FOLLOWUP - New Jersey to Sydney, Australia

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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:58 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

FOLLOWUP - New Jersey to Sydney, Australia

Postby stellarenergy » Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:35 am

In mid-2005, my wife and I decided to leave northern New Jersey, and move to Sydney, Australia, aiming for departure in the last quarter of 2005. We planned on moving the contents of our 1-bedroom home, and our idea was to obtain a sea-going container and ship it all. I estimated that we could do this for somewhere between USD $3000 and $6000.

I began by measuring our furniture and other belongings, putting it all in a spreadsheet, and calculating the volume of the goods. I came up with a figure of 900 cubic feet, which seemed reasonable since we lived in a small home.

Like so many other people who have to move, I started out Googling to find out how I might do this – to identify companies who would take care of the packing, moving and shipping; also perhaps I could purchase a container, pack it myself and ship it myself too…

I discovered that the ‘do-it-yourself’ approach wasn’t really feasible. I could easily buy a container, but the drop-off and pick-up would be very problematic. They don’t seem to have side-loading container trucks in NJ/NY, so the container would have to have been slid on & off a truck bed (crushing the contents), or I would also have to purchase/hire a trailer, leaving the container 4 feet of the ground. I gave up on that idea.

Google showed me probably hundreds of companies who would do the packing & shipping. I sent e-mail enquiries to about 20, giving them my cubic foot estimate and asking for a quote. Plenty came back under $2000, which I was suspicious of, and ignored. The ones who came back with reasonable estimates, I called and chatted with. I liked a company in California) and one in New York. I asked them both to send an estimator to assess our goods and give a firm quote.

The NY company sent an estimator who left a brochure in my letterbox, but didn’t actually do any assessment, so I crossed them off. The California company sent an assessor from a NY moving company who did not leave us with a confident feeling. I felt suspicious about him and the company.

It was then that I started Googling the company, and discovered the website. The reviews of this company weren’t great, and so I read the “sticky” in the International Moves message board titled “Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)”. It was excellent! I took the advice in the sticky, called all four of the companies listed, explained my situation, and asked each of them for a quote.

They all responded quickly, and it was Rainier who supplied the lowest quote (about $6000). I asked Doug Wiviott who the moving company would be, and his first recommendation was the company who I was suspicious about. I asked him for an alternate moving company. He suggested University Van Lines in NJ, I did a quick check on, they sounded great, and so we organized for them to come out and assess.

Their assessor, Mr. Quigley, was excellent – punctual, friendly and thorough. They came back with a great quote, and we set a date for the move. Because of the short notice we had given, the pack was split over a Friday and the following Monday. There was a team of 3 movers on Friday, and 4 on Monday, and they were again, excellent. They wrapped ALL furniture and large items in bubble wrap, used paper to pad out all boxes, and did not even take a lunch break! We were delighted, and they took great care with our belongings. We were given an itemized list of contents (144 items). They packed their truck and took everything back to their depot to pack the 20’ container.

The container itself departed Port Newark a little over a week later, and we were faxed the bill of lading by Doug at Rainier. It was due to arrive in Sydney in late December.

It did arrive at the end of December, I engaged a Customs Agent in Sydney to deal with transportation, clearance and quarantine. We inspected the contents ourselves last week, and every item was intact and in good condition. We were, again delighted by the conscientious job done by University Van Lines!

I heartily recommend University Van Lines (The Quigley Brothers and team), and Rainier Overseas Moving (Doug Wiviott and team).

Thank You to all the generous people at for sharing their stories, giving us the benefit of their experience, and running the website as a service to the rest of us.

I’m happy to discuss in a greater level of detail if anybody desires. Feel free to e-mail.

Michael & Jennifer

Jules P.
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:55 am

Re: FOLLOWUP - New Jersey to Sydney, Australia

Postby Jules P. » Mon Jan 23, 2006 12:57 pm

Michael and Jennifer -

How long did it take for your contents to arrive. Specifically from date of final pickup to it arriving in your home?

Was your final cost the same as your estimate?

We are moving from Sacramento to Canberra this summer and I've read this AMAZING site for so long, but now it's time to start sorting out logistics for ourselves.

Glad you had a great experience and look forward to hearing more.


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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: FOLLOWUP - New Jersey to Sydney, Australia

Postby MusicMom » Mon Jan 23, 2006 1:04 pm

Michael & Jennifer (would that be "Mennifer" by tabloid standards? :wink: )

Thank you so much for the detailed report, and it's nice to meet you. Glad everything went well for you!

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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:58 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: FOLLOWUP - New Jersey to Sydney, Australia

Postby stellarenergy » Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:51 am

In response to Jules:

Shipping took approximately nine weeks (all November and December) with the container leaving Port Newark NJ and arriving in Sydney, Australia. I suspect (but did not confirm) that the container travelled NJ to Singapore, and then down to Sydney.

I made it clear to RainierOS that I was NOT in a hurry to have the goods arrive in Australia because Jennifer and myself went on a six-week roadtrip across the USA, and wanted to make sure that we arrived in Sydney before the container. You may be able to ask for your container to be booked on a vessel that takes a shorter route.

It took a further two weeks from the container's arrival in Sydney until the container was inspected and cleared by Customs and AQIS.

In terms of costs, in the USA they were what we were quoted by RainierOS. In Australia, I engaged a Customs Agent to take care of all the paperwork etc., for Customs and Quarantine and his costs were higher than originally quoted. I think this was due to the fact that I opted to have all goods moved from the delivery container to another container for long-term storage, while I find work and a new home.

In response to MusicMom: It is my pleasure to share my experience with others on this website. Thanks for your support.

Please feel free to ask additional questions, or add comments.



Jules P.
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:55 am

Re: FOLLOWUP - New Jersey to Sydney, Australia

Postby Jules P. » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:22 am

Thanks, Michael.

I sent you a PM...

- Jules

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