Loading a container for an international move
During a maritime overseas move, your personal belongings are exposed to extreme conditions when being transported out at sea. These include sudden movements and drastic changes in temperature and humidity. Besides properly packing your household goods to protect them from damages, the proper loading of your goods into a shipping container is just as important.
If you’re opting for FCL shipping, you have the entire container space to play with for all of your personal belongings. However, with LCL shipping, given that you’ll be sharing a container with other shippers, we recommended taking extra precaution as you cannot guarantee their proper packing.
Here are some tips for you when loading a container for your international move:
- Big items such as furniture should go towards the back of the container. Everything else should be boxed and palletized.
- Distribute the weight of your cargo evenly over the floor area. In FCL shipping, make sure to cover the entire floor space of the container. If your cargo weight is uneven (i.e. you have certain boxes that are significantly heavier than others), use bedding* to spread the weight out.
- Keep the total cargo weight in mind. Do not exceed the maximum container payload. As a guideline, the maximum weight for a 20-foot container is 24,000 (52,900lbs) and 30,480kg (67,200lbs) for a 40-foot container. Check road weight limitations. You may want to consult your destination agent for road weight regulations at your destination country.
- For FCL shipping, spread your goods out in terms of volume. You should not have your cargo stacked up on one end of the container and have them spread out on the floor on the other end of the container. In the event that you do not have enough cargo to cover the entire space, you may fill them with dunnage*.
- Place dry cargo above wet cargo to prevent the risk of damaging your dry cargo. Likewise, place heavy items below light items to prevent crushing especially since the cargo is subjected to violent movements at sea.
- Pack your container as tightly as possible. If needed, use straps to secure the cargo in its place.
- Do not put direct pressure on the container door. Use a fence or gate if needed to avoid direct pressure.
*All blocking, bracing, and packing material need to be heat treated according to the destination country’s regulations.
Loading a car for an international move
If you’re taking your car with you, make sure to check for vehicle shipping restrictions in your destination country. We strongly recommend hiring professionals to help with loading your car into the container. If you choose to do it yourself, keep in mind that the responsibility of the car’s condition lies on you.
When loading the car into the container, keep in mind that you will need a crane to load the car as the container will arrive on the truck, which means the base of the container will be around four feet in the air. You may want to consider hiring a flatbed tow truck to help facilitate the loading. If you prefer to do this yourself, we recommend using a ramp, which may be rented from stores like U-haul. Straps to hold down the car and other household goods may be purchased from hardware stores.
Before loading the car, there are certain steps you need to take:
After the car has been loaded, remember to do the following:
- Remove all gas from the car
- Disconnect the battery and alarm system
- Fasten and secure the car with lashes to prevent the car from moving around during the ocean freight journey
- Block the wheels from all sides (front, back, sides) with wooden blocks or wheel chocks.
- Make sure the wheels are securely attached to the container
For a more visual explanation, you may check out our loading a car into a container infographic.