Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Freight Considerations - Arrival in Penang (Pickfords)

Pretty much closing the book on the freight issue for me now my belongings arrived at Penang Port on or around 31 December 2011. Having finalised and collected by MM2H visa I scanned and mailed a copy of this to Pickfords UK on 7 October. As soon as they received it they arranged for my goods to be loaded up and shipped leaving me to merely wait the expiry of the 8-12 weeks delivery time, crossing fingers that nothing electrical or fragile would get broken. As a precaution I had opted for three particular insurance 'bolt-ons'.

Firstly there was insurance against 'electrical derrangement'. If your electrical items such as AV receivers, DVD players and hard-drives get visibly damaged then regular insurance will cover it. However, if they have become non-visibly damaged, perhaps by vibration or heat, and just down work, you will need the 'derrangement cover' to claim. I also added on extra insurance for a few high value items and finally, opted to pay £30 to cover damage to the building they are delivery to. Possibly important if it's a condo.

There were just a couple of minor quirks with the arrangements. First there was an odd method of being billed for storage. I was billed for 4 weeks storage in advance then another 4 weeks which I knew would be two weeks longer than I needed. It was suggested that I pay both bills and that Pickfords would refund the excess two weeks!! To me this was totally bizarre and we eventually agreed I'd pay the storage just before the goods shipped and would pay the precise amount owed. The notification of shipping of the goods was also received only in mid-December and was merely a PDF letter attached to a blank email. Quite unprofessional in my view and the letter suggested that I would have to run around chasing the local agent here, making contact to arrange customs clearance etc. Having complained to Pickfords it was all sorted out at the end of the day and Allied Pickfords in Penang did make contact by mail and kept me fully updated regards to progress. I did feel the letter did not create a good image of Pickfords in some ways as, paying for door-to-door service, I would expect the agent here to be contacting me, not the other way around. The only thing the local agent asked for was a clearer scan of my passport and MM2H visa as the one sent to the by Pickfords UK was somehow degraded.

Once the above glitch was sorted all went very smoothly. After a few days the local agent advised me that my belongings had cleared customs and were ready for delivery. Quick couple of e-mails later and the date and time was sorted. On the day, the delivery crew arrived promptly and were very professional and courteous. I was pleased to see that almost all boxes arrived undamaged and even those that were had seemed to suffer only minor crush damage as a result of some empty cavity at the top of the box. I opted to unpack the boxes myself and indicated this on the delivery receipt forms I was asked to sign.

Until I move to my full-time home I have decided to leave as many of the boxes as I can packed up, especially things like books and such like, otherwise I just need to pack them ALL back up again :-( On that basis there are a few things I might have done differently when packing. Your packer will likely write some kind of content description on the boxes but it will be very generic. As such it would make sense to:

1) Split your belongings perhaps into collections of 'Will be needed', 'Might be needed' and 'Wont be needed' and make a note of the box numbers that cover the groups. That way you should be able to readily identify the things you must have access to straight away.

2) Try to make sure that all components to one item are packed in the same box!! I have come across a box with two small flat screen TVs but no power plugs or remotes!!!! The search continues. Obvious I would have thought to put them in the same box!! Seemingly not.

3) If there are any items that you want to have access to that cannot fit into 'Will be needed' category or if there are several such boxes and you to access a number of items first, make a note of which box they are in. In most cases all such things can go into the same box (es) but in the event that they can't (because of size etc. - the packers are very experienced as to what will fit nicely) it's nice to know where they are.

So all in all, I think Pickfords did a good job and would not hesitate to use them again both for any local move and international would be happy to recommend them to others. The shipping time was around 10 weeks in total and there were no problems this end.


  1. Now you are truly a resident of Penang, with all of your worldly belongings now here. Welcome my friend and so happy to have you here.


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