Moving Overseas by Boat

Moving Overseas by Sea Freight

If you are moving overseas, sea freight is most often going to be the most economical choice compared to moving overseas by air freight. Even so, it can be hard to know where to begin to arrange for overseas shipping. This is where working with international movers can help, since most of them will gladly help you with door-to-door service.

There are two main methods for moving overseas by boat, RoRo and shipping containers.


RoRo, or Roll-on/Roll-off, ships carry vehicles of all kinds, as long as they can be driven on or off the ship. Since this method is only for wheeled vehicles, you cannot ship your household goods via this method, but for vehicles this is the cheapest method of shipping overseas.

RoRo ships are not without drawbacks, of course. Your vehicle will not be enclosed like it would be in a container, increasing the potential for damage to your vehicle. These ships are also notoriously top-heavy and are more prone to capsizing in rough seas.

Shipping Containers

Full Container Load (FCL) A 40-foot shipping container is considered a full container load. Containers can be delivered to most major international ports. If you are moving somewhere that isn’t on the coast, no big deal. Once your container arrives in port, it will be loaded onto a train or truck to carry it to the final destination.

The full container load is usually the most cost-efficient method of shipping your household goods, and takes less time than LCL, which we will discuss next.

Less than Container Load (LCL) This is a good choice if you don’t think you have enough stuff to fill 75% of a full container. When you ship via this method, you will be sharing the container with someone else, which will require additional handling and a slightly higher risk of damage. In addition, with an LCL you can expect your shipment to take an extra 1-2 weeks.

Many people choose to pay for a FCL and leave it half empty to avoid the additional challenges of shipping an LCL.

Cost of Overseas Shipping

The cost of overseas shipping depends on your method (RoRo, FCL, or LCL), and where you are departing from and arriving to. Shipping a full container from New York City to Sydney, Australia will cost between $9,000-$12,000. This around the world voyage will take between 6-8 weeks. For a less than container load, you can expect to save a few hundred dollars less, but the journey will take up to 10 weeks.

For transporting a vehicle, RoRo is the most economical choice. You can ship a vehicle from the U.S. to most place in Europe via this method for less than $900.

Working with an Overseas Shipper

The ins and outs of international shipping can be complex and boring. Why worry about all the details if you can get help? Three Men and a Truck is an international moving company with an extensive network of shipping partners. With our connections and experience, we can help you get the right shipping method, with the best timeline and price. Contact us today to learn more about how Three Men and a Truck can help with your international shipping needs.

Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at

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