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Relocating Abroad? – 5 Tips for Selecting an Approved Freight Forwarder

Posted by Jackie Dennis on May 6, 2016 2:00:00 PM


Moving overseas can be a pressure cooker. There are so many things to organize. Whether you are changing residences, shipped abroad for Military purposes, or opening a new corporate branch in another country, the considerations seem almost endless.

One of the smartest things you can do is contact an approved freight forwarder. They are the experts in all things "international" and can help you to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together.

Your choice of a household goods freight forwarder should be based on the following criteria:

  • Longstanding reputation of handling personal and corporate effects
  • Recognized certification
  • Experience in the proper packing of household goods
  • Knowledge of customs compliance in the country of export and import
  • Ability to arrange sufficient cargo insurance coverage

You want to complete your international move efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. The following are 5 things you should consider before engaging the services of a household goods freight forwarder.

1.) Certification

There are many freight forwarding companies that will accept your household goods shipment, but without proper accreditation or experience. Most countries have a "freight forwarders association" and members have to meet certain criteria for entry. In the US, for instance, reputable personal effects forwarders are members of IAM (International Association of Movers), or the NCBFAA (National Customer Brokers and Forwarders Association of America).

Members must have employees who are certified freight forwarders, carry minimum liability insurance coverage, errors and omissions insurance, and they must also adhere to the code of conduct expected from both organizations.

Most international forwarding associations adopt the standard trading conditions of FIATA, which is the governing body of all global associations. While your home country forwarder will handle all necessary logistical functions and paperwork, their receiving agent in the country of destination must also be qualified to arrange customs clearance, storage, and delivery.

2.) Services

Your overseas re-location is not just a matter of packing boxes. Experienced freight forwarders have the expertise and resources to make sure your effects are packed efficiently, safely, and in a manner that will maximize your freight space whether your goods are shipped by air or sea.

Cargo insurance can give you peace of mind. Rates are generally more expensive than commercial cargo insurance. But commercial shipments normally consist of new goods and any damages or losses are fairly easy to detect. Establishing the condition of the goods when they leave as opposed to when they arrive is difficult. High-value goods should be appraised in the event of a claim so there is little dispute over their relevant value.

3.) Customs Compliance

All shipments require an export declaration in the country of departure that must be reviewed and accepted by the importing country prior to loading. After approval to ship, the customs body in the country of import will review the documentation again and conduct an examination of the shipment if they feel it is required.

In order to strictly comply with the exportation of personal or corporate effects, the minimum information required includes:

  • Complete packing list that includes "all" items being exported
  • Appropriate values for all new and used goods
  • Copies of valid passports for all members of the family and/or corporate employees and military personnel

Failure to comply will result in delays with shipping, customs clearance, and possible penalties for the shipper.

4.) Reputation

It's not a bad idea to ask for references from freight forwarding companies. After all, your shipment consists of your prized possessions. Reputable freight forwarders will happily give references from their prior customers on previous shipments to similar destinations.

5.) Cost

You must make sure that you provide all information to the freight forwarder so they can issue an accurate quotation. Cost is based on total weight and volume of relocating articles. In order to get an accurate quote it is important that the origin agent and surveyor has knowledge all of the items you intend to ship.

Download Accelerated International Forwarders Brochure

Topics: Freight Forwarder, Corporate Relocation Services, Military Relocation Services, Expat Moving Services, International Moving Tips

Jackie Dennis

Written by Jackie Dennis

Jackie has been the president of Accelerated International Forwarder, LLC for 15 years. She has worked in the logistics industry for over 30 years with specialtization in freight forwarding, shipping, and transportation.

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