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Moving to BC - recommendations on shipping 16 ft container from Ontario to BC.

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  • Feb 23rd, 2022 7:00 pm
[OP]
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Jun 28, 2011
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Oakville

Moving to BC - recommendations on shipping 16 ft container from Ontario to BC.

My family and I (3 folks) are planning on moving to Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC sometime next year (very likely April to May).

We will sell all our big stuff - furniture etc. We will take Kitchen utensils/dishes/cutlery etc, clothes, gym equipment (weights, treadmill), 2 road bikes and maybe one TV (70 inch).

After doing some research, it appears that the "less" expensive solution to hiring a moving company ($10K at least) is to rent a container from a company such as https://pupscontainers.com/en . They drop off a 16 ft container at your home. You can then pack your stuff in it and then they come back and pick it up and ship it to your destination (in my case Victoria, BC) and then drop it off at your new place or store it at their location (if you don't have a place by the time the container gets there).

So the rental of the container for a 4 week period as an example plus the shipping to BC is a whopping $6.5K. Not much less than hiring a moving company to move all of your crap (4 bedroom house and all the furniture etc).

Are there any other options that are cheaper than this?

We'll be driving (taking the one car we have) across Canada on the TransCanada highway and doing a lot of sightseeing along the way - so we will only have our clothes etc in the car.

Towing a trailer is out of the question as I have absolutely zero interest in doing that on a sightseeing trip that will take at least a week.  Too much hassle.
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Dec 18, 2007
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I've been sort of looking into this myself, but from what I've seen renting a truck (uhaul) is the cheapest option.
I've seen they do offer a container on their website, but I've not really looked into it, but they do offer it.

I think what's driving up the price for you is that it's a month. I plan on taking most of my stuff with me in a smaller 10ft trailer and doing the trip over 10-12 days but to Vancouver.
Maybe try cutting off a few days and see if it makes a difference?

In my case though, I'll have to make a 2nd trip back out west for my vehicle, but am hoping the borders will be open and will cut through the US for most of the trip.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 28, 2011
168 posts
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Oakville
IceBlueShoes wrote: I've been sort of looking into this myself, but from what I've seen renting a truck (uhaul) is the cheapest option.
I've seen they do offer a container on their website, but I've not really looked into it, but they do offer it.

I think what's driving up the price for you is that it's a month. I plan on taking most of my stuff with me in a smaller 10ft trailer and doing the trip over 10-12 days but to Vancouver.
Maybe try cutting off a few days and see if it makes a difference?

In my case though, I'll have to make a 2nd trip back out west for my vehicle, but am hoping the borders will be open and will cut through the US for most of the trip.
The 4 week rental is actually only $209+tax. See quote below.
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Jul 7, 2017
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Check around. Movers are $$$$ ($10k sounds cheap). Could try BigSteelBox among others.

Getting whatever you want to Vancouver Island has the added expense of one more transfer (or at least an expensive transfer of railhead or whatever to truck to ferry to Vancouver Island and return to railhead.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
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Dec 18, 2007
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hameed wrote: The 4 week rental is actually only $209+tax. See quote below.
Ouch. That transport hurts.
The U-haul/u-box option might be something to consider.

What's wild is that the price Victoria vs. Vancouver is double! About an extra $4k. (i put in 4 boxes but maybe you'll need less) For that price, it's MUCH cheaper to store it in a locker in Vancouver, rent a truck/ cargo van (depending on how much you have) and take care of the last bit yourself.
Even if there was surcharge for leaving the rental on Van Isle, there's no way it'll be close.

I'd imagine it might even be less if you rented a travel trailer for the last bit (from Vancouver to Victoria) and even more so if you returned the trailer in Vancouver.
At that point it becomes a time vs. money decision. Sounds like a pain, but to save $2-3k, I think is worth it.
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Oct 5, 2008
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a certain poster here will suggest towing the storage container with his Tesla Model 3....maybe he's for hire?

Face With Tears Of Joy

Good luck!
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 28, 2011
168 posts
15 upvotes
Oakville
IceBlueShoes wrote: Ouch. That transport hurts.
The U-haul/u-box option might be something to consider.

What's wild is that the price Victoria vs. Vancouver is double! About an extra $4k. (i put in 4 boxes but maybe you'll need less) For that price, it's MUCH cheaper to store it in a locker in Vancouver, rent a truck/ cargo van (depending on how much you have) and take care of the last bit yourself.
Even if there was surcharge for leaving the rental on Van Isle, there's no way it'll be close.

I'd imagine it might even be less if you rented a travel trailer for the last bit (from Vancouver to Victoria) and even more so if you returned the trailer in Vancouver.
At that point it becomes a time vs. money decision. Sounds like a pain, but to save $2-3k, I think is worth it.
Great suggestions, I'll check that now!
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 28, 2011
168 posts
15 upvotes
Oakville
IceBlueShoes wrote: Ouch. That transport hurts.
The U-haul/u-box option might be something to consider.

What's wild is that the price Victoria vs. Vancouver is double! About an extra $4k. (i put in 4 boxes but maybe you'll need less) For that price, it's MUCH cheaper to store it in a locker in Vancouver, rent a truck/ cargo van (depending on how much you have) and take care of the last bit yourself.
Even if there was surcharge for leaving the rental on Van Isle, there's no way it'll be close.

I'd imagine it might even be less if you rented a travel trailer for the last bit (from Vancouver to Victoria) and even more so if you returned the trailer in Vancouver.
At that point it becomes a time vs. money decision. Sounds like a pain, but to save $2-3k, I think is worth it.
So the cost to ship to Vancouver instead of Nanaimo is $4.2k vs $6K. Renting a uhaul to pick up my stuff probably won't be more than $500 to $1K, however I won't have the convenience of having a container on my driveway to unload at a slower pace and I won't have to deal with any logistics of moving my stuff from Vancouver, across the ferry etc to my home.

I'm now starting to think that $6.5K plus tax for a move such as this is not so bad after all......
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Are you moving for a new job? If so, don't forget moving expenses are tax deductible so the net cost isn't quite as bad.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 28, 2011
168 posts
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Oakville
TripleQ wrote: Are you moving for a new job? If so, don't forget moving expenses are tax deductible so the net cost isn't quite as bad.
Good point, but no, not moving for a job. I will be in-between jobs when I move as in I won't have a job by either in Ontario or BC when I move in April/May 2022
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Just be aware BC Ferries charges commercial rates for U-Haul (and other logo'd rental vehicles). That could increase ferry costs if you're gong to be doing repetitive trips. Not sure how they'd charge for a rental trailer.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
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Jul 31, 2021
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Is anyone moving from Toronto to Vancouver Island towards the end of August, 2021? I'd like to share (about 1/4 of) a container or moving van. I did a huge move from Toronto to Van. Island 2 years ago and have a wealth of information to assist with your move, so that your possessions stand the best chance of arriving on time, neither damaged nor stolen AND you avoid unanticipated costs. I'll tell you why, after much due diligence, I chose not to go with Big Steel Box, but instead used the container service of a national moving company.
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Oct 14, 2017
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Will you be able to share more details? I was considering using BigSteelBox for my upcoming move from Toronto to Vancouver.
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Nov 15, 2008
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Vancouver
manash wrote: Will you be able to share more details? I was considering using BigSteelBox for my upcoming move from Toronto to Vancouver.
The poster you're probably referring to... Genome02 is it?... only posted here that one time, so likely won't return to offer an explanation.

I'm mainly chiming in to state how shocked I am at the prices being quoted for moves w/ containers w/in Canada—and not even from coast to coast! Are those prices essentially heavily inflated due to the supply chain issues? Sure as hell hope so. For context, I asked a guy moving to Florida from Germany what he paid for his 20' storage container... not purchase, shipping only, and he estimated around 5500 euros, so approx. $8000 CAD. Note this was during the summer of 2020, so costs were still probably 'normal' then. I'm looking at a move overseas next year and plan on going the 'LCL' route, and shudder to think what a third of a 20' container will cost me, but ideally less next year than now.
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seaker wrote: I'm mainly chiming in to state how shocked I am at the prices being quoted for moves w/ containers w/in Canada—and not even from coast to coast! Are those prices essentially heavily inflated due to the supply chain issues? Sure as hell hope so. For context, I asked a guy moving to Florida from Germany what he paid for his 20' storage container... not purchase, shipping only, and he estimated around 5500 euros, so approx. $8000 CAD. Note this was during the summer of 2020, so costs were still probably 'normal' then. I'm looking at a move overseas next year and plan on going the 'LCL' route, and shudder to think what a third of a 20' container will cost me, but ideally less next year than now.
You have to ask what the rates involve. The things are heavy empty (when you consider there may be up to 10 or more stacked on top, unsupported) so there are land transport costs and loading and unloading issues. Looks like a standard 20' weighs 2 long tons and can hold as much as 28 long tons. As result transportation cost are not cheap (more than moving a SUV on a truck for various reasons including the fact you can't just drive a container on to or off a truck). Figure in transportation from where you have the container to port, transport on ship, transport to final destination. I imagine $3-4/Km must be the bare minimum rate.

Right now, depending on where your stuff is going to, your issue may not be the freight rates on the ship, but rather if the shipping company will let you have the container for more than a few hours. Rates from Asia - China in particular - to North America are so high (spot rate of US $20,000 a container, not sure if that's a TEU or a 40') that the shipping companies want their containers to ship back to China, even empty, rather than wait for a full container to ship.

One way is to have your stuff on pallets ready to load (with appropriate equipment).

You can also buy yourself an used container but they have to be recertified for shipping.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
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Nov 15, 2008
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Vancouver
thriftshopper wrote: You have to ask what the rates involve. The things are heavy empty (when you consider there may be up to 10 or more stacked on top, unsupported) so there are land transport costs and loading and unloading issues. Looks like a standard 20' weighs 2 long tons and can hold as much as 28 long tons. As result transportation cost are not cheap (more than moving a SUV on a truck for various reasons including the fact you can't just drive a container on to or off a truck). Figure in transportation from where you have the container to port, transport on ship, transport to final destination. I imagine $3-4/Km must be the bare minimum rate.

Right now, depending on where your stuff is going to, your issue may not be the freight rates on the ship, but rather if the shipping company will let you have the container for more than a few hours. Rates from Asia - China in particular - to North America are so high (spot rate of US $20,000 a container, not sure if that's a TEU or a 40') that the shipping companies want their containers to ship back to China, even empty, rather than wait for a full container to ship.

One way is to have your stuff on pallets ready to load (with appropriate equipment).

You can also buy yourself an used container but they have to be recertified for shipping.
I'd be going the less than container load route, LCL, and everything has to be shipped across the country in order to sail to Europe, so an added cost right there. It's not until next year, so maybe rates will drop a bit, but I thought I'd get an estimate now at least for reference.
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seaker wrote: I'd be going the less than container load route, LCL, and everything has to be shipped across the country in order to sail to Europe, so an added cost right there. It's not until next year, so maybe rates will drop a bit, but I thought I'd get an estimate now at least for reference.
You need to add the added handling costs and the freight consolidator's profit.

I guess you have to price it out both ways (your own with a TEU vs LCL).

These are current spot rates this. The marine cost is only ~$600/Ffor North America east coast to northern Europe (but 11x the other direction!).
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
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Nov 15, 2008
446 posts
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Vancouver
thriftshopper wrote: You need to add the added handling costs and the freight consolidator's profit.

I guess you have to price it out both ways (your own with a TEU vs LCL).

These are current spot rates this. The marine cost is only ~$600/Ffor North America east coast to northern Europe (but 11x the other direction!).
Thanks for this link! I know next to nothing about international freight on this scale, but it does seem that I'm fortunate at least in going from N. America to northern Europe, as pretty much everything else is sky high. I'll take this as a further sign that a move of this scope is the right thing to do. ;)

Since the move won't be until next year, I haven't spent too much time on shipping, other than starting to pack and wondering just how much LCL space I'll need, but I did contact a company in ON for more info. One matter of concern is packing... some info I've seen online states for international moves, a professional needs to do the packing to verify contents for Customs, but this place in ON said I can pack myself. Obviously, me packing will be much cheaper, so that'd be my preference. Any thoughts on this? Also, any recommendations for companies, including who to avoid. Or methods, etc., to avoid? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Feel free to send a DM as well.

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