Expat FAQ

Do you have a general question on expatriation? FAQs give you answers to the most frequent questions: Departure.

International Removal Companies

The price of moving depends on the how much is being moved, the value of the goods, and the distance to be moved. If possible, ship only the truly indispensable items and try to buy when you arrive to abate some of the cost. Compare companies because prices can be quite different.

Shipping costs are calculated on the amount of volume (Cubic Feet) that your packed goods will take up in one of our shipping containers. Volume is calculated by multiplying the length x depth x height.
An example would be a full size refrigerator/freezer that is 3ft wide, 2 feet deep, and 6 feet high would be 36 cubic feet. A 20 foot container total cubic capacity is 1172 ft 3 and a 40 foot container capacity is 2392 ft. A standard 2 to 3 bedroom house or condo should fit into 1 x 20ft container. A larger 4 to 5 bedroom house would need 1 x 40ft container.

Before the move, investigate the property you are moving to. Will you need to reserve a parking area outside of the apartment and will you need an external lift? Are there any other special requirements? If so, inform the removal company and ask them to include it in their quote.

Different Options: Ground, Sea or Air


Moving with only ground travel is uncommon unless moving a short distance. This is much slower then flying, but much less expensive. This method is often done in conjunction with sea or air shipping.


To move by sea takes longer (6-8 weeks), but costs less then traveling by air. If moving by sea, your household goods will be packed into containers that are usually loaded at your residence. Once your home is packed into the containers, they are then shipped by rail or transport to the port where they are then loaded on to a steamship container. The container is then loaded on the boat as cargo. Once your goods have arrived in the new country, the container is unloaded and must pass through customs. International movers will be able to help you with the custom forms and are responsible for clearing your goods.


Moving household items by air is becoming increasingly popular, despite a much higher price tag than shipping by boat. Heavy cardboard boxes are normally used to pack your goods, although some air freight companies will use containers. You may find that shipping items by air is less expensive than renting a furnished place to live or hotel costs. Most companies offer both options so inquire about the price difference and decide which method is best for you.

    Some basic factors in determining the best shipping method are:
  • Volume of personal belongings- (for road and sea shipments); the weight and volume of your personal belongings (for air shipments).
  • The final destination of your shipment- If you are looking to move across the globe (i.e. from New Zealand to the USA or Australia), you might want to ship the majority of your personal belongings by sea container and a small portion of things you will need upon your arrival by air.
  • Your personal moving schedule- How soon do you need or want to receive your personal belongings at your destination? Do you already have accommodation (i.e. a house or apartment) at destination? Will you be going on vacation before taking up your new position at destination? Will intermediated storage of your personal belongings be required?
  • Your budget- Who is paying for your move? Your company or yourself? What is your allowance for the move?


To save money, you can ship your items with other people's belongings. Known as "groupage", your personal belongings will be shipped on a large truck together with the personal belongings of one or more customers. Depending on the final destination of your shipment, your personal belongings may be unloaded at a central warehouse somewhere in Europe, for instance, and then shipped to their final destination on another truck departing to your destination country from that central warehouse. A groupage truck option is usually less expensive than a direct truck option, but door-to-door transit times are longer.

If your household goods shipment is large or cost is not as much of an issue as time, direct shipping might be a better option. The truck will contain your personal belongings only and will go directly to its final destination without stopping at any other warehouse. A direct dedicated truck is usually more expensive than a groupage truck shipment, but the door-to-door transit time can be significantly shorter.

Auto Shipping

If you plan to ship your vehicle along with your personal effects, both can be loaded into a steel shipping container. Alternatively, you may wish to ship your car in a steel container on its own. Your car would be loaded, lashed & secured within the container to ensure a safe transit.

There are also roll on, roll off services in which the car is driven onto a ship at the port of sailing and driven off at destination. There are dedicated vessels that provide this service and the interior is similar to that of a multi-story car park.

Finally, you car can be shipped conventionally. This means your vehicle will be loaded onto a vessel using a crane. The vehicle would be lifted from the quayside onto an awaiting ship.


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