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Shipping Container to Germany

A Complete Guide 2023

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Heading to Das Land der Dichter und Denker? Then you might want to bring some things with you! If you are moving more than a few boxes, you will most likely need to buy a shipping container to Germany. But what does that cost and how to get started? In our complete guide, we cover shipping costs and times, and how to prepare your belongings for your shipping container from the USA to Germany. Read on!

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40ft Container

How Much to Ship a Container  to Germany from the USA?

Before we go any further, let’s talk money. The most important question when purchasing a shipping container to Germany is the price tag that you will be facing. It is not something one buys every day, and so few actually know what typical container shipping rates are.

On average, a shipping container to Germany will come in around the $10,000 range. However, average is only average, and your move is particular to you!

What impacts pricing? Well, there are many factors, but two rule the day: the size of your container and your port of departure. For instance, if you want to cross the Atlantic you can imagine a large container from Los Angeles will cost more than a small one from New York!

Sirelo Tip! Having a difficult time determining the size of your move? No sweat! Our handy Moving Space Calculator will help you get to an estimate in just a few clicks. Easy peasy!

Shipping container to Germany cargo ship seen from the dock

How Much to Ship a 20ft Container to Germany?

Because Germany only has one main coastal port, Hamburg, where your shipping container to Germany is going is less important than where it starts. To give you a brief idea of typical prices, we have compiled ranges for a 20ft container to Hamburg from several major US cities:

City of Origin20ft Container Cost
New York$ 4,500 – $ 5,000
Chicago$ 8,500 – $ 10,000
Los Angeles$ 6,000 – $ 7,000
Houston$ 7,000 – $ 7,500
Seattle$ 6,500 – $ 7,000
Miami$ 6,000 – $ 6,500

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Container shipping rates to Germany regularly fluctuate per season and per carrier.

How Much to Ship a 40ft Container to Germany?

Need more space? Then you are looking at the next size up, a 40ft shipping container to Germany. As we did above, our typical price ranges help you know what to expect from various ports of departure to Hamburg:

City of Origin40ft Container Cost
New York$ 8,500 – $ 10,000
Chicago$ 16,000 – $ 18,000
Los Angeles$ 11,000 – $ 12,000
Houston$ 13,000 – $ 14,000
Seattle$ 12,000 – $ 13,500
Miami$ 11,000 – $ 12,500

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Container shipping rates to Germany regularly fluctuate per season and per carrier.

Request Quotes for Shipping Furniture to Germany

You may have noticed that there is quite a lot of estimating and speculation when it comes to container shipping from the USA to Germany. In truth, it is far from an exact science.

The fact is that you will never know your bottom line until you receive a quote from your international moving company. While we always advocate shopping around to get the best price, we know that when planning a move the last thing you have time to do is gather quotes for shipping furniture to Germany.

That is why we have made this easy! By completing the form below, you will receive up to five no-strings-attached quotes from reliable, trustworthy movers. You might end up saving a buck!

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Shipping Furniture to Germany: Things to Consider

While the prices for container shipping to Germany from the USA vary by port of departure, there are also other things to consider.

What can this include? First and foremost, how much container space you will rent, and how much logistics you will coordinate through your international mover (versus how much you will do yourself). If it all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! We will put it all in simple terms to ease your mind.

20ft vs. 40ft Shipping Containers to Germany

Containers come in two standard sizes, kind of like medium and large options for your move. While there is not much thinking to it, less is not always more!

A 20ft container has a volume of 33 m3, or 1,179 ft3. 40ft containers range from 66 m3 to 76 m3 (2,330 ft3 – 2684 ft3), depending on if it is extra tall (extra large?).

We get into trouble when a 20ft container won’t quite fit. Thinking about downsizing to squeeze into that small container? Check out our downsizing guide!

Solo Travel vs. Shared Container Shipping from the USA to Germany

What happens when even a 20ft container is too much for what you need to move overseas? This is actually a common problem for many in the market for a shipping container to Germany.

Many international movers offer a shared container shipping for small moves, where a container is split between two soon-to-be expats.

While this results in a bit more logistics to coordinate, it is much cheaper than travelling solo. Ever share a taxi? Same thing!

Door-to-Door vs. Port-to-Port

When shipping furniture to Germany, you can add or subtract a fraction of your moving costs based on how much your mover does for you. What does this mean in practice?

A Door-to-Door move is as it sounds, your mover collects your possessions from one residence and drops them off at your new residence.

A Port-to-Port move is a shipping container only service, where you are responsible for the transport to and from the port.

In certain circumstances you can combine these, such as with a Door-to-Port or Port-to-Door move. It all depends on what you want!

German government building with flat in front

How Long Does Container Shipping from the USA to Germany Take?

In centuries past, crossing the Atlantic with a cargo shipment could take months. Nowadays, this can be a matter of weeks, even days! Knowing how long your shipping container to Germany will take to arrive is a critical part of your move planning, so below we let you know what to expect!

Sea Freight

We have said that delivery times will vary, but how long does shipping furniture to Germany actually take? Well, ballpark 1 – 3 weeks, depending on if you start from the Atlantic coast or not. For instance, I if you start from Seattle your items might pass through the Panama Canal!

City of OriginShipping Time
New York9 – 14 Days
Chicago12 – 18 Days
Los Angeles14 – 21 Days
Houston14 – 21 Days
Seattle14 – 21 Days
Miami14 – 18 Days

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Container shipping times to Germany regularly fluctuate per route and per carrier.

Air Freight

With all this talk of cargo ships, we would be remiss if we did not mention an alternative speedier than a shipping container to Germany. Shipping by air is of course possible, but not recommended if you have more than a few boxes.

Why? Well, it is so pricy that the fee might be more than the value of your goods! Still interested? See estimated delivery times below:

City of OriginShipping Time
New York1 – 3 Days
Chicago1 – 3 Days
Los Angeles2 – 4 Days
Houston2 – 3 Days
Seattle2 – 4 Days
Miami1 – 3 Days

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Container shipping times to Germany regularly fluctuate per route and per carrier.

What You Need to Know When Shipping Furniture to Germany

Container shipping from the USA to Germany is not for the faint of heart, and hopefully it is an arrangement you only need to make a few times in your life. However, there is more you need to know besides the bottom line.

What else is involved? Below we dive into how to prepare for shipping furniture to Germany and how to navigate the process of crossing borders.

How to Prepare for Shipping Household Goods from USA to UK

Arranging your shipping container to Germany is only the first step, now you have to fill it up! While there is much to consider in this second leg of the journey, we highlight what are to us the three most important points:

Label & Document

If you have moved before you know the power of good organization. When a ship is involved, this factors in ten-fold. By clearly labelling all your belongings and documenting everything, you help yourself in more ways than one.

What do we mean? Well, besides unpacking, it will be handy to have an inventory for your mover, customs inspector, or insurance company (though we hope you will not need it!).

Pack everything all snug as a bug

Shipping furniture to Germany is an undertaking, and it actually takes place in stages. First, your items need to be trucked to the port, where they are loaded into your container. After that, there is yet another truck involved!

If you want everything to survive the journey, we recommend going double on all your packing efforts. You won’t regret it!

Stick around until the ‘bon voyage!’

If the logistics were not already tricky enough, try to arrange things so that you do not board a plane before your shipping container to Germany leaves the port.

The last thing you want is to hear there has been a problem you are not there to fix. On the other hand, make sure to be there when it arrives!

Cargo ship seen from overhead being pushed by tugboats

Customs Duties and Inspection

If we think of all the things we only learn until we need to, customs duties when moving is one of them. How does this work, and do you need to pay import fees on your own items?

Rest assured, you can bring your possessions free of charge. However, you need to follow the rules!

To be exempted from customs and import fees, be sure to prove that you are establishing a residence in Germany and have given up your old one.

In addition, you need to prove that you have owned your valuables for at least six months and are prohibited from selling them within 12 months of moving to Germany. Not too shabby, huh?

What Is Prohibited?

You may be surprised, but not everything allowed in the US is eligible for import into Germany. In addition to different laws, there are restrictions against bringing certain kinds of goods across borders.

To avoid landing in hot water, leave these things behind! (We doubt you own most of these things anyway…)

  • Extremist media content
  • Counterfeit currency
  • Offensive weapons (example: switch-blade knives)
  • Certain medications
  • O-zone depleting substances (example: certain fire extinguishers)
  • Raw meat, dairy products, and certain plant seeds
  • Automatic firearms
  • Green and Black tea from China (interesting…?)

Will Your Electronics and Appliances Work in Germany?

The short answer? Depends on what you have. Small electronics will work without issue, so long as you have a travel plug adapter. Larger appliances… not so much.

Why? US and German electricity is wired at different voltages. The American standard is 110-volts, while in Germany you will see a 230-volt standard. Large appliances are wired to the standard voltage, though small electronics can often accept a broader range.

Be careful, however, as adapters are not intended for prolonged continuous use, and can be dangerous otherwise. While it is possible to have adapters installed in your refrigerator or washing machine, it is often expensive and not worth your while. You have plenty of other moving expenses to consider!

Shipping containers to Germany seen from overhead in a birds eye view

Shipping a Car to Germany

If you were wondering how you will get your car to Europe, now you know it is going in your shipping container to Germany. Before you get your fix on your need for speed on the Autobahn, check out these price ranges for shipping a car to Germany:

City of OriginShipping Cost
New York$ 7,500 – $ 12,000
Chicago$ 11,000 – $ 16,000
Los Angeles$ 8,500 – $ 13,500
Houston$ 10,000 – $ 15,000
Seattle$ 9,000 – $ 14,000
Miami$ 8,500 – $ 13,500

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Container shipping rates to Germany regularly fluctuate per season and per carrier.

Container Shipping from the USA to Germany Made Easy at Sirelo!

By now we hope that you have everything you need to feel like an expert of container shipping. Arranging a shipping container to Germany can be stressful but is more than manageable if you have all the right information at your disposal. Need further assistance with your move? Then check out the useful articles linked below for further reading. Good luck!