Stuff – And What To Do With It

Moving abroad will inevitably mean making three lists: What do you take, what do you leave behind and the ‘maybe’ pile.  In this blog, Seven Seas Worldwide, experts in international shipping, have got a few pointers about making the list of items to leave behind a substantial one.

It’s in your best interests both financially and logistically to be more austere with your possessions. Don’t forget, the less you take, the less you pay.  And who’s to say you might not pick up a tidy profit from selling on some of your items?

Shipping overseas items of furniture such as sofas, beds, armchairs, wardrobes, bookcases and kitchen appliances will be an extremely costly operation. These items will require special handling, packaging and shipping fees which in some cases will exceed the original cost of the items in the first place.  Yes, Seven Seas Worldwide is an excess baggage company that could take care of shipping abroad these items but we’d rather you made the most sensible decision.  We’re nice like that.

Two or more handlers will probably be required at every stage to professionally wrap and crate each item of furniture for shipping abroad. The process of shipping your furniture overseas in sea containers is a long and complicated affair that will require a lot more time, energy and paperwork than it would do if you simply bought new stuff in your new country.  If you’re thinking of shipping flat-pack furniture, try and foresee the agony of disassembling and re-assembling that furniture at your new location.  Is it really worth the frustration?

Other things to consider: If you’re thinking of taking electrical equipment, have you checked to see if the voltage in your new country will be an issue? And in this digital age, do you really need all those DVD’s, CD’s and books? If they aren’t essential, sell them on or leave them in storage. Perhaps researching into local car boot sales or opening up an eBay account may be the best way forward.

It is also worth noting that some countries will spray wooden items for woodworm as they enter the country and then charge you for doing so. Some countries differ in their restrictions of items too; for example, in Northern Cyprus fax machines and telephones will be confiscated unless you obtain a special licence.

Something else you may want to consider is the changing climate. If you’re moving to a country with a tropical climate, you may find certain antiques and works of art reacting badly to the rise in temperature and humidity. Fine furnishings can also experience damage as a result of being moved to an environment with a dry climate.

Should you be thinking about sending your furniture via air freight for speed and extra security, you will find that in many cases, the cost is double what you would pay if you were to ship it by sea. Sometimes if there are a lot of items of furniture involved, you may need to hire a customs broker to take care of all the extra paperwork necessary for such an operation. There is no avoiding the fact that shipping abroad furniture is a complex process which will require professional advice for each step.

To cut costs, you may think about meeting your shipment at the depot but this again requires more logistical planning added to what will already be a very busy time for you and your family. Some countries can also impose various regulations such as import taxes with only a specific window available in the year to avoid incurring them.

You may find that your items will be shared with other people’s consignments in order to fill a 40ft container; naturally, this will minimise the cost. However, it will also mean unscheduled delays as removal companies will wait for the most suitable consignments to store with yours before releasing them. Not only will you be kept waiting, you will have no idea how long for. Plus, the company responsible for the movement of your container may not allow you access to your items if you decide to change your mind. The cost of a container holding the possessions of a medium-sized, three bedroom household could cost between US$3,500 and US$4,000, and that’s not including the additional moving costs on either side of the ship’s journey. If you intend on shipping a US$20,000 item of furniture such as a sofa, you will be expected to pay around US$500 duty.

An interesting note is that the dimensions of people’s houses change from country to country so if you’re in the US looking to ship furniture to the UK, you may find that your couch or bed dominates, overwhelms or possibly not even fits the rooms in your house! Furniture stores in the EU are known for helping customers make considerable discounts on complete packages. For example, furnishing a two bedroom apartment could cost you as little as €5000.

If you’re contemplating shipping your car abroad, we would strongly advise against it. The cost alone of shipping it one way will set you back something in the region of US$600. The journey time is always vague because customs agents won’t release your car until all the paperwork has been cleared, although you can expect to be waiting a minimum of six weeks for your car.

Some countries will demand you make expensive adjustments to your car in order to keep it in line with their vehicle regulations. Plus if you have a car that isn’t common with the country you are moving to, you may find it very difficult to obtain parts, should you need them. The best option is to sell your car at home or leave it in storage; a friend will need to take it out for a drive every three months or so to keep the movable parts of the vehicle functioning.

So there you go.  We hope your list of items to leave behind is now considerably filled out, making the other two lists easier to complete too.

If you’re planning an international relocation soon, speak to Seven Seas Worldwide about our awesome MoveCube service.

Sectors: Marketing Services and Ports & Logistics
Topics: Freight Forwarding and Getting Started
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