Shipping boxes UK to US
November 16, 2007 5:20 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are moving some things from a small, provincial town in the UK to a small, provincial city in the US.

Mostly, what we want to move is books, although we do have some kitchen implements and a few clothes, etc. Because one tends to rent furnished in the UK, we have no furniture to move with the possible exception of a single chair. But mostly it's books. About a hundred or so books.

We've gotten some quotes from shipping companies for shipping a part-container by sea, but we didn't know if this was the cheapest method.

The Question: What is the cheapest way to undertake such a move? Does anybody have experience with a similar move that they would be willing to share? Or specific company recommendations?
posted by jb to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
in summer of 2005 myself and my wife moved from the uk to the us. we used Seven Seas Worldwide Ltd. iirc their prices seemed reasonable and everything was delivered in 1 piece and within the time frame etc etc. we mainly moved the kind of things you are talking about: books, personal effects etc. be warned, however, there is a kg limit on each individual box (30kg). we used their own company boxes and a big old trunk of our own.
posted by iboxifoo at 5:45 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding Seven Seas, which I've used, but there are also special cheap rates for sending books, specifically, in the regular international mail, for example in an M-bag (scroll down). A hundred books is not that many and if you can wait a few weeks, and they're not rare books or something, I'd just ship them via the mail.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:19 AM on November 16, 2007

3rd-ing and 4th-ing Seven Seas. See here. Though there may be cheaper options, you can easily work this out since (unusually) they provide prices on their web site.
posted by beniamino at 6:25 AM on November 16, 2007

Another vote for SevenSeas which I got as a recommendation from MeFi. Both my former roomate and I relocated from Oxford to the US (diff cities) and have used them. I did consider the M-bag for my books but the Royal Mail site is upfront about the potential for books to get bashed about in transit, and for there to be water damage.
posted by poissonrouge at 7:52 AM on November 16, 2007

We used a company called Coles to ship vinyl records from London to NYC, and they all arrived in perfect condition.
posted by Shebear at 9:14 AM on November 16, 2007

Response by poster: Actually, I've done some calling around and Seven Seas had quoted me a price £150 more than either of the others (who have both quoted about £500, rather than £669). They charge per box, rather than per cubic volume, which is very expensive for us (we will have small boxes).

Thank you for all of your help, but I think I will go with one of the other companies - if they are good, I will try to post an update.
posted by jb at 9:08 AM on November 27, 2007

Response by poster: Well, I had okay, but not brilliant service, so I'm not going to recommend or disparage the company.

But I did find out that small shippers are penalized. We had to pay £518 (about $1000 CND/USD) to ship 13 boxes or 38 ciubic feet. This was the same as the quote we had for 45 cubic feet. Under £50/box, but not brilliant.

I don't know if there are better solutions for people shipping small loads - I did search the Royal Mail website, and they mention M-bags, but then that sends me to bulk mailing for businesses (sending 100s of packages).
posted by jb at 9:29 PM on January 24, 2008

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