International Movers and Packers
Packing and Loading for an International Move – Everything You Need to Know
Moving from one country to another includes many steps and, unfortunately, opportunities for damage. Let SDC International Shipping do the packing for you.
Is your family moving from the United States to another country? If so, you are probably researching the process of relocating your family. SDC International Shipping is an international moving company that specializes in the relocation of residential clients from the USA to countries all over the world.
An international move involves many aspects. Clients usually call us once they have already arranged for a place to live in a new country, but not always. Those who plan early will find that they will both save money and have an easier job of the entire relocation process.
There are a lot of steps that SDC International Shipping’s team will either help you with or do for you. For instance, if you will be sending a car or other registered vehicle in your shipping container, we will take the steps to legally clear them for export. On the other side of the ocean, SDC International Shipping will engage a licensed tax agent for the clearance through customs of your cargo.
There are some things that SDC International Shipping can’t do for you, and you must do for yourself, the most important and immediate of which will be establishing your legal status in the country you are moving to. Both returning citizens and new immigrants to most countries will need to visit a consulate of their destination nation at least once prior to moving there. As this status typically is what enables the client to import their container without paying import duties, it is imperative that it be done early. If you are a returning citizen with changes in your personal status, such as marriage, divorce, or children born, this also usually needs to be done prior to moving.
Why You Need International Moving Professionals
Each family will have to deal with their personal list of things to do. These include downsizing and buying things that they will want to take with them when they move overseas, renting or selling your house in the United States and renting or buying one in your new country, dealing with utilities, banks, schools and more. Usually one family member is moving with a job in hand, but jobs need to be arranged for spouses.
There will be many tasks for you to do as you prepare to leave the country that the last thing you should be worrying about is packing. Packing your household for permanent or temporary relocation is far different than packing for an extended trip, or even a domestic relocation. There are international shipping regulations that need to be met, and if you don’t pack properly, delivery of your cargo might be delayed in customs. Our logistics staff will inform you of the local regulations, but you have to follow them. Make sure, for instance, that you don’t include something that is prohibited to send to your destination country. A manual inspection of the shipment at customs clearance is costly and can be triggered by such things, and can also delay the delivery of your shipment.
One of the tasks of our moving professionals is to prepare an itemized moving inventory for you. When we load your things on to your moving container, each item will be numbered and registered. The preparation of this list is very important, as it becomes an appendix to the legal documents that will be used for customs clearance at the port of entry. For most countries it is not necessary to translate this document into their local language, but in a few countries you should translate the inventory if you can.
Packing for an International Move
Packing for an international move is far from trivial, and far more complex than packing for a domestic move. If you have moved from one city to another in the past, you have probably packed your house for removal. However, if you are moving from one country to another, the chances of your things becoming damaged increase exponentially.
The shipping container is a marvel of modern technology. Arguably, it is one of the most important innovations of the past century. The intermodal shipping container is what has enabled the affordable and efficient transfer of goods from one country to another. They have literally reshaped the earth, as canals have been widened and ports deepened to accommodate even larger shipping vessels built especially to utilize the shipping containers’ special features like the ability to create large stacks and automate their transfer.
The container allows us to offer international moving services anywhere in the United States. Even if you live far away from a sea port, we can send the same container to your home in the USA that will traverse the oceans and eventually arrive in most cases at your destination address. There are some countries that do not allow for containers to leave the port and always transfer your belongings to moving vans for delivery.
However, along with the many advantages the container has brought, it also brings many challenges. Your international shipping container may maybe transferred from truck to ship (and in some cases also on trains), on occasion transferred from ship to ship, and in many destinations your cargo transferred to moving vans. While on the ship, the container may be shifted from location to location several times while the ship moves from port to port.
The main ramification for your personal cargo is that it needs to be properly packed. When your things are packed, SDC International movers take the greatest care to prevent damage to your belongings throughout the journey. It’s not enough to put your things in a box and wrap them with clothes. For some locations, this is actually restricted and moving cartons can only hold one type of cargo each. When you send clothes or linens, you can send them however you like.
But when you send dishes, you need to use a special dish box and when you send a bicycle you should use a special bicycle box. The same will be true for your framed art and mirrors, screens and other items, they all need custom boxes to protect them on the long journey. Luckily for you, when you order SDC International Shipping’s packing service for your international move, these boxes are not only provided for you, they are also packed for you.
A lot of people also try to cut corners and reuse boxes that they have taken from supermarkets or from large retail stores. This is understandable as the cost of the shipping materials can add up quickly. However, there are very good reasons not to. First of all is that you don’t know where these cartons came from or what was in them previously. There is a good chance that they will not be appropriate for an international move. All shipping materials must conform to international regulations.
For the most part, the main concern will be for wood packaging materials, but carton can also be problematic. In addition, supermarket cartons are uneven in their shape, sized individually for the products that shipped in them. When loaded on to the shipping container, precious space might be wasted. When our movers prepare pack your household, they will use only a few different sizes of boxes that fit together well as to maximize your container size.
The maximum capacity of a twenty foot container is 1160 cubic feet. For a forty foot container it is 2300 cubic feet. When our movers pack and load your container, we can get very close to this maximum potential usage. When we load a home packed by our professional international movers and packers this isn’t a problem, but when we load a household packed in odd sized boxes, expect to be able to utilize far less. Our sales agents prefer to tell clients that there is 1000 cubic feet of shipping volume, but as our experience has taught us, even this will only be achievable when we pack.
Packing materials can also be expensive. Just the boxes will cost a few hundred dollars. There is also the cost of moving blankets, bubble wrap, carton sheets, tape, retaining straps, oversized rubber bands and more. Don’t be shocked if in the end you figure out that the difference in price between packing yourself and letting professionals do it is minimal.
One more additional consideration when ordering professional packing service is balancing your container. For the most part, this is not a major concern when moving residential cargo. However, many of our clients choose to send automobiles or motorcycles in their containers. These can be heavy and require that we plan the container accordingly.
Whatever you do decide about packing, do not try to load a container yourself, we highly advise against this. We send a team of three or more professionals to load your container, which is on a truck chassis five and a half feet above the ground. Unless you have done this yourself several times, do not risk it.
Car and Motorcycle Shipping
Do you plan on sending an automobile to your new country? For many of our clients, taking their vehicle with them is a great opportunity not to be missed. The savings between the cost of a car in the USA and the cost in another country at times is greater than the cost of the entire move. The best way to send a car to most destinations is within your shipping container. When comparing the costs, keep in mind that if you are sending an entire household, you will probably need a 40’ container. Typically, the full price of sending a 40’ container is about 50% more than sending a 20’ container.
Our international movers and packers are trained at preparing cars and motorcycles for shipment overseas. Cars are emptied of all fluids, the battery is disconnected and the car should be empty. When we send motorcycles, we usually crate them and then fasten them to the side of the container. When any licensed vehicle is sent in a container, it is the last thing that is loaded into it. This is done so that when the container arrives at the port of entry, the car can be easily removed and delivered to a licensing or inspection facility that is located near most ports.
When you send a private container, it is sealed and locked. For most locations you can expect to see the same seal on your container when it arrives, unless there was a manual inspection done on your container (about 1 in 20 containers are randomly inspected in general). If you send a vehicle, however, do not expect to see it sealed. It is standard to have the car owner physically present for customs clearance.
You don’t have to pack early. In fact, so far as the physical move itself is concerned, the only thing that you need to early is order your moving service from SDC International Shipping. We will bring along all of the cartons, packing and packaging materials necessary for your move.
There are many reasons to plan for your trip early. One of the big advantages is that you might have the opportunity to visit your destination an additional time before moving. Another good reason to start your planning early is to help you enjoy the tax holiday that most of our clients enjoy when they move abroad. There are many great things that you might want to send to your new home from the United States, things that aren’t commonly available or are only available at inferior quality or much higher prices. However, the tax holiday usually only counts for things that you have owned for at least six months, and you might be liable to pay hefty taxes in your destination. In Europe, for example, most countries have around 20% VAT. (There are a few countries that don’t offer tax holidays to returning citizens, but they typically have low tax regimes so you should go ahead and send whatever you like.)
Some examples of the types of things that you might want to purchase especially to send abroad include bedroom furniture, outdoor playsets if you are moving with children and will have a garden, and sports equipment that won’t be available across the ocean.