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Shipping Container Costs From the United Kingdom to Switzerland

Adele MacGregor

Written by

8th Sep 2022 (Last updated on 8th Sep 2022) 5 minute read

On average, it costs £967 to ship a container from to Switzerland from the UK, based on a 40ft shipping container. A container of this size holds approximately the contents of a 3-bedroom house. Air freight to Switzerland costs on average £211 per 100kg. This is based on our international removals cost research.

When shipping your items to Switzerland, you can choose from sea, air or road. Your option will depend on your budget and how quickly you need the items shipped.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Sea Freight
  2. Air Freight
  3. FCL VS LCL Shipping
  4. Other Costs to Consider
  5. How Long Does Shipping Take?
  6. Prohibited Items When Shipping to Switzerland
  7. Finding an International Removal Company to Switzerland

Sea Freight

Sea freight is a cheaper option and is also considered better for the environment. However, be aware that this takes longer than air freight so you may have to wait to receive your items.

To ship a 20ft container from the United Kingdom to Switzerland will costs £830 on average. A 40ft container will cost around £967.

Pros

  • You’ll pay for the size of the container rather than the weight
  • Cheaper than air freight
  • Motor vehicles can be transported
  • Part-load is available as a lower-cost option
  • Better for the environment

Cons

  • Likely to take longer to arrive
  • Delays are more likely
  • Less frequent than air freight

Main Ports and Routes in Switzerland

The Port of Zurich, located on the north banks of Zurich lake, functions as a container port. It handles around 10% of cargo imports to the country.

The Basel Port is Switzerland’s most important river port. It is divided into three sub-ports which are Kleinhüningen - the largest of the three Basel Ports, Port Birsfelden and Port Muttenz-Au.

Air Freight

Air freight is the quickest option for shipping items to Switzerland from the UK. The advantage of air freight is the regular and convenient flight times, security and effectiveness of the service. Keep in mind it is a more expensive option so be sure to factor this in to your cost of moving.

Pros

  • Quickest shipping option
  • Regular and convenient flight times

Cons

  • More expensive than sea freight
  • Items are charged based on weight rather than size
  • Less environmentally friendly
  • Limitations as to what you can transport

Main Airports and Routes in Switzerland

Switzerland has a total of 7 international airports, with Zurich Airport being the biggest. The second biggest and busiest airport in Switzerland is Geneva.

Other notable airports include:

  • Basel Airport
  • St Gallen Airport
  • Lugano Airport
  • Bern Airport
  • Sion Airport

Shipping via air freight to Switzerland can be done from major UK airports including London Heathrow.

FCL VS LCL Shipping

When shipping your items, you are given the option of choosing between paying from a container or opting for a part load. The cost will largely depend on how much you’re shipping, but there are other factors to keep in mind. These include:

  • Size of your items
  • Tracking
  • Insurance costs
  • Distance to destination
  • Customs and duties charges

Below we look at the key differences between FCL and LCL:

Full Container Load (FCL)

Full container load is the most popular shipping choice when moving items abroad, especially for those who are moving permanently and shipping a large amount. A full container load is where you pay for the use of an entire shipping container. This method is quicker than LCL but usually slower than air freight to Switzerland.

Less Container Load (LCL)

If the items you are shipping do not require a whole container, you can opt for Less Container Load (LCL). With this method, you pay to use a portion of a shipping container with the rest made up of other people’s belongings. This cuts the cost of shipping, but it will mean your goods will take longer to arrive at your destination.

Other Costs to Consider

When it comes to removals to Switzerland you may also need to consider:

Packing Services

On average, a packing service will cost around £250. This is based on the average UK 3-bedroom home. Be aware that these costs will vary depending on the company you opt for and the number of items being packed. Costs will also vary if you have items that require specialist packing.

Professional packers will use high-quality materials and ensure your goods are safe and secure during transit.

Pick-up and Delivery

Pick-up and delivery is another service available which could save you both time and effort during your international move. You can arrange to have your items collected and delivered from the port or airport to your new home. The cost of this service will vary depending on the country, the number of goods, and the distance travelled.

Insurance

It’s vital that you arrange insurance for your goods before your move. On average, insurance for goods being transported international will cost up to 4% of the cost of your goods. As a result, the cost of your insurance will depend on the number of items and most of all, on their value. It will also depend on the type of policy you choose and how your items are shipped.

All of our international removal partners are covered by Goods in Transit and Public Liability insurance. This means that your belongings will be completely protected during transit.

How Long Does Shipping Take?

On average, shipping via sea can take up to 7 days for FCL and up to 3 weeks for LCL on the company you ship with. Air freight also depends on the provider you use but can arrive within 2-4 days. The shipping or airport destination will also impact shipping times.

Be aware that in the wake of Brexit, shipping to countries within Europe is likely to take longer. Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, delays may still be likely.

Prohibited Items When Shipping to Switzerland

Be aware that there are a number of items which you cannot bring into Switzerland or are regulated in some way. Not only will these be confiscated but you may also face penalties for attempting to bring them into the country.

All weapons, parts of weapons, ammunition and parts of ammunition must be declared to the customs office on importation, exportation and transit.

Prohibited items include but are not limited to:

  • Automatic firearms
  • Daggers, throwing knives, butterfly and switchblade knives
  • Ivory, turtle shells and other items made from protected and endangered animals
  • Protected species (such as butterflies, seahorses and crocodiles)
  • Pillaged cultural property
  • Counterfeit goods

Finding an International Removal Company to Switzerland

Here at Compare My Move, we have a network of trusted partners ready to assist you with your move to Switzerland. We will connect you with up to 6 local companies who will offer competitive quotes. You can save up to 70% on your international removal costs.

Adele MacGregor

Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.