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Shipping less than a large container

3197 Views 17 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  GALLUS
It's time for us to start researching shippers from the Eastern US to France. So far, we've been moving via checked luggage - everything from pots & pans, sheets & towels, etc. to our house in the Dordogne. We've also purchased furniture in France, so we only need to move a few things. When we do move, the contents will come in VAT free as it's all older (much older) than 6 months.

We're looking at moving some medium-sized things like a couple of small pieces of family heirloom furniture, 2 trail bicycles, artwork, and heavier small things like my wife's favorite cast iron skillet <s>.

From what folks have said, a modest container might work. I have a few questions:

  • Does anyone have names & contact info for container shippers you've used? Any recommendations of who to use or who to stay away from?
  • Does the shipping company pack or do we?
  • Are there different sized containers? If so, what are the sizes?
  • How does one get the container contents from the port of entry to one's home (in our case, in the Dordogne)? Are the containers delivered or do we rent a truck and re-pack it all into the truck?

Thanks, in advance, for your assistance.

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There are only two size containers: 20FT & 40FT. Sounds like you have way too little for a container to make sense. What you want to look for is a "freight forwarder". The only "issue" with them if you need to know more or less home any cubic feet you are sending.

I sent about 2 cubic meters of stuff from Boston to Belgium once and I just dropped off the boxes at their warehouse and they then shipped it to my office in Brussels. You probably have more than that.

Different freight forwarders have different levels of service (with different prices of course). Some will come out & estimate they amount of stuff you have then pack it up in pallets, while others expect you to know how much you are sending and to pack it up yourselves.

Anyway, start calling freight forwarders in your area.
It was so long ago that I can't remember who I used out of Boston. They will come to your house to pick up the stuff. You'll have to pay for that though. So you'll have to find a company on the cape to save on that. I imagine there are a few companies on the cape that can do this. And they will normally wrap it up in a pallet or a wooden box (depending on what you are shipping) for you. The problem, I found, is estimating the volume needed for the quote.

As for what the cubic feet is in a container, I have no idea. Last time we shipped by container we had about 100m2 apartment and it fit is less than a 20ft container. Actually we used 13ft of the container. It really sounds like you don't need a container.

PS, I was on the cape today!
Wish I'd known. We're just outside Hyannis. Or at least, I'm here. My wife is still at our house in the Dordogne.

Based what everyone has said, I think we'll need only a modest amount of shipping space for a couple of pieces of furniture, a large wool rug we got in Turkey, clothes, and artwork. We've already furnished our house in France.

Well, I didn't know either until this morning when we decided to get a sandwich in Sandwich. ;) Then we got "pain" at the airport. LOL

I did a quick google search and you will definitely find cargo/freight forwarders on the cape. If you have everything packed up you can just give the dimensions. I'm not as organized and wanted to find out how much it would cost before I decided what to bring. I don't quite remember correctly but I think it was US$300 for 1cubic meter of stuff door to door. Three old fashioned TV size boxes and a bike box, more or less. (that was more than 15 years ago though! :eek:)
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