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Freight from the USA

Shipping from the USA household goods and personal items

Shipping household goods or personal belongings from the USA overseas may appear a complicated task. That's not right. You will be amazed at how easy it is with this online freight calculator.

You may want to watch this three-minute video on YouTube about how to calculate the cost and initiate shipping of personal goods packed in moving boxes, crates, or on pallets. You can schedule an international delivery for relatively large cargo in real-time and ship your goods abroad from virtually any location in the United States. No needs to wait for a price quote. Get it online and book 24/7.

price calculator

If this is your first international shipping, you may browse the website to learn about shipping goods from the United States. Read FAQ, references, and documents used in international cargo transportation from the U.S. by sea.

Still, have questions? Calculate shipping costs with this online freight price calculator. Get a price quote with the unique reference number in the email. Then reply to the email and ask questions, or give us a call. Seeing the quote reference number, we will answer your questions without asking unnecessary questions.

Not sure about the number of shipping boxes and the weight and sizes? That's totally fine. Just roughly estimate. The shipping cost will be adjusted to the weight/measurements of your cargo delivered to the ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS - Container Freight Station).

When you self-pack your goods, then you don't need to deal with international moving companies. If you have already received a price quote from an international moving company, then the shipping cost obtained in the freight calculator may shock you with how cheap it is. This is because of the online freight calculator designed for shipping goods overseas with international ocean freight carriers - LCL cargo consolidators. AMID Logistics, a licensed and bonded U.S. freight forwarder should assist you in that.

Shipping goods from the U.S. with international moving companies

If you choose convenience over price, then you should continue searching for a reliable moving company.

You may continue reading about shipping household goods from the U.S. with international moving companies or skip to topics related to shipping, such as cargo LCL.

If you can afford it, you may search for a reliable international moving company to relocate from the USA overseas. An assessor from the international moving company should visit you and estimate the price of moving your goods overseas. The shipping cost should include the labor, cost of packing materials, freight cost, etc. In other words, they should estimate how much it'd cost to ship your goods from the USA with no hassle for you.

Sometimes international moving companies may provide a "door-to-door" service. They guarantee that they are not just submitting your goods to shipping from the U.S., but they will assist you in your cargo recovery in your destination country. They promise that they will work on your behalf with the destination country customs and seaport authorities, collect and pay on your behalf all charges related to your cargo release, and deliver and unload your goods at your location overseas. Then you should pay attention to the part of your shipping agreement regarding your cargo recovery at the destination.

However, shipping goods abroad with international moving companies are costly, especially if you don't ship an entire house but need to send overseas just a part of your belongings packed in moving boxes.

The alternative to international moving companies is to ship goods from the USA with international ocean freight carriers with assistance from U.S. freight forwarders. 

Just keep in mind that you can engage a local moving company to pack and deliver your goods to an ocean freight carrier's terminal. Such terminals are called Container Freight Stations or CFS. If you do so, you should ask the moving company if they know the regulations in international cargo transportation from the USA. Particularly with ISPM15 regulations.

Yes, most of the time, you can ship household goods and personal belongings from the USA overseas, avoiding paying an enormous bill for the shipping. Always consider LCL freight for shipping relatively sizable cargo in boxes, crates, or on pallets. It's much cheaper and:

However, if you decide to ship your goods from the USA overseas to LCL, then unlike shipping household goods with international moving companies, you should be aware of specific rules and limitations. A U.S. freight forwarder should guide you. But all responsibilities for shipping goods and packing are still on the shipper.

Actually, there's nothing complicated in shipping personal belongings from the USA overseas. All the shipping procedures are quite logical. Just stick to common sense, and everything should be in order. Unfortunately, occasionally, inexperienced first-time shippers consider shipping quite large cargo from the U.S. abroad, just like mailing a postal card overseas. Regrettably, as a result, they pay for the mistakes. Sometimes it can be a significant price.

As a U.S. freight forwarder, we do our best to make procedures for shipping household goods from the USA as easy, stressless, and predictable as possible. We are proud of our customers' satisfaction survey index, which never falls below 95-97%. You may see AMID Logistics' customer reviews in this link. Regrettably, sometimes we receive complaints. Almost all the complaints are from inexperienced, first-time international shippers.

If this is your first-time international shipment, we highly suggest you read the rest of this article. By considering different scenarios in international shipping from the United States household goods and personal belongings, you should be better prepared for the venture.

According to our experience, below are listed the most common issues that first-time shippers face during shipping from the USA cargo with personal goods LCL. All these topics are already covered in our FAQ, references, and documents web pages. But here, we're focusing on particular scenarios to avoid confusion.

Please note that everything you will learn about is routine procedures in shipping freight LCL, no matter which carrier you'll choose. If you do not understand something before you are involved in an international shipment from the USA overseas, do not hesitate to contact us or double-check with third parties.

1. Properly pack and palletize your goods.

2. If you requested a pickup, then be prepared to meet the pickup driver.

3. Cargo self-delivered to a Line-Haul terminal may need a temporary palletizing.

4. Timely submit all necessary shipping documents.

5. Ocean freight cannot guarantee transit time.


7. Door deliveries at destinations.

8. 75% deposit. The actual shipping cost most likely will differ from the estimated shipping cost quoted.

9. Do not confuse LCL service with parcel services. The minimum charge of one cubic meter.


Shipping from the USA


1. Properly pack and palletize your goods. All shipping goods must be boxed or crated.

If you ship goods from the USA overseas with LCL, all the goods must be properly packed. Cargo must be in boxed, crates, or on pallets and labeled for shipping. We do not offer a packing service. Most of the time, international shippers self-pack their goods. However, if you wish, you should be able to find a professional packing company in your area without problems.

Then, most likely, you will need to palletize smaller shipping boxes into skids. Exporters can self-palletize shipping goods or request the ocean freight carrier to properly palletize and shrink wrap loose boxes at the carrier's freight terminal (CFS). The palletizing shipping items self-delivered at CFS cost approximately $35-50 per pallet, depending on CFS. The palletizing fee includes the cost of the certified pallet. The charge will be added to the ocean freight carrier's invoice. The palletizing of shipping items increases the chargeable volume in your shipping. However, palletizing your cargo is the only way to safely ship it from the USA overseas, protected from damages or losses. Unless palletized, ocean freight carriers will not accept more than 3-5 boxes for international shipping from the USA.

The packing requirements may appear a bit complicated. Not at all. It's almost the same as domestic moving. Just one limitation. Forklifts will handle your palletized cargo during all stages of shipping. Pallets will be professionally loaded and secured in a 40-foot multimodal sea freight container for safe shipping from the USA.

Sometimes shippers ask, 'Can we pack and ship from the U.S. suitcases, plastic bins, etc.?' Yes, you can. Just ensure that it is strong enough to keep the shape. However, even if you will palletize all your shipping items, we recommend labeling every single item. Then in the event that a skid will be broken, each item can be identified. Our shipping instructions will contain a web link to print your shipping labels. 

Sometimes shippers ask, 'Is it safe to ship from the USA overseas some valuables in 40-foot containers by sea? What should we say? Almost all the goods you see in Walmart, Target, etc., arrived in the USA in the same containers by sea. Just pack your shipping items accurately. Separate fragile items. Bubbles wrap it. Insulate it in plastic film. You may consider hiring a professional packing company. The majority of ocean freight shipments from the USA arrive without damages and losses. Consider marine insurance in your shipping. 

However, stay away from shipping from the USA dangerous goods and prohibited commodities. Do not put into your shipping boxes the following things:

If you are unsure what some of your goods are legal for shipping from the USA, then put them away. Do not take your entire shipment at risk. Do not ship such things. If it is still necessary to ship overseas, ask officials in the United States and your destination country.


2. If you requested a pickup, then be prepared to meet the pickup driver and, if necessary, be ready to provide help in loading your cargo into the pickup truck. 

If, at a time of quoting-booking with our online freight calculator, you request a pickup (collection), then please be aware of some limitations in LTL freight.

In international LCL sea freight service, on cargo pickups, we utilize U.S. LTL domestic carriers but not moving companies. LTL freight is mostly designed for cargo pickups and deliveries between commercial facilities with loading docks. LTL trucks are operated by single drivers. Then, on residential pickups, LTL drivers may refuse to handle bulky cargo, saying that they are not movers. Handling many boxes, especially if cargo locates far away from the pickup truck, may be time and labor-consuming.

Therefore, at the time of pickup, you have to be prepared to help the pickup driver with your cargo load. You may need to call the LTL company scheduled for your pickup in our shipping instructions in advance and discuss and conduct your pickup conditions.

If you're requesting a pickup, please keep in mind that if you ship too many boxes (for example, you pack and ship from the USA an entire apartment or house), then the pickup may not be available. In this case, you should consider a self-self delivery of your boxes to the nearest to your freight terminal. You can always hire a local moving company to deliver your boxes to the terminal. If you hire a moving company, then we'd recommend following them and controlling the submission of your goods to international shipping from the USA.

Also, keep in mind that pickup time slots are typically from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. If you'd like to specify a more precise time window, then you may call the dispatcher of the trucking company on the day of pickup to find an estimated driver's arrival time. The LTL freight terminal's dispatcher phone number is in our shipping instructions.

IMPORTANT!: If for any reason you are not ready for the pickup on the scheduled day, then that's OK. However, in this case, you must call the dispatcher of the LTL company in advance directly. Otherwise, an attempt pickup charge may be added to your shipping cost.

When calling, always refers to your pickup reference number that is in our shipping instructions. Obtain a new pickup reference number. Notify us to track your pickup. No changes in your LTL bill of lading are required. Use the same LTL bill of lading that you received with our shipping instructions.

Please note that LTL freight does not offer inside pickups. Cargo must locate on the ground level, in a garage, on a porch, etc.


3. Cargo self-delivered to a Line-Haul terminal may need a temporary palletizing. If cargo is self-delivered to a line haul freight terminal for the transfer to an ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS), the shipper should be prepared to deal with palletizing with the Line-Haul terminal.

In the online freight calculator, domestic U.S. LTL line haul terminals are listed in lowercase with an asterisk. For example, San Diego, CA*. LTL carrier should accept your packed goods for domestic transportation to the CFS for further shipping your goods out of the U.S.

On the one hand, unlike CFS, LTL line haul terminals are not obligated to palletize cargo. On the other hand, most of the time, they temporarily palletize loose boxes for handling cargo by forklifts. However, they never follow ISPM15 rules. These rules do not apply to U.S. domestic cargo transportation.

According to our experience, typically, line haul freight terminals accept loose boxes and palletize them without questions asked. However, in rare cases, they may request to palletize boxes or charge a fee to palletize loose boxes. 

To avoid possible confusion, before your cargo delivery to the line haul terminal, you may need to call the terminal in advance and conduct the business on palletizing. If calling, then always provide the LTL bill of lading number attached to our shipping instructions.

Please do not confuse palletizing your shipping boxes at LTL Line-Haul freight terminals with palletizing at ocean freight carriers' terminals (CFS). In our online freight calculators, CFSs are listed in uppercase and highlighted. For example, MIAMI, FL.

CFS should always be palletized or re-palletized, and shrink-wrap cargo delivered loose for $35-50 per pallet, including the cost of a certified pallet. Then in your international shipping from the USA, you obey ISPM15 rules. Typically, CFS does not accept cash for palletizing. The fee will be added to the carrier's freight.


4. Timely submit all necessary shipping documents

All carriers follow the same rule in international cargo transportation: "No docs, no ship." That means that unless all shipping documents are in order, cargo cannot be released to international shipping from the USA. If cargo is already delivered at Container Freight Station (CFS), but some documents are missing, it will be on hold at the CFS until all necessary documentation is submitted. If a shipper cannot provide proper documents on an international shipment, he can take the cargo back. However, a CFS in/out fee will apply on top of storage charges (if any).

Do not delay your export documents. You should submit it before or, at the latest, on the day of delivery of your goods to CFS.

Remember that you should not attach any original shipping documents to your cargo. Do not write a list of shipping goods on shipping boxes. It may attract thieves. All documents must be sublimed to us via your shipping instructions or in an email in the attached PDF files. Files other than PDF format may be rejected.

Does it look too complicated? Not at all. 

Most of the time, you will need to submit only a commercial invoice or valued packing list. It should list items that you are shipping from the USA abroad and the value of the items in US$.

Often shippers ask, 'I'm shipping just personal goods. Not for sale. Where can I get a commercial invoice?' 

The answer is, 'It is easy.' If you're shipping from the USA overseas household goods or personal belongings, then you describe your shipping items and assign the value by yourself. That's it. You provide the information in a document called a Valued Packing List. Our shipping instructions will contain a web link to submit your valued packing list online. You can see what your valued packing list will look like in this link

When submitting a valued packing list, remember that you should list all your shipping items, no matter if you are going to palletize them or not. You can combine boxes with about the same commodity, value, and weight to save you time.

In respect of international shipping from the USA mixed household goods or personal effects, if there is no major commodity described, we may suggest the HS Code 4016.99.05 “Household articles not elsewhere specified or included.” In this case, we'll notify shippers in our updates email.

When filling your valued packing list, you do not have to list each plate and cup. Provide a general description like tableware, used clothes, disassembled furniture, etc. 

However, avoid too uncertain descriptions like '12 boxes with used household goods with a total value of $2,499'. That may be OK to get a release for your goods for shipping out of the USA, but the destination county customs may ask your consignee (recipient of the goods) for a more detailed list of arrived goods. 

Also, despite palletizing your boxes, you should label each box as 1 of 12, 2 of 12, 3 of 12, etc. That is, in case your skid falls apart during international transportation, each shipping item can be identified.

Depending on import regulations in a particular destination country, the ocean freight carrier may request additional documents in your international shipping. That could be a copy of a photo ID, tax information, etc. There should not be anything complicated for you to provide such documents. We should inform you if any additional valued packing list documents are required to obtain your cargo release for shipping from the USA. 

IMPORTANT: If the value of your shipping goods is US$2500 and above, then you must submit the U.S. Shippers Export Declaration (SED). You can submit the Shippers Export Declaration on your own and provide ITN, or we will file it on your behalf for a $35 fee. To submit SED on your behalf, we will need from the shipper either EIN (U.S. tax ID) or a copy of the shipper's foreign passport.

Please keep in mind that a U.S. freight forwarder's responsibility is to assist a shipper till exporting goods are entered into the commerce zone of the destination country. I.e., till shipping from the U.S. goods will reach a bonded freight terminal (CFS) in the destination country. All issues related to the recovery of the goods at the destination, including providing all documents required by the destination country customs and other government organizations, are the consignee's responsibilities (in respect of dealing with customs professionally called 'Importer of records'). Neither freight forwarder nor ocean freight carrier will be able to assist you in the task.

However, when shipping LCL freight, you are not alone. With LCL, your bill of lading contains the ocean freight carrier's destination agent's contact information. The agent should issue an official arrival notice to your consignee and guide the consignee in the complexity of your import recovery.

When shipping goods from the United States aboard, always remember that this is your goods, and you are shipping the goods overseas, but no one else. Freight forwarders and carriers are assisting your needs. It is the shipper's and consignee's responsibility to provide all necessary documents required by the ocean freight carrier, origin and destination country officials, and third parties that may be involved in your international shipping from the USA.


5. Ocean freight cannot guarantee transit time.

Mostly cargo vessels depart and arrive as scheduled. Having a price quote, you can always reply to the quote and ask for the nearest vessel schedule. However, if your shipment is time-sensitive, you should know that delays may occur. 

In sea freight, the reasons for delays are not just severe weather conditions. Transit time in multimodal LCL international shipping depends on cargo and documents cutoff at CFS, trucking or rail traffic, hubs and seaport conjunctions, and many other factors that may impact the time of cargo transportation from the United States to a destination overseas.

Here, we'd like to alert you that in addition to the routine delays associated with different factors during cargo transportation from the USA overseas, there is a possibility of delays associated with cargo quarantine by the United States Customs and Border Patrol. Such delays are extremely rare. However, if the U.S. CBP flagged a container for the examination, then the delay may take uncertain time. Unless released by the U.S. CBP, cargo cannot be loaded on a vessel. Furthermore, additional charges due to the exam may occur. The charges should be equally divided into all owners of the cargo in the checked container. No one can help you with that. All complaints should be directed to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.



Any importing goods, regardless of the commodity, mode of transportation, and country of destination, are subject to destination charges.

If you're making the decision to ship goods abroad, whether you transport commercial cargo or shipping household goods or personal belongings, you have to keep in mind the destination charges. Destination charges (sometimes called local charges) occur at the destinations. Therefore they are not considered freight charges. Destination charges are NOT included in the shipping cost obtained in the freight calculator.

We inform our customers about destination charges through all the processes of initiating every single shipment. At the time of booking, shippers must agree with this statement: 'I understand that Destination charges are payable by consignee...'. Otherwise, shipments cannot be initiated. You may find more about destination charges in the step-by-step guide in step 7. 

As soon as your goods exit the U.S. Commerce zone, U.S. laws do not apply to your cargo. Cargo recovery at destinations and all charges associated with import recovery are the consignee's responsibilities and on account of the consignee. Neither a U.S. freight forwarder nor an ocean freight carrier can help you to manage your import recovery overseas. In LCL freight, there is an ocean freight carrier's destination agent that should guide you in your import recovery. However, the agent is not a U.S. business. If an issue occurs in your cargo recovery at the destination, no one but your consignee (in respect of import recovery, professionally called Importer of Records) can be better aware of and work on resolving the issue.

Yes, International Maritime Laws should apply to your freight. However, depending on the country you're shipping to, the laws may be interpreted differently. Not to mention other reasons related to the economic and political situation in the country of destination.

Typically, with LCL freight, you do not need to hire a destination country's customs broker. Carrier's destination agent is the customs broker as well. However, if a problem occurs, we suggest that the first that you should do is apply for help from an independent customs broker in your destination country.

Experienced exporters are always aware of and consider destination charges in their business. If customers would like to find out more about cargo recovery procedures at the destination and estimate destination charges in advance, then upon receipt of a quote in our online freight calculator, they may ask us about the contact information of the prospective carrier’s destination agent. Having the information, they may contact the agent and get the information directly from overseas.

Please understand that we cannot see the shipment's routing without a quote or booking reference number. Before requesting an ocean freight carrier's agent contact information, you have to obtain a quote or booking reference number on our website.

Typically, the carrier’s destination agent contact information is in our shipping instructionsThe agent's contact information must be reconfirmed in your bill of lading. Please note that during your cargo transportation, the carrier may change their agent. However, most of the time, your import recovery procedures and destination charges should remain about the same.

Please note that a part of or all destination charges may be required to be paid at a port of entry of shipping goods but at the final destination. Depending on the destination country's customs regulations, all or a part of destination charges may need to be paid at the port of entry. The cargo will continue traveling to the freight terminal at the place of delivery as in your bill of lading cleared with customs. Otherwise, shipping goods can be transferred to the final destination in bond and are required to be cleared with customs at a bonded freight terminal located within the place of delivery area. Also, please note that sometimes, destination charges may be divided by separate invoices related to particular parties involved in import recovery.

What we'd suggest if, for some reason, you will experience problems with your import recovery at the destination?: 

  1. IMPORTANT!: If for any reason your consigne will not be contacted by the carrier's destination agent on/in a few days before your cargo ETA (Estimated day of Arrival), do not wait. Contact them first. The agent's contact info is in your bill of lading.
  2. Always request an Arrival Notice in a legal format. Your Arrival Notice must be dated and contain the destination agent's letterhead and destination charges breakdown. Phone calls or random emails are not enough.
  3. Work with the destination agent. Respect the agent's job. The business of the agent is to get a release for your goods as quickly as possible. Follow the agent's instructions. Pay destination charges (sometimes called Local Charges), and receive your released goods.
  4. If, for some reason, you experience a problem with your import recovery, do not hesitate to contact us. However, if you will not provide a copy of your legal arrival notice, most likely, we will not be able to work with the carrier on your behalf. We will always need a copy of your arrival notice.

Please keep in mind: that import recoveries are time-sensitive! As quickly you begin working on it, as less probably you will face deadline penalties: storage, demurrage, Customs penalties, etc.


7. Door deliveries at destinations.

Our customers frequently ask, 'Is there a "door-to-door" service?'

With LCL freight, there is no 'door delivery' service included in the shipping cost quoted. 

Here, in the United States, we offer cargo pickup (collection) internationally, shipping goods in boxes, crates, or on pallets virtually from any location, with cerian limitations.

However, your goods will be shipped "not to door," but to a freight terminal located within the greater area of the designated city named as the place of delivery in your bill of lading.

The ocean freight carrier's destination agent assigned in your bill of lading should guide you in your import recovery and get the cargo release for you. Typically the agent is a customs broker as well. Then all you will need is to follow the agent's instructions, pay destination charges, and obtain the release. Cleared with customs and released cargo should be self-picked up from the freight terminal by the consignee. 

Most ocean freight carriers' destination agents and freight terminals offer delivery services for an additional cost. Then, you will be able to order a 'door delivery' and pay for the service at the destination directly to them. Otherwise, your consignee may hire a local cargo transportation company to arrange a pickup of released goods to be delivered 'to the door.'


8. 75% deposit. The actual shipping cost most likely will differ from the estimated shipping cost quoted.

Some customers ask us about COD (Cash on Delivery) or Freight Collect service. They probably confuse international cargo transportation with mail orders, where payment is made on delivery rather than in advance. If the goods are not paid for, they are returned to the retailer. 

If this is your first-time international shipment with us, then we welcome you. However, to initiate a shipment, you have to pre-pay at least 75% of the estimated shipping cost calculated based on weight/measurements (w/m) information provided by you in your quote and booking.

Please keep in mind that at the time of quoting and booking your LCL shipment, most of the time, it is difficult to provide the precise dimensions, weight, and number of your shipping units. Do not be confused. That's OK. Just roughly estimate.

The actual volume, weight, and number of your shipping from USA units will most likely differ from the number and measurements you have provided at the time of booking. Upon your cargo delivery to the ocean freight carrier's shipping terminal (CFS), the CFS will calculate and reconfirm the actual number of your shipped units, the overall volume, and weight. You may need to read our step-by-step guide.

Also, you will receive our final invoice, less the deposit already paid, not upon arrival of your cargo to the destination but at the time when your cargo will depart from the USA. In other words, we will invoice you at the time when your sea freight bill of lading will be generated. Occasionally, as far as we receive a rated proof copy of your bill of lading before the departure, we may invoice you upon the proof.

Once again, please: Your invoice will be based on the actual weight/measurements of cargo you have shipped, but not on the estimated shipping cost calculated at the time of quoting and booking. The invoice may also reflect unaccounted costs from the carrier not included in the initial booking (if any), such as charges related to palletizing, fumigation, GRI that occurred during the shipment, etc. In other words, you pay for what you actually have shipped, but not that you had estimated to be shipped. If you have overestimated your w/m, then you pay less or receive a refund. If you have underestimated your w/m, you pay more. That's why we request a 75% deposit, but 100%. Note that this billing practice is common in the industry.


9. Do not confuse LCL service with parcel services. The minimum charge of one cubic meter. Destination charges.
If you consider shipping goods with LCL, please keep in mind that LCL freight service is designed for shipping relatively large cargo. In LCL, there is always a minimum charge of one cubic meter. In other words, if you ship cargo with a total volume of less than one cubic meter, you will be charged for the price of sipping the volume of one cubic meter anyway. Certain destinations may have minimums of two or three cubic meters.
Occasionally, people calculating the shipping cost in our online price calculator wonder, "Why do changes in dimensions of shipping units not result in price changes?" That is because the total volume of their cargo does not exceed the minimum charge on one cubic meter. As soon as the volume exceeds the minimum, the price begins to change.
What is more important is than LCL freight is always subject to destination charges. Do not confuse freight (or the statement ‘freight prepaid’) and destination charges (sometimes called local charges). Destination charges are not included in LCL freight quotes and must be paid by consignees (cargo recipients) at destinations. U.S. freight forwarders do not connect to destination charges.
In other words, if you ship small parcels, then using FedEx, DHL, or another parcel service may be more convenient and cost-effective. LCL becomes cost-effective if you ship sizable and/or heavy items.
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