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What to expect when moving internationally

24 July 2019


 July 24, 2019
feature - What to expect when moving internationally
Category: Moving Tips

It’s a common scenario: an international job offer arrives unexpectedly, and you need to relocate your whole household as quickly as possible. In this feature, we outline your key decisions.

According to Pickfords Cape Town’s Branch Manager, Francois Marais, the UK is currently the most SAM_1316popular export destination for young professionals leaving South Africa; with Australia, New Zealand and the United States less-frequently travelled to.

Pickfords’ network includes branches in each of South Africa’s major coastal cities – Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town – and is able to select the best port to use based on clients’ intended destinations.

Container ships depart from those ports every week, so an international removal by sea can happen a lot sooner than you expect! Conversely, if the inappropriate shipment option is selected, you could face unexpected delays.

For this reason, your Pickfords removals consultant will meet with you in person to help you select the best option that matches your budget and timeline requirements, and offer expert advice on how to streamline the whole removals experience.

This support includes calculating the volume of your household contents; discussing which of the shipping options (outlined below) you require; and guiding you through your destination’s unique documentary and procedural requirements.

Pickfords’ iconic blue-and-red trucks alongside the orange trucks of the global Allied Pickfords network.

The four main shipping options for international removals

1: Exclusive-Use Container: Metal shipping containers are available in three standardized variants: 20-foot (capable of holding approximately 1 000 cubic feet of contents), 40-foot (2 000 cubic feet) and 40-foot High Cube (2 400 cubic feet). BEST FOR: High Volume (full households), Rapid Shipment

2: Groupage: Smaller consignments from different removals can be grouped together within the same shipping container, which is very cost-effective. Depending on the popularity of the destination, however, consignments may require storage for a number of months before sufficient consignments are sourced to fill a container and be shipped. BEST FOR: Lowest Cost, Not Timebound

3: ‘Less than a Container Load’ (LCL): Not to be confused with ‘Groupage’ above, LCL consignments are usually a few items which are secured in wooden crates, and are transported below-deck on ships (offering protection from rain and water damage). BEST FOR: Low Volume, Rapid Shipment

4: Airfreight: While the bulk of a family’s household goods are transpoSAM_1279rted over a period of weeks by
sea, airfreight is a popular way to transport high-value items that the family will need with them from the moment their plane lands in their new destination (including clothing and electronics). BEST FOR: Low Volume, Fastest Shipment


Pickfords offers you flexibility

Depending on your needs, Pickfords will do everything possible to facilitate the timely handling of your valuables during your international removal.

For example, if you want your household goods to follow you by sea as soon as you have finished packing, Pickfords may transport a shipping container to your house for direct loading by our team. This minimises the handling of your goods, and expedites the removal process.

Alternatively, if you’re only moving a few items and won’t need them in the first couple of months after arriving at your destination, you may favour the budget-friendly ‘groupage’ option above. Where time is still a priority for low-volume shipments, an LCL shipment will be better.

Pickfords’ meticulously-constructed crating will keep your valuables safe during an international journey.

If this all seems complex, don’t worry: Pickfords will be happy to answer any questions you have, and we will support you from door-to-door of your removal! To contact your nearest branch, click here.


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