Moving from Australia to USA? Get a freight forwarder!

Why NOT a freight forwarder?

Not everybody thinks of a freight forwarder as being the best resource for moving household items overseas. Most people don’t think of freight forwarders at all, because there’s already a group of movers out there dominating the residential market. Most freight forwarders don’t even bother.

We do though. And after helping more people move their lives overseas than I can reasonably count, it seems like more of us should.

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Moving from down under

Several years ago, we had an import freight query for a private party needing 1×40’ high cube ( HQ) container from Wilmington, Australia to Lake Tahoe, California. We handled the shipping, clearance & delivery into Lake Tahoe for some household goods filling up a 3 bedroom-home.

Most forwarders do not handle household goods leaving a vacuum for movers to fill in. We primarily deal with commercial & industrial shipments. However, in the 80’s we also developed a niche market to assist household goods shippers with a smaller budget than movers offer. After all, we have the networks and all we do every day is route shipments from one address to the next, usually with oceans and continents in between.

The story… 

In this import scenario, our Australian agent in Wilmington, Australia was responsible for getting the shipment from the Oakland, CA port under our supervision. The container was shipped freight collect, and we were responsible for retrieving the local Australian charges along with the USA customs clearance, then delivery to Lake Tahoe where the customer handled their own unloading.

… and back again

Several years later, we got the call from the same individual, who kept our information, and was returning home.  

Exporting to Australia

We arranged for 1×40’ container to be positioned in Lake Tahoe. The container was there on the truck, giving them 2 hours to load it up under the original cost and $85 per added hour thereafter.

To minimize any wasted time, we recommended that all of the boxes were ready along with all of the pieces of furniture paper-wrapped prior to the truck’s arrival. We suggested that they be located nearby where the container is to be delivered. The shipper knew that the container sit on a truck chassis 4’off the ground & fortunately, he had no heavy furniture.

US customs

We prepared his export documents & had him review our draft bill of lading before the final document was prepared & shown to customs. We retrieved a copy of his foreign passport along with a detail packing list.

The terminal in Oakland

The container was sealed off at the origin residence with a seal number. We then had the container returned the container to the terminal from Lake Tahoe. No customs inspection was called out, and the container was loaded up onto the vessel within 48 hours before sailing to Australia.

Container tracking on the web

Our customers are given the means with a container number to track the routing & movements over water.

Australian port & customs

We sent our agent all of the shipping & customs documents prior to the vessel arrival, so they could review their filing, making sure that everything was on par.


We matched the arrivals of the air & ocean shipments with the Wilmington ground delivery directly to the residence. Our agent & ourselves remained in contact with the customer to ensure solid coordination.

In conclusion, although the bulk of our shipping remains still today with commercial & industrial goods, the household niche market keeps us especially connected to the customers to ensure a no-mistake, no-nonsense approach.

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