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Discussion Starter #1
We are moving to Germany and looking to ship (sea) personal items (books, clothing, sporting equipment and some kitchen stuff). Most likely, without any furniture or electrical goods. At the moment, I guestimate the volume to be in the order of 10 chest sized moving boxes.
  1. As far less than a shipping container, would it be best to get a single or a couple of timber freight crates to fit all in? If so, where could I pick up a cheap used crate (assuming companies receive goods regularly in incoming crates and may have no need for them)?
  2. Which freight companies are good, which to avoid? Horror stories?
  3. Costs?
  4. Extra charges at either end?
  5. What documentation is required?
  6. Any other creative options or experiences?
 

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We are moving to Germany and looking to ship (sea) personal items (books, clothing, sporting equipment and some kitchen stuff). Most likely, without any furniture or electrical goods. At the moment, I guestimate the volume to be in the order of 10 chest sized moving boxes.
  1. As far less than a shipping container, would it be best to get a single or a couple of timber freight crates to fit all in? If so, where could I pick up a cheap used crate (assuming companies receive goods regularly in incoming crates and may have no need for them)?
  2. Which freight companies are good, which to avoid? Horror stories?
  3. Costs?
  4. Extra charges at either end?
  5. What documentation is required?
  6. Any other creative options or experiences?
Kaju is also shortly moving to Germany

Maybe you can share notes and recommendations

Cheers
 

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We are moving to Germany and looking to ship (sea) personal items (books, clothing, sporting equipment and some kitchen stuff). Most likely, without any furniture or electrical goods. At the moment, I guestimate the volume to be in the order of 10 chest sized moving boxes.
  1. As far less than a shipping container, would it be best to get a single or a couple of timber freight crates to fit all in? If so, where could I pick up a cheap used crate (assuming companies receive goods regularly in incoming crates and may have no need for them)?
  2. Which freight companies are good, which to avoid? Horror stories?
  3. Costs?
  4. Extra charges at either end?
  5. What documentation is required?
  6. Any other creative options or experiences?
Best thing may be to get some cardboard packing boxes that removalists use. But you should be able to find wooden crates of various sizes on Gumtree. I decided against crates, as regular cardboard shipping boxes are easier to store at the other end, and easier to transport to and from the house to the storage depots at each end.

I looked at Sevens Seas for their Movecube - about $4000 from my house (they deliver, you get a couple of hours to load it up, with boxes/cartons you have already packed, and they take it away) in the northern suburbs of Perth to Hessen in the middle of Germany.

That was their biggest cube (google for MoveCube) which is about 6m3.

I also checked with a local shipping company (rather than a removals company which you could use but generally cost more). That was with Indian Ocean Shipping Agencies in Fremantle, our local port, who are a freight forwarder, rather than a removalist.

You may want to see if there are any freight forwarders at your closest port. They will normally arrange pickup of any cartons/boxes/crates, etc from your house, and then put them on a pallet when they get them to their depot, wrap them in plastic wrap and put them into a container as an LCL load.

The container is shared with others, but your goods may be off-loaded and trans-shipped via another container and vessel along the way, so it gets to the destination. They can also arrange clearance and delivery at the German port. I asked for a quote from my house to Bremen this time, so add several hundred to deliver to the middle of Germany. They quoted (just to Bremen) $3000 for 9m3.

I'm a bit undecided as to who to go with yet, but may go with the the freight forwarder. Or keep looking a little more, but I suspect the price from Indian Ocean would be hard to beat. Both do this sort of operation all the time. Overall rates look fairly similar, but the freight forwarder may have more access to immediate space/quicker delivery for LCL loads, at the cost of trans-shipping along the way - I think SevenSeas says up to 90 days, Indian Ocean says 48 to Bremen.:)

Although we have a houseload of gear, some of it is getting old anyway, and some is bulky. Add to that, that we have a small free furnished house to use as a base in central Germany, but will move within a few weeks of arriving to rent in Graz, Austria for 18 months, then rent and finally build in the north of Germany, and we don't want to pay for shipping things we don't need and have to pay for storage. So we'll sell most stuff at 5c in the dollar, give it away, or to charity, or junk it. We can store our remaining boxes of more personal stuff in Germany for as long we need to. So, as little as we can reasonably take is the answer for us. But it will still be at least 6m3, probably closer to 9m3.

By the way, storage (at either end) for say 6-9m2 would likely be about $100 per month.

The Freight forwarder, or removals company such as Seven Seas or any international removalist should simply need a manifest (what's in each box) and arrange all pickup, transport, insurance, export documents, EU manifest fees, customs clearances and delivery. :)
 

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Thanks @kaju. I appreciate the prompt and comprehensive reply. Just the information I was looking for. I guess you are ahead of us in looking into this and I will appreciate any updates and experience you go through.

We intend to sell the house and get rid of all the furniture, tools, electrical equipment etc. We will be left with personal effects such as clothing, books, documents, sporting gear and some pots, pans etc. I estimate it to be in the vicinity of 6m3.

I saw the moveCube, but the quote was AU$4,500.

I intend to look at where can I save some money. For example, would I best look for a used crate, pack it and bring it to a freight forwarder myself on a trailer etc. Would I save money if I pack a pallet myself?

At the other end we can have things delivered to my wife's parents for short term storage, whilst we get ourselves set up.
 

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Thanks @kaju. I appreciate the prompt and comprehensive reply. Just the information I was looking for. I guess you are ahead of us in looking into this and I will appreciate any updates and experience you go through.

We intend to sell the house and get rid of all the furniture, tools, electrical equipment etc. We will be left with personal effects such as clothing, books, documents, sporting gear and some pots, pans etc. I estimate it to be in the vicinity of 6m3.

I saw the moveCube, but the quote was AU$4,500.

I intend to look at where can I save some money. For example, would I best look for a used crate, pack it and bring it to a freight forwarder myself on a trailer etc. Would I save money if I pack a pallet myself?

At the other end we can have things delivered to my wife's parents for short term storage, whilst we get ourselves set up.
Not sure whether crating is worth the effort. Good crates can be found, but you still need to pay for them. You can certainly get one (or more), have it delivered, pack it, take it to a shipper's depot.

That will save you a few hundred dollars, but that's about all - my quote was for $320 to pick up 9m3 and take to the depot 40km away. So it's not a big saving, especially if you need to buy a crate, pick it up, and then take it yourself.

I have a couple of things bigger than standard packing boxes, they will just get very well wrapped in bubble wrap, then a few layers of cardboard boxes wrapped and taped around them. They can still be palletised along with regular packing boxes by the shipping company.

Palletising was quoted at $75 per pallet, they have to ship your boxes anyway, all they do is take the boxes and stack them on a wooden pallet, and wrap plastic around them a few times - takes just a few minutes at most. I'm guessing a pallet might take perhaps 1.5m3 of boxes, so that might cost $300 or so for me, a bit less for you perhaps.

For me, the only other costs for 9m3 as quoted was transport to the depot $320, weight verification $65, export documents $120, export clearance $65, EU manifest fee $30, actual freight cost Fremantle-Bremen $260/m3 = $2340. So about $3300 all up for me for 9m3 to Bremen or Hamburg.

The only extra cost would be insurance, I'm guessing a couple of hundred at most for that.

Your costs for 6m3 would likely be similar at a guess, as it may cost a shade more given Fremantle is a little closer, and you'd need delivery in Germany. I suspect the MoveCube price is going to be about $1000 more than a shipper.

The MoveCube would feel convenient - you'd still need to pack stuff in boxes first, but at least you could simply load the cube at your house and unload it at the other end. The concept is somehow tempting, for me anyway, but then again I think "Well, what's the difference between me loading boxes into a cube, and those same boxes simply being picked up from my house by a shipper anyway?"

So my prospective 9m3 cost would be say $3500 from Fremantle to Bremen. Add a few hundred for transport in Germany, call it $4000. And I was quoted $4000 delivered (to the middle of Germany) for the MoveCube. But that was for 6m3 compared to 9m3 and the expected delivery time is longer too. So the MoveCube does cost a bit more. I'd guess if your MoveCube quote is $4500 for 6m3, a regular shipping agent would charge maybe $500 less all up, (including palletising and insurance, which may already be included in your MoveCube quote). So overall, there may not be a big difference in price.

If you get a crate you don't have palletising costs, but you'll still have to deliver it, and you can't manhandle a big crate, you'll maybe need a truck lift or crane. To my mind, it's much easier and still good value to pay a few hundred for pick up by the shipper.

I'll have them palletise mine, just using regular packing boxes. I'd guess for your 6m3, pick up and palletise might be $5-600 all up, but you'd need to check.

Either way you still have the cost of the crate or cardboard boxes, you should hopefully see people selling both of these on Gumtree. :)
 

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We used Grace Removals for our move a couple of years back. The biggest issue we faced was that Grace did not commit to a deliver by date because we did not have a full container. It took them, close to 80 days to deliver from Melbourne to Delhi.

They managed the move home to home. One of their customs agent managed customs related formalities, and we had to pay customs duty as some electronic items were part of the goods. In addition to moving we also paid for insurance. Insurance proved worthwhile as a few things were damaged. On a positive note, the claim process was hassle free.
 

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Thanks for the comments thus far. @obelixous do you remember rough costs and volume?
I think the volume was 3.3 Cubic Metres
Cost was $1500, for door to door - removals and delivery. We packed the boxes, Grace packed the heavier electronic items like refrigerator, tv, and washing machine
Further we paid $630 for insurance
 

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Thanks for the comments thus far. @obelixous do you remember rough costs and volume?
Not sure that will help you much - land delivery costs (both freight and handling) are likely to be much lower in India than in Germany, and the distance to Germany compared to India is more than twice as far, so expect higher costs. Your insurance costs may actually be lower, too. :)
 
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