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Shipping Household Goods (HHG) & Personal Effects (PE) Overseas

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Shipping Your Household Goods (HHG) & Personal Effects (PE) Overseas:

When shipping your HHG & PE overseas, all you have to do is to call us to arrange with International Cargo/Export Shipping Co. for a free estimate at your home or office.   One of our experienced packers will come and do an inventory of all the goods, and take measurements, in order to determine the volume of your shipment.   Once the volume of your shipment is determined, we'll be able to tell you what size container you need.   If you don't have enough volume for a full container, we can quote you on an LCL (less than container load) basis, in which case we will ship your cargo in one of our own consolidated containers to your destination.   If you have enough cargo to fill your own container, we will place the container at your house, and come on the appointed day to pack, wrap and load your HHG & PE for export.   If you have autos to ship, depending on the overall nature of your shipment, we can load your autos first, build a deck above the cars in order to maximize the container space for your goods, and build a bulk head barrier to separate your cars from the HHG & PE in the rest of the container, thus preventing any damage to your cars.

Minimizing Your Shipping Costs: You can minimize the cost of shipping your household and personal effects considerably, by doing as much of the packing, wrapping and loading of your own container as possible.    In this case, we will simply place the appropriate container for you at your residence.    However, since autos have to be loaded by experienced professionals, and since the container doors are almost five feet off the ground, we can either load your auto(s) before we bring your container to your house, or after you load your goods; you just need to make sure to leave enough space for same.

If you would like to do an inventory of your goods yourself, simply call us at our toll-free number, or email us, and we will fax or email you our INVENTORY FORM for an easy way to list all of your goods to be shipped, and to calculate the volume you have to ship.

If you are thinking about packing and wrapping your goods yourself, all you have to do is call us, and we'll bring all the packing materials you will need to do your own wrapping and packing, and charge you only for what you use; or you can go to the nearest U-HAUL, self-storage depot, or packing supplies/box shop, and buy the packing boxes, boxing tape, rope to tie your goods down securely in the container (ships can plunge as many as 20 or 30 feet in rough seas!), bubble wrap, cardboard and shrink wrap.   These materials, plus a good supply of old newspapers, are needed in order to do an adequate job of packing and wrapping your goods for export.   Please note that anything you want to protect should be packed and wrapped adequately, so as to prevent damage during transport.   With a dose of good common sense, and two to four healthy friends, you should be able to pack, wrap and load your household goods in a 40' container in one to two days, depending on the total volume and nature of your goods.

Arranging for International Cargo to do all of Your Packing & Wrapping, as well as the Loading of Your Container: If for any reason you don't find it practical to do your own packing and wrapping, and/or don't have time to load your own container, you can arrange for our professional export packing crew do all of your
household goods packing, wrapping, and the loading of your container for you at your residence.

What Size Container Will I Need to Ship my Goods: Although we can do everything for you, starting from the initial inventory and volume estimate, to the final delivery inside your new home overseas, you may want to understand how we calculate volume, since you can only put so much into an ocean going container.

There are three basic types of containers for household goods and personal effects (HHG & PE) - 20' standard containers, 40' standard containers, and 40' high cube containers (a foot taller than the standard).   The most commonly used container for HHG & PE is the 40' high cube ocean going container.   It has an approximate volume capacity of 2683 cubic feet (approx.   75 cubic meters).   Its internal dimensions are 39 ½ feet long, by 7 feet 8 inches wide, by 8 feet 9 inches high.   However, for practical purposes, shippers can usually utilize only up to 85 percent of this volume, depending on the configuration of the load and the nature of the cargo.   For household goods, a general rule of thumb is that shippers can utilize approximately 75 percent of the volume in a container (including one automobile), or up to 85 percent for shipments containing only household goods and personal effects.

Consequently, 85 percent of a 40' high cube container is equal to approximately 2683 x .85 = 2280 cubic feet (approx. 63 cubic meters).   Likewise, a 20' container has a volume capacity of 1,148 cubic feet (232 inches x 92 inches wide x 93 inches high - 20' containers only come in this height).   At 85 percent maximum utilization, shipper will be able to ship approximately 975 cubic feet (27.63 cubic meters) of cargo in a 20' container.   Therefore, once you determine the volume of your goods to ship, you will know what size container you will need.

If you find out that you don't have enough cargo to fill a container, you can ship your goods with us on an LCL basis (less than container load) in one of our consolidated containers.   Either way, you need to determine the volume of your shipment.   You can call us to come to your house to do an estimate for you, or you can request the HHG inventory form by calling or emailing us, and use same to make a complete inventory, with measurements, of your household goods and personal effects, and use the simple calculations shown below to determine the volume to ship; or fax us the completed inventory form and we will do the calculations for you.

Understanding Volume: Volume is simply the length multiplied by the width multiplied by the height (Click here for illustration).   Since 1 foot equals 12 inches, it follows that the volume of one cubic foot is 12 x 12 x 12 = 1728 cubic inches.   We normally take measurements in inches, but need to know the volume in cubic feet or cubic meters.   Therefore, after you've calculated the volume in inches, you can simply divide it by the number of cubic inches in one cubic foot, as shown above, and you will get the volume in cubic feet.   For example: A television measuring 30 inches x 30 inches x 24 inches will have a volume of 21,600 cubic inches.   To get cubic feet, you simply divide 21,600 by 1,728 and you get 12.5 cubic feet.

Now, since a meter is 39.37 inches long, it follows that a cubic meter has a volume of 39.37 inches x 39.37 inches x 39.37 inches, for a total of 61,023.378 cubic inches.   So, to get the cubic feet in a cubic meter, we simply divide the cubic inches by 1,728 (as we did in previous example above), and we get the cubic feet in a cubic meter.   Consequently, 61,023.378 cubic inches divided by 1728, gives us 35.314 cubic feet in a cubic meter.

In Brief:

To convert cubic inches to cubic feet -

     Divide cubic inches by 1728

To convert cubic feet to cubic meters -

     Divide cubic feet by 35.314

Now you know how to calculate volume (multiply length x width x height).   If measurements are taken in inches, you know how to get the volume in cubic feet or in cubic meters.   And since you know what volume of cargo will fit in a 20' standard or a 40' high cube container, you will easily know if your inventory of goods to ship will fit in one of these containers; or, if you don't have enough to fill a container, you'll know you can send it with us in one of our consolidated containers, as LCL cargo.

Shipping Your Goods as LCL: If you don't have enough goods of your own to ship your own 20' or 40' container, you can always ship your goods as LCL cargo with International Cargo.   We can pack and wrap your goods at your residence, and pick them up to bring to our export terminal, or you can pack and wrap and bring them to our export terminal yourself.

If you let us know the approximate number of pieces that you are going to have, we will make labels for you to apply, and then all you'll have to do, once you have the total count of the pieces, is simply to number the boxes with a marker, as shown in this link.

If we do the packing and wrapping for you, we will provide all the appropriate labels, and mark all of your pieces accordingly.

Either way you choose, all pieces (boxes, luggage, bundles, etc.) must be properly labeled and marked when delivering personal effects or LCL cargo for shipment (Click on this link for labeling guidelines & warehouse delivery instructions).

Please call our toll-free number, or send us an email, if you have any questions, and/or to arrange for an estimate.


We look forward to assisting you with all of your international shipping needs.

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