How to Rate International Moving Companies for Yourself

If you are planning to move overseas, you should keep in mind that not all international moving companies, or companies that claim to do overseas, moving are the same!

Sending your valued possessions across an ocean requires knowledge, experience, resources and a network of affiliated international moving companies. A search for international moving companies on the internet will yield hundreds of listings but choosing which ones to contact for a quote will require diligence on your part.

Choosing International Moving Companies Who Have Expertise

Look at moving companies who have their own specialized division just for international moving. Companies like Premiere Van Lines handle international relocations for their many corporate clients. In order to retain these clients, a dedicated international division is essential since overseas moving is quite different from any other type of moving. To serve these clients Premiere must have personnel who understand the intricacies of international moving.

Another tip is to choose International moving companies that are members of associations like CAM, whom can be trusted as they are required to abide by a strict code of ethics. These associations provide extensive training for their certified company members through regular conferences, workshops as well as networking opportunities with other major international moving companies around the world.

Getting and Comparing Quotes

When getting quotes, steer away from any company whom refuses to have a representative come to your home to discuss your specific requirements, and provide you with guidance and service options. If you contact a company who just wants to provide a price over the phone or online you will be taking a huge risk. There are many different elements to international moving and unless you have done several cross border moves in the past, you will need some advice from a seasoned professional.

Make sure that quotes are a true “apples to apples” comparison. Exactly the same services should be itemized on each written quote; be wary of a quote that is significantly lower than the other quotes. Depending on the size of your shipment almost all overseas moves are done by sea. Normally your choices are:

  • Exclusive use of a 20 or 40 foot container
  • Shared container
  • By air

Once you have obtained your quotes check to see:

  • Is the shipment method the same?
  • Do you have exclusive use of a container or are your goods consolidated with other shipments?
  • Have terminal and port handling charges been included?
  • Is packing and unpacking included?
  • Is customs clearance included?
  • Who will be providing service at destination?

You should be concerned if the moving company tries to tell you that you don’t need a destination agent and that you can take care of customs clearance on your own. This is a red flag that tells you they do not have a network of qualified international contacts to draw on. As well, it usually means that they don’t have any real expertise when it comes to customs regulations and documentation. If there is a problem with customs, then it will be your problem!

Timing Arrival to Destination

Moving goods by ship takes time. It’s subject to shipping company schedules, weather conditions, availability of unionized longshoremen and other port personnel, not to mention weather related issues that can appear without notice. Depending on the destination expect transportation to take a month to several months. If one company estimates a much shorter time frame than their competitors be sure to quiz them on how they arrived at this schedule.


Reputable international moving companies will always discuss purchasing adequate marine cargo insurance. No matter how experienced your moving company is, international moving by sea presents challenges outside their control. Remember that the shipping containers will be loaded on the vessel by crane and it is not unheard of that containers are dropped by accident. This is why buying proper insurance coverage is so important.

Choose Wisely

As you can see choosing the right international moving company is every bit as important as making the decision to move to a new country.

If you are planning your international move, contact Premiere Van Lines for more information today. Call 1-877-671-6683 or find Premiere Van Lines Branch closest to you.

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The crew was courteous, displayed patience and very obliging.  It was a pleasure doing business with Premiere!

Bill from Mississauga

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