20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK + Southern Winds Review

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sunflowerly
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:38 pm
Location: San Francisco

20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK + Southern Winds Review

Postby sunflowerly » Mon May 23, 2011 8:55 pm

I am moving from San Francisco to the UK summer 2011. I have quotations from 3 companies (Sterling, Ranier, Southern Winds) based on in home surveys. For sole use 20' container with a few crates built for special breakable items, door-to-door service, full packing etc., all 3 companies quoted me similar prices and services (about $7000-7800, not including insurance). However, 2 companies said that I would not really save anything by consolidating. The third company quoted $4800 by consolidation. The company that thinks I can consolidate estimated 4000 lbs/570 cu ft. The other two estimated 4200 lbs/650 cu ft and 750 cu ft (no weight estimate by that last one - they also did the weakest home survey in my opinion). I chose these companies based on Movingscam.com recommendations. Anyone here have any insight into why one company thinks I can consolidate cheaply but the others don't? Should I get more estimates? Thanks!

JAHaddow
Posts: 506
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:50 pm
Location: Mesa, Arizona

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby JAHaddow » Mon May 23, 2011 10:20 pm

In my opinion, it you have 4000 lbs it is highly likely that you will use 4 liftvans for a total gross cubic feet of about 800 cf. You will pay for the total cubic feet. Liftvans used to ship LCL shipments are 87"x45"x87" with an average of 200 gross cf.

I would recommend that you do your own container. This will assure you of your costs not going up if the LCL goes more than estimated. The pricing is accurate that they have given. I came up with an estimated $7000 based on a 30 to 100 mile delivery from the port of Felixstowe. I don't think you need to get more estimates.
"Having the Right Information Makes for an Informed Decision"

LilaUK
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 12:56 am

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby LilaUK » Tue May 24, 2011 2:17 am

I'm doing almost the exact same move as you. Mind if I ask which one gave you the lowest quote?

Noone
Posts: 1807
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:53 am

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby Noone » Tue May 24, 2011 6:39 am

I agree that 570 cubic feet would crate up to (about) 750 cubic feet. If theya re using standard lift-vans, 800 cubic feet.

It is possible that they have other cargo, from your origin, to your destination, which would make a difference in the cost of consolidating (versus trucking your goods to the consolidating warehouse).

It is also possible that they are thinking of shipping your goods loose in the container, which would make a difference.

Here are my suggestions:

1 - Find out if they are planning on shipping loose, or crated.

2 - Find out the per cubic foot price if over 570 cubic feet.

3 - Review the survey sheet carefully to see why they are estimating so much less than the others.

sunflowerly
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:38 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby sunflowerly » Tue May 24, 2011 9:46 pm

Thanks everyone. The lower quote came from Southern Winds. I have emailed them asking for more details (and the other 2 companies too). On their website they explain (poorly) the difference between FCL, LCL, and consolidation. Their definition of consolidation sounds like LCL to my understanding, so I don't understand the difference: http://www.southernwindsinternational.c ... nsport.php. Maybe Noone is right that it could be loose and not crated, which I think sounds like a very bad idea.

Here is the whole thing:

Our Door-to-Door formal quotation based on the attached list of articles to be shipped is $7,710.00. This quotation is based on an expedited service with a transit time of 6 to 7 weeks Door-to-Door.

Our Door-to-Door formal quotation based on the attached list of articles to be shipped is $4,825.00. This quotation is based on using our Southern Winds European Consolidation Service with a transit time as noted below.

Our quotation includes the inspection for any prepackaged items for customs and insurance purposes, any additional professional packing and wrapping (to include packing materials and packing labor) of all items to safely transport them to your final destination. The loading into the applicable container for export, transportation to the port of export,
ocean freight rom the United States to Europe, all applicable port charges at both origin and destination (unlike others we include port terminal fees, Terminal Handling Charge [THC], shippin line's Destination Delivery Charge [DDC], the shipping line's agency fees, port security fee, and any X-ray inspection fees). Upon arrival at destination our partner will arrange the customs clearance, inland transportation to your final destination, the
delivery into a ground floor residence, distribution of all goods into each room as directed by you, unpacking and unwrapping, the normal set up of furniture items, and removal of the debris on he day of delivery.

There may be additional charges for services at destination that will require the use of stairs ($ 180.0 per flight), an elevator ($ 180.00 per use), hoisting equipment, parking permits, or an abnormal access for a full size removal van.

Our quotation excludes customs physical inspection fees, demurrage, duties, taxes, storage, or warehouse handling fee. We offer Door-to-Door Full Replacement Valuation at $25.00 per $1,000.00 of your declared value, with a zero deductable.

Our quotation is based on shipping your household goods via our Southern Winds International European Consolidation Service via England. For better communication we do not turn you goods over to a third party for shipping services. All destination services are provided by our own appointed partner, Simpsons Removals. not by the agent of the shipping company.

The normal transit time will be approximately 6 to 8 weeks to the arrival port. This is an estimate only, ot a service guarantee. There is then additional time required for customs formalities and the unloading of the consolidated container, which normally takes an additional10-1 days to complete. After this time, our local partner will contact you to schedule the delivery of your household goods. Deliveries are most often made in a time frame of 14 to 8 days.

We are fully licensed and bonded by the FMC under our OTI License Number 04185F.

Noone
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:53 am

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby Noone » Wed May 25, 2011 8:26 am

1 - The difference between LCL and Consolidation is who does it (the actual gathering of cargo for the container). I very rarely see it used, especially for the end customer. Technically, if the shipping company fills the container with cargo from it's own clients, it's called consolidation. If the shipping company buys the container space from a third party, it's called LCL. I think. Most forwarders from the US won't use a third party, but it's an option. I see it more in Europe. In any event, I'll use LCL below simply because it's easier to type.

2 - I would ask specifically if they plan on loose-loading or loading into lift-vans. Don't try to figure it out. (I see you already asked)

3 - I would also review the survey sheet to see why the difference in volume.

4 - I see they are excluding warehouse handling fees. Ask about this for the lcl option. I assume it's part of a standard template, but on LCL the goods will be handled by two different warehouses, and that should be included. On the FCL, it's normal to exclude it.

5 - Find out the price (on LCL) if you go over the estimated volume. I don't see that anywhere.

sunflowerly
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:38 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby sunflowerly » Wed May 25, 2011 10:24 am

Thanks, Noone. I will definitely ask about the warehouse handling fees. I have already asked about costs for going over estimated volume, but haven't heard back yet. They did reply that it IS loose-loading. They tried their best (email text below) to assure me that this is safe, but I am still unconvinced. It seems the goods will be loaded and unloaded multiple times, whereas with a container it would be loaded once then unloaded once. If I had just simple boxes, maybe, but I have furniture, some of which disassembles, some antique, some framed pictures. I just think all the extra handling could be a problem. I am really torn right now. A container would be much more straightforward, but to pay $3000 more for it... I could ditch more furniture before I move, but the things I'm most concerned about are things I would definitely keep.

Here is the info about the consolidation offer:

"We load our own container in San Francisco. Your goods would be picked up by Excel Moving Services and returned to their warehouse. We will then book the container and they will load your goods into the container for shipping to England. After the container clears customs in England our partner will unload the container. They will then load your shipment into their delivery vehicle. Because we have no middle men between our pick up and delivery partners you save money. The other movers who have to load into lift vans to offer a consolidation service have to then turn the shipment over to a third party shipping company that offers a third party consolidation service. Those others movers have to rely on the third party's agent in England to arrange customs clearance and delivery services."

"Now the others movers might mention there are dangers to loading your shipment loose in our consolidation services and possible chance for loss or damages. However if they shipped your goods in a 20 container they will be loose loaded your goods themselves so just the same service as in our consolidation service. Excel Moving Service will prepare an inventory covering the items in your shipment. When the goods arrive at their warehouse their warehouse crew will check the shipment against the inventory, and again when loading the container for export. Your goods are all loaded into the container together and a spacer is placed between your shipment and the next shipment in the container. Upon arrival in England and unloaded our partner will again check in the shipment against the inventory. When the goods are ready for delivery to your residence in England they will again check the shipment against the inventory prepared at your residence in the US. For those movers who must use lift vans to consolidate typically the English movers do not have vehicle that are suited to deliver the goods while in the lift vans hence the English mover unloads the lift vans at their warehouse on to the delivery vehicle. So really your goods are only in the lift vans from your residence in US to the Warehouse in England."

"Of course when loading into lift vans there are always empty spaces that cannot be completely fill in. So you end up paying for empty space. By loose loading the goods into the container we minimize the empty space over all shipments in the container so that each client is not paying for this empty space."

Noone
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:53 am

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby Noone » Fri May 27, 2011 4:11 am

1 - OK, so find out the cost for volume over.

2 - Loose loading does have a higher chance of loss or damage, but not enough that any insurance company I have worked with cares about. Since they are the ones who do the statistics, and I work on gut feel and intuition, I would say the real difference in loss/damages is negligible. As an aside, many places in Europe only do loose.

3 - While the opacking crew will do an itemized packing list, it is your job to do the insurance list (usually). Read the forms for insurance to be sure you do what needs to be done. The way the sales person has worded it below is a little unclear. The packers and loaders will use their own list to make sure goods are accounted for along the way, but usually claims are adjusted according to the values you list (and pay for) on the insurance forms.

4 - Many forwarders won't load loose, even if they are doing the consolidation. So his assumption that he is the only one doing the consolidation himself is more of a sales pitch then a fact. In any event, the other forwarders are quoting on exclusive containers, not LCL/Consolidated.

5 - Until you know your destination in the UK, you don't know that the goods will be delivered in the container. While it is possible in many places, there is also the possibility that you will need a shuttle. This means the goods will be unloaded, and the shuttle will incur extra charges (if you take the exclusive container option).

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4669
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:11 pm

I just got into this thread. Call Crown Worldwide in San Leandro. They are worldwide movers on their own, and they are also United agents for domestic shipments.

It looks like the company you selected would use Excel in Union City (Mayflower).

The advantage with Crown is that they would be in control from door to port, whereas the other company would have another company do origin.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

LilaUK
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 12:56 am

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby LilaUK » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:08 pm

I spoke to someone at Crown and really didn't like them. I've also read some bad reviews of Crown. They are not very flexible either.

Sunflowerly, did you already decide who you are using?

sunflowerly
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:38 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby sunflowerly » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:57 pm

I haven't decided yet. Am trying first to decide between ditching half my stuff and moving in 3 lift vans or taking it all in a container. Crown was the company that did my in home survey for Sterling. The Crown rep was very thorough. He was the only one who took photos of my items to be crated. He also measured several things.

sunflowerly
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:38 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby sunflowerly » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:50 am

I'm back to tell the results of my move! I asked all 3 companies for their spreadsheets they use to estimate the cf of your belongings and played with the numbers. Sterling couldn't give me a better deal based on lift vans instead of a container. Ranier, which gave me the highest cf estimate (without even taking notes at my house), were kind of snotty when I politely questioned the accuracy of their estimate. In the end I went with Southern Winds who had good prices, a good attitude, and seemed very willing to work with me.

SW quoted me prices for 3 or 4 liftvans and said they would have everything ready for me, but only charge me for the liftvans needed. In the meantime, I sold a few pieces of furniture, took a few boxes of clothes to Goodwill. Turns out, my stuff fit in 2 liftvans with a little room to spare! Thank goodness I didn't waste money on a container! Honestly, I didn't get rid of a huge amount of stuff. Anyway, the process was pretty smooth. I made an error on my customs form, but SW helped me figure it out and I faxed in a new one, no problem.

SW (or rather, Mayflower, who SW contracts in California to pack my stuff) did a very good job of packing my things. Better than my move from Pennsylvania to California a few years earlier (can't remember which company that was now!). They really wrapped things up well and built good sturdy crates for my glass table top and a couple of antiques. Nothing was broken or damaged at all!

Mayflower packed my things on July 22, 2011 in San Francisco, CA, USA and Simpsons (the UK company) delivered my stuff in Bristol, UK on 10/10/2011. So this method was not the fastest, but since I moved in with my husband, who already had a house full of things, it was not a big deal for me to wait. My things went through X-ray check at customs in the UK port just fine, but apparently were delayed while the other shipments in the same container were checked and approved. One thing I liked about SW is that any X-ray checks or other inspections are entirely included in their quoted price. The other companies I got quotes from did not include this (they said it's rarely done - well, it was done to me!).

Simpsons were ok (they were the ones SW contract in the UK to deliver). They were pretty good about contacting me and arranging delivery. They brought an absurdly huge vehicle to deliver: a full-sized lorry with an extra trailer towed behind. My 2 liftvans fit in half of the extra trailer. They were combining my delivery with some others. I don't know what residential areas in England a vehicle that huge could fit reasonably. It was a squeeze in my neighbourhood. They would have charged me extra if they couldn't get close to my house, which I think is kind of a scam, considering the huge truck was not necessary for my things and probably would manage less than 20% of residential streets in England. My paperwork said that they had to unpack my things otherwise I couldn't make a claim for any damages, but the delivery men were apparently not expecting to unpack anything and seemed very rushed and put out by it. They were also supposed to remove the packing materials. I made sure that they took apart the crated antiques, unpacked and unwrapped all of the kitchen and breakable items and took away all of those materials. While they were still there, I took as much stuff out of boxes as I could and made them cart away the boxes and wrapping paper. It was rushed and annoying, but it all turned out ok. :roll:

Grand total cost: $4098.90, broken down as follows: $3545 for 2 liftvans door to door, $100 for custom crates for antiques, $305.75 for insurance based on valuation of actual goods ($12,230), and $148.15 which was a 3.75% fee for using a foreign credit card to pay. So I saved over $3000 from my original estimates. I highly recommend Southern Winds. They were very helpful, willing to work with me as I sorted out the best way for me to make this move (ie, should I go with a whole container or get rid of some things and go with liftvans or do basic consolidation), and everything worked out well and affordably! :D

LilaUK
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 12:56 am

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby LilaUK » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:07 am

Hi Sunflowerly

I lost your email but glad you made it to the UK safe and sound.

Noone
Posts: 1807
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:53 am

Re: 20' container vs. consolidation, California to UK

Postby Noone » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:16 am

Thanks for coming back and posting such a detailed response.

For others who are reading this, I want to mention 2 things, specific to the work done by Simpsons:

1 - It is very normal for the delivery company to send a very large truck (in the US a tractor trailer will often be used, and in Europe a double tractor as described) for delivery on an LCL shipment, even if it is 1 lift-van. Most quotes exclude "difficult access" and if you know the destination address when you are getting quotes, be sure to ask the person quoting to have his overseas partner "check access". It's how we work - no one plans on sending a small truck with 2 lift-vans - we load a big truck with 10 lift vans, and deliver as we go to keep costs down.

2 - The delivery company gets his instructions (and payment) from the company you book with. So if the insurance says that the goods need to be professionally unpacked in order to file a claim (which is unusual), make sure the service you are paying for includes full unpack. If the service includes full unpack, review that with the delivery company BEFORE the delivery is scheduled, so they have time to get confirmation. This is true for any "extra" (assembly of furniture, electrician, carpenter, maid service, outside elevator).

Thanks again for coming back, and enjoy your new home!

I'm glad all went well


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