Ok, we went to this website, got a number of estimates from the recommended companies and some of the less reliable ones.
Prices for our 2.5 person household move ranged from $8k to $12k, we went with Rainier and negotiated them to just below $10k.
Cesar is our contact at Rainier, the local packing and loading was done by Sullivan Moving and Storage in Vista, CA. In Germany, Spedition Uwe Haack in Bremerhaven will handle our shipment.
We packed about a 110boxes ourselves, while sorting and selling our stuff, the movers packaged the remaining items plus some furniture and loaded our vehicle into the 40ft container.
Everything went pretty smooth on the sending end, the crew took only half the time they estimated to pack and load. Loading and tieing the vehicle at Sullivans Warehouse was a bid of an act, they did not seem to have done this that many times before, though it looked ok in the end.
They seemed to be miffed about us being present all the way until the container was closed and sealed for customs.
* Sailing schedule
Initially, the container could have sailed on 10/03 from Long Beach to arrive in Bremerhaven on 10/28. We are not in a hurry since we are still looking for a place to stay (hard to travel back and forth with a baby) and so we were happy to miss the initial boat.
Now, our sailing schedule is 10/10 from Long Beach to arrive in Bremerhaven on 11/03.
In case we want to delay our shipment by another week, it would cost $250 plus an unknown amount of dock fees
* Surprises so far
Price went up ! (surprising, eh)
Well, because the weight was estimated to be 7500lb and 220pcs but turned out to be 11700lb and 300pcs according to Sullivan, they upped their price from $10k to $11300 .
The receiving side in Germany did not change their price, the shipping co afaik should not charge more either, so it's basically Sullivan charging more for the additional work they claim.
In fact, it took them about half the time estimated to pack and load, and we had always had 8000lb during our previous moves.
Kind of disappointing, but so far, so good - we requested another weighing to confirm.
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