This post is part two of a series of posts where I go through our Australia shipping quote.
The first post covers what type of quote you should get, how long a quote is good for, and what to look for as far as associations and affiliations of the shipping company. The third post is all about what the rate does not include. That post is equally important as what the rate does include. Please do not skip it.
Services Included in Our Australia Shipping Quote Rate
Going through what our quote included will give you an idea of everything that is involved with getting your shipment from your front door back home, on to a cargo vessel then off the cargo vessel in Sydney and back into your possession again.
If your quote doesn't list out what the rate includes, be sure you ask and get it in writing. It's essential that you pay attention to the details and understand all the fine print.
Different packing options for international shipping.
We decided to pack up our house ourselves, what movers refer to as a “Partial Pack.” The movers then came to the house and picked up all our boxes and furniture. They took the whole lot to a storage facility where they then prepared everything to be loaded into the shipping container.
A “Full Pack” is when the movers pack up your house for you.
Some companies have a “Self-Load” option which is when you not only pack your household but also load the container yourself. Moving companies that offer self-load park the container or partial container in front of your house on the street. Be sure to check if you need special permits for the parking of the shipping container outside your home if you choose to self-load.
Self-load is the least expensive option since you will be doing all of the packing and supply all of the packing materials. You will also assume all of the risks of damage.
If you chose to go the self-load route, don’t skimp on packing materials and make sure that nothing can shift within the boxes and wrap your furniture in packing paper as once the movers pick up the container, it will most likely not be opened again until it arrives in Sydney for inspection. The loading and unloading of the container onto the shipping vessel can jostle boxes and furniture around not to mention the long ocean voyage. With Self Load, you take on all responsibility for any damage.
Please note, the more you pack yourself, the higher chance there is of the Australian quarantine and customs inspections taking longer plus extra charges associated with each.
Check that heat-treated or fumigated liftvans are included.
What the heck are liftvans and why is it important they are heat treated or fumigated?
A lift van is a plywood crate built specifically for international shipments. A standard lift van is approximately 200 cubic feet (87” high x 87” long x 48” wide) though liftvans can be made to fit any sized shipment. Rainier Overseas Movers
Heat treatment and fumigation are important especially when shipping anything to Australia. If you have not read my post on why moving to Australia is different than other international moves, be sure you do.
Liftvans were included in our quote because we chose to partial pack. They are included in full pack shipping quotes but not self-load quotes.
The difference between LCL shipments and FCL shipments.
LCL stands for Less than Container Load whereas FCL is a Full Container Load.
There are three sizes of shipping containers: 20ft, 40ft, and a 40ft cube. If you do not have enough to fill a full shipping container, then you have an LCL shipment.
Once the movers pick up the boxes at your house, they then take them to a warehouse where they pack your shipment into the liftvans. Again, I'm talking about partial and full pack shipments.
By packing I mean, they wrap up almost everything in packing paper or plastic wrap. The amount of packing paper we ended up with from our shipment was enough to fill our small office in Sydney, floor to ceiling. We had to recycle it in stages because the bins were too small for all the packing paper from our shipment.
Next, the movers will load the liftvans into the shipping container.
If you have an LCL shipment, part of the container will have another LCL shipment also on its way to Sydney.
LCL shipments are also referred to as “Groupage Shipping” since the container has different shipments belonging to different individuals or exporters sending goods to Australia.
List of what services should be included in your Australia shipping quote.
1. Transportation to the port of origin.
For us, this was the port of Seattle.
2. Customs clearance of shipment from origin country.
Everything shipped out of the United States needs to be cleared by customs. Be sure to ask about customs clearance for your location.
3. Shipping documents and registration with a vessel.
Some shipping companies will give you a tracking code that you can log online with and see the progress of your shipment as it makes its way to Australia. We didn't have this option nor did we even think to ask if it was possible. In hindsight, it would have been nice to know and have given us some peace of mind.
4. Ocean freight to Australia.
5. Transportation from the destination port.
Our quote was a residence-to-residence or door-to-door quote. Door-to-port quotes do not include this. Sometimes, self-load quotes, such as moving pods, do not include transport from the port in Australia. If not included, then you will need to organize transportation from the port. Or, you can ask how much it will be to add it on, and the shipping company will do it for you.
6. Delivery to a residence in Australia.
For self-load shipments be sure you find out about parking permits in Sydney for your container and pick up the empty container when you have finished unloading.
7. Unloading of shipment.
For full pack and partial pack, this simply means that the movers will unload the truck with your belongings.
That was what one of our quotes included in the cost of shipping our belongings from the USA to Australia. I have added this to the blog as an example of a shipping quote to give you an idea of what to look out for when you get your shipping quote. Your quote may include more or certain things may not be included. What's important here is that you know precisely what your quote includes and that it is all in writing before you sign anything.
Alright, the next step is to go over what our shipping quote didn't include. Be sure to read check it out because you will be responsible for several charges and fees when your shipment arrives in Australia.
Ready to Get Started with Your Move to Australia?
Australia Moving Checklist
39 pages, packed full of resources you need to kick start your move to Australia. Plus invite-only access to my Private Facebook Group with over 2,200 members. The group is a great place to get answers to all your questions, from visa applications to moving with pets and schools. Join us!
Lock-In Your Exchange Rate
Did you know the Australian dollar is a commodity currency? This means the value of the Australian dollar is linked to the price of iron ore and other Australian exports. It also means that it's HIGHLY VOLATILE! When a good rate comes along, you need to be ready to jump on it and lock-in that exchange rate.
Have You Started Packing Yet?
No, not yet? Still got several months to go? Ok, but have you at least started thinking about what you're taking? Maybe even started a list? The truth is you don’t need to know what's going with you before getting your shipping quote. Why? Scheduling a shipment to Australia can take as long as 6 months.
Open Your Bank Account
In 5 minutes or less, you can open both a checking and savings account BEFORE you move to Australia. There are only 3 things you need to get started.
1. Your passport and visa details.
2. Know where you're going to live.
3. Be arriving within the next 3 months.
*This link will take you to Commonwealth Bank of Australia's special accounts for newly arriving expats and migrants. Commonwealth Bank is a sponsoring partner of Sydney Moving Guide.