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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Moving Household Goods Internationally

Posted by Janet Turner on Apr 4, 2016 2:16:00 PM


Moving overseas can be a very stressful time. There are many things to consider, and one way to alleviate some of the stress is to create a checklist of things to do. Here are 10 FAQs that will get you started on the right path.

  • Who Do I Contact to Get an Estimate?

Check online for reputable international freight forwarding companies in your area. They should be a member of the IMA (International Movers Association) and the FMC (Federal Maritime Commission). Each have stringent customer service and regulatory conditions, so you know your possessions will be handled with the utmost care. Accept only an in-house survey by the mover in order to receive an accurate estimate.

  • How Binding is the Mover's Quote?

A binding estimate is a fixed price offered by the mover and cannot be escalated, as it is a legal agreement. Make sure you have the estimate in writing.

A non-binding estimate will be relatively accurate. However, changes to your shipment such as additional weight not shown to the estimator, Access difficulties at destination and or random Government inspections could create changes.

  • When Should I Start Requesting Estimates?

Assuming that you will request 3 different quotes for comparison, you should begin at least 2 months before your expected move. Movers must plan well in advance to schedule the packing and arrange overseas transportation. Remember that moving during the summer months is usually more expensive than other times of the year.

  • How Much Are the Freight Charges?

You will likely receive fixed costs for moving your goods from your residence to the loading warehouse. Domestic and foreign customs rates should also be fixed. Ocean freight charges are assessed on a weight-to-measurement ratio. Freight tonnes are calculated either by cubic measurement or by weight, whichever is higher. If your shipment weighs 2000 kgs, that's 2 freight tonnes. If the cubic meters for the same shipment is 10, then you have 10 freight tonnes. Simply multiply the ocean freight rate by the freight tonnes to determine your overall cost. If you're using an exclusive FCL container, the price will be fixed. However, you should be aware of any surcharges applicable.

  • What Am I Responsible for Prior to Export?

You should have a complete written inventory of all contents of your household goods along with photos that reflect their condition. These are required for customs and insurance purposes. Additionally, copies of all family members' passports, visas and work permits are required by your international freight forwarding company.

  • Do I Have to Pay Foreign Customs Duties and Taxes?

Most countries allow the importation of personal effects with little or no duties and taxes. Some vehicles may be undesirable in some countries, and duties and taxes could be assessed at a high rate as a deterrent. Check with the consulate or your international household goods mover for more information.

  • Are My Goods Automatically Insured?

It's recommended that you obtain marine cargo insurance to cover unexpected loss or damage. This can be arranged by your freight forwarder. Full replacement coverage is the ideal policy and is economical, usually no more than 3-5% of the value of your goods.

  • How Do I Obtain My Belongings at Destination?

Your freight forwarder will have a receiving agent located at the port of discharge in your new country. They will assist with customs clearance and arrange delivery to the final destination. Obtain contact details prior to your personal departure.

  • Do I Have to Be Present When My Goods Arrive at Destination?

It's highly recommended that you enter the country prior to the estimated time of arrival of your goods. Many countries demand that you customs clear your goods in person with your passport and any other required documentation. On arrival, your goods will be kept in a transit warehouse or storage yard that offers 5-7 days of free time. If your goods are there longer, storage charges will be incurred at a high rate.

  • Can I Bring My Pets?

Countries have different regulations for accepting pets. The consulate should be able to help, but there are also specialized international pet relocation companies that are up to date on the latest regulations for most countries. Your pet will travel with you on your flight, either in the cabin or in the cargo hold.

Once you have selected your international household goods freight forwarder, they will be able to provide more detailed information in their moving guide. Do not assume that moving internationally is the same as moving across town. Make sure your forwarder is able to meet all customs and shipping compliance issues.

Download Accelerated International Forwarders Brochure

Topics: Freight Forwarder, Expat Moving Services, International Moving Tips

Janet Turner

Written by Janet Turner

Janet Turner is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Accelerated International Forwarders.

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