Recommendations for international movers?
July 20, 2006 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Seeking recommendations for international shipping/moving companies. I have a small household's-worth to ship from California to the UK (no furniture that's worth keeping, but a large studio full of stuff). There are many companies online but I know from friends' experiences that these waters are shark-infested.
posted by beniamino to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
no specific recommendations, but definitely check this web site
posted by alkupe at 10:33 AM on July 20, 2006

Stick with the big guys like Allied. You really aren't going to save much money one way or the other and the big companies have legitimacy at least.
posted by JJ86 at 10:34 AM on July 20, 2006

Best answer: I just shipped with SevenSeasWorldwide and so far the process has been great, but I should probably wait until everything arrives (it's in transit). They delivered boxes, bubblewrap (!!!) and tape to my door, gave me customs forms and directions, and picked everything up. Furthermore, it was pretty affordable to ship from the UK to the US. Assuming there's no problems from here on in, they come highly recommended.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:37 AM on July 20, 2006

Could you employ a UK company? Say Pickfords?
posted by A189Nut at 10:53 AM on July 20, 2006

I can second Allied, having used them twice from New York to London. In fact, I was working for one of the big German investment banks at the time (there is really only one big German investment bank), and Allied was their sole vendor, at least on this run. So they are pretty well thought of by an institution that has moved lots of people between the US & UK.

The first time in late 1997 I shipped over what I'd need for the term of my contract - four years. In Manhattan they picked everything up, boxed it, and even had a way to "age" some material that otherwise I would have had to pay duty on (i.e., a couple of Macs that I'd owned about one month). On the UK side they delivered, unpacked everthing and took away the material. It was almost as though my New York flat had been relocated to London. Because I had so little stuff, my property was airshipped, left two days before me, and arrived in London maybe two weeks after me.

Four years later I decided to stay on in the UK permanently, and big German investment bank again retained their services. This time I was clearing out a storage locker in Manhatan. I'd owned two art galleries in the mid 80's in New York, and they carefully put all the stretched canvases (maybe thirty) into special cardboard boxes. Unstretched canvas went into two big cardboard rolls, while unframed prints went into a flat box. They'd clearly packed art for moves before. This time I had so much stuff they had to container ship it, which took about six weeks.

They'll work with you to advise shipping times and methods. My first shipment was so fast because they helped me reduce the amount of material below the threshold for container shipping. Second time around they managed expectations properly, advising eight to twelve weeks for delivery. None of my property, especially the relatively fragile art, was damaged in either move.

I'm relocating again internationally in about one year (not the US but getting further away) and will use Allied again, even though it will be my own money this time.
posted by Mutant at 10:57 AM on July 20, 2006

Are you permanently relocating?

When we made the move (NYC to London) 2 years ago, we found that very little of what we owned was worth more than it cost to ship, but our stuff was fairly shitty so YYMV. Regardless we ended up hauling quite a bit of stuff over on the plane. Baggage allowances have changed since then, and now the maximum allowed weight for most international carriers is 50lbs, and each bag over your 2 bag limit is usually $80-$100. $2/lb is really cheap even after you add in transportation costs to and from the airport. And you can have relative confidence in the security of your stuff.

Another tactic is to pack perfectly weighted suitcases full of things you won't need immediately and distribute them to friends and family who will be visiting to bring along as one of their two bags. They love that!

Finally M-Bags from USPS are another relatively cheap way to ship some things you may have forgotten, but the handling is quite rough.
posted by defreckled at 10:59 AM on July 20, 2006

International moves are very different from domestic ones, so you might want to look for a mover with some sort of international certification. Apparently, FAIM is the most reputable international certification -- you can look for a certified mover here.
posted by klausness at 2:18 PM on July 20, 2006

Sorry A189Nut but do not,repeat not,consider employing Pickfords.
posted by Dr.Pill at 3:38 PM on July 20, 2006

Allied and Pickfords are (or used to be) associated; one may have owned the other. When I worked for an Allied mover in '96, they sort of treated Pickfords as their International Division.
posted by baylink at 7:25 PM on July 20, 2006

Best answer: Result: I used Seven Seas as allen.spaulding suggested. Both he and I had good experiences and I recommend them to others. They were efficient and the prices seem reasonable -- they are one of very few companies that give concrete quotes online.

The price I paid overall ($700 or so) was only a bit more than the unadvertised 'release fee' ($500) a friend paid (on top of the up-front costs) when he went to pick up his boxes in LA. He used a different company of course.

Thumbs up for Seven Seas, future shippers. And thanks allen.spaulding.
posted by beniamino at 4:26 AM on February 16, 2007

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