logisticsfilter: I would like to have the contents of my public storage unit in chicago shipped to hamburg. how should I go about it and how much is it going to cost me?
January 11, 2010 1:18 PM   Subscribe

logisticsfilter: I would like to have the contents of my public storage unit in chicago shipped to hamburg. how should I go about it and how much is it going to cost me?

I have a 5x5 public storage unit in chicago that is filled with approximately twenty boxes full of books, photos, household items and my disassembled bed. I am now thinking of having my stuff shipped over to me in hamburg, germany.

as I'm looking out of the window I'm staring smack at one of the largest container ports in the world. I'm also seeing tons of container ships that are anything but full (which is totally different from back when this recession started) and I hear people saying shipping rates have plummeted. I am confident all my stuff would easily fit into half a sea container.

my problem is that I have no idea how to go about this. of course I could fly to chicago, rent a uhaul, drive the stuff to whatever port I would have to go to and pack it into a container but that would cost me a fortune and use up a lot of time, which is in especially short supply right now. that is why I am wondering if there is a way for me to have someone pick this stuff up (again: it's in boxes and in a public storage unit) and ship it over here. I'm also wondering how much such a service would cost. pickup at the port of hamburg would be no problem for me.

if you've used such a service in the past or know who I should talk to, please do recommend.
posted by krautland to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You might look into uShip for the transportation of items from your storage unit to the nearest port. I found a corporate carrier was a bit cheaper for my needs, which were different from yours, but I received several very reasonable quotes through them. I cannot help with the overseas portion of the move.
posted by biggity at 1:26 PM on January 11, 2010

The manager of your storage unit might know where to start, if he/she has been there a while. I'm sure you're not the first client who has wanted to have his/her stuff shipped to him/her (although you may be the first one who has wanted it shipped internationally).
posted by Jacqueline at 1:37 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

One useful term to know is "LCL" (less than container load).
posted by smackfu at 1:38 PM on January 11, 2010

I can't help you with the logistics of shipping stuff overseas, but I am willing to do some legwork (read: packing boxes, driving boxes around) for you when you get it all figured out.
posted by lholladay at 1:45 PM on January 11, 2010

Response by poster: thank you, it's all packed up already, I'm just worried about figuring out cost and logistics at this point. but I will keep that in mind :-)
posted by krautland at 1:49 PM on January 11, 2010

Response by poster: just looked at uship. seems awesome but I don't have many of the information they need: I don't know the weight of my boxes. I just know that it fit into two carloads and I'm confident it would make it onto two, possibly three palettes.
posted by krautland at 1:54 PM on January 11, 2010

I've also had success with uShip from a remote location. In my case I needed to move a sofa from LA to San Francisco while I was in SF without knowing the exact dimensions or weight of the sofa. I got several quotes nonetheless and it all worked out perfectly. Just tell them what you know and they'll respond with whatever details they need.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:28 PM on January 11, 2010

Best answer: I don't think the uShip service will work for already packed boxes.
International shippers require that you use them to pack the boxes for two reasons:
1. Insurance- they can't pay for breakages if they weren't responsible for making sure things were properly packed.
2. Customs- the shipper is clearing customs with your stuff. They need to sign to say that they've seen everything in every box and that everything is OK. You fill out a bunch of paperwork but they need to have packed the boxes for you.

It sounds like your stuff is fairly basic, so paying them to re-pack the boxes probably would be straightforward.

Lless than container load, or groupage, are the terms you'll use for only having a partial container load. If you are flexible on timing you can get a better deal. US to Europe will take 6-8 weeks by boat probably, plus an unknown amount of time to clear customs (sometimes this can add up to a month or two).
Call some Chicago companies that do international shipping and are affiliated with the major international movers. Allied and Atlas are two of the big companies.
I had a good experience with Reebie in Chicagoland.
posted by cushie at 2:42 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Krautland, have you already poked around the Toytown forums? Moving households overseas seems to be a frequent topic, and they probably have some Hamburg- or Chicago-specific information.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:27 PM on January 11, 2010

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