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What Items are Prohibited in Shipping Containers?

What Items are Prohibited in Shipping Containers?

Knowing what items are prohibited in international shipping containers is one of the best ways you can insure that you and your belongings all arrive to your destination as quickly and stress-free as possible. Often times things that we would never guess would be prohibited are just that- and with the current state of high alert across the globe, the best defense is to know all of the rules and prepare accordingly

What Items are Prohibited in Shipping Containers?

1.) Batteries

prohibited in shipping container batteries

Batteries are one of those items that most people don’t stop to think about, especially in the middle of handling such a stressful situation as moving. Batteries, of all kinds, are strictly prohibited on shipping containers. Why? There is a risk of fire, and also the risk that the toxic chemicals inside of these batteries could leak out. And its a risk that international moving companies won’t take. If you don’t remember to remove your batteries out of your remotes, electronics, and other household items, you run the risk of your departure, or the departure of your belongings being delayed or even cancelled!

 2,) Plants, Soils, Plant Oils, Nuts, Seeds

prohibited in shipping containers

It seems  harmless, but in all reality, bringing non native plants, seeds or fruit is dangerous to the existing plant life. Plants can carry certain perisites, or germs that can destroy crops, leave people hungry and even push the native plant species to extinction. It may seem like over reaction, but the consequences can be very real!


3.) House Hold Cleaners, or Solvents

prohibited on shipping containers house cleaners

It is an easy mistake to make, but forgetting to leave these chemicals behind  poses a potential fire threat if spilled, and the caustic chemicals can really damage anything around them if one was to some house .


4.) Aerosols

prophibited in shipping containers aerosol

Yes- that includes hairspray! The fluctuating temperatures and pressures turn these house hold items into potential lethal accidents.Every aerosol’s contents share the trait of being extremely flammable. Do yourself a favor and leave these at home!

5.) Firearms and Ammunition

prohibited in cargo ships firearm


Most countries have strict laws governing how firearms are moved across borders, To find out if/how you could transport a firearm, contact your local customs office

6.) Fireworks

prohibited item fireworks

As fun as they are- fire works pose an obvious fire hazard,  and are not permitted on shipping containers, internationally or otherwise.

These next items aren’t specifically prohibited in shipping containers, but are strongly discouraged, and should be left behind to avoid any complications!

7.) Passport and Other Important Documents



Keeping your personal information safe is always important. Although there shouldnt be too many people touching the contents of your shipping container, with customs checks, and other regulatory efforts, you never know who may have access to your belongings. Better safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your personal information.


8.) Jewelry

shouldnt pack

Many people try to stash valuable jewelry inside their shipping containers- and some times these people arrive at their destination only to find their precious jewelry missing. It is much better to keep items like these on your person during an international move.


9.) Perishable Food Items

fresh food_1


Self explanatory, right? Food will rot in your shipping container, and you don’t want that.


10.) Laptops and Other Electronics

prohibited item electronics


We aren’t talking about big screen TVs here- we mean easy to carry away items like iphones, laptops, cameras etc. Sometimes these small electronics can be a snag during customs or other security screening procedures. It is better avoid putting any small personal electronics into your shipping container.


Just Remember-

Think smart, plan ahead, and assume that international shipping containers will have roughly the same regulations regarding prohibited items as an airport would. For your own safety, and sanity, it is best to avoid packing any of these items which are prohibited in  shipping containers.  If you have a specific question about an item, reach out to your local governmental agency. Better safe than sorry!


Author: Admin
Published: 3/29/2016


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