Friday, 15 July 2011

Freight Considerations

As I sit here in an almost empty house (thankfully the buyers are purchasing quite a lot of furniture so I have somewhere to sit!!) I ponder how the last couple of days has gone in terms of packing, removals and such like. I also wonder how a 5' x 4' oak drinks cabinet, all but lit up with a flashing neon sign saying 'Don't forget me' got left behind!!! The air went a little blue when I was hoovering and got to that final corner and saw it sat there and it's probably just a casualty of the sheer exhaustion that can set set in when every waking moment of your days for a couple of months is filled with 'things to do / pack' lists and the resultant inability to relax and sleep properly at times.

First point I think is that I maybe would have liked to rationalise what I was taking to some degree had I had more time. The issue of what to ship to me really falls at two ends of the spectrum in terms of cost effectiveness. You either take almost everything in a full 20 foot container which, at AROUND £5,500 (at the time of writing) can work out quite cheap. At the other end there is the smaller shipment at around the 180 - 220 cu ft (which is about 35-45 boxes) mark where it can work out very cost effective if you are shipping a fair amount of high value goods (AV stuff in particular which, should you decide to purchase locally at your destination, would likely cost almost the same as in the UK). A few units at around the £250 to £500 mark and it very quickly covers the cost of shipping v replacing at destination, essentially allowing you to ship the other boxes for free. This is the option I chose.

Whichever you opt for will of course need to add the cost of insurance to that and Pickfords have two methods of calculating this:

a) Per item: where each item is priced up and then totalled

b) Overall cost: Where you estimate the value based on a £ per cubic foot basis (and Pickfords recommend around £40 pcf as a good average

In addition, you can add bolt-ons for such things as 'electrical derangement', mildew and premises waiver (where they will insure the property you have the goods moved to in case they accidentally damage it - at about £30 per property this seems good value especially if you are renting.

All in all I was most impressed with the Pickfords team at the UK end. They arrived on time and literally wrapped and boxed every single item and spend around 6 hours doing it, labelling each box and creating a very comprehensive inventory. They also agreed to store the goods in the UK port for up to 6 weeks free of charge while I find a rental (hopefully in MUCH less time than that!!!) and sort my MM2H visa (providing Pickfords with the copy they will need prior to shipping).

The only thing I regret is that I didn't have the time to rationalise what I was taking MUCH more. The house selling so quickly (a matter of days) was a blessing in many ways but, the anticipated 4-6 month wait given the state of the UK market would have given me much more time to have been MUCH more ruthless with what I have taken. Essentially I would have thought long and hard about hobby related items, and whether it is either feasible or desirable to do those hobbies in Malaysia, and also the vast amounts of clutter that you think is essential to your life but is it really (clothes, books, electrical goods, DVDs etc etc etc). Problem is some of this stuff is too costly to just dump and to sell it takes time. That's the time I didn't have. My friend Watertown Wanderer made some very relevant comments in his blog Retired in Malaysia (the link to the current Blogger version of this site can be found under 'Other Links') about just this issue and it does give food for thought.

Everyone is different and our needs are all personal but as a general rule I would say think long and hard about what you REALLY need and want you just want to take, think about it VERY early and and start to ditch what you want at the earliest opportunity so by the time comes to pack up your are down to your leanest horde!! This is one of the 'regrets' (maybe that is too strong a term) that I have about the whole process. I was paranoid about ditching all the stuff that I thought I might need to give me something to do just in case the house didn't sell. To a degree it's understandable but it back-fired somewhat. At the end of the day though it's nothing critical but I did need to bail out of quite a pricey hobby in terms of investment right at the last minute leaving quite a bit to for a very very dear friend of mine to do on my behalf in terms of selling it off. I did stress I'd just cut my losses and dump it but the offer was made to sell it off gradually over the next 12 months. At a value of a few thousand I am very grateful indeed.

So it's all going well enough at the moment. In summary I'd think hard, ditch early and ship as little possible making as cost effective as possible by shipping small higher value items in with the load. Pickfords have so far been outstanding and I look forward to a few days rest (albeit looking at a laptop, Kindle or 4 walls!!!) and the next leg of the adventure.

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