Understanding Your Move

By land, sea or air, over four oceans and seven continents, UniGroup Worldwide can move you anywhere. Your UniGroup Worldwide agent will guide you through every detail of your international relocation.

At the time your goods are loaded and again at delivery, you will sign an agreement known as an Order for Service. It will contain information needed for us to understand your needs, as well as terms and conditions under which your goods are moved.  An Order Number in the top right hand corner of your order for service will identify your move. You will need that number when seeking information about your move.

UniGroup Worldwide will make every effort to safely transport your belongings without damage. However, in the unlikely event of a claim, the valuation option you choose will determine the amount of compensation for loss or damage. On the Order for Service, you will choose the level of carrier liability in terms of dollars and cents per pound, per item/package. Later, you will be asked to complete paperwork on the protection selected. Read the terms and conditions of coverage carefully. Even the highest level of carrier liability is not adequate protection by itself. If you choose not to purchase a level of protection for your goods by determining a dollar amount for carrier liability, you will not be entitled to financial compensation for damage or loss.

Also to protect yourself financially, take pictures of your furniture and valuables as proof of ownership in the event of loss or damage. In addition, photograph anything that might need to be disassembled for transit so the destination crew will know how to reassemble the items.

Before the packers arrive at your home, make certain all of the appliances you plan to take have been cleaned and serviced. Be sure to check your owner's manuals for cleaning instructions. To prevent mold and mildew, major appliances that use water or produce moisture - such as refrigerators - will need time to dry thoroughly before they are packed. Please discuss shipments with large appliances with your move manager. Many large and small appliances moving to non-U.S. territories may not comply with voltage requirements.

You must have all mechanical and electrical equipment serviced prior to your move. Most washers, dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, stereos and grandfather clocks have components that must be secured by a trained technician. At your request, your UniGroup Worldwide agent will arrange for the necessary appliance and equipment servicing at an additional cost. Items not serviced will be noted on the inventory as "not serviced - loaded at owner's risk." If your appliances do not conform to voltage and cycle requirements in your new home, they may not function properly. This is not a problem due to transportation, but an issue of manufacturing.

When the packing team arrives at your home, take the team leader on a tour of the home ensuring that he or she understands what items will not be packed and those items requiring special care. Your personal belongings will be placed in appropriate cartons or containers. To protect your goods from damage, items will be individually wrapped in paper pads as needed. Made of shock-absorbing fiber, the paper pads are used exclusively for wrapping furniture for international shipping.

Once your shipment has been prepared for loading, it will be placed inside one or more containers. The type of containers selected will depend on the mode of transportation, the size of your shipment and your destination. Your shipment can be loaded into one or more of the following:

  • Steamship containers
  • Air containers
  • Lift vans

A lift van is a wooden or plywood container with skids. It is normally loaded and unloaded from a truck by a forklift. Lined with water-resistant paper and caulked to prevent leakage, lift vans might range in size from 185 to 210 cubic feet. The lift vans are then combined with other crated cargo into steel shipping containers for ocean transport. Large shipments are loaded directly into steel ocean containers.

To transport small shipments by air, the most common containers used are tri-wall boxes. Constructed of triple-layer, wax covered corrugated cardboard, the boxes range in size from five to 100 cubic feet. When sending a large shipment by air, goods normally are crated instead of boxed. The crates must comply with dimensional specifications to meet aircraft cargo requirements.

Your shipment will be forwarded via one or more modes of transportation: 

  • Motor freight carrier 
  • Railroad 
  • Steamship line 
  • Airline

After your shipment has been packed and loaded, it will be transported by truck or rail to the port of exit. Depending on the type of transportation selected, the container(s) will be loaded into a vessel or into an aircraft.

The type of transportation used, the distance to be covered, the time required to clear customs and the distance covered by alternate modes, will affect the transit time of your shipment. UniGroup Worldwide utilizes a computerized status management system to track shipments. As information is received during transit, the shipment's progress is updated.  You can receive periodic updates about your shipment by calling your agent. If you have not left your home country yet, the origin agent can help you. When you arrive at your new location, contact your destination agent. We also offer the opportunity for some shipments to be tracked on the Internet. Ask your move manager if your shipment qualifies.

To determine costs, a UniGroup Worldwide agent will survey your entire home. Be sure to show the agent everything to be moved, including any items in the garage, basement or attic. The estimate you receive will detail the charges for packing and transporting your household goods. 
Some services, however, will not be calculated into the estimate. Those not normally included are:

  • Extra pickups or deliveries
  • Servicing of electrical appliances
  • Additional valuation in case any item is lost or damaged in transit 
  • Access issues and location changes at destination

UniGroup Worldwide can arrange your relocation from point of origin to point of destination with one order for service.

In addition to the transportation of your personal property, you will want to plan for the following  relocation-related expenses:

  • Travel accommodations
  • Travel insurance 
  • Customs duties and/or taxes on your household goods 
  • Possible storage of your belongings at origin and/or destination 
  • Shipping your car, plus customs duties 
  • Automobile conversion to meet government standards 
  • Document fees for passport, visa and permits 
  • Inoculations and a physical examination 
  • Pre-move trip to find housing 
  • Temporary housing until a permanent residence is found or until your furnishings arrive 
  • Cross-cultural training in advance of your moveTuition costs if your children will be in a private school abroad or in a boarding school at home 
  • Medical care

Unless prior arrangements have been made, payment for your shipment must be received before the goods are moved to the port of exit. As soon as your shipment is prepared, you will be notified of the actual charges. Payment can be made by cashier's check, money order, cash or traveler's checks. A personal check will not be accepted. Corporate transferees will need a purchase order or letter of authorization from their company.

Payments to the destination agent and customs officials often are required to be in the currency of your new country. Any additional charges not included in your transportation cost - such as for extra deliveries,  storage, duties, taxes, parking permits and access related expenses - must be paid to the destination agent prior to delivery.

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