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How to reduce container shipping costs for International Removals

Posted by By Bournes International Moves - September 11, 2015

save money on international removalsAre you planning an international move and worried about the container shipping cost? Whether you're trying to negotiate a relocation package with your employer or are simply saving to start a new life abroad, the cost of moving so far away can soon add up. However, there are some things you can do to save money on International Removals whatever circumstances you find yourself in...

1) Pick the most appropriate method of shipping

While airfreight is the quickest way to get your goods from A to B, it is also the most expensive. If you're looking to cut costs then shipping via sea is usually going to be a cheaper option. Depending on how much stuff you have, and how quickly you want it, a Groupage service. often also referred to as Shared Container Shipping, could save you money if you are moving less than a full container (about the size of a single garage). This is where you share a container with other customers who are going to the same destination - rather than using an exclusive container - therefore only paying for the space your goods take up. Depending on which International Removals Company you use this option is typically available to destinations like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA, and takes roughly between 12-16 weeks door to door. Part load services are also available to less popular destinations by LCL service.

2) De-clutter

Container shipping costs are affected greatly by how much you are moving. The most obvious way to lower costs is, simply, by lowering the amount you take. The less you take, the less your move will cost. This doesn't have to mean getting rid of everything, though - if you're moving for a set period of time, or aren't sure if you'll be going for the long term then you can always opt to put some of your things in storage while you're away. It'll probably work out cheaper this way than shipping goods to and fro and also means you don't have to spend out on new items to furnish a house if and when you do come back. 

How to declutter before an international move.

3) Make sure everything is cleaned and packed properly

All countries have their own specifications as to restricted and prohibited items and other quarantine concerns such as dirt on items which affect what they will and won't accept on entry, so it's a good idea to look into this thoroughly before you start packing and end up taking something that's either banned or doesn't come up to scratch if your container is pulled for inspection.

As a general rule, if you're taking items from outside like bikes, garden furniture or outdoor toys then these need to be spotlessly clean and free from dirt and woodworm. If items are inspected and not up to standard then they may charge you for further cleaning or treatment. Cars will need to be thoroughly clean inside and out, and some countries have a minimum/maximum fuel allowance at the time of shipping. 

You should also check which plant material or wooden items are allowed to be imported to your chosen country, and also consider whether there are restrictions on any drugs or medication you're planning to take.If you ship something you're not allowed to then you may be charged for this to either be shipped back to your origin country or for it to be disposed of. Believe it or not, even things like certain Christmas decorations (pine cones, for example) can be banned in some countries, so make sure you do your research on everything. Failing to comply to the import restrictions of your destination country can end up costing you a lot of unnecessary stress, time and money!

Ask your removal company for advice or a copy of the customs requirements for your destination to be sure you know the full information to avoid any extra charges.

4) Choose a reputable removal company

It might sound obvious, but making sure you pick a reputable, reliable removal company is a must when you're moving so far away. Always look for a company that's a member of the BAR, comes highly recommended by others (either by family or friends, or through previous customer testimonies), has plenty of experience in carrying out international moves and can answer all of the questions or concerns you might have. It might look as though reputable companies cost more initially, but remember it's always far cheaper to choose a trusted company than it is to try and fix the mistakes of a company that fails to deliver the service you expect for the price you believe you agreed.

 download how to choose an international removal company

5) Compare removals quotations carefully

Once you've picked the removal companies you like the look of (usually around three) and each have been out to conduct an in-home survey, you should be at the point where you have quotations to look at. Compare each carefully - are they all like-for-like and roughly the same price? If one is vastly more expensive than another then is there a reason why? Has each company quoted on roughly the same volume of items to be moved and taken into account the services you require? Depending on which country you're moving to, with international removals it's usually mandatory for the removal company to pack everything on your behalf, therefore this isn't always something you can negotiate over when it comes to price. However you can talk to them about other services listed on your quotation - for example, if they've included insurance but you know your employer is providing this, or they've quoted for the dismantling of items that you now want to do yourself then it's always worth discussing whether these need to be included in the overall price.

6) Book early

Summer is generally always a busy time for the removals industry, so if you know you're likely to be moving anywhere between May and September then you'll need to be extra organised. Moving in peak season means that a removal company's resources will be more limitied than normal, thus increasing the cost. Luckily, becuase international moves require such a lot of preparation, you should have plenty of time to get the ball rolling with surveys and quotations and ensure you're booked in well ahead of the summer rush.

7) Arrange International Removals Insurance

Yes international removals insurance is an additional cost up front, BUT the saving in the event that the worst happens is well worth it. Most removals companies offer insurance for damage or loss that is outside of their control. If you don't take insurance and end up with damage or loss then you could find the costs of repairing or replacing items far exceed the small insurance premium.

Topics: International Removals Costs, International Removals

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