Ship or Sell ?

To ship or sell is a common question on international moves.   Generally the items this concerns are autos and furniture.

Auto Issues:
  • many carriers and/or destinations will not allow autos to be shipped with household goods - you may have to switch to a different carrier that is charging significantly more (thousands of dollars more) for the container;
  • loading the auto into a container - you will need a dock or flatbed tow truck to get the auto into the container;
  • in the container the auto will require proper blocking and securing - special equipment and labor may be involved
  • instead of a 20 ft container, you will probably need a 40 foot container - this may result in access issues at origin and/or destination;
  • regulatory:  what are the licensing costs and other regulatory issues involved with importing a personal vehicle?  Are the emission control and safety standards the same?  Is the steering wheel on the rights side of the car?
  • Separate auto transport via ocean Roll on Roll off carrier is an option that ranges from $1,500.00 -  $3,000.00 
  • American houses, rooms and furniture tend to be significantly larger than in other countries.  Is your king sized mattress going to make it around the corner of the staircase in your London flat? 
  • Would it be cheaper to sell the old mattress, buy a new memory foam mattress, still compressed in the bag and ship it at lower cost?
  • Is your Victorian style dinette going to look right in a Central American Spanish style home?
  • packing and loading/unloading of furniture can add considerable time and expense to your move?
  • if there is a delay in transport, can you be without the items for 30 days?  60 days?   What are you going to use in the meanwhile, and will you then have to get rid of it when your items arrive?
Other Options / issues:
  • anything that fits in a box, including bicycles, can be shipped in boxes, pallets or crates;
  • ocean shipping requires palletizing on ocean rated pallets;
  • ocean shipping with on-forwarding to interior cities of Europe REQUIRES CRATING; 
  • air freight rates start at 220 lbs; ocean at 500 lbs.   Air transport in as little as 3-7 days; ocean freight in 3-10 weeks;
  • air freight is generally $1.00 - $3.00 per lb; while ocean can be as little as $.25 per lb, but note that the chargeable weight is factored at a density of 32 lbs per cubic foot, destination fees can be 100-200 percent of the ocean freight/export costs and the clearing procedure can be more complicated and expensive for ocean cargo than for air cargo.
  • rule of thumb is that if you have less than 1000 lbs it will probably be same price to ship by air and some destinations, even at 2000 lbs there is no savings by shipping via ocean.
  • import process:   your employer overseas, university or the destination carrier office may assist you with the clearing process, clearing agents, customs brokers located in the destination city/port and or the government website concerning the importation of household goods / personal effects of citizens and temporary residents.