Shipping a container from US to Italy

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Shipping a container from US to Italy


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Old 14th April 2019, 01:06 AM
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Default Shipping a container from US to Italy

We are moving to Italy in November but putting things in storage until we have a permanent address. We hope in a year or less. But as we are packing things for storage now, are there any size rules or requirements you have run into that we should know about now? Will the shipping/container companies have requirements we can anticipate? Any of your advice will be appreciated.

Grazie mille, Pippo e Anita

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Old 14th April 2019, 04:03 AM
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General rule is don't bring anything without sentimental value . For many things replacement costs are less than shipping. Even worse if you need to pay for a years storage.

Obviously nothing that plugs in.

On sizes most everything sold for an average North American home will be a little too big here. From beds to living rooms.
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Old 14th April 2019, 07:49 AM
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And make a listing of everything you are packing - including what it is, when you acquired it, how much you paid and the estimated current replacement value. Obviously, you'll have to estimate most of that stuff. But for anything newly purchased before you packed it up, save the receipts.

The list will come in handy, both for shipping and eventually for clearing customs after arrival in Italy.

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Old 14th April 2019, 08:03 AM
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If it was bought less than a year ago technically you're on the hook for IVA/VAT/Sales tax once you import it.

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Old 15th April 2019, 03:47 PM
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I moved to Italy 19 years ago with a couple of suitcases, a couple of dual voltage electronics, family photos and a few mementos I couldn't part with after I had sold everything I owned in the USA so I could start over in Italy. It was a good choice because none of my American stuff would have fit in my living spaces in Italy nor would it have fit IN esthetically. My friend, on the other hand, moved her entire US household back to Italy and now does not have or use most of the goods she paid dearly to ship. I would rethink shipping household goods to Italy if I were you. In my opinion it's much less expensive to outfit a home in Italy than in the USA and the goods are better made and more attractive.

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Old 15th April 2019, 04:38 PM
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Default A more detailed question about container shipping

First of all, thanks for the wise information. We are indeed downsizing furiously as we go. We’ve got almost no furniture coming with us, just one heirloom rocking chair really. But we will have about half a container or less of some art, musical instruments, some clothing, music and books we can’t part with. We are wondering if shipping companies will require these things to be packed in some uniform manner. In their own boxes, for example.

Thanks again for all the good advice so far.

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Old 15th April 2019, 06:05 PM
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Less than full container would allow you to use a consolidator instead of renting your own full container.

Yes you should pack everything unless you want to pay the moving company to pack for you.

Some of the things on your list may require special packing/cases. The instruments for example. I would look for hard cases and not just generic storage cases. Books and clothing no big deal. The worse thing that might happen is your clothes wrinkle.

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Old 29th May 2019, 09:35 AM
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We moved a 40ft container last year that we managed to fill with all of our household possessions. Once we'd tipped over from a 20ft, we decided to just bring everything we had - including half a dozen Home Depot buckets, garden tools, that kind of thing. I would agree on the aesthetic thing though - US furniture generally doesn't look good or fit very well in Italian homes - well, in our beamy Umbrian house, at least.

We'd read the advice on getting rid of anything that plugged in and decided to do our own research. Anything that is labelled on the back as '110-240V' - usually things like laptop chargers, computer monitors, my NAS drive, computer speakers, internet radios that are manufatured for the international market - can be used in Italy if you buy a replacement power cord (available from Amazon - we bought ours in the US) with an Italian/ German-style plug that fits between the charger and the socket, or just into the socket in the case of computer monitors (we had 4). They work without a problem.

Next up - lamps. We'd read various opinions on this. Lamps in the US are very expensive - I mean, stuff made in China being sold by Pottery Barn for 100's - so we were reluctant to leave them behind. I read a post from someone saying lamps will work just fine with just a cheap US to Europe plug adapter - you can pick up packs of 10 for little money on Amazon. We brought all our lamps, including cheap Ikea lamps. We run them using the cheap plug adapters and they work just fine. The only thing to note is that you of course need to replace all the bulbs with Italian bulbs. Now, I'd read differing opinions on whether this is safe - running 240V through wires that expect 110V - I'm not an electrician but I can say we've been using all our US lamps for a year without any incidents at all. But, of course, do your own research.

Lastly - we had a number of expensive US-bought electronic items that would only work on 110V, including a top of the range bread maker, our Kitchen Aid mixer, a Kitchen Aid blender, a meat slicer, sewing machine. All of these can be bought in Italy (except the model of Kitchen Aid mixer). However, we bought some step down voltage converters (heavy duty ones made by UMI, and smaller ones made by Fuval) for 220V to 110V with a European plug on the end. The heavy duty ones can cope with 2400W. The wattage is important and deserves some research. Anyhow, these work fine and we're able to run all of the above devices via the voltage converters. The UMI voltage converters (we bought two but in practice just use one) were 180 bucks. We figured this was much cheaper than replacing all of the above items. Again, do your own research on wattage requirements.

All of our electronics were older than 12 months old (so no tax). The computer-related equipment - laptops, monitors, NAS - had their serial numbers listed on the moving boxes and called out on the movers' manifest, and we had to list them on a specific customs form which was not difficult to complete with the help of our removal company. A good removal company really helps out with the paperwork.

Anyhow, good luck. I'll stress again - the above is not advice just our experience and it is of course your own responsibility to research and make decisions on electrical equipment in particular.

Good luck!
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Old 29th May 2019, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marzipan71 View Post

. Now, I'd read differing opinions on whether this is safe - running 240V through wires that expect 110V - I'm not an electrician but I can say we've been using all our US lamps for a year without any incidents at all. But, of course, do your own research.
!


110V wiring is thicker/larger than 220V . Basically higher voltage travels better and generates less heat. Think of your car . It's 12V but the battery cable is much thicker than anything you'll see in most European homes. In short 110V wiring is more than good enough for 220V.

But the reason not to bring many North American electrical devices is simple €. Things designed for the North American market even if 220V capable are rarely up to the latest EU energy standards.

https://amzn.to/2MgbRvm

That's a US energy star. Claims 350kw a year

https://www.lg.com/it/frigoriferi/lg-GBB60PZGXS

That's mine at 161kw/h a year claimed. A difference of around 190kw/h. If you're paying the standard 24 cents or so an KW/H that means almost €50 in extra electrical bills.

A fridge is an extreme example but it applies to basically everything. Even newer North American stuff is rarely up to the latest EU standards. That means you'll pay to ship it. You'll pay more every month for electricity. If it ever breaks you will have trouble finding parts.
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Old 29th May 2019, 10:37 AM
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Been in Italy 19 years. My experience is that everything used on the European continent is more efficient and cost effective than what is used in the good, old, rip-off USA.

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