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Freight Shipping – Everything you Need to Know

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
15th March 2017 (Last updated on Monday 13th November 2017)

Sea freight or Shipping Freight for international moves is the transportation of household items, consolidated into steel shipping containers for onward transportation via sea to international ports.

Sea Freight is the most commonly used method by international removal companies as this is the most cost-effective solution as you only pay for the storage space you use.

The process of moving your entire household or even a part household abroad will vary from company to company. This ‘Compare My Move’ guide will cover the basic and the most common methods and procedures as this should give you a good idea.

It is important to state here that no two moves are the same so, although we aim to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, situation, services, costs and timings will vary – This is simply a rough outline and we hope you find it useful.

Let’s begin by going over the methods:

This article will cover the following points

Methods of Sea Shipping Shipping Times Shipping Freight Costs Compare International Shipping Costs

Methods of Sea Shipping

Full Container Freight

Should you have your entire home contents to ship to another country then your goods will usually be loaded into a 20 or 40 ft. container exclusively.

To get a rough idea of what size container you might need, generally, a 20ft shipping container will hold around 1050 Cubic Feet of belongings, and is usually ample storage space for a 3-bed home. More often than not, 40ft containers are used for larger scale moves, or if a vehicle is also being shipped.

Your items will be loaded into a steel container and the container will be sealed for transport. Once your items reach the destination port, they will be cleared by customs, delivered to your home abroad and unloaded. 

This is the most cost-effective method for full house moves.

Less than a Container Load

If you do not have enough belongings to fill an entire container then your removal company may present an option to go for an LCL Shipping Solution. LCL means ‘Less than a Container Load’.  Belongings are over cased in a wooden lift van before being loaded into a steel container by a consolidator. The container is then shipped, custom cleared and de-consolidated. The removal company will then ensure your items are delivered and unloaded at your new home. With an LCL load, you will only pay for your load within the container which will be shared with other part load consignments.

If your belongings will not even fill a 20-ft container then this may be the most suitable shipping method for you. 

Shared Container Shipping (Groupage)

A frequently chosen method for shipping household goods when moving abroad is a shared/groupage container. Usually, if you choose this option, items are collected from your house, taken to the removal company depot and loaded into a shipping container with other home collections. Your items will be consolidated and loaded into a shipping container along with other loads. The full shipping container will then be transported to a shipping port.

Once your items arrive at the removal company depot at the international destination, they will be customs cleared, unloaded and separated out from the other customer’s belongings ready to deliver to your new home.

This is usually the cheapest option for smaller moves as you will only pay for the space you use. 

Shipping Times

It is tricky to offer an estimated shipping time simply because this will naturally depend on where you are shipping and on the company/service you use. A dedicated container will be quicker as when you choose a shared container, you have to wait for a date that suits all those sharing the container with you.

As a very, very loose estimate, shipping times for a dedicated container from the UK to the USA is roughly 2-4 weeks whereas a shared container may be between 11 and 14 weeks.

For a clear idea on what your shipping costs will be, you would need to get an accurate quote from your international removal company. The cost will naturally depend on the service you are using, the company you choose and where you are moving. 

Removal Costs Cta 1 Removal Costs Cta 1 560 Removal Costs Cta 1 360

Shipping Freight Costs

The price of shipping your items when moving abroad will also be subject to a number of other variables. Freight costs are always determined by the volume of the goods that need to be transported. Your removal company will conduct a home visit in which they will assess the volume of your belongings which will help them to determine how long it will take their team to pack and load your items and what materials and equipment they will need to successfully carry out your move. During a home survey, your international removals company will also work out if any of your belongings will need special handling or crating for added protection.

The cost of shipping your belongings will also depend on how quickly you need your items – If you require an express service then you may need to pay for a dedicated container and this will be a little costlier.

Your removal company will also go over other freight options with you such as a road freight service (if you’re moving within Europe) or Airfreight which is a fair bit more expensive.

Often, the price of your international removal will be made up of the cost of the shipping service and any extra or added services such as packing, crating, added insurance or storage.

It is vital that when you are thinking about moving abroad, you compare the cost of international removal companies. If you use the Compare My move service, you can be assured that you will only be using a trusted and verified professional, international mover.

Compare International Shipping Costs

We hope this information has been useful. If you have your moving date, it is best to get your quotes now as the removal companies that Compare My Move will match you with will be able to offer you competitive quotes and give you more information on the process of shipping your belongings abroad.

Bon Voyage!