Just like you, your international relocation will be unique, needing a particular set of moving, storage, and shipping services, at a certain cost. Companies spend an average of 16.3 million USD a year relocating employees. In this guide we explain suitable household moving services, what to expect when moving and storing your belongings overseas and the related costs because we want to help you GO!
Do I need International Moving and Storage Services?
You could face numerous issues moving and storing your items when relocating to another country. For instance, a record number of cargo crimes were recorded in 2019 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa regions. Did you know your goods are most vulnerable to theft when they are being transported by road? It’s another reason to use international moving experts you can trust.
ON THIS PAGE:
- What are International Moving and Storage Services?
- What are the Major Risks of Moving and Storing Your Belongings Internationally?
- What to Expect When You Hire International Moving and Storage Services?
- How Much does It Cost to Move and Store Things Abroad?
- How to Choose the Right International Moving or Storage Company?
- What are the Benefits of Using Professional International Moving and Storage Services?
- Additional Services You Might Be Interested In
What are International Moving and Storage Services?
International moving services allow you to transport household goods overseas. The main difference between international moving and international shipping services is that the former includes personal support. Some of the common features of international moving services include:
- Hands-on assistance during the moving process—you can request a dedicated move coordinator.
- Every aspect of the move is arranged for you.
- Inventories at the origin and destination, packing, and even the option of unpacking your belongings for you.
- Partial or full insurance coverage.
International shipping services only deal with transporting your goods from origin to destination, via land, sea or air. Shipping companies usually transport multiple shipments together and they do not pack your belongings for you.
Generally, international shipping companies rely on you to make sure your goods are packed safely and do not offer insurance for damaged or lost items. Bear in mind there is more chance of your property getting lost if it is mixed with shipments from different owners. In addition, keep a close eye on prices for various forms of shipping, as they tend to change regularly.
Shipping by sea can be better if you want to transport heavy or large goods, which cannot be shipped by air or road.
You can also ship smaller items by sea, and they can be placed with other small loads (less than container load or LCL) to fill a container and save you money.
Sea shipping is the most environmentally friendly method of freight, producing fewer carbon emissions than shipping by air or road. This form of transit also takes less time than it used to due to faster ships and upgrades in route infrastructure, like canals. You can now get guaranteed delivery days when using ocean freight.
However, nine times out of ten, ocean freight is slower than air freight. In addition, when you share a shipping container (LCL), it is cheaper than a full container load (FCL), but it takes longer. This is because it takes more time to load an LCL container as you are receiving cargo from different sources.
Shipping by air is faster than land or sea. It is also safer with regards to damage and theft. Plus, if you are moving from a city that has an airport to another city with an airport, the shipment takes an even faster and more direct path.
You can use a consolidated freight or “consol” service, like an LCL in sea shipping, where your goods are stored in the same space as goods owned by other people, to save money.
Air freight is more expensive than sea and road shipping. Air freight can cost 16 times the price of an equivalent ocean freight service. And there are more restrictive size limits for air freight. On a cargo plane, your shipment can be no more than 96 inches tall.
Shipping by land is cheaper than transporting your goods by air or sea. It’s also easier to keep track of your shipment and know when it will arrive.
It can take longer than shipping by air, and of course, it is only possible where there are suitable roads. Plus, most cargo thefts happen when goods are being transported by road.
Storage facilities come in different sizes. In general, the bigger the unit and the longer you need to use it, the more it will cost you. But this isn’t always the case. Some storage companies give you a loyalty discount for using their facilities for a long period of time. Units will be more expensive if they are located close to major cities, such as London, New York, or Paris. In terms of size, common storage units are 50, 75, 100, 150, or 200 square feet.
Types of Storage
There are two forms of storage: full-service storage and self-storage. With the former, the storage company collects your items and returns them at a mutually convenient time. With this service, the company will also create an inventory of your items, which can also include photographs.
With the latter option, you have to take the items to the storage facility yourself. This is cheaper, but only possible if you have a vehicle to transport your belongings.
As well as these basic forms of storage, there are different facilities depending on what sort of items you want to store.
For valuable or fragile items, you should choose climate-controlled indoor storage, where your items will be safe and preserved. Climate-controlled units have consistent conditions, meaning your items won’t be damaged by moisture, heat, or wind. If you want to store delicate items for a long time, indoor storage will provide a more appropriate, protected environment.
In urban areas, indoor storage can be cheaper, because there simply isn’t much space to build outdoor storage units. However, it costs more to keep indoor storage buildings heated and ventilated, which increases the price. Shop around for an option that suits your budget and needs.
If your items are not fragile, you could choose an outdoor storage unit. Outdoor units are better for storing items, such as motor vehicles, boats, and trailers, than more fragile goods.
Although they might not offer as much protection, they are still secure. Plus, you have the convenience of being able to drive up to these units and load and unload quickly and easily. This could be an important factor if you are paying by the hour for a removal van. Also, outdoor storage tends to have larger unit options than indoor storage.
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How Much does It Cost to Move and Store Things Abroad?
Basic shipping costs usually depend on the weight and size of the items you have to move, the distance you want to send them, and how long shipping takes. Also, you might pay extra fees for special care over your fragile items.
These are just some of the variables that could affect the total cost of shipping your household goods. Storage pricing tends to be more straightforward.
When you move household goods over a long distance, you are usually charged a fixed fee, not a price per hour. As an example, to move a three-bedroom house from London to Berlin using sea transit, the average cost is around 7,000 USD. Moving the same cargo by sea from London to India could cost 12,500 USD. Prices vary depending on the time of year you decide to move your goods with peak season being summer.
Air is usually the most expensive form of shipping. If you want to use air freight to transport goods worth 10,000 USD, from New York to Osaka, it would cost around:
• 2,300 USD for 250kg
• 900 USD for 125kg
That’s before you add insurance. International moving insurance costs between 200 and 1,000 USD.
Sea shipping can be the cheapest. In fact, The World Bank says shipping by sea can be 16 times cheaper than air.
Other factors that affect the cost of an international move are shared vs exclusive use of shipping containers (sharing is cheaper), the departure and arrival ports (popular ports can be cheaper), and any assistance with packing, unpacking, disassembling and assembling items.
When shipping cargo by sea, the two most common container sizes are 20 feet and 40 feet, plus there are full container load (FCL) and less than container loads (LCL) options.
As an example, World Freight Rates estimates the following costs for transporting goods worth a total 10,000 USD, from New York to Osaka:
• 40 feet FCL: 2,000 USD
• 20 feet FCL: 1,700 USD
On top of this, international moving insurance could add another 1,000 USD to the cost.
Road transport is around four to five times cheaper than air transport. If you are relocating within Europe, moving a three-bedroom house by land from London to Paris would cost about 1,600 to 2,500 USD. From London to Barcelona, it would be approximately 3,700 to 5,000 USD.
Storage services are priced based on the size of the unit, how long you need it, its location (more expensive near major cities), the length of time you need it, and the type of unit (air-conditioned, ground floor with direct access, etc.).
The following prices are for different parts of the world, based on using 100 square feet of storage space for one month.
Asia (Singapore): 180 USD
Africa (South Africa): 43 USD
Europe (London, UK): 250 USD
US (New York, US): 250 USD
South America (Sao Paulo, Brazil): 250 USD
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Additional Services You Might Be Interested In
InterNations GO! has a range of services that can be tailored to suit your individual needs. Whether you are moving abroad alone or as a family, we assess your situation and provide expert guidance to help you make your international relocation as smooth as possible.
We Help You GO!
We offer guidance on visa applications and help you find a home overseas, even before you arrive in your new country.
We Ease You In
Once you have moved abroad, our settling-in services help you register with local authorities. We then make you feel like a local with tailored language and cultural training.
We Bring You Together
From school searches to pet relocation, we help you and your loved ones stay strong together.