Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Shipping News

Costco Xiamen off Vancouver

So it turns out shipping a household full of stuff overseas is not as easy as expected.  Should have known it would not go off without a hitch.

As it stands right now we have about 12 boxes to have shipped, call it 1 cubic meter of stuff.  About enough to respectfully load a pallet similar in nature to the load recently moved by the Zero to Cruising gang as detailed on their blog.  Unfortunately it seems to be way more than the Windtraveler gang moved - and they have 3 kids...no excuses here, we likely over packed.

But volume is not really the issue...the issue is getting things nailed down.

So far I've looked into international movers and freight forwarders.  I've learned some stuff and have still got lots of questions.

Here's where we stand so far:

4 - Number of "International" Moving Companies contacted
3 - Number of said companies who promised to provide quotes to move a pallet full of boxes to Greece
0 - Number of actual quotes received to date

Some more numbers:
30+ - days to ship goods via cargo ship from Vancouver to Greece
9 - cost per cubic foot of goods shipped using freight forwarder

I've also learned that regardless of the fact that we're shipping well used household items and said household items are bound for a boat that is our home, but which is not resident in any country, we may be seen as importing these items to the EU.  Importing means we could be subject to duty and possibly Value Added Tax.  Really?  VAT?!?!  On used goods?

Anyway, on the advice of the friendly freight forwarder I contacted I have reached out to some customs agents to get specifics on what may be involved in this move and I am optimistic it will all work out, but a bit on edge waiting to get some clarity...

If anyone out there has any advice on how to proceed or what to expect, or a recommended customs broker in Brindisi, Italy or Thessaloniki, Greece I'd be happy to hear from you!

The adventure continues...


  1. I don't know if this is really helpful or not, but what about just bringing it with you on the plane? Extra bags are generally $100/piece, with a limit of 2/person, but there are 4 of you so I think you could have 8 oversize bags... that could be 800 lbs of stuff pretty easily?

    Just my two cents! Can't wait to see what you guys figure out :)

    1. We'll figure something out. I'm worried we have more than 800lbs worth of stuff. ;) Maybe we need to rethink this a bit though...and try out the bring it on the plane route.