Who Handles International Moves?

International moving companies are different from your typical local movers. Even though most of them offer both local and international moving services, international moving services involve packing, storage, transportation or shipping, and delivery of one’s items to overseas locations.

Some even go as far as securing services at your destination, which help companies or individuals find homes or offices overseas, schools for the kids, safe neighborhoods to live in, assistance with customs, moving bank accounts, and so on. All of these depend, obviously, on the budget available to the person moving.

At a more basic level, though, it is important to understand the players involved in the moving process before getting into just how the process works.

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The transferee

This is the individual who is moving house or relocating their business from one country to another. Most people move for job or business related reasons, but reasons may vary. You might be attending a school in a foreign country, seeking a new adventure, or moving back home after a long stint abroad. The reason the transferee gives for moving will determine a lot, including what is to be packed, how urgent the services are required, and the budget.


Most people moving internationally are moving a business, or for job related reasons, usually have a corporate account involved. When a company sends an individual across the world, typically they pay for the move and ensure they’re settled in their new house.

Even though it might be the transferee themselves dealing with the moving company, the corporate account typically has a huge bearing on how the move goes. The destination they are posted to, for instance, might have strict rules governing shipment of certain items. The budget they are allowed might only allow them to share containers, or the funding might be substantial enough to have them rent their own shipping container.

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Booking agent

Booking agents act as the front for the company that is ultimately involved in the move. They will be the contact person throughout the moving process, responsible for answering questions, explaining the contract, and taking the transferee through the process and the terms and conditions.

The moving company

These are the experts involved in the actual move. They normally work behind the scenes, but it is important for the transferee to meet them at least twice. The first time they meet should be when the moving company is surveying the house and then the second time during the packing process. The moving company is responsible for both the origin and destination agents used during the move.

The origin agent performs the pre-survey and packs, loads, stores, and transports the items to be shipped. The destination agent is in charge of the customs clearance, delivery to the client’s home, unloading, unpacking, and placement of items in the new home according to the requirements of the transferee. The origin agent might also be responsible for local transportation because of their expertise. Transportation can be by air, road, rail, sea, or a combination of everything. Understanding just who does what is critical to the understanding of how the process works.

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