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If you are moving to another country and wondering how to send household items abroad, the biggest obstacle that you are likely to encounter is how your household items will get there in one go.

Hiring movers might seem like an obvious choice, as this is how you would move your stuff if you were moving inland. However, some companies focus exclusively on overseas transportation.

Movers vs. Freight Forwarders

Many people may feel at first that hiring movers will be the best choice for international transportation of their household items. 

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However, this is not the case! Regular movers do not understand the different dynamics and policies of international shipping, like international shipping companies and freight forwarders, do.

Although a moving company may provide packaging, warehousing, and loading services, they are often unable to give you the best rate for international shipping for various reasons.

Firstly, international shipping companies often have annual service contracts with sea freight forwarders and can pass the savings on to you! A moving company that does not regularly carry out international shipping will have to pay the full rate of the shipping cost from the carrier for the container.

It is like choosing between paying retail or wholesale prices!

Hiring a Freight Forwarder

Now that you are aware of the difference between a mover and a freight forwarder with regards to international shipping. Here are things to consider when exploring an international freight forwarder to help you move:

  • Does your freight forwarder offer delivery of household goods and vehicles? Not many offer this service, so do your research!
  • Prepare a packing list and checklist in advance to help you move. Enter the names and addresses of departure and destination points, as well as information about each item of furniture such as length, width, height, and value.
  • Get cargo insurance.
  • If you are transporting household items, provide the forwarder with the number of bedrooms in the house, and indicate if they are heavy or lightly furnished. That will help you determine the size of the sea container you will need.
  • Determine the amount of service you will need. Will you need packaging on-site or at home? Will you load, lock, and secure the shipment yourself?
  • What conditions of transport do you need? DDP, DDU, C&F destination port, CIF destination port. Your freight forwarder will help you make this decision. 

The International Shipping Process

Only a few international freight forwarders such as SDC International Shipping will provide you with a full range of services. The company works directly with shippers to establish the best mode of transport as well as proper packaging to keep your belongings safe and secure.

Full disclosure and pricing are provided to you before booking. That is particularly important when transporting household items, as it can be challenging to determine precisely how much you have until you begin the packing and loading process. 

They offer delivery regardless of whether the container is full or half empty. 

Packaging done by the shippers is subject to restrictions on cargo insurance. They can provide full coverage for losses, also called FPA. However, partial damages are not covered. It is recommended to use a certified professional packer, which will ensure reliable and proper packing of your belongings.

You might also like: Interview With Entrepreneur And Founder of Omni Shipping Services, Lawrence Depace

Full Container Shipments: What to Expect

Containers are delivered on a trailer that is attached to a truck and stands 4 feet from the ground. That requires the container to be lowered to the ground when loading items. 

We use an exceptional container placement service to ensure that your items are loaded into the container as conveniently as possible. This service can be quoted separately as soon as the work address is known.

Most container packing is done on a live loading basis, where the driver is on standby for one or two hours for free, and then charges around $85.00 for extra hours. You can also choose to drop and pull, where the container on the trailer can be unattached and reattached up to 3 days later.

Less than A Container Load (LCL) Shipments: What to Expect

For consignments that are smaller than containerized cargo, each batch must be packed in boxes or a crate. We strongly recommend that you send the boxes on a heat-treated pallet (HT stamp). HT pallets are usually available directly from your international shipping company.

Airfreight can also be stacked on pallets. The advantage here is that the forklift moves the entire pallet. That prevents each box from being manually loaded. 

The disadvantage of using a pallet is that it adds volume as well as weight. Depending on how you pack it, the added bulk can be noticeable.

Airlines calculate the volume weight based on length, width, and height. The freight bill will reflect the exact weight and dimensions specified on your bill of lading (legal document). 

You might want to check out: Moving Tips & Tricks 

Customs Inspections

If you deal with the U.S. or foreign customs agents, it may be required for you to pass a test. 

They cannot be quoted because they are random questions, and are assessed according to the inspection you have conducted. 

Some countries offer a free shipping certificate to help speed up the customs clearance process for your shipments. 

Warehouse services and delivery abroad are essential components of your shipment. We recommend that shippers always keep in touch with their customs clearance and delivery agents.

To sum it up

Finally, if you are going to move abroad, start the packing process early, so that you know the volume of household items you have. A professional international Shipper will also be able to see the size of your shipment. 

Also, they will provide you with the best delivery option and of course, deliver everything you need for your new home as quickly and efficiently as possible!