Request Free

    Why has the cost of international moving gone up?

    Why have moving costs gone up? Over the past few months, customers have been asking us about the rising moving costs. Believe us when we say we hear you and are on your side. However, our hands are tied when it comes to certain factors in the moving equation that we cannot control.

    Several components constitute the costs of moving including freight charges, port charges for the unloading, handling, and transportation of your container, duties and taxes, insurance, to name a few. Undoubtedly, the bulk of the cost comes from ocean freight, which has skyrocketed over the past months.

    Escalating freight rates

    Shipping costs have been rising sharply since 2020. Demand for container shipping has grown during the pandemic. Countries are locking down and opening up at different times. The increase in demand was stronger than expected and not met with a sufficient supply of shipping capacity, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) policy brief.

    There is also an unprecedented shortage of empty containers. Empty boxes were left in places where they were not needed, and repositioning had not been planned for. Globally, capacity on major shipping routes has recovered to levels before the major lockdowns in 2020, although blank sailings (canceled port calls) continued to cut 10% of scheduled capacity through the first quarter.

    Shipments to and from the UK

    In an example cited by the British Association of Movers, shipments to and from the UK, currently show a demand some 200% greater than the available space according to recent figures supplied by one shipping line.

    Asia – US/Europe shipments

    Ocean freight rates remain extremely high according to September 2021 statistics by freightos.com:

    • Asia – US prices went unchanged this week, but are still 5X their level a year ago.
    • Asia – US East Coast rates are still more than $20K/FEU.
    • Asia – Europe rates are at record levels – 8X this time last year

    World Container Index

    Drewry’s composite World Container Index increased 1.7% or $170 to $9,987.27 per 40ft container (as of 2 Sep 2021).

    According to Drewry:

    • The composite index increased 1.7% or $170 this week, and also, remains 344% higher than a year ago.
    • The average composite index of the WCI, assessed by Drewry year-to-date, is $6,598 per 40ft container, which is $4,304 higher than the five-year average of $2,294 per 40ft container.

    Other factors

    Other issues, such as congestion at ports, sailing delays, capacity imbalances (especially from Asia), and delays in inland transport are likely to keep container freight rates high.

    We understand the frustration this situation creates. As a moving company, we are ‘at the mercy’ of shipping lines and have to contend with escalating shipping costs. But as your moving partner, we assure you that we’re doing our best to deliver the services that we’ve agreed upon at the most competitive prices. Let us work with you to help make your move across countries as smooth and stress-free as possible.

    Contact us for more information.



    Sep 13, 2023 by GAC

    GCC AEO Certification adds new dimension to GAC International Moving excellence

    To keep pace with change in the rapidly evolving relocation industry, GAC’s International Moving offices in Dubai, UAE,...
    Aug 12, 2020 by GAC

    How to move to the UK from the UAE

    The time to pack up and move is finally upon you. Whilst the soaring temperatures, little people at home, and endless...