Moving Household Goods Overseas in Shipping Containers

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A lot of people ask our international moving company to design an overseas move that would fit their budget. While there are numerous worldwide movers offering “full service” relocation, many families find their services quite expensive (it’s not uncommon to see a moving bill for over $10,000). For those on a limited budget and who don’t mind to do some work themselves – “self-pack” overseas moving might be the best option.

Here’s a brief description of this process and how our overseas moving company usually helps people to relocate to another country.

1. Start your preparation early. I’d suggest to start making arrangements at least one month prior to your move. Check on the import regulations of the country you’re moving to see what items you can and can’t bring. Pay a special attention to the importation of motor vehicles. (We maintain a database on Customs regulations throughout the world – so send us a quick note and we’ll forward it to you.)

2. Request the container moving quotes from international moving companies. Containers come in 2 sizes: 20′ shipping container (20′ x 8′ x 8′) and 40′ shipping container (40′ x 8′ x 8′). If you don’t have too much furniture – a 20′ shipping container will suffice for you household goods overseas move. Get everything packed, boxed and prepared for the loading day.

3. Book the container delivery to your home or apartment complex. Some cities may require permits for having the container parked on the street next your house. Please, check with your city hall if it applies to you. Now, when the ocean container arrives to your door you have 2 options: you can do a “live load” which means that the truck driver will be waiting until you pack the container. Trucking companies usually offer first 2 hours for free but start charging extra after 2 hours. You can also opt to have the “drop & pull” option which means that the shipping container will be left at your house and you’ll have 2-4 days to pack it. This is OK if you reside within a large metro area. However, if you live quite far away then “drop & pull” option will cost you more money because the trucking company will have to make 2 long trips to your home.

4. Loading the container with your furniture and household goods. As you can see the shipping container sits on the chassis (wheels frame) about 4 feet above the ground. It cannot be lowered onto the ground and there are no ramps that come with ocean containers. So you’ll need to figure out the way to load the heavy stuff in. You can rent a ramp or use a bunch of large wooden boards or pallets. Remember that loading the container is your responsibility (truck driver won’t be assisting you). If you have strong friends or neighbors – get them involved! You can also hire a couple of guys from a local moving company to help pack the container. Keep an itemized list of all your household goods.

5. Once the container is loaded for overseas shipping our international shipping company will proceed with moving it to the port of export, getting it loaded on the container ship and delivering to your destination overseas. At this time we recommend getting the marine insurance coverage for your container with household goods. You will receive the ocean bill of lading (this is the official transport document) and certificate of moving insurance from our company.

6. Once the container arrives to the port overseas we’ll put you in touch with a local shipping agent to help you with the customs clearance and delivery. Once again you can arrange for the container to be unloaded at the port and then hire a moving company to deliver your household goods and furniture to your new home. Or (as with loading) you can arrange for the ocean container to be delivered to your door and unpack it by your means.

While this type of overseas moving service requires more work from your side, it can cut down the cost of international moving by more than 50%. If you’re interested in utilizing “self-pack” overseas relocation service – please, use the contact form on this page to send us a request.

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