International moving is a massive industry that provides services across the globe. Whether moving to or from the U.S. or between any of the inhabited continents, there are over 600 international moving agents and affiliates working in this growing global business.
As the world’s population increases, so does the demand for international relocation of households and businesses. Moving between nations has shown a yearly rise of approximately 5% per year compounded, and shows no sign of slowing down.
Reasons for an International Move
There are many reasons for this increase. Immigration and emigration happen on permanent and temporary terms. Some moves are due to changes of citizenship, some are due to job opportunities, some are Foreign Service contracts, and some moves are due to business expansions.
Whatever the reason, international moves of household goods, automobiles, boats, animals, and practically every commodity imaginable have been accommodated by professional moving companies who specialize in moving large containers of valuables across international boundaries.
International moves are handled in a much different manner than domestic moves. It’s done at a much larger scale and has challenges that most people never consider. Distance is one factor and time is another.
The average international move, according to FIDI/FAIM (the gold standard in international moving), is over 5,000 miles and is a lengthy process of six weeks from packing to delivery. Time varies greatly, depending on the remoteness of the locations and the infrastructure present.
International moves are usually full-service. Do-it-yourself packing and loading are not often done on international shipping as the nature of these moves is much more expensive than a domestic local or long distance move. Budgets for inter-country and inter-continental moves are much larger and accommodate the detailed and specialized packing, crating, and shipping that’s done to face the harsh sea conditions that containers have to face.
Expensive artwork, glassware, furniture, and fine china is often shipped in international moves and these commodities require professional preparation and packing that’s done by experienced movers who specialize in international transportation of goods. Routinely, custom crating is built for specific pieces to be moved between countries.
Experienced craftsmanship is required to understand the nature of the piece to be packed and the stresses it may be subjected to in heaving seas, turbulent air, or on rough roads and railways.
Methods of Transportation
International moves are done in three main methods—land, air, or water. Sometimes it’s a combination of all three, depending on destinations, and each has its particular needs to prepare and execute the move.
This is the quickest but the most expensive option due to the cost of heavy weight and large bulk being carried in an aircraft. Air freight is often used for lighter and more expensive items that are time sensitive, pets and livestock being a good example.
This is the most common form of mass shipping and the industry has responded by developing two uniform sizes of shipping containers, a 20-foot and a 40-foot. These are commonly called “sea-cans”.
This is always used in tying other conveyancing methods together. Sea-can shipping containers have been universalized to fit directly onto semi-trailers or railroad cars and is standardized throughout the international moving industry.
Legal and Cultural Issues
International moves have legal requirements and cultural issues that go beyond the logistics of packing and shipping goods in universal, transportation-compatible containerization.
All international moves require customs documentation for the export and importation of goods. International moving companies are experts in handling the declarations and manifests that accompany internationally shipped effects. They provide the paperwork as part of a full-service package.
Language and cultural barriers may arise depending on the countries involved. Professional international movers have contacts worldwide and are experienced in recognizing potential problems and dealing with them before they happen.
International air and marine transportation insurance are another matter and a necessary part of an international move. The proper insurance coverage is critical in protecting effects which can include irreplaceable heirlooms and works of art. Moving insurance is a profession of its own and all international moving companies have insurance brokers as part of their team.
International Moving Companies
Full-service international moving companies are well-established networks of business located in Europe, Asia, Africa, The Middle East, South America, and Australia, as well as throughout North America. All are inter-connected with leading American companies that cooperate in shipping tens of thousands of tons of valuables yearly.
Global Van Lines, LLC, was founded in 1933 as Howard Van Lines. It’s since grown to one of the world’s largest moving companies with international offices and locations. This international moving company performs domestic, international, and overseas residential relocations as well as corporate or business moves.
Global Van Lines is now part of the Allied Group. Impressively, it has been ranked as the highest-scoring long distance mover by JD Powers with a score of 774. Global Van Lines has performed exceptionally well in its packing and loading services delivering high levels of customer satisfaction. Additionally, Global Van Lines offers the highest optional insurance coverages available in the international moving industry.
Based in the DC Metropolitan area, JK Moving is the third-largest independent mover in the United States. They have over 30 years of experience in national and international full-service moving and have the lowest number of claims in the moving industry. JK handles every facet of move management—residential, business, commercial, government, and records divisions.
JK Moving has 500 full-time employees and hundreds of contractors and network affiliates. They own a fleet of 160 GPS-tracked trucks equipped with state-of-the-art communication and inventory systems and have 400,000 square feet of secure, well-maintained storage space.
JK Moving’s international relocation services range from coordinating insurance to tagging boxes based on room-designation to tracking shipments via GPS and web-based services.
JK Moving has one of the best reputations in the international moving industry. They can boast of moving CEOs, dignitaries between embassies, diplomats, presidents, and even a king.
Despite its name, UPakWeShip offers a wide range of international moving services including pick-up and drop-off of owner-packaged belongings to destinations globally. UPakWeShip offers a range from economical packages through to higher-priced, full-service options. They cover most parts of the globe.
UPakWeShip is the residential and commercial packing and shipping division of EuroUSA Shipping and is part of the EUROGROUP. They have offices in the United States and Europe and regularly deliver as far as New Zealand and Australia. UPakWeShip prides itself on an aim-to-please customer service and has been in business for over twenty years. Thousands of satisfied customers attest to their knowledgeable and friendly staff.
World Class Shipping terms itself as an international freight forwarder and customs broker. They’re based in New York City and have branch offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
As a full-service moving company, World Class Shipping offers specialized packing of entire households and businesses, containerizes them, and ships to any destination that can be accessed by air, water, or land. They’re a world leader in global logistics for homeowners and companies, offering solution consulting and effective operations worldwide.
From high volume freight on an international scale to smaller container loads of personal property, World Class Shipping provides customs brokering and transportation service to exporters and importers everywhere.