Moving to Sweden with Less-than-Container-Load Freight
Congratulations to all of you who were offered a placement in a Swedish school!
Exciting! I hope you have packed your bags and ready to jump on the first plane to Sweden…wait
Now, “packing” is quite a dirty word! I recommend packing an efficient suitcase and buy things as you need locally. But see flowchart below.
I was in a different situation. My family didn’t live in Canada while I was planning my move to Sweden (rather silly… right after I settled my move, my father got a job transfer to Canada. Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog now). Så, I had no where to store my stuff…
I have a ton of stuff (literally, 102kg): snowboard, 2x skis, car, 4 winter tires, kitchen stuff, desktop computer, bedding, sleeping bags, books, camping stuff, bike (got stolen, thank you thief)…a lot of cloth for 5 seasons and apocalypse…
Medium value goods:
It would cost approximately the same as buying it in Sweden.
After a few hours of detailed MARR (Minimum Attractive Rate of Return), Engineering Economics, and beer drinking (mostly beer drinking), I came up with three solutions.
1/ Throw away all my stuff & buy new in Sweden.
2/ Drive to Sweden with a fully loaded car.
3/ Ocean Freight (like the big containers you see trucks hauling around, yep)
4/ Pack dense things into boxes and mail it to myself.
Ok, I had at least $2000 worth of goods. 1/ Throw away all my stuff & buy new in Sweden. I don’t want to have a car in Sweden. Period. 2/ Drive to Sweden with a fully loaded car. Mailing it to myself? The cost is a function of volume. I have too much low density stuff (like cloth and blanket, etc.) The size of boxes is too large… not cost effective. 4/ Pack dense things into boxes and mail it to myself.
My Spanish and Italian housemates all mailed stuff from their home countries.
Upon research, I found this thing called Less-than-Container-Load (acronym LCL Cargo). Terrific. That is EXACTLY what I am looking for.
How to LCL Ocean Freight?
Step 1: organize
Figure out how much stuff do you ACTUALLY need to ship. Ie. Volume, weight
Then get an instant quote from a local shipping company. (google it)
$250 bucks for 1 cubic meter 100kg of stuff, DEAL!
Step 2: find a skid
Usually around supermarket…
NB! Make sure it has a “HT” (heat treated) mark on BOTH side of the skid. Otherwise they won’t allow it (preventing bugs from traveling without visa).
Step 3: pack & play Tetris
Get some big plastic container and start filling it up.
Get all your boxes to fit within the volume given in the quote.
Step 4: book your shipment
Inform your shipping company about 2 weeks ahead is fine.
Step 5: pay
Swedish side: cost depends on the receiving company in Sweden. The shipping company in Toronto was not be able to tell me. Ok, can’t cost that much € I thought.
Step 6: fly to Sweden
It took about 2 weeks to sail across the ocean, but it took about 4 weeks from handing over to the company in Toronto to receiving it in Sweden.
Step 7: the company will contact you once your stuff is here, but your phone number is…
No worries, once I received my Bill of Lading, I called the Swedish shipping company to update my phone number to the Swedish one.
Step 8: pay the Swedes
Så, about 400 SEK terminal fee, 500 SEK handling fee, if you want them to deliver it to your doorstep: 600 SEK (I didn’t have a car, I could have called a taxi and saved a little bit there…not worth my time)
That is almost as expensive as shipping across the Atlantic.
If you want the shipping company to do your “import customs” work that is another 500 SEK. Nej tack!
Step 9: customs & import tax
Since these are my personal effects and I am a student, I brought proof of my residency and student status to the custom office. The office is difficult to find, it is about 45 mins outside of Göteborg, near the Volvo museum. Cliché.
Step 10: wait for delivery
Welcome to your new home swede home!
Since I used my airline points and paid only €2 for my flight from New York City to Stockholm, the LCL freight cost was neutralized.
I hope I will NEVER have to move again.
see you soon!