FAQs : General Questions About Our Shipping Services

 

Please take some time to review, this will familiarize you with our services and answer several questions pertaining to the overseas shipping process.

It would be more accurate to say that a moving company is “registered.” For example, Universal Relocations has been issued a Certificate of Authority by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to move household goods from United States. And we are proud member of FIDI, International association of movers (IAM), IPATA, AMSA.

A Pre-Move Survey is needed to determine the approximate cost of a move and the amount of space the goods will occupy. Survey can be organized either on Skype or setting up visual pre move survey at your residence. We can provide a Pre-Move Survey of the household goods to be transported and there is no charge for this service. Based on the survey we will compute the approximate cost and provide a written Estimate/Order for Service. An accurate estimate cannot be calculated without a visual survey of the goods to be moved. Keep in mind that estimates (household goods surveys) are only guidelines.

Yes, we do provide the Packing, all household goods and personal effects are carefully wrapped and packed into specially designed cartons. Each piece of furniture is wrapped in protective materials. Then, depending on the overall size of the shipment, it is loaded into large wooden crates or steel sea containers. The sea containers are loaded onto a container ship (vessel) and sent to the destination port, where it is off-loaded and cleared through customs. Once customs cleared we deliver the shipment to the  destination residence of the customer, provide unloading, unwrap and set up the furniture, unpack the cartons and remove the debris.

Professional Packing Tips from Experts in International Moving:

Please find below packing tips that will be very much useful to you. Feel free to call or email if you have any questions at all.


Packing Materials:

We do not recommend Home Depot boxes for international shipping. We can supply you with specially made cartons, for everything from mattresses to clothing and mirrors. The added protection of mover-provided cartons may avoid damage that results from the use of poor-quality packing materials. Your alternative is to collect boxes discarded by your grocery or liquor store. Save old newspapers for use in packing, but remember that ink may rub off and stain clothing or other items.  *WARNING: Insect eggs and insects such as roaches can travel in food boxes.

Keep this in mind when getting boxes from food stores. Here’s a list packing supplies that will come in handy:

  • Plastic bags and labels for easy identification. • Foam peanuts, Styrofoam pellets or “popcorn.” • Tissue or craft paper for delicate packing jobs. • Corrugated paper rolls for figurines and fragile items. • Gummed tape (1 1/2 to 2 inches wide) and/or strong twine for sealing cartons. • Markers and labels for identifying contents of cartons. • Notebook and pencil for carton identification log. • Scissors and/or sharp knife.

Packing Pointers:

Before actually packing-up, you need to have a game plan. For example:

Pack one room at a time. This will help you when it comes time to unpack. Pack a couple of cartons a day, starting well ahead of the move. Mark all boxes, designating room and box number. Make a carton identification log to show the number of boxes packed per room, and the total number of cartons packed. It’s a good idea to leave space in your log for a special comments section to note carton conditions or location of high value goods. Notify your mover of any high value items. Be sure to have plenty of “filling” material available. Be sure that the bottoms of all cartons are secured and will hold the weight of the contents. Packing tape or gummed tape is better than masking tape. Pack heavier items toward the bottom of the box and lighter items toward the top. Try to keep a per-box weight of 50 pounds or less; it makes moving a lot easier. A general rule to remember on carton size — the heavier the item, the smaller the carton.


Packing Dishware:

Select a medium-sized carton (or mover provided dish pack) and line the bottom of the carton with crumpled packing paper. With packing paper stacked neatly in place on a worktable, center one plate on the paper. Grasp a corner on several sheets of packing paper and pull the paper over the plate until sheets completely cover the plate. Stack a second plate on and, moving clockwise, grasp a second corner and pull sheets over the second plate. Stack a third plate. Grasp remaining two corners, folding two sheets of each corner (one at a time) over the plate. Turn your wrapped stack of plates upside down onto your packing paper. Re-wrap the entire bundle: start with one corner of packing paper and pull two sheets over the bundle, cover bundle with next corner, then the third corner; and finally, the fourth. Seal the bundle with packing tape. Place the bundle of dish-ware in a medium-size box so that the plates are standing on edge. Use this process on all saucers, bread and butter dishes, and other dishware. When packing smaller dishes, you may choose to stack in greater quantity.


Packing Cups:

With packing paper in place on the worktable, position one cup six to eight inches from one of the corners. Now pull the near corner of the paper up and over the cup. Nest a second cup directly on top, with handle to left (second cup should “nest” itself in packing paper folded over the bottom cups). Pull the two side corners up and over, one at a time, and tuck corners inside the top cup. Hold the bottom and top cup in position and roll cups to the remaining corner. Fragile mixing bowls may be rolled in the same manner. Delicate cups, like china, should be wrapped one at a time. Antique glass or china should be stuffed with crumpled tissue and wrapped one at a time.


Packing Glasses and Stemware:

Stuff glasses and stemware with crumpled tissue or packing paper before wrapping.  Lay on the corner of packing paper and roll it one or two full rotations (depending on size); pull sides of packing paper up and over glass/stemware and continue rolling to the far corner. Corrugated paper rolls or cellular boxes may be used for added protection.  Place glasses and stemware toward the top of your box. Heavier items (dish-ware, pitchers, etc.) should be placed toward the bottom of the box.

Delicate glassware and stemware should be placed in an upright position, not on its side.

No matter what you’re packing, you should use crumpled packing paper in between each layer to assure a snug fit wherever there’s a gap. All boxes with “fragile” items should be marked accordingly.

Specialized Packing Tips: The list of individual household items is endless. Most can be packed by following our packing pointers. Here are some additional packing tips for major items. If you want a more comprehensive list of how to pack special items, drop us a line.


Bureau Drawers:

Don’t overload. Too heavy a load can cause damage. Remove firearms and any items that might break or leak. Firearms, along with serial numbers, must be registered with your van line representative before the move.


Canned Goods and Other Non-Frozen Food:

Pack upright with no more than 24-30 cans per carton. Don’t attempt to move perishables. Wrap glass containers and boxed foods individually and pack in small cartons.


Frozen Foods and Plants:

Because of the delicate and perishable nature of these items, your mover is prohibited from accepting these packed items when your shipment is being transported more than 150 miles and/or delivery will not be accomplished within twenty four (24) hours from the time of loading. Frozen food shipped within these guidelines must be packed in a freezer which at time of loading is at normal deep-freeze temperature.


Clocks:

Remove or secure pendulum in large clocks. Grandfather clocks should be prepared for moving by expert servicemen.


Drapes and Curtains:

Hang drapes over crossbars in wardrobe cartons, or pack folded in clean cartons. Remove curtains from rods, fold and pack in cartons or bureau drawers.


Flammables and Combustibles:

Flammable liquids and aerosol cans must not be packed. Changes in temperature and pressure can cause them to leak, or even explode. For your own protection, you should know that if you pack these items and they cause damage to your shipment or others, you, not your mover, may be held liable.


Lamps and Lampshades:

Remove bulbs, harps and shades. Roll up cord. Pack lamps with bedding or wrap separately and place upright in clean, tissue-lined carton. Wrap harp and finial (decorative knob) with packing paper and tape to inside wall of carton that contains shade. Wrap shades in tissue, not newspaper. Place upright in large, tissue lined cartons.


Medicines:

Seal caps with masking tape. Wrap and pack upright in small cartons. If needed during travel, carry with you.


Mirrors, Paintings and Pictures:

Tell your agent about valuable paintings for special care. Wrap small mirrors, pictures, paintings, and frames and place on edge in cartons. Place large pictures and paintings on edge in heavy cardboard containers. Large wall or dresser mirrors will be taken down by the movers and placed in special cartons. For added safety, place tape diagonally across mirror to protect better against damage. Do not place newspaper directly against paintings.


Personal Computers and Video Recorders:

Pack valuable electronic equipment in original cartons when available. Otherwise, use strong, corrugated cartons and place protective padding on the bottom of the carton. Wrap an old blanket or protective pad around the item and place it in its carton. Place additional padding between the carton and the computer or video recorder. Wrap cords separately, label to identify usage and place in a plastic bag away from delicate surfaces. Non-detachable cords should also be wrapped. Place cords between the padded computer or video recorder and the carton. Be sure your personal computer is “parked” and ready for transport.


Silverware:

Wrap each piece in cloth or low sulfur content paper to prevent tarnishing. Use an old blanket or moving pad as a wrap to prevent scratching the silverware chest.


Tools:

Drain fuel from power tools (do not ship Flammables under any circumstances). Pack tools in small, strong cartons. Wrap separately if valuable.


Waterbed Mattresses:

Drain all water from the waterbed and, grasping internal baffle systems with external vinyl, fold mattress 20 inches at a time. Adjust folds to avoid making creases across individual baffles. Consult your owner’s manual for special instructions concerning the care and transportation of your mattress. Do not place your mattress in a carton with sharp or pointed objects.


Cars and Motorcycles:

Cars and motorcycles shipped on the moving van should be drained nearly empty of fuel. Motorcycle batteries should be disconnected. Automobile antifreeze should be ample to protect against severe cold in winter.


Barbecue Grills and Propane Tanks:

Wrap grates and briquettes separately in a newspaper (or place all briquettes into a grocery bag) and place parts in carton. Pad carton with paper to reduce movement of contents. Propane tanks must be drained before the move. Consult your local gas grill distributor for the safest method.

The Price is based mainly on the volume of the shipment. Our invoice will be based on actual costs of Packing, packing supplies, Labour, Pickup, Palletizing, loading, shipping, clearing and delivering the shipment. There are ways to determine an estimated cost in advance. On small shipments we can determine estimated cost by analyzing the list of items to be packed and shipped. The more details from the customer, we can be more precise and provide an accurate or closer to the accurate estimate. On larger shipments we will perform a free pre-move survey of the shipment to determine the shipping requirements and the size of the shipment. We can provide flexible pricing and shipping options based on the budget and timing requirements of the customers.

Standard Pallet Dims: 40”x48”x5” Maximum Pallet Height: 101” Large Box Dims: 18”x18”24” Medium Box Dims: 18”x18”x18” Small Box Dims: 12”x12”x18”

The Basics:

  1. If shipping large or medium boxes, ship in multiples of 4 for maximum space utilization. Different size boxes can increase the amount of unusable space.
  2. Each layer can have 4 large or medium boxes. This leaves unusable space of 4” on the short side and 12” on the long side of the pallet. If you are shipping small boxes, then each layer can have 12 boxes. It leaves 4” on the short side with the long side fully utilized.
  3. There can be max 4 layers of large boxes and max 5 layers of medium boxes in a pallet.
  4. Remember that the wooden pallet volume is 6 CFT (40”x48”x5”).
  5. For large boxes, each layer of 4 boxes will be 27 CFT (40”x48”x24”).
  6. For medium boxes, each layer of 4 boxes will be 20 CFT (40”x48”18”).
  7. For small boxes, each layer of 12 boxes will be 20 CFT (40”x48”x18”).
  8. Heavier boxes are always placed at the bottom and lighter boxes on top.
  9. Calculate the cargo volume by multiplying the number of layers by the volume of each layer (depending upon whether you are shipping large or medium boxes).
  10. Add the pallet volume to your total from #8 above. This is your palletized volume. Our actual measurements should be within 10% of this estimate.

Example: 8 Large Boxes measure 60 CFT after palletizing (2 Layers) — palletizing overhead is 40%.

Yes, it is very simple and it will not take more than 10 minutes to prepare. We require the following documents which is Mandatory:

  1. Your Photo Page Passport copy – if you are holding a U.S. Passport we require a Photo Page copy of your OCI card
  2. Shipper’s Profile – Universal would provide you the document
  3. Household Goods Packing certificate – Universal would provide you the document
  4. Packing List – All PBO (PACKED BY OWNER) shipments, shipper must prepare the packing list in the specified inventory which would be provided by Universal packed by Universal shipments – Packing list would be prepared by our crew on the schedule date of packing and pickup
  5. Insurance value inventory for Total Loss Insurance & All Risk insurance cover – it would be provided by Universal as per the requirement of the underwriter.

There are as many answers as there are destinations, but generally FCL shipments from one end of the globe to the other can arrive in 6-8 weeks. LCL shipments transit time would be 75-90 days and can stretch up to 120 days. Air shipments can be cleared and delivered at the destination residence between 10-14 days. There are various levels of service, allowing for faster or slower transit times. Even though “Mother Nature” often has a dramatic affect on schedules, however we would be flexible and work very closely with the customers and provide information on sailing or track the shipment and provide closer to the accurate arrival of their shipment to the destination port.

Due to innovations and advancements in the transportation industry, shipping internationally is nearly as safe as shipping domestic. There are some additional hazards to which an international shipment can be exposed, starting with the ocean. Some countries are known for heat and humidity and some have security concerns. Our 16 years of experience has taught us practical lessons on how to deal with each of these, thus reducing them to procedures as common as shipping locally.

Automobiles can be shipped to any country that allows import. Many of the developed countries make import easy and inexpensive. Some countries discourage import by assigning high taxes and duties. You will need to provide your original title, as well as the year, make, model, colour and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle.

The vehicle should have been in the shipper’s name for a minimum period of one year. Moreover if the vehicle is a left hand drive then it would be allowed to be imported only in countries which already has a left hand drive in place and vice versa. Eg. Cars from the USA can be imported in to Dubai whereas it cannot be imported in to India, but cars from UK can be imported in to India.

Absolutely. You can ship your pets to any country. However there are certain rules and regulations to be followed and adhered to as per individual country requirements. When there is an enquiry please ask the customer to provide information on Pet, such as dimensions, weight & age and forward the details to imports@universalrelocations.com immediately to enable the concern to respond to the customer immediately.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS ON DUTIES:

Customs duty varies from country to country. We can log in to our website and procure information on customs regulations of every country and provide the information manual to the customers.

Customs officials exist to protect the laws and rules of their country and to collect duties and taxes in connection with their laws. Anyone planning a visit to a foreign country is personally responsible to honour the laws of the country to which he/she is travelling. Official information can be obtained by contacting the Consulate or Embassy of the destination country. We can provide and give a thorough guidance based on our practical experience gained from our daily involvement.

As far as to the shipments pertaining to India, we can assist the customers and provide information in regard with TR (Transfer residence) duty concessions/exemption and clearance, The below link of Govt. of India – Customs regulations official site, in which they have provided the information in detail and it would help you and the customer to understand the customs clearance process, regulations and duties.

http://www.cbec.gov.in/customs/cs-act/formatted-htmls/bgge-rules1998-ason-aug13.htm

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Personal effects such as used clothes, shoes, books, bedding, blanket, etc are allowed to be imported free of duty to any passenger whether the same is imported along with the passenger or as unaccompanied baggage shipment. Other articles are dutiable if they exceed the duty free allowances.

Any person who has lived abroad for more than two years is eligible for Transfer of Residence concessions. However, certain conditions apply. In the last two years, such person must not have visited India for more than six months. Goods must also be shipped out within a month after of the arrival of the passenger into India or one month prior to arrival into India.

Yes, even a housewife can claim Transfer of Residence Concessions if she fulfills the other eligibility criteria.

A foreign national has the same duty concessions available as to a returning Non resident Indian. If the FN is coming to India on employment, his household goods will be cleared free of customs duty. However items contained in Annexure I & II will not be cleared free of duty.

Annexure I:

  1. Fire Arms.
  2. Cartridges of firearms exceeding 50
  3. Cigarettes exceeding 200 or cigars exceeding 50 or tobacco exceeding 250 grams.
  4. Alcoholic liquor (and wines) in excess of 1 lt.
  5. Gold or Silver, in any forms other than ornaments.

Annexure II:

  1. Color Television/Monochrome Television.
  2. Video Cassette Recorder / Video Cassette Player /Video Television Receiver.
  3. Washing machine.
  4. Electrical/liquefied Petroleum Gas Cooking Range (other than electrical/Liquefied Petroleum Gas stoves with not more than two burners and without any extra attachment).
  5. Dish washer.
  6. Music System.
  7. Personal Computer.
  8. Air Conditioner.
  9. Refrigerator.
  10. Deep Freezer.
  11. Microwave Oven.
  12. Video Camera or the combination or any such video camera with one or more of the following goods, namely:
    1. Television receiver.
    2. Sound recording or reproducing apparatus.
    3. Video reproducing apparatus.
  1. Word Processing machine.
  2. Fax machine.
  3. Vessels.
  4. Aircraft.
  5. Cinematographic films of 35 mm and above.
  6. Gold or Silver, in any form, other than ornaments.

Transfer of Residence concessions are available to a family as a whole and individual members of the same family cannot claim separate concessions. Only one member of the family can claim such concession.

Earlier a person claiming Transfer of Residence concessions had to stay in India for a minimum period of one year. However, with the new Baggage Rules in 1998, such condition is not put on such persons.

If claiming transfer of residence concessions, no duty is to be paid on old and used personal effects and household goods except on those items that appear in the Annexure II.

Most major electronic appliances figure in the Annexure II of Baggage Rules, 1998 and have been specifically mentioned that these items cannot be cleared free of duty. If such items are used, allowance for depreciation can be claimed from the customs authorities.

No. The concessional rate of duty is applicable on only one item. In case you bring two televisions or two air conditioners etc., you have to pay the concessional rate of duty (35.2%)

Q. Is there any value limit to the amount of goods that can be imported on a TR?

A. For items appearing in the Annexure II, you are allowed to import goods up to a limit of Rs. 150,000/- (US $ 3500/-) only.

If your goods exceed this limit, then you will have to pay the normal rate of duty on the excess evaluation. The aggregate value of all goods imported should not exceed this limit if you want to pay only the concessional rate of duty.

The importers original passport(s), original bill of lading (duly endorsed on reverse), original delivery order (duly endorsed on reverse), detailed packing list showing make, model number, quantity, year of purchase and value of each items, purchase receipts for the major items are required for clearing a shipment through customs.

Yes, an importer’s presence is generally required during customs clearance to answer any questions that the customs authorities may have regarding the ownership or usage of a particular item being imported. Also, the customs requires the importer to sign certain forms in the presence of the customs officer and they would like to examine the goods only in the presence of the importer.

Yes, under exceptional cases, the goods may be cleared without your personal presence. If a power of attorney is given to your friend, relative etc. and certain customs forms are duly notarized or attested by a Gazetted officer of the Customs or Central Excise dept. However, the permission depends on Custom authorities.

After arrival at any Indian port, goods are generally de-stuffed from the container (LCL shipments) and then moved to the customs warehouse for the clearance. FCL containers are directly placed outside the customs warehouse and have to be de-stuffed here, or direct delivery can be obtained from the container or even the loaded container can be taken to the residence for delivery (only some cities/ports).

Custom’s officials are normally supposed to open and inspect each package. However sometimes, they open 10%-20% of packages at random if a proper packing list (package wise and prepared by professional packing & moving companies) and if they find things as per the declaration and packing list, they may not open everything.

All over the world, ports are noted for pilferage, rough handling of goods and theft. Indian ports are equally susceptible. Therefore, we recommend that you crate the goods or use lift vans where possible. Hence, we recommend that all high value goods and electronic items should be crated or loaded in lift vans.

Although we always suggest usage of lift vans, sometimes it may not be practicable or economical to do so. In certain cases loose loading of cartons, furniture in the container is also an acceptable method of loading and shipping. We recommend that all high value goods and electronic items should be crated or loaded in lift vans.

Mark each package with your name and number all packages separately and serially. For example, if you have 6 chairs, number all of them as 6 chairs, not 1 package.

Generally the security in the ports in India is very high and not many shipments undergo pilferage or theft. However, chances are always there that the shipment may be pilfered or cartons may be mixed up with other shipments. Hence, we recommend that all high value goods and electronic items should be crated or loaded in lift vans.

Indian law say that goods must be cleared within 30 days of landing otherwise they become liable for confiscation. However, this rule is not at all strictly enforced for personal effects and household goods shipments. If your goods remain in the shipping container, then very heavy charges apply. However in case of LCL shipments, once the goods are removed or de-stuffed from the shipping container, and kept in the port then only port demurrage is levied. We can offer our secure and safe warehouse for storage of your goods after clearance if you are not ready to accept delivery of your goods immediately after clearance. Many ports (Mumbai, New Delhi etc.) have a very nominal demurrage charge but certain ports have a very heavy demurrage charge (Chennai, Kolkata).

In most ports, the container is treated as a bonded good and is allowed into the country without payment of customs duty. This means that it cannot leave the port /Customs area. General practice is to de-stuff the goods from the container and deliver them in trucks or vans. However, certain provisions do exist where containers can be taken out to the residence for delivery (by filing bank guarantees with shipping lines, paying for insurance of the container etc.).

Generally all shipments have to be cleared at the first port of arrival unless arrangements are made to send them to an inland destination under customs bond. Bonding involves filing of bank guarantees, personal bonds etc with customs. At the inland destination, customs clearance has to be done before the goods can be delivered to the residence. Therefore, it is much easier to clear the goods at the first port itself.

ICD – Inland Container Depots are dry ports or land stations where shipments are cleared. If you have a FCL container (sole use), you may book it with the shipping company to take it directly to the ICD for customs clearance. However LCL shipments may not go to the ICD but can be sent under CUSTOMS BOND (refer above) to the ICD for clearance.

FCL containers are placed at the customs warehouse within 2-5 days after the arrival of the ship. Add another 2-3 days for de-stuffing, customs clearance and delivery procedures. LCL shipments generally take much longer – 10 to 15 days for placement of the container and de-stuffing and 2-3 days for moving to customs warehouse and 2 days for clearance and delivery formalities.

Generally, professionally packed shipments always move on a Door-to-Door basis. It is recommended that shipment be done in this way. However, if you have arrangements at the destination port with a moving company or a customs broker to arrange for destination service, you can book your shipment up to the port only.

Generally, it is quite easy to find reliable and reputed agents. Please check for credentials and reputations before entrusting your job to any company. Memberships To international organizations, client lists, financial stability, infrastructure, number of years in operation, customs house agents license from the Government of India etc. are few handy ways to judge the reliability of a company and its reputation.

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Universal Relocations was established in 1996. In the very early years, we concentrated on developing our international moving business. We moved Corporate Expatriates and Diplomats from a wide range of business sectors. And we’re still working with many of those clients today.

USA : 1-888-323-7356
INDIA : 1-800-103-7356

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