Since your move is in different parts of the world, it is likely that more than one company will be involved in making this successful. You will probably only have contact with one vendor – their role is to coordinate and move your property with all these partners for you.
The person doing the shipment. Since you are the owner of all the goods, you are legally responsible for the content of the shipment, the list of what’s in the shipment, for the costs of shipping, the import duties, any paperwork required, insurance, and any discrepancies will be on your shoulders. You are the “Exporter” (the person exporting goods from the country of origin) and the “Importer” (the person importing goods into the destination country).
Make sure you are aware of any potential pitfalls like import regulations, holiday seasons, even labor issues that could not only slow your shipment down, but also add expenses you will need to bear.
This is the company you select and they will coordinate the entire move. They will oversee all the other partners in the move. Ask them to clearly list what’s included and what you need to arrange yourself. Also make sure what and when you need to pay for each part of the move – so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises when the shipment arrives in the destination country.
Typically, this company will sign the contract with you, send you the bill, and be responsible for solving any issues or claims you have.
This is the company that will pack and load the shipment. Usually a local company, they will do the pre-move survey to create a detailed list of the contents of the house so you can get an accurate quote.
The Freight Forwarder arranges the ocean freight and do the export documentation (including a “House Bill of Lading”). The freight forwarder and origin agent (which may be the same company) will arrange to move your goods from your house to the port.
You may also have a freight forwarder involved in the destination country.
If you have a full container, your goods may go directly to the port. But if you are consolidating your smaller shipment, your shipment may be sent to a consolidating warehouse where it will be packed into a container with other shipper’s goods that are going to the same destination.
This is the actual port where the container is loaded onto the ship. The container should be loaded and sealed when it arrives at the export port. The export port Is typically not important to you, as you won’t be dealing with it in any way. The only important thing to check is that the Origin Port Fees and Origin Terminal Handling Charges are included in your quote. They will usually be listed as “Origin Port Fees” or “OTHC” (Origin Terminal Handling Charges). For shipments going from the United States, these fees are regulated and relatively low and they are almost always included; however, it is worth checking to make sure.
Nothing goes to the port that is not already loaded into a container, sealed, and cleared from Export Customs. (Clearance at origin is almost always done by computer.)
A Broker is a Move Manager that does not do any of the other work. A Broker is not to be confused with a Freight Forwarder that might subcontract the Origin Agent and the Destination Agent, because the Freight Forwarder is doing something vital to the international shipping process even if you don’t see it being done.
Since a Broker is not doing any of the actual required work, his price to manage the move will be higher than that quoted by any other company he uses, assuming that company would use the same set of services as the Broker. However, often Brokers will give seemingly lower prices than other companies because:
Because of this, a Broker might give you what appears to be the lowest price, but either it ends up being more expensive than the original quote or you get a lower quality of service (more damages, more delays, more problems, more of your $$$ to fix).
Most important, a Broker has no one checking his financial stability. If you pay a Broker and he doesn’t pay the Ship Line, you don’t get your goods! In contrast, the Federal Maritime Commission requires a bond from its licensees, and respected industry trade groups such as FIDI-FAIM check the financial stability of their member companies.
In international relocation services, there are companies who provide end-to-end services in addition to the move including things like housing assistance, business services, help finding schools and much more. Use a reputable relocation services partner and make sure they work with licensed, experienced and trustworthy moving partners.
Isaac’s Moving and Storage
For over 25 years, Isaac’s Moving and Storage has been helping families, international businesses, government agencies, international organizations and educational institutions to re-locate their people all over the globe. Our years of experience and attention to detail are the formula for a stress free international move.
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