International Moving Options

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International Moving Options

International Moving Options

Your relocation expenses are greatly affected by the price of the transport services you pick and by which mode of transportation you chose to send your belongings with.

Road Transportation

The two most usual types of road freight are rail and truck, the latter of which is used for both local and international loads. With road freight, you can send your cargo to most places but not anywhere across the ocean. It has reasonable transportation costs and schedules of delivery.

Water Transport / Ocean Freight

It is also called “container shipping”. It is cost efficient, particularly for overseas transportation. However, this shipping service can take a longer period of time. It could take weeks or months to transport your cargo.

Air Transport

This method is the fastest way to transport personal belongings, but it is costly, around 10 times more than ocean freight. This option is best if you need to transfer something urgently. However, for mass transport, sea shipment is still required, since planes’ carrying capacity is limited.

Your relocation costs can be affected by other factors, such as packing and the type of delivery. Door to door services are provided by most international moving companies with a full-service offer. Of course, there are many other options as well, where moving costs are a bit more affordable.

Door to Door Delivery

When choosing this option, the shipping company will take the consignment from your place and bring it to the new address. Customs clearance will be taken care of by the movers.


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This service is a necessity, unless you can manage and have the means to take your belongings to the port of departure and pick them up at the end port. DIY packing can be performed to save on costs.

Port to Port Transport

This is applicable if your current home and your destination home are both near a port. You can spare money, but packing your own shipment is required. Taking it to the port of departure and receiving it up at the end port, as well as dealing with port fees, customs, and inspections becomes your responsibility.

Door to Port Transport

Doorway-to-Port is best if you are not capable of taking your load to the port, but you will be able to take it at the end port. The movers will pick up the items from your place and transport them to a port near to their final destination.

If picking up your shipment at the destination port is not possible for you, then you can hire a moving company from the country you’ll be living in to take care of your shipment. Choose a reliable moving company and be cautious of Door to Port and Port to Port services because some local moving companies in foreign countries overcharge shippers.

They take advantage of situations where there are no other alternatives or options to get their shipment delivered to the final destination. Remember: terminal handling fees and port fees are not included in Door to Port and Port to Port quotes.

Port to Door Transport

This is the other way around, which means, the shipper needs to arrange for a way to carry the household commodities to the port nearest to him. The mover will be responsible for the transportation starting at the port of shipment and ending at your destination or where the goods need to be delivered to. The mover is also in charge for customs clearance.

Port to door transport is applicable if you can deal with customs fees using the language / terminology of your new country, and also if you will be capable of taking your household commodities to the port. This means you can lay aside some money, but there’s a great deal of elbow grease and so much work to do on your part.

International Import: Door to Port vs. Door to Door

It may look like door to door services are an ideal means of shipping goods because the importer has to handle customs clearance, taxes, and tariffs. However, this option may have some disadvantages.

For example, the shipper will take control of the freight and arrange the delivery after the goods are cleared by customs. Unluckily, there may be delays in this phase because the shipper no longer has control of the delivery and of the moving company handling his items.

With ocean freight, the door to door service using the shipping line that set up the freight is most often booked by shippers. The ocean line will assign a company to move to your home only after customs are cleared. On the other hand, involving too many parties can often lead to not meeting deadlines, misunderstandings, and mistakes. Instructions and information are coming from overseas, so communication is a lot more complicated and it often leads to delays.

The price is often lower when a door to door service is entirely booked, so this option can be economical and practical. On the other hand, you will have to give up control of the delivery process when you choose this option. It could end up costing you a lot of money due to time delays, so make sure to consider the risk and to counterbalance all advantages and disadvantages.

To book your shipment from door to port is another option you may consider. There is better communication and greater control in this option, because less parties are involved. Therefore, there are less anticipated delays, and a direct link between the company and the importer. The importer will have better control of the shipment because he can plan the process to reduce risks.

Other options

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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