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Old Jun 14th 2006, 4:03 pm   #16
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Cheers Hutch mate!

Your thread has come on at a very apt time for us and the information is more than useful, so many thanks indeed for your time on that x

Vics xxxx
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Old Jun 14th 2006, 4:09 pm   #17
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutch
Thought I'd put down some thoughts for folks who are in the process of arranging shipments to save 'em searching through the forum for all the different threads.

Size of shipment
Generally speaking, the vast majority of people will only ever need a 20foot container. I refer you to this thread by Olibeneli - in which he explains very well how he packed the entire contents of a 4 bedroom house into a 20footer. That includes furniture and all household stuff - toys, CDs etc. If you're shipping more than the contents of your house, like say your business inventory, then 40ft may be the way to go - but that is a *lot* of space. Some people also use 40ft containers because they intend to ship the car with everything else - this works out far more cheaply than shipping your household goods and car separately.

If you are shipping an intermediate number of items, such as simply your personal effects, computers, DVDs etc - then you would be far better off forgetting about an entire 20ft or 40ft container and just doing a part container shipment. All the big shipping companies will do this for you. When you ship this way, your boxes of stuff are put onto the shipping company's lorry and shipped in a part container, rather than you have exclusive use of a container of your own. This way you just pay for what you're sending and not a load of British air.

In all cases an estimator will come to your house before you ship to give you an idea of the volume you'll be sending and the rough cost. They use a nifty handheld computer that works out sizes for them and they're surprisingly accurate. Be fastidious at this stage - it's easy to overlook items because they're such a familiar part of your life. It is very important that at this stage you make clear to the estimator any peculiarities of your shipment and/or the access to your house. You know the lay of the land far better than them and whilst they might think a 7.5 tonne lorry will be able to get access, you may know better. If you are shipping antiques they will probably need special treatment - make this clear. Get everything clearly written into the notes because this is what the office bods will use to arrange your pick-up.

Shipping Companies
Some shipping companies come highly recommended on these forums, some don't. The fact is that if you look through the threads you'll find people who've had excellent and poor service from *all* the shipping companies. Don't take it as a given that because you've signed up with a particular company that everything will go perfectly. There are some steps you can take to reduce risk, which I'll list later.

Firstly - the following companies have been used by many expats and (on the whole) they've been very good.

John Mason - 0151 449 3938
Excess International - 0800 783 1085
Crown - 020 8839 8000
Doree Bonner - 020 8303 6261
PSS - 020 8686 7733

There are plenty of other removal companies - Allied Pickfords, Anglo Pacific, etc - but a fairly high percentage of people have had grief with them, particularly the lattter. You may well get excellent service with them, but the above five are the names that come up time and again on this forum and as such are known quantities.

One thing is certain - lowest quote is not always the best. Crown seem to always come in at the high end of the quotes but have a very good reputation, though they can get snotty if you question costings. Remember that any quotes you get from these companies will probably include professional packing and insurance. Often the insurance requires that your goods are professionally packed, so the two go hand in hand. Do make sure that your chosen company is a member of the Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux which is the officially recognised accreditation for international shipping companies.

Costings
The most popular method of shipping would seem to be sole use 20ft container. Prices for this vary considerably, but nearly always falls between £3500 and £5500. The price fluctuation is accounted for by the relative costs of the packers and their insurance - clearly someone like Crown is charging more for its packing services than anyone else - if you have expensive furniture this might be worth bearing in mind. You pays your money, you takes your choice.

If you're sending a part shipment then your costs will of course vary a lot. To give you an idea though - Excess International who do a *lot* of part shipments will charge you about £100 for 20cu feet of space - that's two 9cu feet 'tea chest' size boxes and one 2 cu feet 'book box'. To give you an idea, we managed to fit my wife's entire wardrobe of clothes in one 9 cu feet tea chest and one portable TV, hi-fi, small speakers and leads in another tea chest.

Insurance
Whoever you ship with will be able to provide you with insurance for your goods. Generally speaking this will be 3% of the cost of the shipping. We've also found that most of these insurance policies have a relatively high excess which is 1% of the value or £100, whichever is greater - so if you're shipping £20k worth of stuff then your excess will be £200 - this is, however, usually on each invidiaul claim, not on each item.

Many people (ourselves included) arranged insurance ourselves. We used Letton Percival - 0151 236 4568 - which is the same insurance company used by many of the shipping companies themselves. They charge 1.53% of the total cost of the insured goods. It's a simple process to get insured - they send you a sheet on which you list the value of your items, individually listing anything worth more than £500. Phone the broker once you've totalled up the values and he'll tell you what the cost will be. Then you just send a cheque for that amount and you get a policy back a couple of days later. Remember that this doesn't cover the stuff you take with you on your flight - so always have good travel insurance as well.

Some people forego insurance completely for various reasons. This is of course entirely up to you, but given the fact that your entire worldly goods travel by sea to Australia there's plenty of opportunity for things to get damaged.

Self Shipping
Another option is the DIY route, otherwise known as self-shipping. This way you arrange to get a container delivered to your home, you pack your stuff, you load into the container, the shipping company pick it up, take it to the port and ship it Oz. Services vary but you will be liable for all the dock-side costs in Australia (budget for about an extra £600) and you will have to arrange your own insurance. Firms offering containers like this include UPakWeShip, Freightworld and RH Freight. Lots of useful info on this in this thread.

Time Frame
Generally speaking it takes 35 days for a container ship to travel from the UK to Sydney. However most shipping companies quote anywhere between eight and 10 weeks to cover themselves in case the ship takes a longer route, gets held up or if there are delays port-side. There have been many posts about containers getting held up for extended periods once they've arrived in Australia, so factor in the high end of the time frame quoted and you should be okay.

General Tips
Some tips culled from the shipping companies web-sites and from other people's experiences:
  • Don’t store or transport jewelry, money, legal documents, taxation papers, insurance policies or other high value/irreplaceable articles (keep these items with you).
  • Don’t polish your furniture prior to your move. Polishing surfaces can cause furniture to condensate when wrapped.
  • Don't be afraid to over-see the packing personally. It's your stuff and you have every right to see that it's all being boxed up securely.
  • If you dont want something shipped - consider having a 'safe area' in the house in which you deposit all such items (a spare bedroom for instance) and make it clear to the shippers that that room is to remain untouched.
  • Don't ship your passports (don't laugh - it *has* happened).
  • Removalists like tea or coffee with lots of sugar at regular intervals. A happy shipper is a good shipper.
  • Clean all you outdoorsy stuff (bikes, wellies etc) with some stinky old Jeyes fluid. Make sure they're clean of mud.
  • Consider dismantling beds, desks etc yourself and bagging the screws in freezer bags taped with parcel tape to the desk itself.
  • Take your batteries out of everything - if they leak en route your item could be ruined.
  • Consider taking some of your particularly cherished items (only photo of someone, child's first drawing etc) with you on the plane. Insurance is irrelevant for such items.
  • If you've got stuff that's under 12 months old - don't make it obvious that it is! You'll be charged import duties on such items if the customs blokes discover it.

Good luck.

Cool thread. Very helpful stuff here.

One question is, do Letton Percival offer insurance against (a) mildew and condensation (John Mason insurers charge another 0.3%) and (b) electrical equipment damage (again 0.3%)?

Cheers.
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Old Jun 14th 2006, 5:42 pm   #18
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Thumbs up Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Absolutely brilliant Hutch. So good, I've put it in my favourites for future reference
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Old Jun 14th 2006, 6:26 pm   #19
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutch
Thought I'd put down some thoughts for folks who are in the process of arranging shipments to save 'em searching through the forum for all the different threads.

Size of shipment
Generally speaking, the vast majority of people will only ever need a 20foot container. I refer you to this thread by Olibeneli - in which he explains very well how he packed the entire contents of a 4 bedroom house into a 20footer. That includes furniture and all household stuff - toys, CDs etc. If you're shipping more than the contents of your house, like say your business inventory, then 40ft may be the way to go - but that is a *lot* of space. Some people also use 40ft containers because they intend to ship the car with everything else - this works out far more cheaply than shipping your household goods and car separately.

If you are shipping an intermediate number of items, such as simply your personal effects, computers, DVDs etc - then you would be far better off forgetting about an entire 20ft or 40ft container and just doing a part container shipment. All the big shipping companies will do this for you. When you ship this way, your boxes of stuff are put onto the shipping company's lorry and shipped in a part container, rather than you have exclusive use of a container of your own. This way you just pay for what you're sending and not a load of British air.

In all cases an estimator will come to your house before you ship to give you an idea of the volume you'll be sending and the rough cost. They use a nifty handheld computer that works out sizes for them and they're surprisingly accurate. Be fastidious at this stage - it's easy to overlook items because they're such a familiar part of your life. It is very important that at this stage you make clear to the estimator any peculiarities of your shipment and/or the access to your house. You know the lay of the land far better than them and whilst they might think a 7.5 tonne lorry will be able to get access, you may know better. If you are shipping antiques they will probably need special treatment - make this clear. Get everything clearly written into the notes because this is what the office bods will use to arrange your pick-up.

Shipping Companies
Some shipping companies come highly recommended on these forums, some don't. The fact is that if you look through the threads you'll find people who've had excellent and poor service from *all* the shipping companies. Don't take it as a given that because you've signed up with a particular company that everything will go perfectly. There are some steps you can take to reduce risk, which I'll list later.

Firstly - the following companies have been used by many expats and (on the whole) they've been very good.

John Mason - 0151 449 3938
Excess International - 0800 783 1085
Crown - 020 8839 8000
Doree Bonner - 020 8303 6261
PSS - 020 8686 7733

There are plenty of other removal companies - Allied Pickfords, Anglo Pacific, etc - but a fairly high percentage of people have had grief with them, particularly the lattter. You may well get excellent service with them, but the above five are the names that come up time and again on this forum and as such are known quantities.

One thing is certain - lowest quote is not always the best. Crown seem to always come in at the high end of the quotes but have a very good reputation, though they can get snotty if you question costings. Remember that any quotes you get from these companies will probably include professional packing and insurance. Often the insurance requires that your goods are professionally packed, so the two go hand in hand. Do make sure that your chosen company is a member of the Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux which is the officially recognised accreditation for international shipping companies.

Costings
The most popular method of shipping would seem to be sole use 20ft container. Prices for this vary considerably, but nearly always falls between £3500 and £5500. The price fluctuation is accounted for by the relative costs of the packers and their insurance - clearly someone like Crown is charging more for its packing services than anyone else - if you have expensive furniture this might be worth bearing in mind. You pays your money, you takes your choice.

If you're sending a part shipment then your costs will of course vary a lot. To give you an idea though - Excess International who do a *lot* of part shipments will charge you about £100 for 20cu feet of space - that's two 9cu feet 'tea chest' size boxes and one 2 cu feet 'book box'. To give you an idea, we managed to fit my wife's entire wardrobe of clothes in one 9 cu feet tea chest and one portable TV, hi-fi, small speakers and leads in another tea chest.

Insurance
Whoever you ship with will be able to provide you with insurance for your goods. Generally speaking this will be 3% of the cost of the shipping. We've also found that most of these insurance policies have a relatively high excess which is 1% of the value or £100, whichever is greater - so if you're shipping £20k worth of stuff then your excess will be £200 - this is, however, usually on each invidiaul claim, not on each item.

Many people (ourselves included) arranged insurance ourselves. We used Letton Percival - 0151 236 4568 - which is the same insurance company used by many of the shipping companies themselves. They charge 1.53% of the total cost of the insured goods. It's a simple process to get insured - they send you a sheet on which you list the value of your items, individually listing anything worth more than £500. Phone the broker once you've totalled up the values and he'll tell you what the cost will be. Then you just send a cheque for that amount and you get a policy back a couple of days later. Remember that this doesn't cover the stuff you take with you on your flight - so always have good travel insurance as well.

Some people forego insurance completely for various reasons. This is of course entirely up to you, but given the fact that your entire worldly goods travel by sea to Australia there's plenty of opportunity for things to get damaged.

Self Shipping
Another option is the DIY route, otherwise known as self-shipping. This way you arrange to get a container delivered to your home, you pack your stuff, you load into the container, the shipping company pick it up, take it to the port and ship it Oz. Services vary but you will be liable for all the dock-side costs in Australia (budget for about an extra £600) and you will have to arrange your own insurance. Firms offering containers like this include UPakWeShip, Freightworld and RH Freight. Lots of useful info on this in this thread.

Time Frame
Generally speaking it takes 35 days for a container ship to travel from the UK to Sydney. However most shipping companies quote anywhere between eight and 10 weeks to cover themselves in case the ship takes a longer route, gets held up or if there are delays port-side. There have been many posts about containers getting held up for extended periods once they've arrived in Australia, so factor in the high end of the time frame quoted and you should be okay.

General Tips
Some tips culled from the shipping companies web-sites and from other people's experiences:
  • Don’t store or transport jewelry, money, legal documents, taxation papers, insurance policies or other high value/irreplaceable articles (keep these items with you).
  • Don’t polish your furniture prior to your move. Polishing surfaces can cause furniture to condensate when wrapped.
  • Don't be afraid to over-see the packing personally. It's your stuff and you have every right to see that it's all being boxed up securely.
  • If you dont want something shipped - consider having a 'safe area' in the house in which you deposit all such items (a spare bedroom for instance) and make it clear to the shippers that that room is to remain untouched.
  • Don't ship your passports (don't laugh - it *has* happened).
  • Removalists like tea or coffee with lots of sugar at regular intervals. A happy shipper is a good shipper.
  • Clean all you outdoorsy stuff (bikes, wellies etc) with some stinky old Jeyes fluid. Make sure they're clean of mud.
  • Consider dismantling beds, desks etc yourself and bagging the screws in freezer bags taped with parcel tape to the desk itself.
  • Take your batteries out of everything - if they leak en route your item could be ruined.
  • Consider taking some of your particularly cherished items (only photo of someone, child's first drawing etc) with you on the plane. Insurance is irrelevant for such items.
  • If you've got stuff that's under 12 months old - don't make it obvious that it is! You'll be charged import duties on such items if the customs blokes discover it.

Good luck.
Excellent post - thanks for taking the trouble.
Mhairi
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Old Jun 14th 2006, 8:09 pm   #20
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

I would also like to say thankyou Hutch, I have read many threads on shipping, it's nice to have it all in one post.

Sending k your way

Stacey xx
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Old Jun 14th 2006, 10:22 pm   #21
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Thank you Hutch so helpful. I hope you have no problems when you get to oz with your boxes.
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Old Jun 15th 2006, 8:56 am   #22
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Hutch
You are a star thank you so much for this post - I have had 4 different shippers out but am now looking into diy - and you've just saved me oddles of time with all the info in one place!
Once again thanks you really have made a difference to my day of research
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Old Jul 1st 2006, 4:25 am   #23
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

cheers hutch for taking the time
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Old Jul 1st 2006, 5:00 am   #24
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Old Jul 1st 2006, 10:43 am   #25
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Brillant post Hutch. Says me days of searching. Do you think you could do a thread of every aspect of relocating from start to finish Airline flights, Rentals, Schools, etc only joking it maybe it could be a new job for you. Ha ha

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Old Jul 1st 2006, 11:13 am   #26
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

We went with PSS. They sent a rusty, dirty, old container, had a snotty attitude once you had signed the contract, lost a box of goods, had a list of get out clauses as long as your arm and if you have the cheek to use some other insurer (i.e. more competitive) they will send you a form to sign discharging them of ALL responsibilities. It will say that they can throw your furniture in with a JCB and you can do [email protected] all about it.
We were not amused, we do not recommend.
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Old Aug 12th 2006, 9:05 am   #27
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Thanks Hutch, we have just had a few weeks of appointments with various shippers and are completely confused at the end of it all. At the moment John Mason seem to be at the top of the list, we're just waiting for them to come back with final figures. One of the problems we are having at the moment is that we have a several items that we feel need crating, has anyone else had any experience of having crates made and at what cost. The shippers seem to be quite expensive at supplying these. Any advice would be greatly received.
Jeri
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Old Aug 12th 2006, 9:24 am   #28
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What a star - just getting our stuff ready for shipping quotes etc
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Old Aug 12th 2006, 1:41 pm   #29
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Excellent stuff. I'm saving it for future reference.

Any more advice on anything to do with moving?

PS: I can't send karma, it wouldn't let me!
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Old Aug 13th 2006, 1:58 am   #30
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Default Re: Shipping - a small guide to the UK end

Forgot I made this thread - glad folks still finding it of use. Couple of extra bits of info:

Part shipments take longer than sole use containers, but there really is no hard and fast rules regarding the time-frame. You may get lucky, have your shipment turn up at the port and it's put straight on a boat - or you may have your container sitting around the docks for a few weeks. The 10 week timeframe is what's happened in our case (part shipment) - it left our home in the UK on the 10th of June, boat docked on the 8th of August, Grace removals due to deliver it here some time week starting 22nd August (depends on how quick AQIS port staff are).

Carefully consider the time of year you're moving to Oz (and of course where). Summer's on the way now, but if you're due to arrive June-August - DO NOT ship your mid-warmth winter clothing if you're heading anywhere south of Brisbane. You probably won't need your thick winter coats, but fleeces, trousers and waterproof jackets will come in very handy. If you've got an electric blanket, bring it - winter days can be lovely, but it gets very chilly at night and you'll undoubtedly be living in a house with no insulation and no double glazing and probably no form of heating beyond reverse cycle. Consider investing in a couple of oil/electric heaters - even on the basic frost setting they'll stop you getting a cold nose in the mornings.

I would like to emphasise my previous advice regarding over-seeing the packing of your shipment. Take the day off work (both of you if you're a couple) and watch your packers at work. If it bothers them or seems to make them uncomfortable - tough. You will find they are far more fastidious about correctly wrapping and conserving space, if you're there watching. They might be incredibly professional, but at the end of the day, it's *your* stuff not their's and they have no idea what you consider precious.

Consider taking a photo inventory of the stuff going into the boxes and make sure you get the names of the people who are packing. If things go wrong you'll be able to tell the head-office precisely who's responsible.

When your stuff's due in Australia, you may not be ready to accept your shipment (smaller rental etc) so consider having it delivered directly to a storage depot and then move the bits you *do* need yourself. Storage costs vary enormously, but typically you're looking at about $600 a month for 300cu ft of space.
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