Removals and Shipping

We asked a specialist removal company to give us the answers based on over 30 years of moving people overseas. These are the most common questions asked by migrants:

What things should I take with me?

If you ask people who have moved to your destination, you will find that the vast majority take most if not all of their items. The most common reasons are that items are more expensive in your destination country, you get next to nothing for the items you sell here, it costs a lot of initial outlay to furnish an entire home in one go but most importantly, it is much better value to pay for packing and shipping than to sell and replace with new items.

Is it worth taking my furniture with me?

Some people think that by discarding the big items they will save a lot on the shipping costs. However, the amount of money you save is negligible to the cost of buying all new furniture when you arrive. That is why most people do take their furniture and large items. If you are not sure, the best way is to get two quotes: one with and one without these items, then you can see how much money you will have to buy new items. Ask our experts for a FREE home survey.

What things should I not take?

This really depends on the Country you are emigrating to; if the electricity supply is the same as the UK like in Australia and New Zealand then its worth taking everything but if it’s different like in USA/Canada then its better not to take electrical items.

How soon should I get quotes?

Certainly don’t think of this like a normal UK removal and leave it until you have exchanged contracts on your house sale, moving overseas needs a lot of planning and decision-making. The best time to get quotes is 6 months prior to your intended leaving date (see diary below) This will enable you to make adjustments to your intended list of items if you should wish to do so, also if you require alternative quotations for separate lists of goods (see is it worth taking my furniture with me) then this will also give you time to make a decision and dispose of goods if that is your decision. Remember professional international movers should offer a FREE no obligation home survey service as well as on line estimates.

When should I dispose of things I decide not to take?

Not until after you have had your quotations and have considered the costs and which items you wish to take. It is unwise to dispose of things before you know the removal volume as there is always the possibility that you may be close to a sole use container but have a little spare space to use.

How do I decide on which companies to get a quote from?

Moving overseas utilising a shipping container service with full export wrapping and packing is totally different from moving within the UK or Europe using road transport. It is vital that you use a Company who specialises in international removals by sea freight. Surprisingly, the locality of the removal company to your home is not an important factor, for most domestic requirements you always look for a local company but moving overseas is different. The standard of service and competitiveness of the quotation you receive will more likely depend on the amount of international moving the company does and not their location. There are 3 badges that are absolutely essential:


Whilst the British Association of Removers is an association for UK domestic removal companies, it also has a specialist overseas division. When looking for the BAR logo, look for the two flags underneath the logo ‘overseas mover’ and ‘Advance payment guarantee’. With these badges you will be covered by the IMMI scheme, which is an international removals financial protection scheme.

b) FIDI Global Alliance

An International organisation recognised throughout the world, it gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you will get the highest professional standards because FIDI manages FAIM Accreditation. Also being a member of FIDI enables us to use the very best experts as our partners in any Country of the World. This means that an International Mover does not have to register a Company name or open up a small operation at your destination to handle all of the importation procedures, quarantine, delivery etc. A FIDI Global Alliance member already can call on a number of specialist Companies who have all the equipment and facilities and who also have to comply with the very strict FAIM criteria as laid down by FIDI.


The FIDI Accredited International Mover is the highest level you can achieve in international shipping and is recognised globally. It’s a quality assurance standard and to retain it involves regular audits of premises, vehicles packing, outturn and delivery reports, insurance claims etc. FAIM is the logo that many Corporations look for when moving personnel around the world.

What’s important to check in the quotation?

Every quotation should include a list of items and a cubic volume. This is important because it is that list and the volume upon which the quotation is based and you should check the list to ensure that everything you intend to send is listed. When you are comparing quotations it is important to compare the volume estimated as well as the price because most quotes will increase if the volume packed increases.

Can I get a quote online?

If you want to experiment with different quotes or just want a rough idea before you get your free home survey then you can get a quote and lots more information such as Destination information, testimonials etc by asking our experts and completing their form on the website.

What do I need to do before the packers arrive to move me?

Firstly remove or hide all items that you don’t want to be shipped overseas. This includes items you are taking with you such as luggage, your passports etc. Make sure any items containing moisture (washing machines, dishwashers, tumble dryers, fridges and freezers etc) are disconnected, drained and dry. Flat pack any IKEA-type furniture if this was not included in the removal estimate and make sure all outside items shoes, boots, furniture, tools etc are clean and dry. This will all help to ensure the safe transit of your items.

Can I pack some things myself?

This depends on the company you use, the conditions of the transit cover offered and what the items are that you want to pack yourself. Some companies offer a full removal service including packing and also a ‘pack your own’ service where you pack your own cartons and they pack the furniture.

What’s the difference between a shared container and a sole use container?

A sole use container is a container that is solely for your goods and a shared container is when your goods do not fill a container and consequently, you share it with other migrants’ goods that are being shipped to the same destination. The sole use container service is the most popular as you see all the packing and loading completed at your home and the container is sealed before it departs from your residence. Price-wise a sole use container is good value, even if you don’t quite fill it. It also goes directly to the vessel and is shipped quickly, which means the transit time is less than the shared container. For the shared container service you oversee all the packing, but then the goods are removed to a warehouse where other goods being shipped to your destination fill the rest of the container before being shipped. The waiting time will depend on how many international removals your removal company handles to your particular destination.

What about insuring my goods?

Like with most things you need an insurance or transit cover to protect you in the event of items being damaged or lost. Whilst most international removers will tell you their packing materials are good quality it must be remembered that containers have to be hauled by road, lifted by cranes and shipped on the ocean so it is important that you adequately cover your goods. Beware of cheap offers for cover these may sound attractive but are rarely as comprehensive as the cover offered by your chosen remover.

What about storage if I am not ready for my goods when they arrive?

In most cases you can request a quote for storage both in the UK and also upon arrival at your destination. Be aware that offers of free storage upon arrival may not include a handling charge, which can vary and is often payable at the end of the storage period. Consequently, always ensure you get a quote for store handling as well as storage.

What happens when the goods arrive?

You will be contacted prior to the arrival of your goods and you will have to complete a customs form and (depending on your country of destination) other documentation. It is important that you complete any documentation quickly and return it to the destination office. They will liaise with you about any customs or quarantine issues and when your goods are ready for delivery you will have the option of requesting delivery or if you are not ready requesting storage. N.B. Some countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada have strict regulations about the cleanliness and constitution of some goods and these may be subject to examination. Any charges levied by governmental departments for examination, cleaning, quarantine etc. are not included in removal quotations and you as the owner of the goods will be responsible for paying these.

For further information – Ask the experts