Japan Luggage Express
Japan Luggage Express Ltd.

Container Shipping from Japan

Container shipping from Japan

Shipping containers from Japan

When you ship your personal goods or commercial cargo by sea from Japan or from anywhere in the world, normally they are transported in shipping containers. There are two kinds of container shipping services from Japan. One is FCL (Full Container Load) service and the other is LCL (Less than Container Load) service. Unless you are shipping a large amount of goods, you are likely to use the services of LCL.

LCL shipping-Consolidated Container

LCL is also called “Share-the-Container” services. Basic idea of LCL is that shippers who are shipping relatively small amount can ship at reasonable cost by sharing the space of huge containers with those who are shipping to the same destination. It is also called consolidation and there are a number of consolidators offering the services of consolidations from Japan to various parts of the world. This service is useful as one can ship even a small amount by paying only for the space of the shipping container used as otherwise one would have to rent a full container even for a small shipment. Remember, however, that LCL container services are available only to the destinations where there are many cargo are transported to as it is not possible to make a consolidation and fill up the container for destinations where there are not many cargo are shipped to. Consolidation container shipping services from Japan are available to major destinations such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand,  Canada, Asia (China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong), India, South Africa, Europe (UK, France, Germany, Scandinavia etc.)

If you are shipping to the USA,  the consolidator’s destination agent at the port of entry arranges inland delivery to various destinations in the USA making it possible to deliver to landlocked states.

Normally consolidation container services from Japan are available once a week to major destinations. For major destinations where there are many cargoes are consigned to such as Hong Kong or Singapore, the frequency may be twice a week.

Japan is known to have long holidays such as obon holidays and New Year holidays and during such holiday seasons, consolidation container shipping services from Japan may not be available as there are not enough cargo to make consolidations and one must wait for one or two weeks.

FCL shipping-Exclusive Container

Full Container shipping is for very large shipments. In theory the capacity of 20 feet container is 33 cubic meters. However, when loading shipments into shipping containers, the dead space would have to be considered. If a shipper is shipping a large number of packages of boxes with the same size and shape, they would be stacked nicely and there would be less dead space. In the case of household goods/personal effects shipments, they are normally packed in boxes (or even crates) or various sizes and also it may not be a possible to pile up to the high level. Therefore, there would be much dead space. With the dead space in mind, perhaps its maximum capacity would be much less.

  • 20 feet container – inner dimensions : 5.90 m x 2.35 m x 2.39 m – the volume is 33 cubic meters.
  • 40 feet container – inner dimensions : 12.03 m x 2.35 m x 2. 39 – the volume is 67 cubic meters.

If you contact a container carrier directly, you will find that the charge of shipping container itself is very inexpensive considering the volume. However, when shipping internationally there are various other charges and in fact it is the other charges that make up the most of the international container shipping charges.

One would think that if the volume of a shipment is over 10 cubic meter, it may be worth shipping as FCL, however, because the rates for consolidation (LCL) is quite low nowadays, it may be less expensive to ship as an LCL shipment.

The advantage of shipping in FCL is that services are available to much more destinations than the destinations for LCL. For example, if shipping from Japan to the USA, the direct services will be available to such destinations as San Francisco, Seattle and Baltimore. There are services available to more destinations in Central /South America and also Africa where it is not possible to ship to as LCL cargo.

Note that even when you are shipping your goods in a full container, it will be necessary to have items such as pieces of furniture crated.

The cost for Shipping a Full Container

Let’s have a look at how much a full container would cost.

Below is the port-to-port rate for 20 feet and 40 feet container. They are rather like the wholesale price among freight forwarders or the charges offered to shippers who export regularly.

Destination  20 feet 40 feet
Los Angeles, USA $1,700 $2,200
New York, USA $2,500 $3,200
Vancouver, Canada $1,500 $2,000
Rotterdam, Holland $1,600 $2,200
Southampton, UK $1,500 $2,000
Jakarta, Indonesia    $700 $1,200

As of June 2020.

Terminal Handling Charge on the Japan side;

JPY32,000 for a 20 feet container

JPY46,000 for a 40 feet container

Rates Exclusive of BAF and CAF, ACU, CSC.

They look quite inexpensive considering the space of the huge containers. However, once again, it is important to be aware that many other charges will be incurred for loading the goods into the containers or other charges related to packing and shoring. This will increase the total charges. In the case of shipping in a full container, packing in crates or pallets would be important, and also the carriers would charge you for shoring. Also, in the case of shipping household goods, international moving companies will charge for pickup and documentation. There will also be customs clearance and related charges for both commercial cargo and personal effects. This will vary depending on the volume of the shipment or the variety of goods being shipped.

  • The above charges are provided for reference purposes only, to give you an idea of the cost of freight shipping in the market. They are not our selling rates.

News- Price of international container shipping triples because of container shortages

June, 2021 – Worldwide importer/exporter is threatened by a scarcity of shipping containers. This shortage has led to prices of containers tripling in 2020/2021 and became a threat to world economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.  It is now getting impossible to rent a full container because of container shortage.

If you are interested in getting a quote for container shipping or Consolidation / Groupage shipping from Japan, contact us and get a quote.

Lean more about other shipping options available.


Cost of container shipping from Japan to US