Ming the Mechanic:
Our stuff arrived

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Our stuff arrived2003-10-02 15:35
by Flemming Funch

Finally the stuff we shipped from Los Angeles arrived. We had pretty much gotten used to being without it, and we weren't really missing it much. And, besides, we had thrown away or given away large amounts of stuff, so the items being shipped were clothes, books, and computers, and very little else.

So now our otherwise pleasantly empty house is full of boxes, and suddenly seems much smaller. And we didn't even ship furniture. But 8 cubic meters of miscellaneous essentials. Like our blankets, sweaters, my favorite books, household files, etc. And I can now sit and look at a big screen, and I can print.

A few pieces of advice for others who might need to send their things by ship to another country:

- Don't believe any precise estimates of when it ships or when it arrives, or for that matter, where it arrives. I did. The ship leaves every Friday, and it takes 29 days to get to the destination. Yeah, sure. I timed it exactly so it would arrive 3 weeks after us, so we had 2 weeks to find a place, and our boxes would arrive the week after. But it took 3 weeks before they even put it on a ship, because of some kind of problem supposedly outside their control. And then the ship went to somewhere in England, rather than to Marseille, close to us in France. And it took them two weeks to get it through customs. And another two weeks before they managed to get a truck to drive it down here. About 80 days total.

- Don't believe any claim of how one company is in control of the whole journey. I picked the freight forwarding company where they were most friendly, and where they gave me an "all-inclusive" price, door-to-door, and they gave very affirming answers to everything. Their price was higher than several of the other companies, which however left most things up in the air, including the charges at the other end, and were very careless about telling me what exactly would happen. But, as it turned out, my company hadn't told me everything either. They handed our shipment to some other company who arranged the actual ship journey, and which apparently rewrote the travel plans along the way and sent it to England, where they handed our packages to another company, which handled the import and customs, and then gave it to a company that actually delivered it. That makes 4 companies, each with a mind of their own. And, well, our things were indeed finally brought to our door. It wasn't entirely all inclusive, as the import company presented me with a $100 bill for a customs inspection. And when I brought this and the various delays to the attention of the L.A. freight forwarder, that's when they suddenly started presenting me with the full picture of serial uncertainty.

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3 Oct 2003 @ 03:06 by Mikel Maron @ : me too
I went with a company called Uniworld Cargo, to ship from SF to Brighton. My blood pressure just shot up, just thinking about it!

When our stuff finally cleared customs, the local company hired to make the final delivery didn't have any trucks available for over a month. We were a bit more desperate, since we shipped our furniture as well. When I asked Uniworld about it, they said, "What do you expect us to do about it? They're in the England, and we're in New Jersey?". This from an International shipping company.

Finally we hired a local company to do the delivery. Still waiting for the refund from Uniworld for that portion of the shipment. Phew!

Sorry to rant on your weblog. If someone has a good recommendation for an international shipper, you will do the world a favor.  

3 Oct 2003 @ 05:14 by ming : Shipping
I went with American Export Lines in L.A. and it was received by EuroUSA in England. They were all pleasant enough on the phone. But my main complaint is that the L.A. company didn't give me the whole story up front. It was all "no problem, we're experienced shippers, we'll take care of it all, of course". And when I then talked with them later it was a similar story of "It is out of our hands", that they don't control what customs thinks of doing, or how long the delivery will take. I'd like to have known all those uncertainties up front. Actually, a couple of the other companies I called first did tell me that they really had no idea about or control over what happened at the other end, and that I would be dealing with another company for that. Which turned me off, but that was actually the truth.

One reason I expected it all to happen as specified was that this was my experience when we moved from Copenhagen to L.A. 18 years ago. The stuff arrived at our doorstep in Hollywood little more than 1 month after being picked up.  

15 Oct 2003 @ 06:56 by rainbowfish : Shape of things to come
This is really worth knowing, as we are currently in the process of getting rid of nearly everything we couldn't do without for years, before moving to France from the UK. It gives us a good idea of what to expect. After selling up, we plan to travel for up to 3 months in order to find the 'right' place to move into. That means we'll have to put the few things we'll have left, (mostly books, albums, musical instruments) into storage for a while, and I understand that can be a nightmare as well. Maybe we should start getting used to laid back "as and when" attitudes now!  

15 Oct 2003 @ 10:45 by ming : Essentials
Yeah, it certainly teaches to you to take things as, if and when they come. And it probably makes you realize what's really essential to you and what is not. I mean, irregardless of our problems getting our stuff shipped, we actually did perfectly well with the stuff we brought in our suitcases. And if it hadn't arrived at all, it would honestly not have been all that terrible.  

3 Nov 2004 @ 19:17 by Catherine @ : bad experience
I just moved from NJ to France with Uniworld Cargo. My stuff ended up in some kind of transit hell in the U.K., where Simpsons, the local shipper, couldn't get it to France. And when it all arrived, after eight weeks instead of the 3-5 promised, it was soaking wet, crushed and broken. We had a small shipment and the guys who took the stuff from our apartment said they'd rewrap everything with cushions and put it all in a wooden box. It arrived with the plain cardboard boxes stacked up and held together with plastic wrap around them, with legs of chairs poking out and all of it seeming as if it had been left out in the rain for a few weeks. The computer was soaked. Boxes of papers all soaked. Antique chairs from my grandmother had been put in boxes, one on top of the other, and they arrived all scratched up because the moving guys never put cushions or moving blankets on them as promised. I'm furious. Uniworld isn't returning my calls. Simpsons seemed like a bunch of idiots. Did anybody else have this problem?  

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I just received a pgacake from you a few days ago and was amazed by how pretty it was! I love your rubber stamps. Receiving the pgacake was an experience in itself. Very personal. Thank you.Have a nice trip.  

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I just received a paagkce from you a few days ago and was amazed by how pretty it was! I love your rubber stamps. Receiving the paagkce was an experience in itself. Very personal. Thank you.Have a nice trip.  

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Other stories in
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2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
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