Once your household goods depart for export, you may think that the most stressful work has been done. But sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise at the port of destination. Leading up to the shipment, you’re in constant communication with your international freight forwarding company. But, after your goods arrive, that comfort zone can seem to disappear—unless your mover has a reliable agent at the port of destination. Or, if your goods arrive before you do, your absence can lead to delays and added costs.
Plan your Arrival to Coincide with the Shipment Arrival
Careful planning is essential when moving abroad. There are many considerations when scheduling your arrival:
- First and foremost is that you are present when the goods arrive as most overseas customs agencies require you to execute your own customs clearance in person for your personal effects. This requires a full set of customs documentation, including visas, passports, and work permits.
- Before you ship, confirm that your new place of residence is ready for moving in. If your goods are located in a bonded transit warehouse, you only have a certain amount of time to remove the goods. Transit warehouses abroad allow varying amounts of time to collect your shipment, usually no longer than 5 days. Afterward, storage charges accrue on a daily basis and are based on the size of your shipment. As a precaution, if you know your residence will not be ready, a self-storage unit may be in order.
- If your paperwork is incomplete, delays in customs clearance are likely, and the chances of a customs examination of your goods increases greatly. These shipments can take up to a week or longer to be examined, and the storage charges can pile up.
- Payment of destination charges and any customs duties or taxes are due in full prior to customs release. If you have elected to route your shipment only to the arrival port, you will be liable for terminal charges, handling and customs fees, as well as delivery to your new residence.
Your Backup Plan
Have a contingency plan that can take care of as many of the details as possible. If you expect that you will not arrive in a reasonable time after your shipment arrives, contact a relative or friend who can issue payment and pre-arrange delivery. Provide the contact details to your international freight forwarder so they can instruct their receiving agent in the country of destination as to who should be contacted.
Some countries will allow a relative to present customs clearance documentation, but only under very strict requirements such as a notarized statement or a legal power of attorney to act on your behalf.
If you are engaged in a corporate relocation program, make sure your company is aware of all details in case they have to perform certain duties to prevent escalating storage costs, which can literally reach thousands of dollars.
Your relocation freight forwarder has dealt with all of these issues at one time or another. Do not hesitate to call them to make sure there are no surprises.