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Old 27.01.2012, 10:45
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How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

If you are moving an entire house worth of stuff to the US, how are the moving costs calculated? For example, is it by weight and/or by volume? Is there a standard measure - e.g., you have to pay for an entire container, or half a container, or is it smaller?

The reason I'm asking well in advance of having to move, is that I'd like to do some sort of cost-benefit analysis on our stuff. So, for example, if the costs are calculated by volume, I might get rid of some larger, less expensive stuff (like big IKEA couch), but if I have to buy a minimum part of a container, I might take it with me. I'm trying to get a sense, so I have plenty of time to sell or give away.
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Old 27.01.2012, 10:53
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

It's done by volume. You're basically paying for either a half or a full container. At least that's my experience.
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Old 27.01.2012, 12:01
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

thanks - does that mean you have to have at least half a container (i.e., you pay for half, even if you have less?) and, what is the volume of a shipping container, if you know (actually, can probably google, but in case anyone knows off the top of their head ...)
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Old 27.01.2012, 13:11
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Shipping containers are usually 40 feet long, not sure about volume. When we moved here, we pretty much filled up a 40 ft container...contents of a 4 bedroom house plus library. When we recently moved within Switzerland we had enough crap for a little more than 3 smallish moving trucks, but I think the terrace furniture and plants took up half a truck. I think those trucks are 25 cubic meters, but I might be wrong. it also depends if you have big weird-shaped crap or boxes. I say crp, but obviously I am very attached to my stuff as I keep moving it with me.
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Old 27.01.2012, 13:24
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

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thanks - does that mean you have to have at least half a container (i.e., you pay for half, even if you have less?) and, what is the volume of a shipping container, if you know (actually, can probably google, but in case anyone knows off the top of their head ...)
Yes, that's basically it. Ocean containers have a standard dimension

http://www.foreign-trade.com/reference/ocean.cfm
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Old 22.02.2012, 02:52
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

Do you guys know the cost of a shipping container? I think I would only need half a container. Don't wanna part with my books and clothes.
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Old 22.02.2012, 09:03
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

Depends on where you moving it to and from what port. You should just email a few shipping companies and get an estimate.
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Old 22.02.2012, 09:15
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

You can also get either a 20' container or a whole 40' container. It's a bit more expensive for sea crates here as they have to drive up to Rotterdam (or another port depending on where you're going) so that jacks up the price along with it just being part of the added feature of Switzerland itself.

Yes, dump Ikea stuff. It isn't worth what you paid for originally, much less adding on 12k chf to ship it in a crate overseas.

If, by dumping junk you don't have enough to fully fill or mostly fill a 20' crate, sometimes there are movers who will mix and match folks who just need a little space and piggy back them along with another move. However, I've not heard of this being done in a while and it may be another casualty of Homeland Security's Fun-O-Rama.

And, unfortunately, halving the volume doesn't halve the cost. It does take it down a bit though.
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Old 22.02.2012, 11:02
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

When we moved here we stuffed everything into the jeep and had it loaded into a cargo container in LA. It only cost about $2000 when all was said and done.. If you dont count roadtripping from Idaho to LA and CH to Rotterdam and back..... Still cheaper than a normal cargo crate for some reason and we got to keep our vehicle... Unfortunately the company we shipped with went out of business very shortly after they shipped our car.. We were lucky to get it shipped at all but they sent it to rotterdam instead of italy... I read on forums that some people couldnt get ahold of the company at all (like us) and there car was still in the warehouse.. There were hundreds of cars there, some close to $100k..
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Old 22.02.2012, 17:38
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

If you on;ly need half the container, they will seal ur half and fill the rest with other stuff.

I had 29m3 volume in a 20ft container and it cost 8950chf's from Switzerland to Florida.
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Old 22.02.2012, 17:48
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

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If you on;ly need half the container, they will seal ur half and fill the rest with other stuff.

I had 29m3 volume in a 20ft container and it cost 8950chf's from Switzerland to Florida.
My wife and I have about 15-20 moving boxes worth of personal belongings and what not that we are planning to ship to New Hampshire. Do you recommend we do the same thing? or is there a cheaper solution?
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Old 22.02.2012, 18:16
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

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My wife and I have about 15-20 moving boxes worth of personal belongings and what not that we are planning to ship to New Hampshire. Do you recommend we do the same thing? or is there a cheaper solution?
You may be able to get it put onto 1 or 2 pallets and sent that way somehow. I'm sure I have heard of people doing that. Will try and find out where I heard that.
BEst thing to do is start getting some quotes in and chat with those companies in the know.
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Old 22.02.2012, 22:50
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

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My wife and I have about 15-20 moving boxes worth of personal belongings and what not that we are planning to ship to New Hampshire. Do you recommend we do the same thing? or is there a cheaper solution?
Depending on how big or heavy they are, you can always just pay to take them on the flight with you.. Sounds crazy (is crazy) but we managed 14 pieces of PACKED to the max luggage with us (including a 3 month old baby and 2 dogs) on our flight from LA to Zurich. Its getting more and more expensive for extra luggage, but if you dont have furniture, its too expensive and time consuming (may take up to a year to arrive) to ship in a container.

Measure and weigh EVERYTHING and get as many quotes as you can, they vary greatly and theyre free.
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Old 05.09.2016, 19:20
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

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Shipping containers are usually 40 feet long, not sure about volume. When we moved here, we pretty much filled up a 40 ft container...contents of a 4 bedroom house plus library. When we recently moved within Switzerland we had enough crap for a little more than 3 smallish moving trucks, but I think the terrace furniture and plants took up half a truck. I think those trucks are 25 cubic meters, but I might be wrong. it also depends if you have big weird-shaped crap or boxes. I say crp, but obviously I am very attached to my stuff as I keep moving it with me.
Do you remember how big the volume was for your first move ("contents of a 4 bedroom house plus library")?

And can you recommend a moving company?

Thanks heaps!
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Old 20.11.2016, 12:04
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

Hi banadol,

I see you are replying to a really old thread, but with questions I've had recently too. (We are heading back to the US soon.)

We are getting rid of about half our furniture in a 4 room flat and some of our stuff. We have been told we'll need a 20' container.

We got responses from several of the large moving companies and two freight forwarders. The latter got great recommendations from multiple people and we found they gave lower quotes (in some cases by 10k). Still they arrange the packing on each side, so it similar to a typical international moving company in that way. PM me if you want more information on this in the next few weeks. Otherwise, when we're there I will post a follow-up.

And, happy moving!
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Old 21.11.2016, 10:05
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

Hi pel

Thanks for that. We are moving this week so for us a bit late in the game but sure will be useful to others. Will also let you know how it went.

Happy moving to you too!
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Old 01.05.2017, 11:09
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

We are currently going through the process of getting quotes for a move to the US. I've been told that a 20 ft. container is about 30 cubic meters. Anything above goes to a 40 ft.
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Old 10.05.2017, 12:36
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Re: How are moving costs calculated - move to US?

Just to update this string, for others searching, like me:

Best/most thorough and updated EF string on this is "Moving to USA, shipping quotes" string, started by Holly210 in 2014 but updated info through 2016 and a new inquiry just this month (May 2017). Check it out for many useful details, including prices. I plan to update myself there once I have more info.

Not sure how to link properly within EF, but here it is:
https://www.englishforum.ch/leaving-...-quotes-3.html

As to the OP's question, quick answer before you head to above mentioned string:
- 20-foot or "half size" container contains about 30 cubic meters, the movers say.
- 40-foot holds double. Dimension refers to length of the container.
- Some companies rent space in a container. On other posts I've seen mentions of as little as 2 cubic meters. Not sure it that's available to USA, where packing rules are now more stringent than to other destinations, for security reasons. Also, it affects timing (adds time/uncertainty), as you are a bit more at mercy of moving co. making a match with someone who's got the right amount of space left in their container.
- Some EF folks just send the essentials by post, with varying experiences.
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