UAE Cost of international moving

The REAL cost of moving

In Tips by Steven Kane

International Moving and shipping costs comprise of many components, which generally fall into five categories. Moving companies do not always make this clear. Since this can significantly affect the overall moving cost it is advisable to identify this early in the process before you commit to one mover or another. The golden rule is get everything in writing.

1. ‘Hidden charges’ at origin

The moving business is ultra competitive. Salespeople and surveyors are highly incentivised to secure your move. It is important to discuss all aspects of the move at origin, but critically you need to ensure the quotation you receive reflects this. Failure to do this may result in additional charges.

Examples of services which should be included in the quotation (if applicable)

  • Crating charges (wood)
  • Stair access
  • Shuttling charges
  • Parking fees
  • External hoists/lifts
  • Third party / ie. handyman

Note: above charges may also be applicable at destination.

2. Generic moving costs

This should include, dismantling of basic items, professional packing and protection, loading into container, road haulage, port charges, international freight, clearance through customs, delivery to your new residence, unpacking and set up of basic furniture. If you goods require storage, it is likely high warehouse handling charges will be applied so ensure this is included.

3. Insurance charges

The first thing to say is insurance charges will not be included in the quoted price, unless it explicitly specified in your written quotation, so you need to budget for this as the costs can become substantial. Moving companies and air/sea freight carriers provide a very basic liability insurance but this is little more than a token gesture. A tailored, comprehensive transit cover is essential. Moving companies can arrange this for you with premiums ranging between 2 – 4% (applied to the declared value of your items). You may find it more cost effective to deal direct with an insurance company who are likely to offer you a better deal for an identical cover. Make sure you are familiar with the terms and conditions, any exclusions which may apply and also the claiming process in case you face any damage, loss etc.

4. Import duty

Increasingly, an individual repatriating or possessing documents to legally migrate to a country is likely to avoid paying import duty for a one time import of used personal effects and household goods.

There are exceptions however with certain countries applying VAT or another form of tax. In a few isolated cases certain countries will impose duty and taxes on all items. Many South American, African and Asian countries impose high charges, especially on electronic.

Whilst unlikely to provide any concrete guarantees, your moving company should be able to provide some accurate guidelines.

5. ‘Hidden charges’ at destination

If you know the address you are moving to, provide this to the mover and make sure any additional charges are included in your quotation. Street address, and post/zip codes can be useful. Access is extremely important so be candid and transparent about this.
If you are not sure of your new address, (which is not uncommon), bear in mind the following charges may be applied.

  • De-Crating charges
  • Stair access
  • Shuttling charges
  • Parking fees (very common especially in cities
  • External hoists/lifts
  • Third party / ie. handyman
  • Port Storage / Demurrage

Key questions to address/ask..

a). How likely are demurrage / port storage charges at destination under normal circumstances? ie. assuming no strikes or delays/bad weather etc.

b). How comprehensive is the re-assembly? (Most moving companies may only re-assemble very basic items even if they dismantled them at origin).

c). How close can the container / delivery vehicle maneuver in relation to your residence? (It is highly likely additional charges will apply).