Door-to-Door Household & Vehicles Moving: A Case Study


We’ve just completed a move for a customer from Dallas, TX to Guatemala City. The shipment consisted of an automobile, a motorcycle plus some household goods and personal items. This international relocation job delivered a few challenges that we had to deal with:

* The move was due to the job relocation and the employer was paying the whole bill. They requested that customer doesn’t have any out of pocket expenses. Customer wanted to drop off his vehicles and household goods at an export loading warehouse in Dallas, TX and then pick them up from the warehouse in Guatemala City.

* First challenge was to find an export packing warehouse in Dallas that was experienced in loading vehicles. Most of the warehouses that we use for automobiles loading are located near the major ocean ports. While Dallas has a lot of general cargo warehouses – finding the one that had the knowledge how to properly secure vehicles inside the ocean container took some time.

* Second challenge was to find a reliable company in Guatemala City that can provide professional unloading services and customs clearance. Since USA – International Shipping is a member of a large network of international freight forwarders this task wasn’t too complicated. When providing destination service in a foreign country having a reliable shipping agent is very crucial.

* Another issue we had to deal with was right at the time of delivery of the vehicles to the warehouse in Dallas. It is a requirement of all ocean vessel carriers that when shipping vehicles inside the container the gas must be drained and batteries disconnected. This requirement prevents the vehicles from being considered as “Hazardous Cargo”. We always inform our customers about this rule. The car was delivered by customer with more a quarter of gas in the tank. The receiving clerk at the warehouse advised us that the car needs to be taken to the dealership and have them professionally remove the fuel and clean the tank (and incur $500 extra charge). There’s a much simpler way to do it: the automobile can just be left running until it runs out of fuel and stalls. This is sufficient to comply with the requirement of the ocean vessel operators.

* Another issue was with the documents. According to US Customs rules an original vehicle title must be presented for vehicle export clearance. Our customer was still paying his bank loan so naturally his bank was holding the original title. Usually in this situation the bank must provide the Letter of Authorization to export the vehicle plus a Notarized copy of the title. However, when the documents were submitted to US Customs – they said it wasn’t enough. They needed to have the document from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles stating that the title information matches their records. Basically, US Customs wanted a proof from a government agency stating that the original cannot be provided but the copy of the title is valid. This task required lots of phone calls and e-mail exchanges but we managed to get the documents cleared with Customs office just before the vessel departure.

* The last challenge would be to clear the shipment with the Customs in Guatemala upon the container arrival, pay the assessed import duties and fees and make the vehicle and household goods available for the pick up by the customer.

Relocating from USA to another country can be very stressful and challenging. Employing the help of a professional international shipping company such as USA – International Shipping can save a lot of time and headache but make sure you allow plenty of time to prepare for your move and follow the instructions supplied by your overseas shipper.

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