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Shipping Household Goods and Personal Effects from the USA overseas. Ship Cargo in Boxes, Crates, and Pallets.

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This page provides helpful topics on international shipping household goods from the USA by sea. If you are a first-time international shipper and going to ship household goods from the USA in boxes, crates or pallets, then we suggest you read this link about typical confusions on shipping household goods from the USA.



Yes, you can ship household goods or personal belongings (means shipping from USA not-commercial cargo that are not for sale) using cost-effective international ocean freight transportation companies, instead of international moving companies or parcel services.

However, it is essential do not confuse ocean freight on shipping household goods from the USA, which is provided by international cargo transportation companies (Freight Forwarders, NVOCCs, and VOCCs) with ocean freight services offered by international moving companies (1) or parcel services (2).

                     International moving company               international parcels shipping 


1. INTERNATIONAL CARGO TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES VS. INTERNATIONAL MOVING COMPANIES: Unlike with an international moving company, when using a transportation company on shipping household goods from the USA, you are responsible for packing your shipping goods:

We always recommend considering alternatives for using international moving companies Vs. International shipping companies on shipping household goods from the USA by sea. Try our instant sea freight price calculators. Compare prices obtained on online on shipping boxes, crates or pallets from USA (our Economy LCL sea freight service or FCL service for shipping Household Goods from the USA) Vs. Prices obtained from international moving companies.

Apparently, you will find that services on shipping household goods from the USA provided by international moving companies are costly compared to prices offered by international cargo transportation companies. However, if you can afford it, then it is much convenient. The international moving company may send you a surveyor. The surveyor will estimate total shipping cost on your international shipping from the USA, including labor, materials and sea freight cost. For the price, international moving companies may complete entire shipment on your behalf, including packing, loading and securing your goods inside of sea freight container. Always pay attention to destination charges. No matter what service provider you will choose on shipping household goods from the USA, all import is subject to destination charges, no matter either household goods shipping or commercial freight shipping. 


2. INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING COMPANIES VS. INTERNATIONAL PARCEL SERVICES: If you are shipping from the USA overseas a not heavy and considerable small volume of cargo, let's say less than 0.2-0.3 cubic meters of the total volume, then using a parcel service on shipping household goods from the USA may be a more convenient and cost-effective way to ship it. 

MINIMUM CHARGE: Shipping household goods from the USA by sea typically not limited by volume. However, it always has a minimum charge. International shippers should always keep in mind that international LCL shipping from the USA still has a MINIMUM CHARGE.

In international FCL shipping from USA cost of the entire container is the 'minimum charge'. I.e., if you are shipping household goods from the USA using FCL ocean freight service, then you will pay for the entire container, no matter how many assets you put inside of the container.

In respect of shipping household goods from the USA by utilizing international LCL sea freight service, a minimum charge is an amount that will not go below a certain number regardless of the overall volume of your shipping goods. I.e., if you are shipping from the USA a considerable small volume, that calculates an amount below the minimum, you still will be charged the minimum.

When shipping from USA international LCL sea freight, most of the time, the minimum charge is equal to shipping of total volume equal to one cubic meter. For example: $87 per Cubic Meter w/m / $87 minimum. However certain origins or/and destinations have minimum charges higher than shipping of one cubic meter.  

W/M in shipping from USA LCL freight means 'Weight or Measurement, whichever is higher'. Find more about W/M and Cubic Meter in respect of transportation from the USA by the sea in this link.



customs in international shipping seafreight



Either you are shipping household goods from the USA using an international moving company or an international freight company or carry your assets in the trunk of your car across the border, and your goods are always subject to destination charges. You may find more about destination charges on international sea freight shipping from USA in the FAQ section of our website.  

Destination country's customs duty (as a part of destination charges) on shipping from USA not-commercial cargo containing household goods or personal effects that are not for sale may be allowed to enter most countries without or with not-significant duties or taxes. However, such international shipments must comply with destination countries' regulations on importing household goods and personal effects. Those import regulations are quite complicated. 

If you ship from USA household goods, then to avoid "surprises" with your international shipment at the destination, we suggest that before you make any arrangements on your international shipment, contact a local Consulate or Embassy of the country where your goods will be shipped to. Ask them about special regulations, restrictions or charges (duty and/or taxes) that may occur on your international shipment as soon as your goods reach its destination.

It is also a good idea to check, if you are unsure, about some particular item you want to ship from the USA overseas. A specific commodity such as live plants or seeds, animal skins, medicine, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, etc. may be restricted or not allowed to ship from the USA to your country.

See if you can obtain from the consulate a letter of relocation from the USA or a letter that duty exceptions are granted on your international shipment. The consulate should issue these shipping documents before you are involved in an international shipping household goods from the USA. Having such documents in advance may be extremely helpful at a time of recovery your goods at the destination.

Also, before your international shipping from the USA, you may request customs duty and tax estimation by contacting a Customs Broker in your destination country. Do it before making any arrangements on your international household goods shipping from the USA. Most likely you will be asked to pay a fee on such consulting service. However, if you are uncertain, then it should worth your money and time.

Finally, if you are shipping household goods overseas, then try to obtain as more information related to a recovery of your goods at the destination as possible in advance, before your household goods submitted to the international shipping from the USA. 

Note: Transit time in ocean freight may take longer than you plan. If you use a sea freight service on shipping household goods from the USA, then keep in mind a possibility of changes in destination country's import regulations on the day when your cargo will arrive in the destination.



Unaccompanied Baggage, in respect of shipping household goods from the USA, means shipping a portion of luggage that cannot be taken with a passenger and travels to the destination separately, which is required to be used immediately upon arrival to the destination. It can be like you travel, and it comes after you as an international sea freight shipment arranged in the country of departure before you leave the country. With American Multimodal International Deliveries - AMID Logistics, LLC you can get an instant price quote and manage to ship of Unaccompanied Baggage by using our Economy LCL sea freight service on sending household goods from the USA.

International ocean freight shipments or parts of such shipments that comply with a status of unaccompanied baggage are always more accessible and cost-effective on recovery with destination countries customs.  

If you ship from the USA unaccompanied baggage, then you will always be asked for a detailed valued packing list. With AMID Logistics you can submit it online.


Customs. International shipping of ocean freight.

If you travel to your destination country by air, boat, train or car ahead of your shipment, then you should declare your unaccompanied baggage at a time of crossing the destination country's border. Fill out a customs declaration on board of aircraft, boat, train or at customs window. State in the declaration that unaccompanied baggage follows after you by sea. Provide in the declaration your commodity description as in your valued packing list and the essential information on your international sea freight shipment obtained in your dock receipt: ocean freight carrier's booking number, the origin, destination, vessel, voyage, etc. Keep a copy of the declaration and use it when you clear your unaccompanied baggage with destination country customs. 



Rules in international shipping of ocean freight

If you are moving overseas, i.e., you ship personal goods to yourself, then at a time of booking and filling international shipping documents we suggest the following this "Cosigner = Consignee" rule:

CONSIGNER (SHIPPER) AND CONSIGNEE (RECIPIENT) SHOULD BE THE SAME NAME. THERE SHOULD BE NO VARIATION EVEN IN SPELLING. You may provide any different contact information to your ocean freight bill of lading as the notify party, but NOT consigner/consignee.

If you use an international moving company in your international shipping, then remind the international moving company about this regulation. Check shipping documents prepared on your behalf by the international moving company. Pay extreme attention to information stated in your sea freight bill of lading, which is the final document on your international shipment and the title on your shipped goods.

Following this "Cosigner = Consignee" regulation should help you avoid possible problems when you recover your international shipment with destination customs. I.e., you may save time and money with destination customs and/or your international ocean freight bill of lading amendments.



No food in international shipping of seafreight

*NO FOOD STUFF, WINE & DRUGS* Shipping from the USA any food including wine and drugs (any item that is edible) including edible animal byproducts, supplements, etc. are subject to detailed regulations. Violations these regulations can result in detention, confiscation or destruction of cargo, as well as fines and criminal charges. Shipper/consignee is held responsible for providing proper documents and permits. Any costs that may occur are on account of the shipper/consignee.

Food and vegetable, wine, drugs or animal products should NOT be shipped as a part of personal effects or household goods international ocean freight shipment. We strongly suggest avoiding shipping such kind of products. Even small quantity of food in international shipping of household goods from the USA may lead to big problems as at a time of departure your household goods from the USA as well as with destination county's officials at a time of your cargo recovery at the destination. 

Shipping from USA cargo that includes vegetable or animal products may require additional shipping documents like Phytosanitary certificate, Veterinary certificate, etc.

If you wish to ship from USA such kind of products anyway, then we strongly suggest you contacting a local Consulate or Embassy of the country where the goods will be sent to before you are involved in the international shipping. Ask them about your country's special import regulations on this type of products. Ensure that you have obtained all necessary international shipping documents and certificates for your international shipment in advance, before shipping household goods from the USA.
Neither international freight forwarders nor direct ocean freight carriers will be held responsible for delays and/or additional cost due to failure to provide proper documentation in your international shipping from the USA. The professional international moving company should be aware of this as well.



To avoid problems, extra charges and penalties you should stay away from shipping from the USA the following commodity:

To simplify, avoid shipping from USA items considered dangerous or prohibited with regular parcel service at your local USPS office.

If you pack in used boxes, erase all previous shipping labels and marks, especially if it relates to dangerous goods or hazardous materials.

If you are not confident that some of your goods are legal for shipping from the USA, do not put your entire shipment at risk. Leave it. Do not ship or apply for legal assistance as in the U.S. as in your destination country.



International shipping from USA live plants or animals is prohibited unless ship wit authorized carriers and proper shipping documents and permits are in order. The professional international moving company should be aware of this as well.

If you still need to ship from USA live plants or animals overseas, then search for a particular international shipping company that specializes in such service.



For international shipping of household goods or personal effects to the United States by sea, then you may find helpful this Guide to Customs Regulations from CBP.GOV

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