visualize the cubic footage volume of your cargo, as well as
show you what wooden liftvan crates and roro/container-ships actually look like.
[See: Our HHG cubic footage guide and
HHG-PE household goods and personal effects
Now, on to your overseas move...
A typical movement take place in three parts:
Shipping & handling
You can elect to have our
come to your home to take care of everything for you, for greatest convenience.
Origin Services rate guideline [see: origin services /
origin rate guideline]
to get an idea on cost.
This involves actual professional movers coming into your home with
any & all materials as may be necessary, to pack everything from
books, china, electronics, clothing, toys, hi-tech equipment, art, antiques,
furniture, appliances and so on.
With in-home export packaging, comes inside labor pickup, transfer outside,
loading into either the
or loading into our packers truck for transport back to the export packing
"O/A" (origin agent) warehouse,
for liftvan crating and/or shrink wrapping with palletization.
Pier delivery via truck would happen from there, for LCL export consignments.
After everything is packed they (or you) create a
"packing list" for your goods. [CLICK HERE]
Often - when professional movers handle a pickup - a numbered sticker is placed on each item and a corresponding list is made,
looking something like this:
5-package, misc. personal effects
8-couch... and so on.
If there is any pre-existing damage, then there will be an "exception noted" next to that item on the list.
Example: item # 48 - marble table top (*cracked)
item # 92 - chair (*leg broken)
item # 93 - carton-china (c.p.) --means Carrier Packed/professionally packed
item # 94 - carton-books (p.b.o.) --means packed by owner
Upon pickup it is signed and dated. You keep a copy, and we keep a copy. This is what they use to clear the goods through customs on the other end. A delay may occur at destination if they don't have a copy of the packing list, so this is important for you to have.
From the moment you sign the list on date of pickup, you should keep one original signed copy.
What's your shipments "piece count" ?
We will need to know the
total piece count for your consignment. Count each individual item on your packing list as "one piece".
At the bottom of your packing list, add up the total number of pieces. This is what is known as the "piece count".
We discuss this subject further on our
"payment instructions" page [click here: packing list].
When your export paperwork is processed, there is important information that has to be included, such as the total weight (in lbs. or kg),
the total measurement (cubic feet or cubic meters) - also known as the "weight and measure", the total number of pieces, the type of shipping unit (i.e.,
one crate, 2 lift-vans, 3-swp shrink wrapped pallets, one 20-ft container, and so on.) If this information is not confirmed to us prompty - before delivery to
the export terminal - it may be necessary (for security reasons) to delay or divert the pier delivery until this information is known.
Storage and re-delivery charges can accrue, which is why it is very important to be timely in providing us with a copy of your packing list and
other export information.
Note: if the goods are professionally packed and unpacked, they can be insured against "all normal risks".
If pbo-packed by owner, fpa/"named perils"-marine insurance is available.
We strongly recommend that air or ocean/marine cargo insurance be taken.
This cost is extra to the cost for packing and transportation. We generally work with
TGI-Travel Guard International Insurance (San Juan Capistrano, California).
"Did you know...?"
Read some important pointers regarding the limitation of carrier liability,
as defined by the US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936 ("COGSA"). [Learn more:
Shippers Must Produce a Packing List
IMPORTANT NOTICE: All cargo moving from/to different countries will pass through
Customs at various border crossings, and Customs Authorities will need to know what is in any shipment.
have become very strict. Advance preparation is necessary and
issues pertaining to Customs Requirements can not be an "after-thought".
Any delay in producing clean and legible documentation
suitable and acceptable by Customs authorities can result in storage and additional accruing fees.
View copies of professionally generated
SAMPLE PACKING LISTS:
Sefco Export resources -
PDF file - Blank Packing List template:
Shipments moving over an interim country, known as "trans-shipments",
will often require a "valued inventory list".
Often we receive such lists as Word files, PDF attachements,
or typed lists by email. We'll review, and keep a copy in your shipment file.
The following online form may help serve a guide. See:
valued inventory list
Commercial Shipments require a commercial invoice.
See a standard "professional movers packing list":
More about the above sample list (001)...
Click on the image URL to download and view it.
Have a look at the "exception symbols". Notice the section that documents the items' condition at origin, and condition at destination.
See how you - the property owner, certify that "we have checked all the items listed...
and acknowledge that this is a true and complete list... and of the state of the goods received."
Also note that it reads: "Before signing, check shipment, count items and describe loss or damage
in space on right above..." This is important for insurance purposes.
It applies to shipments that are professionally packed and professionally unpacked, door-to-door.
This is how any potential claim for damage or loss, is documented.
When the property owner and the mover both sign the verified packing list -
at both origin and destination, this is how an insurance company can
document any loss or damage. Otherwise, it would be difficult to verify any "exceptions" to the list.
Complete professional origin service
means that after everything is prepacked,
the movers physically takes each item from inside the residence,
to outside, curbside and loads the goods onto their truck (if not going directly into an ocean container)
for "on-carriage" to either the packers own warehouse - for optional further packing into large wooden
"lift-van" crates [see: warehouse packing]
or for trucking direct from your home right to the LCL-export shipping terminal.
Cargo shipped as LCL-less than container loads, should be well packed for export and secure.
Full container loads (FCL) of HHG/PE - household goods/personal effects only - are most often loaded direct at your residence/door.
Most often, we would need to make reservations with the SSL-steamship line/nvo carriers at least 2-4 weeks or further ahead of the move date.
Truckers need to be reserved ahead of time as well. If going for our P-premium service full D/D service,
plan even further ahead.
To reserve and secure our best
OA services - export packers/professional movers - we recommend sending your pre-shipment deposit to Sefco
at least 4-6 weeks before packing/pickup is to occur.
please use Federal Express.
Without a FedEx tracking number, "last minute" pickup requests cannot be accommodated.
Particluarly in the busy summer season, our best packers require a couple weeks advance lead time to schedule a packing/pickup date.
[see: where to send your payment]
Export Survey Policy:
A pre-move housecall by one of our trained export packing agents
(only if needed, to take measurements for any custom made crates or for special access situations) can be
arranged upon request. A formal report is made, called the ESR-Export Shipping Report.
You should already be a Sefco customer
(deposit received) for us to dispatch personnel to a pickup site.
If you are not already a Sefco customer, you should be prepared to pay for the surveyors fee.
For a knowledgeable export surveyor to come to a private residence and create a detailed survey,
which you can receive a precise detailed copy of, expect a charge of approx $ 175. 00 (depending on location) to be prepaid.
When you subsequently use Sefco for your export packing/shipping, this fee is deducted from the OA origin service bill.
Due to high demand for our honest and reliable export inspection services, please understand that our surveyor gets paid to provide an on-site evaluation.
If all you require is a quote by fax or email, this is an acceptable alternative. Sefco does not operate in the fashion that local movers operate.
We operate in a similar fashion to such pre-shipment inspection companies as SGS [click here for info].
The honesty and reliabilty of other companies is something we can not vouch for.
For instructions on how to set-up and contract for a professional Export HHG Survey, please go to:
The balance for packing, pickup, etc. as quoted, should be sent to us by the day of pickup.
Total payment (including insurance) should be settled before the ship leaves port.
Please follow our general instructions regarding payment:
[how and where to pay]
New accounts are welcome.
How to Initiate your New Account
Want to go ahead with your overseas move?
Find step by step instructions, on
how to proceed.
A pre-service deposit is required in order
to engage our services.
Once the deposit is received, we can begin to service your new account.
Pre-Shipment Export Survey Report (site visit with inspection report) -
details here ($175)
available upon request
Pickup Reservations - Are you already a Sefco customer?
Have you received your quote, accepted our service and
sent back our contract form with your pre-move deposit?
You will need to do this, so we can open your file and
start making the necessary advance preparations. Our shippers instruction / contract form is online.
New Bookings - Export/Import Reservations can be initiated only after your paperwork and
deposit have been received. Once acknowledged,
our appropriate personnel with get things going in a professional manner.
Upon receipt of your deposit, our origin packing agents
(within the USA and overseas) will be able to assign
personnel to your job. If need be, we will be able to
send a trained representative to the site to take
any premove measurements for crates, etc. as may
be required for the move. Housecalls can not be made
before becoming a Sefco customer. Otherwise, please expect to pay for the surveyors fee in advance.
Your pre-move deposit assures prompt service and careful attention to your needs.
Overseas Agents, Corporate Accounts, Diplomatic Accounts and Private Individuals can
obtain a professional site inspection and survey report by prepaying for our
service - unless your Company or Mission already has an
existing relationship and recent "track record" for using our company.
Paying accounts always get top priority.
Our export survey fee does not include long distance travel.
HHG-household goods export surveys are performed within the normal operating areas
of our Sefco-approved export packing operations, located throughout the
Please print-out a copy of our proforma invoice, write in your name and address,
and send to Sefco with your payment
You will receive an honest, accurate and professional survey report by
experience personnel with no pressure and no "low ball" estimate games.
When you pay a professional for good reliable service,
this is exactly what you get - from Sefco Export and our agents.
In lieu of an on-site, pre-shipment inspection, shippers can use our
on-line survey form.
Fill in what you have and send back to us. We'll review it and
give you our rate to pack and ship it.
Sefco Export's online tools: [click here for our online survey "cube-sheet"].
Sefco Export Management Company, Inc.
Send in your retainer/deposit and register today
to get our help and prompt attention.
- read about our approach toward providing timely market information to commercial clientele.
Order an Export Shipping Report. Beware of MISCONCEPTIONS.
LCL Less than Container-Loads
If you have a smaller sized shipment, for example -
just personal effects and no furniture, the goods will most likely move via the "LCL"
- less than container-load method.
For larger moves, including several rooms of furniture, you goods will most likely
to go direct into a "FCL"
To get a better feel for volume, and to figure out whether you will need a
LCL-less than container load, or FCL-full container load shipment,
check out our
Cubic Footage Volume Guide
[see: cube sheet]
See some photos of...
what furniture looks like after export packing.
[see: export packing]
Learn more about the art of safe moving:
protection, conservation and preservation
FCL Full Container-Loads
Most often, with
FCL-full container-load shipping
the steel ocean container is brought right to your door and everything is
loaded right there, then the container is sealed, locked and trucked
right away to the pier. The trucker has a tractor trailer that is connected
to the container, which rests on top of a chassis with wheels.
The driver will wait with the container for the normal 2 hours free waiting time,
while the goods are "live-loaded" by you, or by the movers.
Sometimes, for an extra fee, the driver will "DROP and PICK" the container,
so it is left at your door, and he comes back to pick it up a couple days later
after its been loaded. This gives you more time to get everything loaded at more leisurely pace.
Container/trucking rates are based on "availability of equipment".
This means that if they don't have any empty containers at the port/SS line depot in your area,
you may have to wait for one to become available.
This can be due to "equipment imbalance" in the shipping trade route.
Too many containers here, not enough there.
Once the container is loaded, it is meant to be "in motion" and en-route to its
delivery destination (as booked) with no delays at the port of exit or entry.
Nothing should go to the pier if it is not meant to be shipped out.
Timeliness is important. Rates are based on shipments handled on a prepaid basis only.
Export documentation must be prepared and submitted in advance of shipping. Read our informal advice in the subject:
"Port operations and timely presentation of paperwork"
Holding a loaded container will mean additional trucking charges to deliver
it to a security yard off the pier, as well as per diem yard fees, chassis rental fees,
and a re-delivery fee when it does finally go to the pier.
This can amount to a couple hundred dollars, for short term delays of less than a month.
Such costs would be borne by the cargo/property owner.
If the goods are at a location that is inaccessible to the trucker and container
(parking restrictions, narrow alleys, etc.), the cargo may need to be brought from there
to a location more suitable for loading.
If professional crating is required for goods being loaded into the ocean shipping container, it may be better for the FCL-container to be "positioned"
for loading at one of our designated movers warehouse rather than try loading heavy crates at a residence-door.
Advice about timing...
Re: FCL container scheduling --
we never guarantee an exact hour arrival time for any container,
as road conditions would make such things unpredictable.
We can, however, give you a general window of time for the
estimated time of arrival for the container;
for example, "live positioning" the container at your door between 10-a.m. and 12:00 noon.
Typically, the container trucking dispatcher will call you just before coming over, to make sure
someone is ready and waiting at the desired place of loading. They want to avoid making a fruitless trip.
The current market conditions are such that there are not enough truckers out there, ready and able to
"pull" all the ocean containers requesting service.
As drivers become available, they are assigned container hauls by their dispatcher.
Major delays at the ports, have a ripple effect on how many containers a trucker can "pull"
and deliver in any given date. When truckers need to pickup an empty container
from the piers, long lines can cause delays of several hours or even days.
Is such an environment, patience is indeed a virtue. Read more about port conditions:
port news updates
We do not recommend leaving things to the last minute, i.e.,
making plane reservations to leave the same day/next day as the container loading.
We do recommend giving yourself at least two extra days between when you may plan to load a container
and when you may depart the country.
When Sefco arranges for complete origin services
with a container move, we "marry" our packers - manpower/professional labor with all materials, to the container.
This avoids having a labor force sitting around waiting for the container to arrive.
If packing/loading is not arranged through our full service export packers, the container trucking
is performed by SSL steamship line connected truckers.
It's always possible that a SSL container trucker can be delayed. If you are hiring local people to help you
self-load a container, budget for extra waiting time for your locals - just to be safe.
Sometimes its better to "drop and pick" a container at the loading site,
leaving it there a couple days. However, this means the cost of trucking will be double, since the
container trucker has to travel twice from port to door and back, rather than once -
when they perform a "live load" container positioning - where the driver waits a couple hours
while it is loaded, then it goes right back to the port.
Read more about timing [scroll down and also
"Time" ...timing, hours, waiting time, labor, truckers, transit times...
For Economy Service container shipments
...where property owner/shipper arranges for loading/labor (origin services) directly.
Any waiting time costs by Labor
for waiting for the container are for the Shippers account.
Economy Service - Shipping & Handling only - Basic Level of Service.
No "origin services" / Self packaged and Self loaded.
For the one-shot shipper without their own warehouse operations, they save thousands by NOT needing or paying for their own full time warehouse, week after week month after month - as are operated by the consistent shippers and their agents. Given such a savings, its prudent to allow for the other side of the coin, such as paying for labor to stand around waiting for a container/trucker to show up from the port with an empty container.
Advice -- With ocean containers, there is no guarantee of an exact ETA.
Only approximations for any arrival time can be provided by the truckers themselves.
There is no trucker nor freight company that will provide for any payment for any shippers own outside labor,
or anything outside the parameters of doing their own task at hand. Road conditions, traffic, waiting time to get an empty container from the SS Lines stock of empty containers and chassis at the port - any number of factors come into play. This can not be emphasized enough. In fact this subject is specifically part of all Sefco Export contracts for service. Please be advised of such matters.
See (Item 9): Shipping time is approximated and the company is not responsible for any delays caused by highway problems, steamship line schedules, over-booking, technical problems in equipment or vehicles, strikes, port authorities, labor problems at the origin or destination &/or other reasons beyond our control including "force majeure".
Premium Service - Origin Services for Exporters/Shippers
Here there is a Wider Range and Higher Level of Services Rendered.
When someone owns/manages an Overseas Export Packing warehouse with a labor-force,
the crews and warehouse operations are scheduled well in advance, according to pre-booked jobs/tasks.
Book Ahead. Labor and warehouse operations are based on the pre-arranged calendar of tasks to service various accounts. "Peak season periods" for certain types of overseas cargo, means that the calendar for both warehouse operations and packing job pickups can quickly fill up and some days/weeks/months can become booked solid. "No service" if not booked well in advance.
Professional labor tends to be paid decent wages including benefits and insurance. At the end of the day all the labor that clocks in and out get paid, on a consistent basis throughout the year.
Origin Services - Warehouse loadings
Request a quote for any specific origin services you may require.
Our sales department will respond accordingly.
Helping you to anticipate your needs is all part of our business.
This website is meant to educate and better inform you about your options.
View some photos of actual steel ocean-shipping containers.
See their dimensions and specifications. Free advice about containers and special guidance.
See how containers look when they are laden (or loaded) on-board the ocean-going vessel.
[3-buy a container]
[7-how to load it]
Have a shipment that can't fit into a container?
Learn about "break-bulk" and Non-standard Modalities
For LCL-less than container-load shipments,
the goods are brought to our nearest designated receiving warehouse, for on-forwarding from there.
If you elect to go the "packed by owner" PBO-route, by packing everything yourself, then this is one way you can possibly save money. But be sure to do a good job.
Most goods going into a "consolidation container" are loaded by "high-low" fork-lifts, so its a good idea to
make sure the goods are - at least - well secured, corrugated, plastic shrink wrapped and banded together so it sits securely on a shipping pallet.
This is not necessary when goods go directly into your own FCL container,
but if it's going "as LCL", then more export packing is better than less. Read more about this
subject, h'ere: "LCL guides and tips"
If you are looking to buy your own
packing materials, moving cartons, bubble-wrap, tape, etc.,
our website has links to on-line vendors who will UPS everything to you in a matter of days. Prices for a variety of cartons are shown
and most packing/shipping material vendors will take credit cards.
Just shipping a small amount of personal effects, and prefer to pack it yourself?
Here's an economical way to do it!
on-line, have it delivered to your door. Then
take your time, pack your own goods. Unless you prefer for our professional movers to come and pack it all for you,
you can go for a "do it yourself" option.
Send us a certified copy* of your packing list (*ask us for details).
Personal effects only, nothing hazardous allowed.
We will give you a flat rate for one "super box" or two or more...
going to practically any destination overseas, by sea or by air.
These super strong, large shipping cartons will fit perfectly
onto a 48" x 40" x 40" pallet [see: pallets].
Each super-box takes up approx. 45-55 cubic feet volume.
Have your palletized carton ready for our common carrier
trucker to pickup from your curbside/door. We'll take it from there.
Buy a "super box"
Learn more about this service
[see: box and ship].
View a photo and get a price for buying a 350-lb test/corrugated "super box" shipping container. Saying "350-lb test" means that
a 350-lb man can stand on the carton and it is supposed to withstand that weight.
Did you know that you can actually buy a "knock down, prefabricated shipping crate", online?
Prices start at $ 160.00
Sefco does not sell packing materials but we can tell you who does.
When you're ready, we'll pickup and ship it overseas.
Planning to use your own "exclusive use" FCL ocean container?
Exporting from the USA?
In some cases you can load the container yourself [see: economy]
but you'll need to make your own detailed packing list and follow certain instructions we will give to you.
Please be aware that broadened security measures are in effect, post 9/11.
[see: security review]
Importing to the USA?
Rates do not include labor/storage or additional customs handling charges in the event of
intensive examination by US Customs and Border Security.
If your import cargo is selected for intensive
the actual cost can be remitted by the property owner directly to the CET-customs exam terminal and US Government (if dutiable) per official receipt.
On our website - View photos of containers being loaded
[see: how 2 load],
and get a free video from U-haul about stacking and loading household goods.
If you pack everything yourself, but don't have the means to physically take everything out from your home,
then you'll still need "the movers" (physical labor) to perform an "inside-pickup" with manpower. It's up to you, if you prefer
full p-premium service - where we "do it all" for you, or economy service - where you can "do it yourself".
The same service parameters apply to deliveries. A trucker delivery to door only, is not the same as a premium level inside of residence delivery by
trained movers who unpack every item (professionally export packed and then unpacked).
Premium service LCL deliveries cost of multiple of the amount payable for a "straight trucking door delivery" (only).
[read more on this: click here ]
LCL Less than Container Loads
If you can bring your PBO-packed by owner cartons outside and make them accessible
to our trucker for a straight "curbside/loading-dock" style pickup,
then you can save more by eliminating the need to dispatch our
professional OA-origin agent packers.
Smaller loads of securely packed/palletized and crated goods are often collected by our network of airport-based truckers.
They only work on a company to company basis upon our formal instructions (not offering their service retail to the public) and can pickup on very short notice - and "rocket" your LCL cargo right away to our designated export terminal.
Depending on the origin pickup location, one may find that professional truckers and common carriers will not accept freight that may be better handled by movers.
Long distance truckers will readily pickup professionally packed freight from a movers warehouse, while balking at a residential pickup. Besides being an issue of whether the goods are properly packed, it tends to be a judgment call by the truckers local dispatcher.
Please be advised that LCL truckers are not "movers" and should not be expected to provide any labor or pre-packing.
That's a job better for the professional packers - the "mover men and women".
A straight trucking pickup can typically be arranged - operationally - on relatively short notice (3 days).
But if you know you will need to use our service, do not wait until the last minute to get your check/deposit and paperwork into our
office - well ahead of time.
A cost comparison - Compared to "complete origin services", trucking-only (no labor or packers) can work out quite favorably price-wise.
More work for you to do, means less money to pay to someone else.
If you can make it easy for our trucker to receive the goods, then we can get a favorable rate.
If your goods are "standard dim", without being unusually shaped or very large items
(i.e., a piano), then this makes things easy for the trucker to receive.
If you elect to pack the goods yourself, common sense rules apply.
Have each box sturdily taped, and numbered.
Do not pack any hazardous cargo in your shipment.
Should you have a couple particularly heavy items, at a reasonable extra cost we can make sure to dispatch a "lift-gate" trucker,
bearing in mind that most common carrier trucks ride about 4-feet up off the ground.
Lift-gates are pneumatic lifting platforms used to raise the freight from street level to truck level.
Surf our image gallery [see: gallery]
Most commercial truckers come and go between warehouse loading docks which are level to the back of the truck, rather than pulling up in front of a residence which is of course at street level.
You can elect to bring your pre-packed and "ready to go" freight into our designated export shipping warehouse yourself, and save the cost for in-land trucking and/or movers from your door.
Your goods can go "as is" (not advisable unless very well packaged), or for reasonable extra cost, we can instruct the warehouse to have the cartons placed onto square wooden pallets, so they are raised up off the ground.
If we "palletize" the goods for you, they will also typically place plastic shrink-wrap all around the goods and then band everything together so it forms a square unit for easier handling.
Most of our mover-based receiving depots can handle shrink-wrapping and palletization, as well as liftvan crating where required.
A typical pallet load can range from 40 to 80 cubic feet in size.
Pallets are also known as "skids" [see:pallets]
For LCL-less than container-loads that include furniture and many fragiles, consider using wooden lift-van packing.
When complete origin services is requested, the mover will provide the lift-van. An average prefabricated lift-van takes up about 200-cubic feet gross volume, each unit. Unless a professional mover is involved, lift-vans may be difficult to find.
The LCL export shipping warehouses
[see: cfs warehouses] are typically open Mondays through Fridays only,
excluding holidays, from 8 am to 4 pm for receiving freight, with a break at lunchtime.
Please always make an appointment first before showing up with your freight.
We'll give you your specially assigned control/booking number,
so the warehouse receiving foreman will know in advance who you are
and what they are supposed to do with your goods.
Without that number, you goods will not be accepted.
For good order we'll give you a contact name and direct phone number at the receiving warehouse,
so you can call for driving directions.
Usually within 1 or 2 days after the goods come in,
we'll get a fax report from the warehouse showing us the actual
"pieces, weight and cube" of your shipment.
The shipping company's bill of lading will also show this information.
Regarding cubic footage volume...
Is it "ok to go"?
After the measurement is taken and confirmed, if everything is in order,
we'll then give it the official "ok to go". If we expect to receive, for example,
20 cartons totaling about 80 cubic feet, but instead receive 60 pcs. at 240-cubic feet,
then we'll ask you first if you really want to ship that volume of goods.
This way, there are no surprises and we work transparently together to get the job done right.
More about the "the piece count"...
It's better to "unitize" smaller cargo into larger shipping units.
For example, its better to receive (1) one pallet with 20-pcs (already secured onto it),
rather than receiving 20-pcs of "loose" cartons.
Most often, LCL-less than container-load cargo is palletized or packed into crates.
This keeps down, the overall number of pieces.
If you can secure your pbo-packed by owner goods onto a pallet
- or load your goods into an export crate yourself,
it's going to work out to your advantage, financially.
This pre-packing (for export) allows for smooth receiving and on-delivery via
our commercial-freight oriented receiving warehouses.
At these "non-mover" receiving warehouses, practically everything moves in and out
One operational note:
people often take the precise cubic footage (H"x W"x D" divided by 1728 = volume)
of each item and add it all up, to mathematically determine the total volume being shipped.
Please bear in mind that there will always be a certain "fungibility factor"
where there is going to be a small amount of air-space in between each carton,
when finally stacked together in one or more overall square lots.
After being palletized its not usual to see a 10% expansion factor.
If there are unusually shaped items, this can make for a "poor fit" of the goods
when placed together in a square - thus increasing the overall volume being displaced.
If sending an LCL shipment including fragile antiques,
the goods may be packed into
for added protection. Lift-vans increase the gross size of the goods, after being export packed.
If it's a combination of export-packed furniture
(bubble or corrugated cardboard protected) and cartons,
it can still move "loose" packed, when routed via our mover-based receiving warehouses
(e.g., Boston, NYC, Chicago, Miami, LA, Baltimore).
Most of our designated export shipping terminals,
called CFS-container freight stations, do not
get involved in packing anything, only receiving/shipping.
You can view photo's of lift-vans, crates, cases, and shrink-wrapped skids in our on-line gallery.
[see: warehouse operations and
CFS container freight stations also
Here's a point to consider: beside the cost of having a professional mover pack everything
into these lift-vans, then re-delivering the goods from their local facility to our export shipping warehouse,
bear in mind that there will be an expansion factor of about 20% from the net volume
- uncrated, to get the final gross - crated volume. If you have unusually shaped (very long) items this can make for a poor fit.
LCL shipping costs are based on the total outside gross volume after packing. So there is a cost/benefit to be considered.
Some destinations require lift-vans, others don't.
If you just have pre-packed sturdy cartons, lift-vanning may be over-kill.
"Loose pack/loaded" into an exclusive use FCL container, or on pallets going into consolidation container, may be sufficient.
Still, in general, if the object is to assure the safety of the goods being shipped,
stronger and more secure packing is always better than less secure protection/packing for the cargo.
A crate is always safer for the cargo than if it is not crated, but it comes at a cost. If you have a small, dense quantity of
personal effects, consider buying and using a sturdy shipping trunk.
Our website has plenty of links to outside vendors of packing/shipping materials.
Have some questions? Ask us if not sure.
Our P-Premium Service export packaging
for LCL cargo includes preliminary pre-packing, pickup,
local transport and then further packing and loading into export quality wooden crates/cases,
heavy-duty plastic sheeting applied inside the crate for waterproofing, woodshop nailing and finishing,
steel/poly banding and calking/sealing around all edges.
All crates and cases are made so they are lifted a few inches off the ground, resting securly on chocks or a skid platform.
This permits easy lifting by mechanical high-low folklifts.
2) Shipping & Handling
Our rates to various overseas destinations include normal
handling/export documents and the total of shipping charges
to arrival at the designated overseas port or in-land terminal.
OS&H stands for origin service/handling.
Sefco has regional guides [see: region]
which will give you an general indication of the cost to ship your household goods, personal effects, autos and other freight, going overseas. Rates are subject to booking with the carrier/forwarder. Please confirm all rates prior to booking/acceptance of cargo.
Unless otherwise specified, sailings to most of our major destinations tend to depart weekly. If your goods come in and just miss one sailing, it will simply wait in the secure warehouse or
port-security section a couple days for the next weeks (or next upcoming) vessel.
Need a rate? Please try to obtain a Sefco reference number
so we can provide you with a specific rate for your particular shipment.
Do this by using our online inquiry form:
RFQ REQUEST FOR QUOTE FORM
Got your rate, and now you want to go ahead?
[see: to proceed]
Just print out our standard contract form:
(to go ahead with your order for service)
Fill in your name, address, etc, sign it, send it back to us (via FedEx if time sensitive) with your minimum premove deposit.
Include a copy of our email quote. This way you become a customer and a file is opened.
Without written instructions and a deposit, Sefco will not be responsible
for any pre-arrangements.
Payment for shipping/handling should be settled by time of actual export.
Please try to be prompt with your payment to avoid a cod fee or possible storage overseas.
Rates do not include any possible demurrage or storage.
When shipping into a port with a history of strikes or delays at the port
(example: some ports in Brazil) the customer/consignee make be asked to provide a deposit
to be used against any possible pier storage.
Some further notes about schedules and timing:
Port to port "on the water" transit times tend to be quick. Shipments from the US East Coast to most of the major
"base ports" in Europe can range from ten (10) days to three weeks.
Express sailings tend to be quicker than trans-shipments, but they cost more. Sailing time to most ports in South America, from North American East/West Coasts, can take about three to four weeks, going straight North to South.
An import LCL shipment from South America to the USA (South to North) can take twice as long - more than 4 weeks, compared to the transit time from North to South.
To Australia, its approx. four weeks from the US West Coast and six to eight weeks from the US East Coast (for e-economy service). Quicker (p-premium service) port to port sailings are possible but tend to cost much more.
From the US West Coast to Japan,
on the water FCL container sailing time is only 10 days from LA port to Yokohama port.
For RoRo service, sailing time from LA to Yokohama is approx. 20 days with sailings every 2-3 weeks.
For FCL containers from Chicago to Mombassa, figure about 7 to 9 weeks.
Please note that the schedules and rates for import shipments into the USA are not the same
as the schedules and cost for export shipments from the USA.
For example, FCL containers from France to the USA can cost a multiple of the rate (higher) than for
FCL container exports from the USA to France.
For some shipments that have to cross an intermediate-country,
before arriving to a land-locked final destination (i.e., interior of Africa destinations),
interim clearance can delay a shipment for several weeks unless the packing lists and a
perfunctory "commercial invoice" stating a value for the goods, is produced.
This is the case for transshipments via Durban, Beira, Dar-es-Salaam, Assab, Djibouti and other African ports.
Generally, this does not apply for moves to Europe, Asia and South America. Special security provisions--including
accompanied guards--may be required, going to points in the Russian and NIS interior.
SEFCO EXPORT Business Tools
View sample scan of a factura commercial / COMMERCIAL INVOICE
sample instructions: ci instructions more examples:
ci1.jpg and ci2.jpg]
[commercial invoice template PDF]
IMPORTANT: Sefco does not ship donated goods/relief cargo.
Are you thinking of donated goods to some organization oveseas?
It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the country being shipped to, before you ship the goods, to decide if it is "worth shipping".
There are countries that will charge duty on donated goods.
Do you have a customs broker at the destination who can clear the cargo through customs? What will be their charges?
You may have good intentions, but do your homework first! In some cases it may be better to give cash and not ship your goods.
Consider: Buying the items in the country you are looking to donate to.
For most moves into Europe and other common destinations, allow another couple days after arrival of the goods at the port/terminal, for customs clearance. You are permitted to clear your goods yourself--direct with Customs in the destination country, or for an additional fee, the overseas port agent can arrange clearance formalities on your behalf.
If you plan to pick up your goods yourself from the overseas port or inland terminal, its smart to call ahead to make sure the goods will be ready and available for you, before showing up at the overseas warehouse.
LCL Consolidation Cargo Shipping Method
Shipping rates can include in-land "on-carriage" transportation from the port of entry to an interior city-terminal, like Paris, Munich, Budapest, Milan, etc. eliminating the need to travel to the port in order to collect the freight. Clearance can often take place at these inland terminals.
Additional Cost for De-consolidation of LCL-less than container-loads, paid at destination.
If shipping is pre-paid to arrival terminal only, versus having complete unloading/unpacking residential-door delivery, there will normally be nominal thc-terminal handling charges after arrival of the goods at the designated overseas warehouse or terminal. At the destination port there is a CSC-container service charge that is paid collect. This will be for your account unless specifically prepaid in advance and door delivery is arranged for ahead of time.
On average, the destination deconsolidation fee for LCL-less than container load shipments can run about US$ 1 per cubic foot, paid collect at destination terminal. On FCL full container loads the THC port terminal handling charge can run from $80-$250 on 20-ft containers and from $ 140-250 for 40-ft containers (on average, depending on the port).
Unless specifically agreed to in advance and in writing, rates do not include any legalization or consular documentation.
Some countries (like Jordan, others) require pre-shipment legalization.
Other countries, like the Dominican Republic, has just done away with additional - complicated and costly - legalization requirements (for certain commodities.)
Countries and rules can vary over time, so be sure to call the consulate directly. Contact the Embassy or consulate of the country you plan to move to,
Before shipping, its a very good idea to touch base with the Consulate or Embassy
of the country you are moving or shipping to, checking on residence requirements, work permits, possible import duties/vat and the like.
Embassies Online and refer to Sefco's online resources:
Government and Customs
Also refer to our sitemap to read our service preambles:
Roll on Roll off vehicle shipping services
International Shipping for Vehicles...
Auto exports require export clearance by US Customs.
In fact, any titled, self-propelled vehicle requires
US Customs clearance prior to export.
They want to verify that the original title is free and clear of liens (and obviously, not stolen).
RoRo Shipping rates assume self-clearance unless otherwise agreed.
Without the original title or MSO for brand new vehicles, in 98% of the cases the vehicle can not be exported from the USA.
If it's more convenient to have us to take care of all the details,
then our auto export specialists can arranged export clearance of your original title - on your behalf.
Our vehicle shipping department
should be able to help you out.
Meet our colleagues - export/import documentation specialists.
For example - US Customs export clearance/handling of a car's title in New York,
can run $ 175 (extra) per vehicle/title, depending on the SS line,
plus the cost for any FedEx courier. Please let us know if you need your original documents sent overseas via courier service.
This is an accessorial service (something that can be arranged at extra cost.)
Economy service self-clearing:
Alternatively, you bring the original title with you when you drop off your own car at the designated US pier and
you can self-clear US Customs [see: www.customs.ustreas.gov]
This is generally something you can do on the spot - at the time you deliver your own car - at no extra cost.
Read more of our informal advice concerning export clearance of vehicles from the USA
If you send us the original title with additional payment for US export clearance assistance,
we can do what it takes to get it properly cleared for export by US Customs (subject always to their final approval).
Our auto export specialists have extensive experience - and are actively engaged - with SS Line and US Customs personnel
at the various major US ports - with specific regard to the exporting of vehicles.
After it's been cleared for export and we get the original vehicle title back (from US Customs and the SS lines)
we can FedEx this to you overseas - provided you give us a FedEx account number to use
(or cover an extra fee for international courier service).
If you opt to self clear the original title of your own vehicle, this is "ok with us".
We'll still help you ship it overseas.
In many cases, people do exactly this - they self-clear their own vehicle's title - because this can be the more economical option
- and in some cases it may actually be more prudent to do it yourself. Like, when shipping a car via roro service from the US East Coast to Europe - and its your own car.
Prices and procedures for export clearance can vary from port to port.
Be advised that in some US ports, we charge more (than in NJ/NY) to assist with US export
clearance of a vehicle's original title - because it can be a bit more time consuming and take more of an effort to accomplish.
Miami is $ 250, Houston/Galveston is $ 250. Port Hueneme is $ 300.
This covers additional handling/messenger fees - to transfer documents a fairly long way
back and forth from the port facility and the US Customs office. The procedures at some ports are more complicated than others.
In NY/NJ our fee is comparatively less ($175) because things are closer, simpler and somewhat easier to accomplish.
SGS pre-shipment inspections
Some countries require a SGS pre-shipment inspection of the vehicle to be exported
[see: sgs inspections]
Depending on the duties and other regulations, it may not even be sensible to attempt to ship cars to certain countries.
Contact the Embassy or Consulate of the destination country for import requirements.
Do your homework before sending a car to the US.
DOT and EPA regulations can effectively bar non-conforming vehicles from entry to the US.
[see: car import]
Despite these "ins and outs" of the shipping business - certain things are not really that difficult to do.
Lots of people do decide to go ahead and ship their vehicles to Europe (and many other destinations around the world) from the USA
using "RoRo" ships - often going to conveniently located -
and high volume destinations - places like Zeebrugge/Antwerp, Oslo, Gothenburg, Rotterdam and Bremerhaven.
Our experience is this:
Since so many people still decide to go ahead and do it - ship their vehicle overseas - this in itself does say something about whether it is "worth it" - to ship it or not.
Looking to get an idea regarding how much it will cost to ship your car overseas?
Have a look at our general rate guideline/advice for vehicle shipping (by Ro-Ro vessel)
from the USA to Europe, Mediterranean/Middle East, Caribbean/Central/South America, Africa:
Worldwide RoRo Guide
Don't see your destination on our Ro-Ro rate guidelines?
Just fill in our on-line form:
[see: car inquiry]
Motorcycles can be shipped on roro vessels but most often will need to be
crated. Ask us for details if you are interested.
Most LCL ocean container consolidators will not accept motorcyles in their containers.
The export clearance requirement (original title clearance and VIN check) will slow down the export of everything else in that container.
Motorcycles can only be shipped with personal effects/household goods,
if shipped in an exclusive-use FCL-full container load.
Due to US Customs inspection rules, no LCL freight consolidator will
ship a motorcycle in a consolidation container. Our on-line rate grid/guides are for
personal effects and household goods only.
Shipping rates do not include
marine insurance, which can be purchased at extra cost.
Typically, to most frequently served destinations,
fpa-marine insurance is available for pbo-packed by owner goods, at 2% of the insured value.
PBO-packed by owners cartons are covered against loss only,
and does not cover concealed damage.
For "All Normal Risks" door-to-door marine insurance coverage on professionally packed/unpacked shipments, the rate is 2.8% of the insured value.
If interested in reading the details of the coverage available through our broker,
please read a copy of the insurance application and actual certificate of insurance.
For your convenience we have scanned copies of these, in our insurance information section.
An application with insurance details
will go to anyone interested in such coverage.
3) Destination services
Prices for shipping up to the port or terminal only, do not
include any port reception fee which may be assessed when you pickup property overseas (unless inland transport/door delivery is pre-arranged) nor any port demurrage/storage, nor duty/taxes if any.
Rates do not include labor or inspection fees if your consignment is selected by Customs for a more intensive
physical examination. [Learn more]
Besides optional clearance and inland trucking to the inland terminal in your destination city,
we can arrange for "complete inside delivery" of your household goods (placed into your new residence)
by our worldwide network of reciprocal professional movers.
This is where professional movers come to your home and put everything inside the residence, set everything up, unwrap, unpack and remove any debris on the day of delivery.
To learn more about P-premium full service D/A destination agent delivery, please see:
[premium] and [door-to-door]
Normal access is always assumed. If conditions require special third party services, such as "cherry picker trucks" to hoist large items through windows, gondolas to ply the canals of Venice, or other extra-ordinary services, please let us know. Such services would cost more than a simple delivery by a trucker, or a normal inside delivery by movers.
To learn more about accessorial services, please go to: [accessorial services]
At some destinations, such as Australia, there may be an extra charge in the event your consignment is selected for physical inspection by Customs, quarantine and fumigation.
Be very careful not to ship any plants or other contaminants, risking selection by Customs and resulting in accessorial fees. If shipping heavy equipment, vehicles and machinery to Australia, be sure to ship it clean".
Residential delivery may either be sent on a prepaid basis, or can be paid to the destination agent collect when the goods land overseas.
Just let us know what service you may need, and we'll confirm the cost to you in advance.
Our overseas destination agents and origin agents (D/A, O/A) are among the best in the world.
Did you know...?
...that (quite likely) the cost for your overseas move can be deducted
on your personal income tax? Consult with your own accountant and check out these links...
Read the IRS brochure and form on this subject:
Want to learn more?
Sefco is currently featuring these outside links:
Job-Related Moving Expenses: www.quicken.com
How to Deduct Moving Expenses From Your Taxes: www.ehow.com
Top 15 Ways to Cut Your Taxes: Claim moving expenses www.moneysense.ca
What Counts as a Moving Expense? www.turbotax.com
Moving Deduction Requirements: www.jacksonhewitt.com
US Military: Find out more about...
Families First Household Goods Movement Program usmilitary.about.com
More things you should know about shipping your property overseas:
Did you know...
...about the US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936 ("COGSA") and the limitation of ocean carrier liability ? [scroll up to learn more about marine cargo insurance]
Shipments of personal effects, household goods must be sent on a prepaid basis.
Please read our policy and see address where to send payment
Please send in your pre-shipment deposit at least 2 weeks in advance of pickup or receipt of your cargo,
and cover the balance -- including any extra amount for marine/aircargo insurance -- by or before the scheduled sailing date.
Reservations must be made in advance with our receiving warehousemen, SS coordinators and operations department,
and this requires time and effort on Sefcco's part.
Rates and service from SS Lines and terminal operators can change over time (SS Lines only confirm ocean rates - at best - for 30 days at a time,
warehouse locations can change, fuel surchages can be imposed due to drastically escalating gas prices, etc.),
so to avoid any surprises please confirm to us that we'll be working together -
well enough in advance of the shipping date - so we can help you plan ahead.
Payment for any origin/export packing service must be covered before goods leave for
"pier delivery". Cod collect and late fees will apply if not actually sent "as prepaid".
If Sefco directs you to a recommended consolidator/packer, air forwarder or entity other than
Sefco Export Management Company, Inc., and if you pay that entity directly,
then your agreement will be with that entity only.
Sefco does not accept credit cards.
Some of our airfreight agents do. Ask us first before assuming cards will be accepted.
No ocean shipment can be charged;
negotiable funds only. We recommend payment by certified check.
Ask us for banking details if paying by bank wire transfer.
normal terms and conditions for service
apply to all orders/consignments. [see:
Print-out a copy of our agreement, for your records.
Our deposit/payment policy:
Please if you are not serious about
proceeding with your movement, please do not send us a deposit/payment.
Sefco and our forwarding partners, port agents, packers, warehousemen, etc.,
are all professionals dedicated to providing the best level of service possible.
To properly service new confirmed orders,
we have to dedicate time, attention/effort and often outlay cash funds in order to
make the necessary advance preparations for your move. It is for this reason that
your pre-shipment retainer/payment is non-refundable. Your payment proves that you are serious and
are prepared to pay the cost for our service. There are no cash refunds. Please take the time to
read our standard terms and conditions for service.
Want to learn more? Surf our website !
Peruse some of our on-line resources: www.sefco-export.com [site map]
Need a rate for moving overseas?
- Use Sefco's on-line RFQ request form quote form
- Get a basic idea for personal effects shipping/handling costs from all over the USA to points throughout the world.
Sefco's regional guides, presenting general indication of costs to/from
select areas and countries.
[country index] and
[roro general rate guide]
- Describes export packing by professionals, origin agent/export packing services
by trained/experienced movers, rate guide.
- About our P-premium door-to-door overseas moving service.
- Explains the difference between Premium D/D overseas moves
and our Economy shipping service.
- Information and Special Services: Sefco's E-Reports, ESR-Export Shipping Reports generated for specialized requests.
Sefco's guide for P/A purchasing agent, consulting and trade services.
- IMPORTANT FORMS: Sefco's standard letter of instructions, to be completed by customer who wants to go ahead with the job.
Our standard agreement form; this serves as Sefco's basic contract. Includes our normal terms and conditions for service.
More about our web site...
It is our intention to help improve knowledge in general about shipping, overseas moving, and related matters.
We also want to make it easy for you to work with us. To this end, throughout our site we include commentary
and advice designed to answer questions that often occur.
To help underscore certain themes and topics, we have placed some "hyper-links" at different places along the way.
Hyper-links bring you to a specific point on the webpage.
Here are some of the topics we address:
**personal effects inside a car**|||||
**insure your property**|||||
**Sefco ESR-export reports** ||||| **Pointers and Tips**|||||
**caveat emptor - buyer beware**|||||
Have more questions? Check out our site map.
Are both packing and unpacking included in the price?
Learn more about our levels of service:
E-economy, R-regular and
If you are unsure of something or would just like to run some ideas by us, feel free to send us an e-mail, fax or just pickup the phone and call.
We'll be pleased to be of help.
Chances are, we have answers to your basic questions already on our site.
Commercial Logistics Management
Commercial R&D Research and Development:
In depth commercial research is performed on a fee paid basis.
Sefco Export Reports
When traveling to a new place, you might buy a guidebook with maps and photos - before you go, right?
Well, that is what we have - for our line of business.
Commercial ESR-Export Shipping Reports require a retainer.
Businesses are encouraged to review the procedures for becoming an established Sefco commercial account.
Contact us via email for further details.