International Moving Costs
SDC International Shipping sends containers for hundreds of clients to destinations around the world each year. Naturally, one of the first questions that arise with all new customers is “how much will my relocation cost”.
You have decided to move from the United States to another country. Many people are moving for work, for family, for a radical life change or to retire. Whatever the reason, you need to check how much international moving service costs will be.
International Moving Costs
There are myriad moving services available to people relocating from one country to another. They all cost money, and you will need to decide which services to contract with professional and what can do yourself. What services should be contacted at the point of origin and which are best done at your destination?
Almost Mandatory International Moving Services
The most critical part of your shipment will be the ocean shipment from one continent to another. However, while this is usually the biggest component of your international moving services costs, it will usually account for only a portion of the services.
Door to Door Delivery Service
There is a service known as “port to port” which includes only the sea shipping portion. Beware never to use the port to port service unless you are an experienced commercial shipper with standing contracts at your destination port.
Otherwise, you’ll find that your international moving services costs will be far greater than having ordered door to door service, as you will have to find agents on both sides who will charge. Known in the international moving business as port sharks, they will attract you with a cheap advertisement on the internet, with ridiculous fees like “$60 Customs Clearance”, only later to find out about additional charges like inspection fees, agency fees, bank fees, storage fees, an additional fee for handing over your goods can even be charged in some locations, and this is all legal. Please see our International Moving Quotes page for a better understanding of this.
If you are planning a residential move, make sure to order our door delivery service. With this service, all delivery charges will be included in the quote that your relocation advisor will send to you.
Door delivery service also includes the removal of debris from your move while the movers are still there. Furniture will be unwrapped and placed in rooms and any boxes that have been emptied while the movers are still there will be removed by our delivery crew.
Another service that we highly recommend to all residential relocation clients is the loading service. If you are sending a full container load, there is the possibility to load the container yourself. For some people, this is seen as a cost saver. For most of our clients, this will only be appropriate if you are moving your things from a private storage facility with a special loading dock for trucks. In this case, the truck with your container can pull up, you can load it, and we can send it.
It is important to understand that containers come on trucks and that the floor of the container is usually about 52 inches above the ground. Container trailers do not come equipped with ramps or lifts. Our movers are trained professionals, they know to load the container at this height. Especially difficult for the client will be loading furniture on to the container. Typically at least four able-bodied people will be necessary for several hours of hard work, and you should expect some damage to furniture when loading a container by yourself.
When you load your container yourself, it is extremely important that you create your shipping inventory list. Boxes must be numbered and their contents must be detailed. This list is an important document that will be used several times, both when loading the ship and for customs clearance at the destination port. A poorly created inventory list commonly triggers manual inspection of containers. These inspections are costly, and will likely cost you more money than the loading service would have.
Included with the cost of the loading service is the wrapping and disassembly of furniture.
Automobile or Motorcycle Shipping
There are too many administrative and legal tasks to perform in order to export a licensed vehicle. You can put a vehicle in a container that you pack yourself, but we will still need to do all of the paperwork for you. We do not recommend this.
Optional International Shipping Services
There are some services that are highly recommended, but some of our clients choose to forgo.
Packing for international shipping is a service that we recommend for most of our residential clients. Outside of the convenience of having professionals do all of the hard work in your place, the packing service for international relocations also better protect your household goods and personal effects.
When you order packing service, included with the service are new packing boxes and materials. If you pack yourself, make sure to purchase new boxes, don’t fall into the trap of saving a few dollars by using boxes that you find at the supermarket or the superstore. These boxes were created for specific purposes and international moving isn’t one of them.
Our movers will bring along specially made boxes for things like bicycles, kitchen utensils, dishes, and framed artwork and mirrors.
Something important to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to order packing service for your international move is damage insurance. You can only purchase damage insurance if your shipment is professionally packed.
Another popular optional service for international moves is insurance. Insurance is not mandatory.
There are two types of insurance available: for total loss and for damage. Believe it or not, containers actually get lost or fall off of ships. While it isn’t that common, it happens. More common is when there is damage to a container because of poor placement, bad weather conditions, mishandling at the port, etc.
Our movers are professionals who will do their best to prevent damage to your cargo. Do not expect damage to your belongings when they are under our supervision, but damage can happen during all stages of the move.
The cost of shipping insurance depends on the value of your shipment.
Many of our clients require storage of all or a portion of their things. SDC International Shipping offers its international relocation clients a one-month complimentary storage if needed. Your relocation specialist will work with you to plan your move to minimize the cost of storage.
International Moving Services Costs Best Avoided
People moving to new countries often have a lot of understandable anxiety. There are services available that SDC International Shipping feels are best done yourself or once you settle into your new home. These services include personal services to help you find a place to live, a job, schools for your kids, rental furniture, etc. Other services include helping you with administrative tasks like getting a local ID number or the local equivalent of a social security number, getting you set up with a bank and credit cards, local health insurance coverage, translations, and other necessary tasks.
There are often expat organizations that can help you out with these tasks for little to no cost. We recommend trying them first, or asking local friends or family. You can also find local concierge services that help with these things, sometimes at far lower costs.