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International Removal Companies

Updated on January 6, 2015

Finding the right International moving company

Starting a new job or contract overseas will result in you having to find an international moving company to ship your items either by Sea or Air or sometimes over land. This can be quite a troublesome procedure but a good moving company should take care of all the hard work for you from packing your goods, to delivering and also dealing with damage claims.

Typical Door to door international relocation should involve the following.

1. Pre-move survey estimate based on the size and/or weight of your items.

2. A clear estimate clearly stating all the costs involved with no hidden surprises.

3. Full packing of your items, valuables safely protected and crating for expensive easy to damage items such as TV's glass tables, art etc. Components for disassembled furniture should be label cleared and kept separately.

4. Customs clearance through the port of exit and arranging for the necessary documents.

5. Loading onto a steamship container, or airplane if air shipment.

6. Customs clearance at the destination port of entry

8. Full delivery of your items and removal of packing material / debris at your request.

9. Full handling for claims if you have any missing or damaged items.

The top favoured moving companies 2012

1. Allied International (Van Lines)

2. U-Haul

3. Ryder

4. Mayflower

5. Bekins

Tips on choosing the right international moving company

  • During the survey make sure the surveyor is making full note of your items. The survey should be a detailed operation, surveyors who are not too interested in your items may want to charge you some flat cost regardless of the volume.
  • Upon receiving the quotation, make sure the weight/volume or some kind of measurement is indicated. As this helps to negotiate the price if the final volume is over/under the estimate.
  • Agree a fixed price as much as you can and get it in writing The final result maybe higher than surveyed and some movers may want to charge extra. Also shipping costs do fluctuate and this is another excuse some movers may use, especially if you put your goods into storage for a number a months.
  • Make sure that it is door-to-door at their are no hidden surprises at the other end. Get it in writing that there will be no outstanding customs handling charges at the order end. Many companies will not include this in their costs to make their price look cheap and attractive.
  • Cheaper is not better. Why is one quote for $8,000 and the other company is charging $10,000 for the same volume? As mentioned above, go back to the cheapest company and find out if there are any extra costs involved. Get that in writing. If they can't guarantee anything, go for the more expensive company.
  • Be proactive, don't sit back and expect it all to happen by itself. Documents will be needed for customs clearance and shipment booking etc.. Complete and return these forms as soon as you can to avoid missing vessel deadline etc.. Late forms can also lead to customs penalties which the moving companies are not responsible for.
  • No food - Try not to include food in your shipments unless you have confirmed this with the destination country. A lot of people especially in South/South-East Asian countries tend to try and hide food withing clothes etc.. If stopped by customs the whole container is likely to be held up and penalties will incur.

How insurance works

Insurance is very important for international moving, especially for sea shipment where you items could be moving around in a container and go though many points of handling.

There are a number of terms which you may come across.

Declared Value

for the purpose of insurance, this is the value your declare your goods at. Many people try to save money by under declaring. However this backfires whenever you need to make a claim.

Replacement Value

This is the value of the goods as if you were to purchase another of the same model. In some countries, the same model may not be available so an equivalent is usually fine for insurance purposes.

PBO - This normally means Packed By Owner. Be careful because insurance companies will not normally cover items that have been packed and sealed by the owner. Mainly because the movers are not able to verify the condition of the items.

Claim period - It is very important to note the claim period and do make a claim during this time. Once this time has finished, most insurance companies will not accept the claim, no matter what the damage is.

International Moving in Japan

Japan is a rather busy port for expats coming both in and out, due to the business opportunities. For shipping household goods to and from Japan. I recommend Allied Pickfords Japan as they have both bilingual office staff and operations crew. Your items will be packed to satisfaction while the crew take very much care of your possessions. Allied Pickfords are also part of a global network of more than 70 countries worldwide so your household goods will be taken care of from beginning to the end.

Typical problems and issues

  • For split deliveries between two countries, there are cases where some of the wrong items go to the incorrect countries. Make sure you clearly point out what needs to go where.
  • Insurance won't cover residence damage. You will need to make sure the the removal guys cover and protect the wall and floors adequately.
  • Goods held hostage until extra customs fees are payed. This often occurs when documents are missing or submitted to late, customs charges may occur, especially in certain South American countries. Make you complete and return all documents on top.
  • Laborers refusing to assemble items on delivery. Delivery crew may be reluctant to assemble new items/furniture. At the original make sure you confirm that this service is included if you have items which need a specialist to assemble. Some countries will assemble, some won't.


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