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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4382 Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    Are rechargeable batteries prohibited from being packed in the shipment? I saw a post saying laptops should be brought via plane, but what is the stance on regular batteries? My husband has a decent collection of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries in a case and we are wondering if this is something that could be packed or not. Thanks!

  2. Ed says:

    Can part of the pallet be made up of heavy plastic totes? It will be going to England.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Ed, yes they can but please make sure they are heavy duty totes as the lightweight ones tend to crack during transit when other things are stacked on top of them. Its worth spending the money on tough heavy duty totes or strong cardboard boxes.
      Hope that helps, cheers The International Moving Doctor

  3. Lauren says:

    Hi!

    How specific do we need to be per line of the packing list? Is it enough to say “kitchenware” or would I need to detail the specifics like plates, cups, pot, pan etc. The lines dont look big enough to detail everything in some of our boxes! Thanks!

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hi Lauren, no details required so Kitchenware is fine. If you have a mixed box just list whatever the majority thing is in the box.
      Cheers
      The International Moving Doctor

  4. Jean Kusz says:

    Hello,
    I will use a UCrate100 when we move to Portugal next May; however, it seems as though the Visa process is taking longer and longer these days. If I have my Portuguese address is it necessary to already have my D7 visa in hand before we ship our crate, or by the time we receive our crate, or not at all? Thanks for clarifying!

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Jean, we only require a packing list and copy of your passport and our own customs declaration completed that we would email you so you are good to go whenever. Cheers, The International Moving Doctor.

  5. Emma says:

    Hi Mark,
    We are planning to move from the US to Italy and will likely ship one or two pallets or u-crates. We were curious about stacking? Do the pallets ever get stacked on top of each other? Do small pallets get loaded on top of other pallets? Thanks!

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Emma, good question! No we don’t ever stack pallets on pallets. We might stack a small pallet on a U Crate 50 but that’s it.
      Cheers, The International Moving Doctor

  6. Diane Mandle says:

    On 7/14 I got confirmation that your warehouse had received my small pallet to be shipped to France. It is now August 28 and the pallet has not yet left the warehouse and there is no garentee of when it will. This means that I will have to purchase items that I will need for a work project because the items in the shipment will arrive too late. Is there any compensation for this?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Diane, thanks for your message, as I am sure you are aware there is a global shipping crisis going on and some weeks we just cant get bookings on any ships between the USA and Europe and that causes a back log. I know last week we shipped 4 x 40 foot containers of U crates and pallets which cleared a lot of the back log. We do ship on a first in first out basis and in the meantime your shipment is safe and sound in our own warehouse. If you check with your co-coordinator, they will be able to let you know if its sailed yet or is about to. I will also email the operations manager to advise your concern.
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  7. Jeanne Duke says:

    I have a UCrate 100 – what is the maximum weight before I am charged extra,

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Jeanne, its a 1000lbs. That should cover all normal items unless you have a huge amount of books, gym weights or gold bars lol.
      You can fine this information and more if you click on the view service details on the pricing options jst in case you didnt see it.
      cheers The International Moving Doctor

  8. Mark says:

    What happens if the pallet from another customer contains illegal substances sits in the same container as my stuff? I have heard horror stories about this with great delays and great additional cost.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Interesting question that has not been asked before but if for example you are moving with us to the UK, Europe, Australia or New Zealand, our consolidation containers get unloaded into Customs approved bonded warehouses where each shipment is then customs cleared separately therefore not being held up by others. Our containers like everyone else’s are randomly scanned and x rayed for illegal substances so anyone thinking about this should not ship anything remotely Illegal!
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor

  9. Joe Naylor says:

    Mark, We are moving this Wednesday and would like to hire two people locally to help us in the packing of boxes. We will live in San Diego. Can you recommend a service that can help. Thanks

  10. Brittney says:

    Hello, I have received conflicting answers regarding the shipping of motorcycles in your 20ft shipping containers overseas. Can you please clarify.
    Do you or do you not ship motorcycles?

    Thank you!

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Brittney, good question. It varies depending on origin and destination. Some origins in the USA for example particularly from inland states are very difficult and costly, as are some destinations. Sometimes its cheaper to send the bike or car with a roll on roll off service rather than causing a lot of extra unknown up front expenses by trying to consolidate it with the rest of your items you are shipping. Cheers The Moving Doctor.

  11. DB says:

    Hi. I am moving from the USA to Portugal. I understand you can route via Amsterdam so as to avoid any import duty in Portugal. Correct?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello DB, we ship all our European part load shipments into Rotterdam, our UPakWeShip office in the Netherlands clears all the pallets and U Crates through Customs and delivers them all over Europe.
      If you would like further information, please feel free to contact our office, 1 843 225 7217
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  12. Marie Beardsley says:

    Hey Mark, I am moving back from USA to UK and need some help…. Older lady and do not know where to start. I have been in USA for 15 years but coming home to retire. I do not know how much space I need which container etc etc. do you have people that come to the home and help with this.

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Marie, UPakWeShip does not as its more of a budget option but our sister company EuroUSA Shipping which is a full service operator can definitely contact you via face-time or similar and asses what you need and present you a door to door quote. I will pass this inquiry on to Ken and he will be contacting you via the email you have given us.
      Anything else let me know and I’ll make sure Ken looks after you,
      Cheers Mark

  13. James Slater says:

    Hi Mark,

    Your site is most helpful. Maybe I did not locate the appropriate location on the site. We will use a 40 ft. container. We have some relatively large pieces of furniture and the majority of these cannot be disassembled. Are these shipped without pallets and simply must be packed very carefully. or am I missing something? Thanks.

  14. Robert E Gigliotti says:

    There will be a lag of a few months between when we load the pallet and when it ships. Can you store the pallet for us, and at what cost, until we have secured a place to live? We may also be able to store a pallet at a friends house but there would be a need to move it there.

    Can you transport a compact tractor?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Robert, thanks for the question, we can certainly store the pallet for you either at origin or destination. I tried searching using your name or email address to see where you are moving from and to but nothing came up in our system. For an example though, storage in the USA is $25 per pallet per week and in the UK its about 30 pounds per week and Europe about 30 Euros per week.
      I’m not sure how big this tractor is but if you can get it secured on a pallet we can collect and ship it. May be your local company you bought or get it serviced can help you with this? If larger you would have to organize delivery to us at our Walterboro SC address. From there we can ship it.
      I hope that helps and feel free to email me if you need more information. Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  15. Alex Edwards says:

    I’m planning to ship a U-Crate 100 this coming fall. As I begin planning how my various sized boxes will be configured within the dimensional limitations of the kit, I’ve come up with series of questions.
    What is the weight of the U-Crate 100 shipping kit? Is the weight of the shipping kit included in the 1000 lb. weight limit or is the 1000 lb. limit only for the goods inside the kit?
    Despite my best efforts to weigh the all the goods and boxes which I plan to pack, I may unintentionally exceed the 1000 lb. weight limit. Is the shipping weight determined at the point of pick-up or at the regional warehouse? What happens if my crate exceeds the weight limit? Are there overweight charges or is the shipment rejected until it’s repacked to meet weight limits? Are there additional charges for return trips to my location for whatever reason? What are the most common mistakes which cause a crate to be rejected for shipment?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Alex. Thanks for the message and questions.
      The U Crate kit weighs about 150lbs and its included in the 1000lb weight limit as we can only weigh the whole U Crate once loaded. Its rare for people to be charged overweight charges if you are shipping normal household things. The only time people normally go over the weight limit is if they are shipping loads of books, gym weights or gold bars or all the above! We weigh the U Crate when it gets to our shipping warehouse in Walterboro SC. If the weight was over 1000 lbs we would charge an additional $2 per pound so if you were 25 lbs over we would charge an additional $50. The weight limit does not stop it being shipped, its there so that people don’t over load the U Crate and it might fail due to excessive weight. We would never reject or not send it for you.
      I hope that answers you questions ok. Let me know if you have any additional concerns. Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  16. Oana says:

    We have about 500 books, one large couch, one queen bed, 6 shelves, two chairs, clothing, several rugs, pillows a few other boxes of household items — what size crate would we need for the stuff described above that you can offer. We don’t have a sense of size for the crate/ pellet and we need help.
    Thanks
    Oana tomai

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Oana, the large couch and queen bed would not fit in our U Crates so this would have to be a self load 20 foot which might be a little expensive depending on where you are going to and from but with the price of ocean freight these days you might want to consider selling the sofa and bed and buying again when you get there. Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  17. Kevin says:

    Hi Mark, We are packing our u-crate 100 and had a few questions we aren’t 100% sure about. Could you please try to give us some details on these?
    – We have bike frames, rugs, etc. Do all items need to be boxed?
    – Each item needs a label, can a piece of furniture be considered a single line item “box” with thing inside it.
    – Will it be fully unpacked and re-packed by customs agents? Will they open most boxes? what keeps them from breaking fragile itmes?
    – Is it OK to pack spices/non perishable foodstuff?
    – Will the box show up pretty much just like we ship it (i.e. on the pallet).

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hi Kevin, great questions, hopefully these are great answers! Anything else let us know. Please see below.
      Hi Mark, We are packing our u-crate 100 and had a few questions we aren’t 100% sure about. Could you please try to give us some details on these?
      – We have bike frames, rugs, etc. Do all items need to be boxed? No they can be put in wrapped in a sheet or blanket. Not everything needs to be in a box but each wrapped item needs a name and item number on it in case customs should want to take a look at “item 9” for example.
      – Each item needs a label, can a piece of furniture be considered a single line item “box” with thing inside it. Yes and see above answer.
      – Will it be fully unpacked and re-packed by customs agents? Extremely unlikely but they have a right to do so if they wanted. Will they open most boxes? Extremely unlikely but they have a right to do so if they wanted. what keeps them from breaking fragile items? They would unwrap and re wrap if they wanted to look at something.
      – Is it OK to pack spices/non perishable foodstuff? Officially the answer is no but…….
      – Will the box show up pretty much just like we ship it (i.e. on the pallet). Yes if moving to the UK or Europe. No if moving to Australia and New Zealand as Customs will check everything for quarantine so items get unloaded out of the U Crate, inspected and then we deliver the items to you.

  18. Rick says:

    Can I track my shipment from the USA to UK?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Rick, UPakWeShip is working on a new tracking system at present, but in the mean time our software automatically emails you updates when they happen. So it will email you when it is collected, when it arrives at our shipping terminal, it emails you a picture of your U Crate or Pallet in our staging area, emails you when loading, vessel info and arrival at destination.
      Also once we advise you the ship that the container is booked on its a good idea to get a marine tracking app on your phone like vessel tracker so you can track the ship that your container is on. Don’t forget ships stop at other ports though before it might get to your destination port.
      I hope this helps, cheers The International Shipping Doctor.

  19. Metz says:

    Hi Moving Doc,
    what does:
    Ship Line Assigned: .

    Vessel: OOCL Seoul

    Voyage:

    Seal Number Has Not Yet Been Assigned
    mean? Did the Vessel leave yet?
    Thank you

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Dorothee, It looks like we have the vessel booked but not the confirmations from OOCL yet of when the vessel is loading and departing. I will send this message to the shipping department to follow up on and they will reach out to you and advise.
      There is a free APP you can install on your phone called Marine Traffic where you can track the vessel in your case the OOCL Seoul which you might like as well.
      Hope that helps, cheers and Bon Voyage. The International Moving Doctor.

  20. Flee says:

    1. How long would you estimate it will take for our shipment of a 40′ container to from Maryland to arrive in Portugal?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Flee, on average the transit time is normally 5-6 weeks on this route but with the shortage of space on ships at present we can’t guarantee this. Baltimore unfortunately doesn’t have a huge amount of shipping line choices these days. Once we have a booking on the shipping line ( probably MSC on this route) we would be able to give you the estimated departure and arrival in Portugal dates for the container. Obviously we have to add on the customs clearance time onto that before delivery. I hope this helps, cheers The International Moving Doctor

  21. HV says:

    When moving from the US to Portugal, in what EU country is customs cleared?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello HV, if its a U Crate or a pallet we will clear customs in the Netherlands in a consolidation via Rotterdam. If you are using a self load 20 or 40 ft container then we will clear customs at the closest port to the destination which for Portugal is Lisbon.
      For clearance in Portugal we would need all the official paperwork where as its a simpler system for the smaller shipments going via Rotterdam.
      cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  22. Lilac says:

    Is the 750 euro deposit taken off the price?

    Or

    Is it the price plus 750 euros?

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Lilac, the 750 is a deposit so its taken off the price. 🙂
      Cheers the International Moving Doctor.

  23. Dave says:

    Hi,

    My family is preparing for a daunting move overseas.

    As our family is environmentally conscious, we have portable solar panels and (the dreaded) “solar generators”; essentially large rechargeable batteries, that we wish to move with us to our new home.

    The issue is that these “solar generators” contain Lithium batteries, which are considered a class 9 dangerous good. Most international moving companies only deal with “household goods” which are not classified as dangerous and most shippers who deal with international shipping of dangerous goods say they only aid businesses in moving such items, not private individuals.

    It would be comforting to know if you have any specialized advice for us or have encountered others who have had similar questions.

    Thanks,
    Dave

    • The Moving Doctor says:

      Hello Dave, a good question and one that I have not been asked before. Unfortunately you are correct, International Movers and Shippers are not experienced in shipping dangerous goods and dangerous goods specialists are not experienced in household goods! Shipping large Lithium batteries is getting harder. I read yesterday that one of the large roll on roll off companies is now refusing to ship electric cars on their ships due to recent fires from batteries. I think you also need to compare the costs of shipping these items separate by a dangerous goods shipper if you can find one and check the customs duties upon arrival at destination and compare all the costs and hassle with buying new at destination.
      Sorry I cant be more positive on this question.
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor

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