Ask the Moving Doctor

Ask The Moving Doctor!

Our resident Moving Doctor, Mark Nash is in the house! Mark has been in the moving business for 33 years, originally from England; he has moved 5 times internationally and has worked in England, mainland Europe, The Middle East and for the past 19 years in the USA. If he doesn’t know the answer to the question, he has enough friends in this industry to find out for you.

He currently sits on the board of the International Shippers Association and the Commercial Affairs committee at the International Association of Movers.

Mark will always do his best to provide an answer honestly, professionally and treat this forum as a place where everyone can learn about moving overseas.


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  1. Jon says:

    We are moving from Ireland back home to the USA. Our items will go towards the USA, but we ourselves will first visit family in the UK before heading across the Atlantic. Concerning Form 3299, we do not know the date when we will arrive in the USA because we have not booked transport yet. We need to wait because we are unsure of how many days/weeks we expect to stay in the UK. We also know that rules are continually changing due to covid, so we would want to book our journey to the USA closer to our date of departure. How do we deal with this? I do not know how soon our household items are likely to arrive in the USA, and I also wonder if we need to be back there ourselves before the items are delivered. Thank you.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Jon, that is a very good question. I am presuming you are American citizens? Technically you are meant to be in the USA when your container arrives and that is shown on the 3299 / import documents that note your arrival date and flight number. However in the last year with Covid going on, we have cleared numerous containers and delivered to a friend of the family where the owners have not been able to travel back to the USA yet.
      So the official answer is you would have to be here but Customs seem to be understanding if you are not at the moment. May be an accompanying letter explaining your situation and expected eta back home could be submitted along with your documents. Also note whatever date you think you will be flying and flight number on the import documents even if it changes later. I hope that helps and feel free to let me know if you have further questions. Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  2. Kirsten says:

    I originally used the company to move from the US to UK and now need to move back to the US. Can I use the same 48×40 pallet I originally purchased, or do I need a new EU pallet?

  3. Mark V.Ryyppo says:

    Do you ship within Canada from Vancouver B.C. to Thunder Bay Ontario? Estimated Two twenty foot containers or single larger container.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Mark, thanks for the question. We do not do any local / domestic moving in the same Country at any of our locations.
      Thanks for asking though.
      Cheers, The International Moving Doctor.

  4. Tricia says:

    Good day Mark– First off, gratitude for your wonderful book on moving.
    My family and I are headed overseas from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in USA to Singapore.
    I’ve submitted info to upakweship multiple times for a quote but it seems they are the only ones that haven’t got back?
    Also, when I use the instant rates system on the upakweship website, looks like Singapore isn’t an option on the dropdown menu.
    It’s leading me to think that somehow, Singapore might have a different custom or upakweship doesn’t ship to Singapore?

    Additionally, does upakweship take care of the custom clearance and other documentation?
    I’ve been looking into DIY vs. hiring an international moving company, and outside of the option for having them do the packing, I’m not sure why someone would choose a moving company with all the bells and whistles instead of upakweship? Am I missing something here? Thank you in advance —Trici

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Tricia, thank you so much for the comments on my book. I am glad it has helped.
      The automatic rating system is great for our popular destinations where we consolidate all the U Crates going in that direction together in shipping containers and our own offices handle the customs paperwork and delivery services.
      Singapore however although a wonderful place is not one of our major destinations and therefore we have to work out a custom quote for you on this route.
      With the amount of volume we are handling this year after last years slow down and the lack of shipping space available on ships right now and rising rates, its hard to keep up with some of these custom quote requests. If you could email me your details on what you need a quote for though I will work this up for you. Our rate will include customs clearance and delivery into your residence in Singapore and all related port and shipping fees. The only extras would be if something extra happened not accounted for such as a customs inspection or possible X Ray that they charge for.
      Regarding the self pack verses a moving co with the bells and whistles…… I totally agree lol but in all fairness there are some that do not want to or can not or don’t have time to pack themselves or their company just orders and pays for the move and takes care of everything so the employee doesn’t have top worry about anything!
      Please email me your choice of service and requirements Tricia and I’ll email you the door to door custom quote and I really apologize that you haven’t heard back from our team yet.
      Presume you did check your junk email folder?
      Cheers Mark,

  5. Daniel Marczuk says:

    Hi. I have a question regarding the shipment to US, I’m a mechanic and i will move to US in few weeks. I’m just wondering how i can transport my toolbox with tools to US? How i can do it? And how much will cost me transport to Houston Texas? Do you do it door to door service? Thank you for your help.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Daniel, thanks for the question. Obviously tools are heavy so they are expensive to ship whichever way you choose. May be a U Crate 50 could be the way to go if you have some tools as well as some other items like clothes to balance out the weight but the U Crate prices are based on 500lbs so if it is more weight than that there will be some excess weight charges. The main reason for this is the trucking charges in the USA are all done by weight. Yes we would clear through customs and deliver to your door / curbside in Texas. I am not sure where you are moving from but we have our own offices in the UK and also Europe. I hope that helps, cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Can I pack used cosmetics in my shipping container- lipsticks, eyeshadows, face powder, lip glosses, lotions, etc?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hi Carolyn, yes you can see the reply in your other question above. All ok and no problem.
      Happy Packing!
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  7. Carolyn says:

    Can I pack cosmetics, lotions, deodorant. Contact lenses in my shipping container going from US to UK?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Yes you can as long as they are for personal use. I suggest putting them in zip lock bags first before packing them into a box named something like bathroom items, just in case anything leaks.
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor

  8. Paul says:

    Hi can you please tell me if I can ship a motorcycle in your you crate 200? If not how much roughly does it cost to ship a motorcycle from Southampton uk to fremantle western Australia? Thanks Paul

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Paul, thanks for the great question. Our U Crate 200’s are not designed for motorcycles so the answer is no we can’t I am afraid. We also find that all motorized vehicles and boats tend to delay all our other customers shipments in the container as well as increase the risks of extra Customs scrutiny so we therefore do not ship them in our consolidated containers.There are however companies that do specialize in shipping bikes and cars if you Google it.
      I believe Australia has some strict rules on importing bikes so do check out the rules and regs first before shipping.
      Cheers, The International Moving Doctor.

  9. Alpha Sesay says:

    I live in Lake worth, Florida and trying to ship a container to Sierra Leone. How can you help. I intend to ship house hold items and a car.
    I look forward talking with you.
    Tel: 929 575 8191

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Alpha, thanks for the message but not our specialty to be honest. We do more Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
      There is a company called AGS if you Google it that can possibly help you with this. Cheers The International Moving Doctor

  10. Travis says:

    Hello Mark,

    My family and I are preparing to move to Paris, France in the near future. We are looking at using a U-Crate 100 to ship our belongings but would like to know what kind of boxes you suggest using to make the most efficient use of the space and also protect our belongings the best. Cardboard boxes or plastic totes? We’ve got a few boxes of more fragile items (FYI)


    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Travis, plastic totes work well if not too heavy. The only problem with them is if you stack them on top of each other and they are heavy, you end up with the bottom ones cracking. You also loose a bit of space as Totes seem to angle inwards towards the base. Cardboard boxes in this country come in all different shapes and sizes with no uniform standards so I suggest using a cardboard carton of about 4.5 cubic feet. Keep them all the same size if possible so they easily stack on top of each other. Stack around the edges and if there is a gap in the middle, that’s perfect for out of size items such as beach chairs, fishing poles, guitar in a case or in my case, my keyboard!
      Wrap the fragile items up well in packing paper and bubble wrap. Screw up some paper and place in bottom of carton and on top for protection or use a cushion if you have one. Although fragile, the cartons will be probably quite heavy so place at the bottom of the stack on the base of the U Crate. Make sure boxes are full, meaning no air left in them or space so that when you load another box on top they keep their strength and shape.
      Lastly, make sure if using cartons you tape them up well across the middle of the flaps and the seams along the edge. like an H
      I hope that helps and let us know if you need any other questions answered, Happy Packing! Cheers The International Moving Doctor

  11. Andrew norman says:

    Good morning Mark,
    We are moving back to the UK from nw suburbs of Chicago in about 10 weeks.
    We will be using you,my question is,what is the time scale from pick up here to drop off at destination address?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Andrew, First of all thank you for choosing UPakWeShip. Transit times depend a little on the service you choose. At the moment we are averaging 5-7 weeks for U Crates and Pallet services and for a self load 20ft its more like 4-5 weeks. I hope this helps. Anything else let me know. Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  12. Hannah says:

    Hello! I have a table that is 46″ in length and I would like to get the 50 cubic Ubox. Do you think it could squeeze in there? Is the box semi-flexible?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Hannah, the U Crates are not very flexible otherwise they wouldn’t do such a great job on protection, but i would think it would fit, if you place it in at an angle like / if that makes sense?
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor

  13. Christine says:

    I am about to make a deposit for my booking but I am confused about timing and dates. I need a container to be at my house in Canada on either 29th 30th 31st July or 1st or 2nd August to load up to go to United Kingdom. I also need a time so I can book a moving company to help me load a 20ft container. When will I get this information please.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Christine, please complete our online booking form and under the other comments at the bottom of the page type in your pick up date window. UPakWeShip will then do its very best to accomplish those dates and match them with a shipping line booking and then confirm to you that these dates are possible. Once that is done we will then ask you for a deposit and email you our contract and paperwork that needs to be completed.
      So make a booking, let us conform dates and then pay deposit.
      Hope that’s OK for you and bon voyage.
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  14. Peggy says:

    My family is planning to move from Hong Kong to Portugal. Upon consulting Upackweship, it seemed this is not a route that’s covered unfortunately. I have consulted different international movers locally, the quote appeared to be fluctuating like the seafood pricing and some would not help with the necessary documentations or being vague on the custom clearance aspects etc. and there are mixed comments regarding the service quality online. I wonder if you could by any chance having any partners in the region that you might have worked with that is reliable/reputable to recommend for reference? Thanks very much!

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Peggy, thanks for the question. I don’t know how much you want to ship but I suggest if possible to ship through a groupage service to somewhere like The Netherlands and then have your things transported to Portugal by road. This is a much easier route to avoid the strict customs procedures that are implemented at the Portuguese port of Lisbon. I believe an old friend called Andy Mak from a company called Asian Express would be able to help you with this. Andy Mak | Asian Express
      Send him my best wishes. Any other questions or advice particularly about the European end of your relocation, dont hesitate to ask.
      Cheers Mark Nash

      • Peggy says:

        Thanks so much for your tips and advice, Mark! We will get in touch with your friend Andy@Asian Express and explore further. And thanks in advance for the kind offer, will absolutely reach out should we have further questions on the European end of relocation. You have a great day, take care. 🙂

  15. Anna says:

    Hi Mark
    We are receiving confusing information about our move back to UK from Spain in October.
    According to the HMRC TOR team, we should qualify for TOR relief and hence pay no duty or taxes on our possessions.

    It has been suggested that the removal company has to complete the TOR on our behalf (and at a cost no doubt). The HMRC say they would prefer we completed it.

    I would be very grateful to learn the process that happens at customs. We are assuming (perhaps naively) that, once we have supplied the company with our URN, the process should be smooth at customs.

    Many thanks for your advice.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Anna, thanks for the question. I am based in the USA and we move a lot of returning Brits from here back home. We always suggest they apply for and obtain the TOR themselves and provide us with the TOR number so we can input it into the system for Customs when your shipment arrives in the UK for customs clearance.
      Personally I do not think the mover should be completing this as its your goods and the questions are asking for personal information that the mover should not know. We have the form and an explanation help presentation on how to complete the TOR form here. Hopefully that should help you. Once you receive your TOR number and give it to the mover they should take care of customs for you. They will also need a packing list of what you have in your shipment and a copy of your passport.
      If you need more help let me know, cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  16. Jytte J Devous says:

    where is your warehouse in AZ?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Jytte, our receiving terminal in Arizona is in Phoenix.
      If you click on the link you can see our new USA terminals page.
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor

  17. Peter Wetterhall says:

    Hi Mark. It is Sunday, but hoping you might answer. Sorry if you have already answered this somewhere among the 4000 comments. We searched a bit first! We are packing a 100cu/ft U-crate. Since those have a cardboard top, what is the best way to ‘even out’ the space above so that it fits ‘properly’? Also, if the total height ends up an inch or two below 72-inches, is that a problem? Do we need to add inches of stuffing?? Thanks! Peter

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hi Peter, good questions, as these U Crate 100’s have a lid and will always stay upright, it doesn’t really matter if they are not completely full. If however you fill any gaps near the top with cushions, blankets or similar it will keep it solid and stop anything jiggling around. Some people cut the edges down a few inches and then put the lid on as well which is another option and quite acceptable. It is still the same price though even though it would be a slightly smaller volume.
      I hope that helps and let me know if you need more info.
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  18. Valerie says:

    Can I store my belongings here in USA with upackweship until I am ready to move international to Portugal?? It may be several months.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Valerie, Yes you can store your items in our warehouse before shipping to Portugal if you are shipping a U Crate or a pallet. We charge $25 per pallet position per week. This however does not work with self load shipping containers.
      I hope this helps, anything else let me know, cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  19. Åse Christensen says:

    Do you ship from Namibia to Denmark?

  20. Pegs says:

    Hi Mark! I am all booked, Just trying to log in to get my Packing List generator – unable to find a log in window. Any advise? Thanks!

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Peggy, I’ll get customer service to contact you and sort it out. We did an update over the weekend so that might be the problem, cheers and thanks for letting us know, The International Moving Doctor

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