Wednesday, 22 June 2011

International Movers (shipping freight UK to Penang)

As my relocation to Penang draws ever closer I started to look around at international removals. There are many companies that do this and prices will vary considerably. I decided to avoid any at the really low end of the spectrum as such prices are often low for a reason. What I was looking for was a company with a good service in the UK, a good network and reliable service in the country of destination, good insurance and reasonable storage costs in the UK in the event of any delays (visa etc). It is also worth considering the size of the company you are shipping with if you are not taking a full container. In this case you will need to wait for a full container load to build up and, for a smaller company, this may take some time and could lead to a delay in your belongings getting shipped which may/may not be a problem to you. Finally, you do need to watch costs and ensure you establish door-to-door prices as some will quote you a very cheap prices which you may later find was from port to port (e.g. not including loading, unloading and local delivery).

Having had a good look around and done a considerable amount of research on the internet and forums I plan to use Pickfords (International). Pickfords offer a professional service and as such you cannot get your prices from a brochure, or even over the telephone, and they will always advise having a free visit from one of their locally based shipping consultants to provide an initial quote. You will likely get asked some questions around the status of your visa as, without this, they will not be able to ship to your country of destination in many cases without problems from, and in particular excise duty being payable to, 'Customs'. As an MM2H visa holder you will of course be entitled to import your belongings into Malaysia free of duty.

In order to progress matter I recently had a quote from Pickfords from a very friendly and professional consultant called Chris Porter. The price was very reasonable IMO for door-to-door service. A bonus was the very reasonable storage charges of around £6 per week. They will also pack pretty much everything and indeed advised that most items are left unpacked so that they can pack using their expertise and knowledge of how items will be loaded and for it all to go into Pickfords boxes which is what Customs will be expecting to see. So, the costs I was quoted (all inclusive and door to door for each of the load options below - e.g. you do not need to add them together):
  • Option 1: 180 cu ft of goods which will be a partial container load and is enough for all personal belongings, loads of books, kitchen equipment, some audio hi-fi, mountain bike, paintings: £1,500
  • Option 2: 580 cu ft, again a partial container load which will take all of the above plus a three piece suite, dining table, bed and other furniture: £3,700
  • Option 3: A complete 20 ft container which will take some going to fill and would likely take the contents of a 2-4 bed house: £5,500

Pickfords also provided some very useful documentation which covers:
  • Customs procedures and points to be mindful of regarding your destination shipping country
  • Essential Preparation
  • Insurance
  • Paperwork
  • Packing
  • Transportation options
  • Useful checklists
This is all very useful I must say and a far better overall package it seems than some of the competitors, despite the the somewhat meager savings that going with some of the competition offers. I was also provided details of a number of associated offers with regard to shipment of animals (pets) and currency exchange which, while they were not relevant to me may well be of interest to others. In addition, Pickfords is of course truly international so can arrange moves from/to a great many countries, often with their own 'presence' in many.

As such I intend to go with Pickfords and will post back on completion as to how it all went smile.

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