I love shipping containers. At first glance they seem like the world's lamest invention, and yet they save billions of dollars in shipping each year.
For adults and families who are packing up an entire house and moving to another country overseas, I recommend using a 20 or 40-foot shipping container.
I don't actually have any experience moving with one, but I spotted this 20-foot ZIM container outside of my neighbor's house and asked her some questions about her experience.
She is moving from Sacramento to Israel, and she's bringing 1,171 cubic feet of furniture and boxes with her. Her decision to move to Israel was in-part based on a lack of affordable religious education within Sacramento.
She got help from the Jewish Agency, an organization which helps people immigrate to Israel. They showed her some options for moving, including options with a shipping container. She contacted Isaac Kotev at Aris Export.
Aris let her know about three options, wooden crates, 20' containers and 40' containers. With Mr. Kotev's help she estimated that a 20' container would be sufficient.
Next, Mrs. Elliot got quotes from 5 different moving companies. She had to make some decisions before she could get quotes:
- Port to Port: She could fill the container at the ocean port in Oakland, California and have it shipped to the port in Haifa, Israel.
- Door to Port: She could fill the container at her door in Sacramento and have it delivered to the port at Haifa.
- Door to Door: The container would be picked up in Sacramento and delivered all the way to her new house in Karmiel, Israel.
She could fill the container herself, or pay a small team to pack her house and load it for her. Professional packing brought a $3,000 charge. Because she opted to pack and load it herself, they parked the container on a trailer in front of her house. The time allowed for packing it yourself is much looser than with a U-haul or other Rental Truck: Four days.
Two types of insurance are available, "total loss" and "by item". Both types of insurance require you to submit a complete inventory of the container contents. Mrs. Elliot bought insurance for $200.
Armed with five quotes, she negotiated a price with Isaac and decided on Aris Export. For pack it yourself, door-to-door service, the shipping price was about $5,000.
She was advised that the container will be loaded onto an Israeli-bound ship and that it will arrive at her house in 6-8 weeks. Dockworker strikes and natural disasters can delay delivery. Also, she will have to pay a $500 port fee at the dock in Haifa. Import taxes for her container of goods will be waived because she is a Jew moving to Israel under their "Law of Return".
She also warned me that any container left unclaimed at the docks for more than 4-5 days will start accumulating steep storage fees.
Mrs. Elliot's tips:
- You can ship almost anything except for alcohol and drugs. Cars are possible but automotive import laws are complex (see Rainman for more information). If you do move a car, you can pack the interior of the car with luggage and stuff.
- If you are moving to Israel, especially if you have kids, pack every nook and cranny with new paper towel rolls, toilet paper and baby wipes. There is no weight limit on the container and Israel is not known for its paper.
- You can share a container if you connect with someone else with the same source and destination ports.
How Much is Inside a Shipping Container?
How much to just live in the container?
Sunday 28th of June 2009 3:40 pm
Joe, it is possible to purchase a container and have it delivered. You would want flat, level ground to put it on. I
think you\'d probably pay around $2500-3000.
Sunday 28th of June 2009 3:57 pm
20, 40 foot? I would think a non-American company such as Zim would use a metric unit for length.
Sunday 28th of June 2009 4:37 pm
will they let her bring her flak jacket with her? How about an explosives detector? People tend to get blown up over
Sunday 28th of June 2009 4:38 pm
Mazal Tov on her Aliyah!
Sunday 28th of June 2009 4:53 pm
You can also make pretty cheap homes out of them too! That\'s what I\'m doing anyway. Shipping containers really are
Sunday 28th of June 2009 7:17 pm
I always wanted to make an office or conference room out of a shipping container. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of
not finishing projects and this seems like one of those project where I would buy the giant shipping container, cut a
hole or two in it and then never touch it. The world doesn\'t need a shipping container with a big hole in it, so I
would be sunk. Nice work though Rob. I too am fascinated with shipping containers.
Sunday 28th of June 2009 8:19 pm
Can people buy shipping containers and just put them somewhere? You always see people in movies drive out to a shipping
container in the outskirts of town, unlock it, and it\'s full of guns, office equipment, bodies, or other way cool
Sunday 28th of June 2009 8:32 pm
\"20, 40 foot? I would think a non-American company such as Zim would use a metric unit for length.\"
Feet and inches are the de facto unit of length in many international industries just because a lot of these things got
their start in America. Machine shops everywhere in the world work in thousanths of an inch.
Sunday 28th of June 2009 9:08 pm
My parents, aunt and uncle, and whole lot of other people have used containers to move back to the Philippines. My aunt
and uncle had a Jacuzzi in theirs.
Sunday 28th of June 2009 10:34 pm
I\'m currently living in a converted shipping container, its pretty sweet.
Monday 29th of June 2009 1:03 am
\"Can people buy shipping containers and just put them somewhere? You always see people in movies drive out to a
shipping container in the outskirts of town, unlock it, and it\\\'s full of guns, office equipment, bodies, or other way
Yep, they are pretty easy to buy. Hardest part can be getting them delivered depending on where you want them. I\'ve
used them at quite a few remote work sites for storage, machine shops, garages etc.
Monday 29th of June 2009 1:05 am
Monday 29th of June 2009 1:39 am
We (your US military) use the crap out of them in deployed locations. Not just to get our stuff over here but also for
offices and living quarters. We also have prefabbed bathroom and shower containers that we just hook up to power and
water and go. We call the shipping containers connex\'s, don\'t know why.
Monday 29th of June 2009 1:54 am
Handy to know! I\'ll be moving from Boston to Sweden in a year, I\'ll likely par my stuff down to a few crates.
Monday 29th of June 2009 6:04 am
\"Her decision to move to Israel was in-part based on a lack of affordable religious education within Sacramento.\"
Amazing. It is cheaper to move your family and home halfway around the world than it is to find affordable and
After the kids graduate do you move back to San Fran?
Monday 29th of June 2009 9:18 am
Bad move. Why Isreal, especially at a time like this?
Monday 29th of June 2009 9:20 am
I\'ve actually done this. I packed my parents\' family home into a 40 foot container. I\'d add the tip of having a
couple of box fans set up at the door of the container to move air around in there while loading, they get really hot.
Monday 29th of June 2009 10:37 am
That is cool, and I need a place to move to, can I live in the container during the move?
Monday 29th of June 2009 12:05 pm
where\'s twiki in my robot choices?? hello?? is this thing on??
Monday 29th of June 2009 12:14 pm
They have done amazing things with shipping containers as dormitories in Amsterdam. My friend lived in them for a few
years and she has nothing but fond memories. http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/shipping-container-dormitory/
Monday 29th of June 2009 3:30 pm
Say, I have that exact same company\'s shipping container! I consider myself the advance force for Invader Zim. (Btw,
why no option to have GIR as my comment robot??)
Monday 29th of June 2009 5:18 pm
do an experiment and see how much styrofoam can fit in a container before too much pressure builds :p
Tuesday 30th of June 2009 6:20 am
Had a friend that did this and wondered how much it cost.
Tuesday 30th of June 2009 8:07 am
Shipping in a cargo container is not quite so easy. I\'ve had two out of two TERRIBLE experiences with it, despite
researching companies for months before choosing one. I moved from the UK to Missouri in 2001, and Missouri to Istanbul
in 2007. Both times, the estimate for my carefully packed/weighed/measured stuff was $3000, and I was told it would
take 4-6 weeks to get there. Both times the actual cost was $6000, and it took 6-8 MONTHS to get there. I\'ll continue
in the next comment...
Tuesday 30th of June 2009 12:50 pm
These companies operate via extortion. Once they have your stuff, they can ask for nearly any amount of money they
want, knowing you\'ll pay anything they ask to get back family photos and other irreplaceable stuff. They start out by
slapping on an \"excess gasoline\" charge the second it\'s loaded on the ship--$500 over their estimate. Then once
it\'s in the host country, they charge a bunch of other fees of around $2000 to release it. If you don\'t pay, they
charge a $100/day storage fee.
Tuesday 30th of June 2009 12:54 pm