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Container shipping options for household goods – FCL vs LCL

We offer range of options available for individual moving their household goods overseas. If you are looking for the answer to the following question: “Which container shipping option should I use?” it could be answered by know the following criteria:

  • Cubic volume of your items – it determines how much space your goods will take up in steal unit. To measure it you need to multiply the length, width, and height of your cargo
  • Urgency of the shipment
  • Maximum delivery deadlines that will work for you

Basically, you have to decide whether you are going to use LCL or FCL shipping option.  FCL refers to "Full Container Load" and LCL means "Less than Container Load". To be able to decide which options is best for you, you should know the core differences between mentioned shipping methods. Let's take a closer look:

Full Container Load (FCL)

In case of this option you get the entire space of the unit for your own use. It means you can fill up a whole unit on your own with your personal belongings, be it boxes, furniture, machines, tools, vehicles or any other items. As you pay for the entire unit, it is more economical option in case of large loads, when your items accommodate more than half of the space.  

This is great option for individuals or businesses that have many items to ship. All their items are pleaced in one unit. This type of service is usually more expensive but it has its own advantage as well. You shouldn't be afraid of misplacement of items in case of using FCL.

By using FCL shipment you are getting the following benefits:

  • Shorter transit time, as due to direct transportation from origin to the destination port without the need of intermediary consolidation
  • Less risk of damages as your goods are loaded and unloaded just once. Dedicated unit is sealed just after loading, and remains closed until it reaches the destination address
  • Better option for shipping valuable items, cars, motorcycles, boats, yachts, etc.

Costs of FCL shipping to Canada from United Kingdom in 2021 (*)

20ft container (FCL) 40ft container (FCL)
20ft33 cubic meters of household goods 40ft67 cubic meters of household goods
20ft3 – 7 weeks by sea 40ft3 – 7 weeks by sea
20ft£4,525 - £5,705 40ft£6,125 - £8,565

* The above shipping container UK to Canada costs are for guideline only. They are average rates for door-to-door service, including collection, packing, customs clearance, transit and delivery to your door

Less than Container Load (LCL)

In the situation when your cargo will not fill the space of the entire unit, there is an alternative method of sending your items. You can choose LCL shipment to Canada, which is also very often named groupage, shared or part load container shipping to Canada from United Kingdom.

Regardless of the nomenclature, by choosing this option you should be aware of the fact that your goods are consolidated with the cargo of other clients. Due to mentioned consolidation, as well as the need of deconsolidation, usually the shipment time for this mehod could be slightly longer. This option is economically viable in case of loads smaller than 13 cubic meters.

Costs of using LCL shipment are based on the actual size of your cargo.  It is cost-effective solution in case of small to medium size moves, as you pay only for the actual volume that needs to be delivered.

What size of container do I need?

To be able to determine the size that you require, we need to know the actual cubic volume of your shipment. This measurement is calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of all your goods packed all together. By knowing this measurement, we can recommend what size of container is required for your move. If you are not sure how to estimate cubic volume of the shipment or simply you prefer to have it done by an expert, please get in touch with our company, so we can arrange either in-home or video survey.

Alternative you can also forward to us an inventory of the items you are planning to ship via container to Canada but please bear in mind that the more accurate inventory the more accurate estimate. Basically, there are two main sizes commonly used:

  • 20ft container
  • 40ft container

20ft container vs 40ft container dimensions and capacity

One of the most important aspects of planning your move is to estimate what size of container is best to accommodate all your belongings, as well as what size is within your budget. If you are asking your company “how much can I fit in 20ft container”, they will probably answer “it depends”. Yes, it depends on many different factors, as each move is unique.

Crucial factor deciding how much you fit in shipping container is the way and technique of packing goods. To be able to utilize up to 90% of the internal capacity, goods have to be packed in a smart way, just to minimize empty spaces.  All items should be packed tightly. If it is possible we recommend to disassemble all bulky items.

Below you can check the dimensions and cubic capacity of 40ft vs 20ft units. Check the most commonly used units:

20ft container specification:

  • Internal dimensions: 20ft / 5.9m (L) x 7.9ft / 2.35m (W) x 7.10ft / 2.39m (H)
  • Cubic capacity: 1 170 cu ft / 33 CBM
  • Payload capacity: 49 130 lbs / 22 000 kg
How much can I fit in a 20ft container?

How much can I fit in a 20ft container?

  • 2 cars
  • Household goods of 2-bed house
  • 80 dishwashers
  • 200 double mattresses
  • 8 – 16 UK pallets (depending on height)
  • 25 CBM of cardboard boxes

40ft container specification:

  • Internal dimensions: 40ft / 12.03m (L) x 7.9ft / 2.35m (W) x 7.10ft / 2.39m (H)
  • Cubic capacity: 2 390 cu ft / 67 CBM
  • Payload capacity: 59 000 lbs / 26 700 kg
How much can 40ft container hold?

How much can 40ft container hold?

  • up to 4 compact cars
  • Household goods of 4+bedroom house
  • Up to 36 stackable pallets
  • 55 CBM of cardboard boxes

Real internal capacity

While deciding on what size of shipping container you need, your should be aware of the fact that you won’t be able to utilize the total cubic capacity shown above in the specification. It’s due to nature of the object you are loading. It is safe to state that you should be able to use between 80-90% of the space.

Example of 40ft container inventory
Item Qty Cu ft
King size bed 2 130
Double Wardrobe 3 220
Single bed 3 90
2 seater sofa 2 60
L-shaped sofa 1 80
Dining table for 6 1 45
Armchair 2 25
Washing Machine 1 15
Dishwasher 1 15
Fridge 1 20
Cooker 1 15
Freezer 1 20
Large box 20 120
Medium box 30 120
TV 3 30
Bicycle 3 45
Toolbox 4 50
Lawn Mower 1 10
Garden furniture 130
Audi A4 1 700
Total cubic ft 1940

Can you fit a car in 20ft container?

Yes, you can easily use 20ft unit for shipping a car to Canada from UK. Most of the cars are less then 20ft long, please see the examples below:

Make/model Length
ModelVauxhall Astra Length14.34 ft
ModelHyundai ix20 Length13.52 ft
ModelBWM X5 Length16.15 ft
ModelFord Mondeo Length16.00 ft
ModelMazda 3 Length15.30 ft
ModelToyota Yaris Length12.93 ft
Can you fit a car in a 20ft container?

In some cases, it is possible have two cars fitted into 20ft unit, however they must be placed at an angle. It requires racking system that allows to store cars at angle or on top of each other. Usually 20ft unit is used for transporting single car and other small vehicles or households to fill the empty space.

How many cars you can fit in 40ft container?

Usually 40ft option is used to transport two passenger cars. However, depending on the size and type of the cars, it is possible to load up to 5 vehicles inside. There is a couple of different combinations of loading more than two cars into single 40ft container but it always requires usage of special ramps and racking system. Usually in case of shipping three cars in single unit, two vehicles are loaded on the floor, and one is placed above another, however in some cases all three cars can be also loaded at an angle.

Please see the iconographic showing possible combinations of loading multiple vehicles into 40ft.

Three cars in 40ft container?
How many cars you can load into 40ft container?
Can I load four cars into 40ft container?


Groupage shipping services

In case of small moves, be it small amount of furniture or boxes, it’s not cost-effective to choose either LCL or FCL shipment. In such scenario there is service called groupage/part load container shipping We always tailor made our services to meet the demands of our clients in terms of price and number of items to be shipped. We know that some of our clients have fewer amounts of items to be shipped and so it will not be good to ask them to pay for a full container.

This is why we offer part load or shared or groupage shipping services. Items from various individuals or businesses are properly labelled indicating their location and owners and then put in one unit. The items are charged according to their volume and weight. So, you will not be paying more than what your item weigh.

Depending on the cargo size the following services could be offered:

  • quarter container shipment – depending on the unit size, you get 250 cu ft of space in case of ¼ of 20ft container and 550 cu ft in case of ¼ of 40ft container
  • one-third container shipment – you utilize 350 cu ft to 750 cu ft (in case of 40ft unit)
  • half of 20ft container – this service allows to accommodate cargo with the cubic volume of approx. 1150 cu ft
  • groupage shipment – you can opt-for any size that is required, be it 50ft3, 100ft3, 200ft3, etc.


Special types of shipping container for different types of goods

Air conditioning containersWe know that different items require different storage condition and thus should be kept in a suitable storage unit for overseas transportation. This is why we make use of various types of containers for shipment of various types of goods. So whether you are sending electronics, antiques or need solution ideal for furniture removals to Canada, here are some of the types that we use when sending goods via this method of transportation:

Ventilated container

As implicit from the name, it is well ventilated providing enough air and light to the items that are packed inside it. We use it to put items or cargos that require ventilation during transportation. So, if your item requires ventilation let us know so that we will provide our ventilated unit to you. The standard ventilated container is normally 20 feet but if you have huge quantity of items that you would like to accommodate, we have bigger sizes. Just send us your enquiry so we can offer our cheap container shipping to Canada cost from United Kingdom.

We are quite aware that some cargos may occupy much space and volume and they are too bulky and heavy. Using ordinary standard units to ship such cargos is not good. The weight may be too much. So, we have a special made units for the shipment of bulky items to Canada. They are ideal for voluminous and heavy goods. This is called bulk container. The standard type is also available in 20ft size.

High cube container

Some items are classified as over height and voluminous. As experience moving company, we will always ensure that every item or cargo from our clients is moved to their desired location regardless of their weight. In order to ship voluminous and lengthy items, we provide high cube container to Canada. They standard size is 40 feet but there are some that are huger than 40 feet. So, relax and worry not if you have voluminous and over height items.

Open top container

This is also designed for the shipment of over height and voluminous cargo. As the name already tells, the top is made with removable tarpaulin which makes it easy for the cargo to be loaded to the container.
There are other types we use in order to ensure that various items of various shapes are moved to the right destinations. Some of them include:

  • Dry freight container
  • Flat rack container
  • Insulated container for shipment of temperature sensitive cargo
  • Refer container for shipment of chemicals, foods and other cargo that require cooling during shipment
  • High cube reefer container for shipping over height cargo that needs freezing or cooling during the shipment