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Moving your belongings successfully overseas

INDUKU GROUP: What is the biggest mistake clients make when it comes to relocation from the start, and what can we do better?
VICKY KRUGER: Clients often are not sure of the budget for their relocation. It is important to ask the company you are looking at to work for overseas and that is assisting you to relocate what the budget is before you decide what you are going to take. You need to know what is important and what the size of the place you are moving to is. In the case of a private relocation, you need to understand what the replacement value of the items in your new country will be to understand whether to take them or not. Know what electronics you can take. Prepare your move in such a way that you don’t take unnecessary items that you cannot use overseas and would be forced to sell.


The other mistake is people do not read the restrictions/exclusions from their quotes properly. The removal company should ideally walk you through this. You need to understand that duty may apply to certain items while if items like foodstuff or medication packed in a container all bring red flags that could see your container detained. Do your homework as to the regulations and find out what is allowed and what is not allowed to go.


IG: When is the right time to start getting a quote about moving?
VK: It’s never too early to get a quote. Request a few quotes and compare the prices accurately and offerings early. Our team come out over to your home for a FREE assessment and estimation to help determine the volume of items a client is trying to move. There are various methods of transporting goods- sea shipment or air freight. Start with the survey and then get all your ducks in a row with your documentation. Once your consulate appointment is secured we can do a final survey or assessment and a more accurate quote is made.
Quotations are usually valid for 28 to 6odays and things like the rate of exchange can be locked to prevent fluctuations. Things like that can be negotiated.
IG: Can people share containers
VK: A Groupage shipment is available for those entering the same destination at the same port of entry. Everyone completes their own declarations forms and packing list so not everyone will suffer. We have a few options: 2o Foot container, 4o foot High cube container. Some People want to take the vehicle in the container if duties are not too high. It is endless what you can do. The methods go depending on the volume – Groupage sea shipment. Airfreight is calculated on the weight of the consignment. Airfreight should be very small.
The Groupage does reduce the costs tremendously.
IG: How is the time on the water –how long does it take to receive your items in a country like the USA?
VK: The general time is 6 - 8 weeks. Any delays of clearance at customs and even packing of items etc can affect the transport times
IG: How long are your belongings stored upon arrival and is storage included in the pricing?
VK: From the point of entry, clearance and delivery are within 5-7 days so it is important for clients to be in the country when the container arrives. The relocation company usually send you a notification of the arrival of your container so you can plan your delivery schedules with them.
IG Should you have the same company package everything as the company transporting everything? How is insurance affected?
VK: Your insurance is not effective if not packed and transported by the same company door to door. If for example, you do not package the items. You need things professionally packaged to ensure minimal movement of items in the container as there is a lot of movement and handling of containers.
IG: What do people do wrong when it comes to insurance?
VK: The number one mistake people often make is not stating the accurate replacement value of all their items on their application form followed by grouping items together. International insurance companies require a full list of items, descriptions and the replacement value for each item. Do your research on replacement values online on Google, IKEA for example of how much it would cost to replace your furniture etc in the country you are emigrating to.  The insurance companies what a list of the high-value items. Take the insurance door to door. Don’t group anything together. Designer clothes and inexpensive jeans should be documented separately. Our company takes photos during the packing and unpacking stage. If there is a claim, we will investigate damage in transit and then we send a condition report to the insurance company that will deal with the claim.
IG: Taking weapons across is it possible.
VK: Taking weapons is prohibited in most countries and on most shipping containers. Animal trophies skins, medications, wine bottles and foodstuffs should also not be taken on your container. There is a major process that follows clearing these items.


Vicky Kruger is a consultant at Magna Thomson for the past nine years and has a long history in logistics. Magna Thomson has been in the business for the past 33 years specializing in local and international door to door packing and relocation services.