as it means that you are paying a flat rate. What’s more, if you are unsure whether or not you need the whole of a container, it’s often worth paying for the full unit outright.

However, many people also choose LCL for cost savings. It makes sense when you only have a relatively small amount of cargo to ship. What’s more, in some cases, this can make it easier to secure your loads in place.

There are certainly pros and cons to both FCL and LCL – why not get in touch with our experts and see what savings you could make?

Why Choose Truck Hauling?

Reliant specialises in truck hauling, and it’s often seen as one of the most flexible ways to make sure that your items get from A to B.

If you don’t need to ship your cargo overseas (i.e. via air or ocean boundaries), then truck hauling is secure, efficient, and easy to track. It’s also extremely quick to get a truck loaded with shipping containers of almost any size. Therefore, if you’re moving cargo from one point in the UK to another, it may well be worth investing in road logistics.

Final Costs to Consider

As well as the major factors we listed above, there are further potential cost factors you must keep in mind when it comes to setting up truck haulage of shipping containers for the first time.


Tracking is extremely common in modern logistics, but in some cases, you may need to pay extra for the privilege of knowing exactly where your consignment is. You are, of course, paying for the technology. There’s also the fact that container consignments often travel in large numbers, which means it’s additional effort at the haulier end to keep track of your items.


Of course, it makes sense that you should set up some form of insurance for your cargo when it is on-route. Leading couriers and logistics firms such as Reliant will work hard to provide you with top insurance protection as well as genuine care and attention on route. However, it is extremely important to consider budgeting for insurance. After all, if something happens to your items on route and you’re unable to cover them after the event – you might just be kicking yourself!

Setting Up Shipping Container Haulage

If you’re looking for truck haulage for your shipping container cargo, Reliant Couriers will be more than happy to help out. We offer flexible, reliable logistics for bulks and demands of all shapes and sizes. You might be surprised at how much you can get into a shipping container, too!

If you are concerned about the cost of shipping container transport, there’s nothing to fear. The above is a handy beginner’s guide to what to expect with shipping costs on the road – and if you have any bespoke needs when it comes to your container haulage, make sure to contact us in the first instance.

It’s important to us that we set you up with a fair, concise quote based on exactly what you need. We’ll set you up with a bespoke quote that fits your budget, your end to end needs, and your safety and insurance demands.

Don’t get muddled by different shipping container logistics demands – at Reliant, we make things simple and manageable for all transport needs. Call us now for a free quote, or speak to us via our contact form at your convenience.

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Customer Reviews

Didi Didi 18th January 2022


Tom Livingstone 03/09/2021

Excellent services from a reliable and trusted company. I always recommend them.

Natalie Spokes 24/11/2020

5 star service! Highly recommend.

Adamo Lucien 28/10/2020

Wow, if you need a courier Reliant Couriers Ltd is the best. No drama, no hassle, just excellent couriering. This was the easiest transaction of my life.

Ryan Hall 10/12/2019

5 Star Service, Sent a Pallet and Received it back a Week later as planned, Email confirmations of everything as it was happening. There was a Change of plan and I Added a second pallet for collection of 600kg £25,000 Machine and there was no Drama's what so ever. Will definitely use them again.