Speakers Lounge @ CERC International Moving: Navigating Troubled Waters 09.12.2019 | Morgan E. Wiedmann

Our thought leaders are always on top of the latest industry trends and use their subject matter expertise throughout our fast paced and growing industry.  From speaking at conferences, to hosting roundtables, to contributing to industry publications, our colleagues are frequently called upon around the globe to contribute and help shape conversations around industry hot topics. And we want to share our knowledge with you, in an effort to propel mobility together!

In this post, Rob Stone, Vice President Client Services discusses some of the potential challenges facing organizations shipping their mobile employees household goods internationally. Rob will be speaking on this topic during the upcoming CERC Future-Proofing Mobility Conference on Monday, September 16th from 3:45-5:00pm alongside Roy Phelps, Quality Move Management and James Spearing, PwC Canada.

International Moving: Navigating Troubled Waters

These days, managing a responsible global mobility program involves striking a balance between several competing forces within the current global climate such as shifting regulations, unstable geopolitical environments, the demand for greater flexibility leading to the increase in DIY mobility programs, and the marked increase in unpredictable, sometimes volatile weather conditions.

The international household goods moving process provides a great backdrop to explore some of the areas that have become more critical recently and examine the complexities around the factors impact household goods shipping costs and result in potential delays. In particular, global economic and social-political conditions are increasingly affecting the ability to manage and move household goods around the world, with protectionism, terrorism, labour conflict and talent shortages a few of the issues facing companies who move your mobile employees’ goods.

The Potential Challenges and Unforeseen Delays

Let’s face it…moving is stressful at the best of times! This is compounded when relocating internationally and has the potential to negatively affect the assignee experience. Given the complex nature of international shipping, the three big challenges include:

Multiple, global stakeholders: managing an effective move requires the skillful oversight and involvement of the following integral parties:

  • Employee/Homeowner
  • Origin Agents
  • 3rd Party Suppliers
  • Trucking Company
  • Freight Forwarder/Steamship Line/Air Cargo
  • Terminal / Customs agents
  • Delivery Agents

Highly valuable/emotional cargo: Family heirlooms and antiques, cherished family photos, artwork, and a myriad of highly intrinsic valued items all add to the stress.

Complex process: There are numerous opportunities for unforeseen delays or added costs when moving internationally. While not an exhaustive list, some of the more common factors include:

  • Customs Documentation: Incomplete or inaccurate customs declarations/forms;
  • Steamship Lines/Date Challenges: not all traffic lanes have weekly service, leading to  unexpected export delays;
  • Steamship Line Overbooking: Household goods are considered lower priority items and occasionally bookings are “bumped” unexpectedly for perishable or higher priority cargo;
  • Port Delays / Transshipment: Many routes are not direct and require the cargo to first be routed to different ports, where they are offloaded, stored, and reloaded onto transshipment vessels for the final leg of the journey;
  • Custom Hold/Inspection Delays: Most countries have stringent import requirements and inspection processes. Shipments can be randomly selected for inspection, or the inventory/manifest may identify contents of concern. Shipments can be “held” for inspection that will add significantly to the transit time….not to mention higher costs;
  • Detention & Demurrage: Unforeseen port / terminal detention and demurrage charges can escalate quickly if the shipment is not released / removed within the allowed free time. Agents need to proactively monitor container arrivals to avoid/minimize these unexpected charges.
  • Inclusion of “Red Flag” items: Accidental shipping of prohibited or restricted items in the host country (typically in shipments where the employee packs themselves). Items such as alcohol, new items, and “miscellaneous”/”packed by owner” are often identified and questioned by Customs authorities;

Understanding the challenges of international household goods shipment, can ensure that issues are mitigated, and realistic expectations are set from the out-set.

To hear more from Rob on how you can ensure you have a responsible and effective international household goods program in place, don’t miss his session during CERC’s Future-Proofing Mobility Conference, on Monday, September 16 from 3:45-5:00pm titled, International Household Goods: Navigating Troubled Waters. Not attending CERC? Stay tuned to this blog, where we will recap some of the highlights of Rob’s session after the conference.

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Written by Morgan E. Wiedmann


Morgan Wiedmann is the Content Specialist in Weichert’s Marketing group. Leveraging over six years of experience in writing and marketing, she develops content for the company’s website and social media channels as well as for client and colleague communications. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Journalism from Suffolk University in Boston. Morgan serves as an active member of Worldwide ERC’s YP40 committee and has been named a Marketing Champion by Salesforce.

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