Use containers and get paid for it. Or cash in higher pick-up charges for your containers. We’ve dug into our data at xChange and found the ten most profitable routes on our site – for users of SOC containers as well as container suppliers.

Jump directly to see the routes

“Which stretches are the most profitable for me?”

This is a question you’ve most likely asked yourself. Regardless of whether you supply containers, or you use containers to ship commodities.

You might also have wondered what the average pick-up charges actually are on xChange on different routes. Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you’re settling close to the numbers other firms also agree to.

At Container xChange we not only want to improve the flexibility in the industry. We also want to add transparency to container logistics. We’ve, therefore, decided to figure out which routes are the most profitable for freight forwarders as well as for providers of containers on our site.

Container availability affects charges

Pick-up charges are a good incitement for choosing a location for your containers or where to ship your freight from.

These charges vary depending on the situation in the shipping industry. One of the factors is container availability. Sometimes it makes sense to have containers in Antwerp, other times it makes sense to have them in Hamburg. But it can be difficult for you to be ahead of the game and predict the flow of containers.

With Container xChange’s Container Availability Index (CAx) you can type in the port you’re interested in and see a forecast of the availability of containers. This can help you make better repositioning of containers as well as make better-informed trading decisions.

The availability of containers can mean the difference from making you money to costing you.


Would you also like more transparency and flexibility when dealing with container shipping? Then click on the banner below and schedule a demo! We will show you what xChange can do for you.

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The numbers, in short

Before we get to the lists, here are a few practical details about the numbers.

The pick-up charges in our lists are averages of the charges that have been paid for the different routes on the online xChange platform. The averages are made from data as of the 1st of January 2018 until the 2nd of April 2020.

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, there haven’t been any noticeable changes in the level of the pick-up charges at xChange.

So now, let’s have a look at our top ten lists of the most profitable routes!

Top 10 most profitable routes for container traders

Here, you can get an overview of the most profitable stretches for container suppliers. You might also get an idea of new locations for your containers. Places, where freight forwarders and other companies pay the most for using one-way containers.

  Pick-up location Drop off location Average pick-up charge per container
1. Guangzhou, Shenzen, Shanghai Warsaw 875 USD, 820 USD, 744 USD
2. Tianjin, Ningbo, Qingdao Warsaw 750 USD, 730 USD, 725 USD
3. Shenzen Duisburg 716,7 USD
4. Shenzen Budapest 675 USD
5. Shanghai Duisburg 633,3 USD
6. Ningbo Duisburg 625 USD
7. Shanghai Gothenburg 625 USD
8. Shanghai Budapest 575 USD
9. Shanghai Antwerp 550 USD
10. Incheon Warsaw 505 USD


Top 10 most profitable routes for freight forwarders & NVOs

This is the list for you, who need containers to ship commodities – and wouldn’t mind being paid to move containers. Below, you can find the routes where container suppliers have paid the most to have their containers shipped to and from.

  Pick-up location Drop off location Pick-up charge per container
1. Bandar Abbas Mundra 285 USD
2. Bandar Abbas Karachi 271,7 USD
3. Antwerp Shanghai 225 USD
4. Rotterdam Xiamen 202,5 USD
5. Rotterdam Qingdao 201,9 USD
6. Los Angeles, CA Antwerp 200 USD
7. Rotterdam Shanghai 189,2 USD
8. Rotterdam Tianjin 188,2 USD
9. Rotterdam Dalian 186,7 USD
10. Rotterdam Ningo 180 USD


Why pick-up charges vary – from surplus to deficit

Whether the user or supplier of containers is going to pay the pick-up charges depends on the stretch the container will be used for.

Let’s use the most profitable stretch for container users here on xChange as an example.

The route; Bandar Abbas, Iran, to Mundra, India.

Here, the container supplier pays the user 285 USD to move the container.

Bandar Abbas is a surplus location. Which means that there are more containers than needed. Container suppliers are therefore willing to pay freight forwarders, or similar, to move their containers to a deficit location. Such as Mundra.

Mundra has a high export with a lower import. This creates a deficit of containers. So, when the container arrives in Mundra, the container supplier will be the party charging pick-up charges on routes from Mundra. Thus, making money on the transfer.

If you’re not yet a user at xChange, I hope we’ve piqued your interest! On our online platform, all you need to do is type in the location and destination of your cargo. You will within minutes find containers from verified businesses, that are ready to transport your freight.

Click on the banner below and request a demo to see what we can do for you!