International Move Cost Per Volume or Weight?

Published: 15th April 2009
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There are several factors that can influence the cost of your international move. To be able to negotiate for the best rates from international movers, its best, you as the customer, understand the variables of cost per volume and cost per weight.

The quote for shipping household goods and personal effects from the USA overseas is calculated according to the volume of your shipment with a rate per Cubic Foot (CFT). The bigger the Volume of your shipment, meaning the more CFT you intend to ship, the higher will be your cost.

In addition, the Weight of your shipment may also affect your final cost. Your shipment will be weighed and its Density calculated to detrmine the cost. Density is defined as the Weight of your shipment in pounds (LBS) divided by the Volume of your shipment in CFT.

The higher the Density Limit your International Mover allows; the heavier the shipment your International Mover will accept, before charging you per Weight instead of per Volume.

Density Limits vary from one International Mover to another, usually from 5 LBS per CFT on the low side to 7 LBS per CFT on the high side.

If you ship normal household goods and personal effects, your shipment Density should be below 6 LBS per CFT.

If you decide to ship only your books and your private gym, including all the weights (a very bad idea), your shipment Density is going to exceed 7 LBS per CFT and your shipment cannot be considered normal household goods and personal effects.

You can ship all the contents of your home such as bed room suites, living room furniture, dining room set, clothing, kitchen wares and appliances like your refrigerator, stove (heavy items) etc... and you will average about 6 LBS per CFT or less.

The Density limit protects International Movers from losing money when executing moves consisting only of items which are far heavier than normal household goods and personal effects.

Your International Mover has to enforce the Density limit because his costs for some portions of the International Move are per weight and not per volume.

The cost of the Pick Up from your home in the USA are sometimes paid according to a US $ rate per 100 LBS and sometimes according to a US $ rate per CFT, depending on the International Mover or the Pick Up Agent (PUA) executing the pick up.

If your shipment is a Less than Container load (LCL) shipment, it has to be transported to the Consolidation Warehouse were it will join other LCL shipments and be loaded into one consolidation container.

The cost of Trucking LCL shipments are nearly always per weight and not per volume

If the trucker's weight report shows that the Density is higher than the Density Limit, an Equivalent Volume will be established and you will be charged according to this Equivalent Volume.

The Equivalent Volume in CFT is calculated by dividing the shipment's weight in LBS by the Density Limit.

The higher the Density Limit the lower the Equivalent Volume will be, and accordingly your additional charge will be less.

Most of the International Movers allow a Density Limit of 7 LBS per CFT.

Many of the Destination Agents (DSA) in your future country charge per weight, giving a US$ or local currency rate per 100 LBS.

Ocean Freight, the cost raised by the ship line and their agents, is the only charge which is always calculated by volume when shipping household goods and personal effects.

Certified International Movers

Over the years, IntlMOVE has built up relationships and partnered with a network of reputable Origin Agents, On-Land Transportation Professionals, other NVOCC, Ship Lines, Customs Brokers, Overseas Destination Agents and other Relocation Professionals

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