Tips for Shipping Household Goods

In order to ship household goods overseas, you will need to start by assessing how much space you will need. Will you require a full container (FCL) or is it a smaller amount that will need to be loaded in with other cargo as a less than container load (LCL). In a full container, you will be charged a flat rate depending on the size of the container (20’STD, 40STD, 40HC). If it will be an LCL shipment, then your rate will be an amount based on the weight or the measure (kg/m3) of your shipment, whichever is more. Usually you will get a better rate with LCL if you are using a consolidator to help move your cargo.

Otherwise this can be much more expensive in comparison. Either way, your freight shipping quote will be much better shipping by sea than would be by air so you will be better off. You just need to find a company who has well recommended global shipping services as well as cheap international shipping so your quote will be reasonable.

After you have determined the size of your shipment, you will need to gather all of the information on your goods so that you can fill out a Valued Packing List. This form will require you to list the inventory you intend to ship including a value for each item. This list is not only required by the shipping line, but it will help you as well in the event that the seal is broken on your container. It is also how customs will determine your duty so it is very important that this information is as exact as possible. If you are filling out a Valued Packing List, you will not need a Commercial Invoice for this shipment.

Whether you ship LCL or FCL it is your responsibility to tightly pack your cargo for shipment. Please also remember that all cargo must be boxed or palletized in order for you to ship LCL. Either way, you will need to completely and safely secure everything that you are shipping so it will not move around in the shipping container. This will not only help you organize your personal effects, but it will help keep your goods from being broken in transit. Although this is possible to do on your own, there are companies who will pack and load your container at additional cost for you if you would prefer.

Another document that will be necessary is the bill of lading. If you are using a freight forwarder, you will be issued a House bill of lading based on the Master bill of lading from the steamship line. These documents will list all of the details of the shipment including origin, destination, weight and a description of the goods (used clothing, used furniture, etc) as well as value of the goods. Depending on where you are shipping to and from, there may be other documents required.

Upon reaching your destination, your cargo will be available for pickup at the closest port unless you set up the shipment as a through bill of lading to your new home. Also remember that transit times are not always as quoted. Leave time in your schedule in case your cargo is delayed. Whether stuck with a late arrival of the ship or cargo is set to be inspected by customs, having flexibility built into your schedule the better off you will be.

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