A forum for questions and helpful information and advice about international moves and moving companies.
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Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:13 am


Postby JOHN KRISCH » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:27 pm

Not all moves are full household moves and more and more people are making small moves that comprise of a handful of self-packed cartons.

When considering suppliers courier companies or even the US Postal Service can offer some interesting alternatives to ocean freight.

If you are looking to a faster courier service somethings to consider:

Moving Boxes - moving boxes that most consumers have access to through traditional retailers are great inexpensive light weight packing systems for local moves or local storage but often they will not hold up to international transport. The use of shipping boxes which are more expensive and better designed will often be the difference between a good move and a disaster. Spend the extra money on better boxes because it is your stuff you want to ship.

Dimensional Weight - when considering a courier company, its good you take a few moments to understand dimensional weight. When I first started in this industry someone lent me a bit of useful information in understanding dimensional weight so... here goes

If you were shipping one ton of goose down feathers and one ton of lead bars the space these two "commodities" would be vastly different with the goose down taking up much more space for the same weight while the lead bars would take up a much smaller space. The "density" of the lead bars is much higher and therefore greater weight occupies a smaller space.

In courier service for international, the weight density factor is 134-136 depending on the provider. Ok so, what does this mean? If you measure your shipping box and it has the dimensions of 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches which is equal to 1 cubic foot. The physical weight of the shipping carton when packed, for purposes of this explanation, is 2lbs. If you looked at the courier rate and estimated it to be 2lbs you'd be wrong! In fact you'd have to use the following formula to derive the courier weight of the box and those in which your shipment will be charged:

1728'x 134 Pound Density Factor = 12.89lbs rounded up to next whole weight of 13lbs

You will be charged on the weight density of 13lbs.

Another source if my simple explanation is unclear

Hope this helps anyone out there considering to make a small move using shipping cartons and a courier service.

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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:53 am


Postby Noone » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:11 pm

Very useful information, but there are some important points to remember:

1 - Oversized Pieces. All Parcel Couriers have a size limit, above which you pay an extra charge. Check with the parcel courier what these limits are (they are usually listed on the courier's websites. Likewise, there is a size limit above which the piece can not be sent as a parcel, rather it must go as Freight.

2 - Limitations on Insurance. Parcel Couriers will insure all goods as "Owner Packed" - this means that if you get the parcel, you can not file a claim, regardless of the condition of the contents. Obviously, there are other limits, but before you ship a box of Lenox China this way, decide if you are willing to take a total loss in order to save the money of paying a full-service Shipping Company ( or just not shipping them at all).

3 - Charges by the Overseas Agent. It is very normal for the "Door to Door" service offered by Parcel Companies does not include the procedural work (and charges) for releasing the shipment in the destination country. You will see something like this on the service guide of Parcel Courier Websites:
"Customs brokerage charges, duties, and taxes will be billed to the importer unless otherwise indicated by the shipper."
It is normal for the Parcel Courier in the origin country to not know what the brokerage charges will be in the destination country.

4 - Insured Value versus Declared Value. For most Parcel Couriers, the insured value is also the declared value for customs. When shipping via a Full Service Shipping Company, it is normal for these values to be different (s you can insure for what it would cost to replace the items new, but you can declare them at the used, depreciated value).

If all you have is one or two boxes, yes - Parcel is cheaper than going with a Shipping Company. However, it may be less expensive to just pay the airlines for extra luggage.

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