Frequently Asked Questions

Your shipping questions answered.

What is shipping by consolidation?

We have two separate main modes of overseas shipping by sea freight. They are Consolidation, and the Exclusive Container.

Consolidation is best suited for smaller moves that may not fill an entire international shipping container. During your international move, your items will be loaded into a steel container in the following methods:

Goods are set on pallets and shrink wrapped, and then loaded into our steel international shipping container. This is the best option if your international shipment contains mainly boxes, and is called a Palletized shipment.

A standard (or custom) sized wooden crate, created to protect your belongings. This method is known as a Lift Van, and is considered one safest way to ship any personal belongings for overseas shipping.

What is an exclusive container?

An exclusive container load, also known as a full container load (FCL), means your belongings will be sent via overseas shipping in a container all to themselves, with no other items that do not belong to you. Common standard size containers for an exclusive container are 20 feet and 40 feet long.

How can I transport my automobile?

Automobiles are shipped via FCL, or RO/RO (Roll On/ Roll Off). When using RO/RO, our overseas movers will drive your automobile onto our shipping vessel, and then secure it for transport and against weather elements. Upon arrival at your automobile’s destination, it will be driven off of our vessel and parked at port.

When selecting the FCL option for international auto shipping, your automobile is placed into an exclusive steel container, and prepared for transport. You have the option to ship any other belongings of yours in your exclusive container along with your automobile.

Can I pack my belongings in my car?

The Department of Transportation ruling states that automobiles may NOT be loaded with any items, while loaded into an auto carrier.  This rule also applies for international auto shipping. Items loaded this way risk being lost at inspection, and are not eligible to be covered by the carrier’s insurance in the case of damage.

Please do not pack personal belongings into your automobile during an international relocation.

How far in advance should I plan for international shipping?

Give at least 4 weeks notice prior to all bookings for international shipping during the summer months. For a move planned in spring, winter, or fall, 2 weeks prior notice is acceptable.  It is important to always schedule ahead with an International moving company.  In case of emergency, we will always attempt to arrange your move within one week.

How are shipping costs calculated?

We base your international shipping costs on total weight or volume (measured in cubic feet). Your move will typically consist of three phases: Origin, Ocean, and Destination.

Origin costs in the USA are measured by shipment weight or volume. Normal rates are calculated by rounding up to the next 100 pounds or nearest cubic foot.

Ocean costs are calculated by volume. International shipping lines charge by container size, meaning that your household items will never exceed the weight limit

Destination costs are calculated by your destination country at their own specifications by volume or weight.

Finding your total international shipping cost within a day cannot typically be done responsibly, as all phases of the move must be calculated separately. To avoid error and give you the most accurate possible, we will always wait until we have each individual rate and can convert them to one single shipping cost estimate.

How can I reduce the cost of shipping?

If you are familiar with your country of destination, we invite you to consider a Door-to-Port service. This is not possible for every destination though. You may choose to self-pack your inventory to lower origin costs.  Please remember that your personally packed items must still be professionally loaded by our overseas movers. Packing your own shipment must also be for professional export shipping, and can only be insured for total loss.

Another common way to save on shipping is to simply leave items that you do not require, or may not be useful at your destination country.  With an international relocation consider electrical voltage changes at your destination country, and the ability to find replacement parts for your items!

What type of boxes should I use for household goods?

Always use new packing boxes and materials. Never use old or pre-used boxes to ship your items! Old supermarket boxes may cost nothing, but they are not well padded nor strong enough to withstand international shipping, and will often be responsible for damage to your items.

Contact our My International Movers facility and we can deliver items to your door for anything you may need.

What is the best way to protect fragile items?

Ensure our overseas shipping crew is aware of your boxes containing your fragile items. Our team will inform you if your valuables should be packed in more protective boxes. Generally speaking, the heaver the item, the tighter the box around it should be. Label all fragile item containing boxes “FRAGILE”.

What are the steps in loading a container?

Your boxes should be loaded in reverse order of need. That means the last boxes you load should be the first boxes you need to unpack upon arrival at your destination. Always read your inventory forms very closely, and identify anything you do not understand as a question to be answered by our overseas shipping team leader. Always write down your Shipment Registration #, and ensure your Bill of Landing is easily accessible.

You have the responsibility of making sure that all of your items are loaded, so we request for you to please remain on site until loading is complete. Always take a final look around the site for any items left behind. Never sign release forms without completing your final site check.

What type of insurance coverage should I consider?

Although we ensure the best practices to keep your personal items safe, there may be times when damage or loss occurs beyond our control. That is why we currently offer additional 3rd party full coverage insurance.  We suggest you protect all your items with our all-risk, door to door marine insurance.

Remember to always insure your items for the amount necessary to replace them inside the country of destination. Costs can shift drastically from the United States to abroad.

What happens when my container reaches the destination?

Once the ship arrives at the destination country, your international shipping container will be moved to a port-bonded warehouse to be at while under the watch of a carrier supervisor. Your personal Lift Van will not be opened until you arrive, and once through clearing customs. Your carrier representative within your destination country will send you a notice of arrival once your container has been unloaded. At that point, our International shipping representative will help you to your personal items that were cleared through customs.

What is required to clear my container at the destination?

Expect the following documents to be required to clear your container for customs:

  • Passport
  • Immigration Certificate
  • Detailed packing list with value of contents
  • Receipt for appliances and new furniture
  • Tenancy contract or title of your new home
  • Proof of tax exemptions
  • Delivery order notice
  • Copy of carrier agreement
Do I need to be present when my container is delivered?

Yes. Ensure that you are at the location when your delivery crew arrives.  Please, stay while the unloading is underway to answer any questions. You may authorize an adult to represent your interests if you cannot be there yourself to accept your delivery, and inform the delivery crew ahead of time. Your representative must be prepared to record any change in the condition of your items at the time of arrival and load.

What exactly does allowance mean?

Your personal items for international relocations will take up space inside of the shipping container, the spaces between these items also takes up the space. The allowance feature is a tool to help you consider this while calculating your total international shipping volume.

What items not to ship?

We recommend NOT shipping the following:

  • Important family documents. Financial information, birth certificates, marriage documents, etc.
  • Guns
  • Seeds or live plants
  • Open bottles
  • Hazardous & flammable liquids
  • Alcohol
  • Pressurized cans. Spray-paint, compressed air, etc.
  • Jewelry & small amounts of precious metals

Call the consulate at your destination country for more information on regulations.  Always be prepared for your international relocation.  Choose My International movers for an international moving company that cares.