R2I Shipping Options

In this era of choices and options there are different ways to ship your belongings. The size of the load, how quickly the effects should be available, and how economical the shipping should be all play a part in choosing the shipping option. Below are the popular choices:
  • Ground or air shipping of boxes via carriers such as UPS, Fed Ex, or USPS: Ground or air shipping by means of these carriers is a better option in lieu of carrying them as extra baggage. Extra baggage costs are usually higher compared to these options. The downside though is that customs payment is the customer’s responsibility with no room to negotiate.
  • Air Freight Shipment: The amazing advantage with airfreight shipment is that door-to-door service is under a week on the average including ground transportation and customs clearance. The shipment is priced either by volume or weight whichever is higher. Pricing is high compared to ground shipment options, but that is the price of quick turnaround!
  • Less than Container Load (LCL) Shipments: The option is practical for those with less than a full container load worth of possessions. The shipment will either be palletized or packaged in wooden crates depending on size. The normal size of a pallet is 3’x4’ and the boxes are stacked on them, shrink wrapped and secured using fasteners – the volume that can be packed on a single pallet varies between 60 and 90 cubic foot. Bigger volume items like furniture require lift vans (wooden crates with around 200 cubic foot of volume). Door-to-door service is still available, with service levels almost on par with FCL – it takes an additional 15-20 days and container loading is usually done at the shipping company’s warehouse rather than at the customer’s place. They do provide the customer the flexibility to self pack or allow professional movers to do the job. Palletizing adds 10-15% to the volume of the items while lift vans add 15-20%.
  • Full Container Load (FCL) Shipments: FCLs come in different sizes and the common container sizes are 20’, 40’ and 40’ Hi Cube. The container is loaded and bolt sealed at the customer’s place. The base pricing for the 40’ foot container freight alone is about 40% more than the 20’ foot container. With the origin and destination services added in, the premium can be over 50%.
As mentioned, we chose FCL to move our stuff. Shipping companies were contacted about two and a half months before our planned ship date. As we were literally living out of boxes at the time, it was easy for the shippers to estimate the container size required during their pre-move survey. The verdict was that we were on the borderline with a 20’ container. As we were aware furniture made of particle board was not covered, we had plans to dispose a bedroom set which gave us about 10% leeway for new purchases.

20’ containers have an aggregate volume of 1050 cubic foot, 40’ containers 2100 cubic foot and 40’ Hi Cube 2350 cubic foot. Shipping companies have ballpark numbers as to what will fit into a particular size container – 2BR apartment or house moderately furnished along with a small family’s personal stuff usually fits a 20’ container – anything more usually will require a 40’ container. As people tastes and attitude toward personal possessions vary, this is not exact science. To help estimate volume, the ballpark figures below can be used for common household items:


ItemVolume Requirement in Cubic Foot
3-person Sofa60
Side Table20
Office Desk40
King Size Bed65
Small Night Table10
King Size Mattress55
Side-by-Side Refrigerator75
Larger Picture Frames or Mirror (Professionally packed)10
One 8-person Dinner Set (Professionally packed)20
Dining Chair10-15

With door-to-door service option, convenience is the name of the game. However, there are a few weak links when the shipment can be less than perfectly secure, despite the company’s best efforts:
  • At the destination port, for door-to-door service, there is usually an unloading-loading cycle, unless the customer’s residence is in close proximity to the port. Unloading & loading cycle require the bolt seal to be released and so the load is no longer secure. There is a destination services manager responsible for the security of the shipment during this process but that is not the same as customer being present to monitor.
  • During ground transportation of the shipment from the destination port, checkpoints exist, especially when crossing states. State government authorities have the legal right to demand inspection of the cargo. Unfortunately, bribing the officers is the norm in many of these locations. This is the period when the shipment is most vulnerable as there is usually one manager on the truck and many “government officers” around.
As part of providing door-to-door service, the shipping companies negotiate with customs based on the valued inventory. Some even provide a rate upfront based on the valued inventory – it could be high compared to what the customer would pay if physically present at the port to clear the shipment, but that is the price of convenience! The upfront rate option is extremely convenient and we would recommend using it, if available and the quote is reasonable. Basically, what is required from your side is mailing them the  documents (passport, etc.) for customs clearance and signing a proxy authorizing an agent from the shipping company to clear customs on your behalf.

Related Posts:
  1. R2I - Deciding on What to Take.
  2. R2I Shipment - Choosing from Insurance Options and Our Experience.
  3. R2I Shipping Options.
  4. R2I Shipping FAQ.
  5. R2I Shipping Experience.

1 comment :

Miami Moving Company said...

Great job! Keep working! useful post, thank you.

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