Container Loading Question
Okay, we are set to come down the first week of August. We have jobs, we have private school, we will rent while we are there in July, but we have a question.
We have container/shipping quotes, but somehow we envisioned the container sitting on the ground for furniture and car loading. It seems though, that the container will be about 4 feet up on a chassis - can anyone share their experience or advice with loading a container up in the air? We are moving a 3 bedroom home and a car - it seems like all the up and down will kill us!
Maybe the company that trucks it to your home can provide some labor for the ups and downs.
To get the car in, hire a flatbed tow truck, and make sure the container is parked with room for the tow truck to get in.
Unloading a 20 or 40' container, it will be on the chasis (wheels) and you will need either some type of ramp/stairs or ladders. Or at least that's how it was a couple of years ago when we shipped a container w/our household stuff and unloaded it ourselves.
Hiring a moving company for our move was some of the best money we ever spent. Otherwise leave your stuff at home, most places are furnished.
Loading a container going to sea is not like loading a Ryder truck for a drive cross country. The container will be on a ship rolling at sea. Unless you're well experienced in how to secure the load properly - especially how to properly tie down a car - hire a moving company. The last thing you want when you get here is to open the doors to find all your belongings laying on top of your car.
If you do choose to load yourself you'll need a set of ramps to walk into and out of the container.
Tie back your load with good straps! Not cheap rope.
After you load your household belongs build a wall of plywood and 2x4s to prevent them from spilling over onto your car should they shift during transport. Remember...it will be on a ship at sea.
As for loading your car - they are usually driven on at a warehouse where the trailer height is the same as the dock. You'll need ramps that are strong enough to hold the weight of the vehicle. Your fuel tank needs to be less than 1/4 full.
Tie down the car securely with heavy duty straps so it can't slide forward, backward, left, or right. Remember...it will be on a ship at sea.
If you decide to load yourself check with the company providing the container about how long you will have to load. Many will not leave the container overnight. The driver waits while you load. Average time (I believe) is four hours after which you may be paying the driver overtime.
You didn't ask but be sure you are aware of what documentation you will need to clear the shipment through Customs when it arrives.
you need to plan your loading before the container arrives. We always load at a warehouse where we stage the load inside, in the exact space we will have in the container..we set things out in the opposite order we want them to load, considering weight etc as well, making a second row of the items to go on top (obviously plan on lighter things on top) and we have a forklift available to help lift the heavy items like furniture etc. We put alot of individual things on pallets and wrap them with that stretch-wrap so the forklift can just put them inside. You need to prevent the items from shifting, and remember it will be driven from whereever you load so you have to allow for the driver hitting his brakes and things moving at that point, in addition to bumpy seas. We usually have at least 4 people the day we load, and even with all the prep we have never loaded within the standard time allowed (but I think it's only two hours) and just expect to pay extra for the trucking time. Note...we've also always had a shipment leave when something we wanted to ship has not been loaded...sometimes we ran out of room, once the thing was behind the door and was overlooked, sometimes we just gave up after hours of work in the rain or heat... We unload by hand at our house on island, and have lots of guys helping...open the shrink-wrap and take every item off etc..takes a full day usually.
We had the same issue when pricing containers. Truckers sometimes have ramps....in terms of you car, you'll have to hire a flat bed tow truck/driver to lift your car.
Customs "prison". Be aware. Make an itemized list including quantities of everything in that container. If it's used, note that it is used. If it's new, open the box, take the wrapping out, then put it back in the box and re-tape.........then it will be USED. If you don't do this, and you list the item as NEW, then you also need to list the country of origin/manufacturer. You will pay duty/tax for anything new.