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How International Moving Costs are Calculated in 2024

By March 27, 2021March 7th, 2024No Comments
Money saving tips on international moving

Understanding How International Moving Costs are Calculated


If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re planning on an international move. Moving to a new country is exciting, but it can also get costly. Understanding how international moving costs are calculated is essential to help reduce costs. Here you will find the breakdown of all calculations, how they’re calculated and where you can shave some money.


How Ocean Transport is Calculated

Container Ship on the Ocean

Learn More About Container Costs


Ocean freight shipping is the most commonly used for overseas moving.  However, the less you have, the less expensive your costs will be. Moving internationally is a great time to purge. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it. Reducing your load will not only help reduce international moving costs, but it will also help you get yourself organized for the big move.

International moving quotes can vary from company to company.

Cubic feet (cuft): Ocean freight is based on volume. Your final cubic feet will determine the costs of moving, so it’s important to have an accurate inventory list. Quality movers will offer you an in-home or virtual tour which you can use to help get an accurate quote. You can also use a cubic feet calculator to help you plan and budget.

Take the pallet size under consideration: Pallets will add a small amount of volume to your move. If you have 20 boxes that need to be shrink-wrapped and palletized before loading, it can add some volume. You must speak with a professional to find out more details.

Dock receipt: A dock receipt is a document produced by the port container freight station with your move’s dimensions. Your invoice will be based on that and only that.

How to calculate cubic feet

Cubic feet are a unit of volume. To calculate the volume or capacity of an item or space in cubic feet you will first need to measure its length, width, and height in either foot, inches (or a combo of both), centimeters, meters, or yards. Once you have those measurements, you apply some multiplication as follows…

Calculating cubic feet for different units (formulae)

  • feet: length (ft) × width (ft) × height (ft) = cubic feet
  • inches: length (in) × width (in) × height (in) ÷ 1728 = cubic feet
  • yards: length (yd) × width (yd) × height (yd) × 27 = cubic feet
  • cm: length (cm) × width (cm) × height (cm) ÷ 28316.85 = cubic feet
  • meters: length (m) × width (m) × height (m) × 35.314667 = cubic feet

How Service Can Effect Your Cost

Just like any other service, international moving comes with many options. A full door-to-door move would generally mean a company will do everything from a to z, including packing. You also have an option of shipping via door to port which will help save money and require some leg work.

Shipping options when moving overseas can vary based on the company.

Before you choose a service, you should speak with a relocation specialist. Although saving money always sounds good, it’s not always ideal, especially when moving overseas. International moving costs are based on many factors.


  • Door to Door: Included everything from A to Z. However, it’s always best to confirm the company of your choice.
  • Door to Port: You will pick up at the port of destination. All customs, port, and terminal charges will be your responsibility.
  • Port to Port: You will drop off at the nearest port container freight station and pick up at the port of destination.

What are Port & THC Costs?

Insurance and How it’s Calculated

Insurance on international moves are options but suggested. Keep in mind that your household goods will be on the ocean for some time, and things can happen. We always recommend purchasing insurance because, without it, you will not be covered.

There are two types of insurance. One is for customers that self-pack, and the other for professionally packed moves.

Insurance for professionally packed moves: All Risk Insurance is used to move a professional moving company packs. A mover would need to create a full detailed list of everything you’re moving and note that it was packed. They will also note any pre-existing damage or scratches for the insurance company.

However, all risk insurance will cover the full value you decalre and 4% of the total value.

$100 = $4

Self Pack Insurance: Total loss insurance is for self-packed customers. It will cover the entire shipment as a whole only. If one item is damaged, you will not be covered.

Total Loss insurance is 2.5% of the value of the goods.

How to Save on Moving Costs

The bottom line: Hiring a mover is a luxury and can get expensive, especially an international move. Finding the right company is essential to a positive outcome. Experience, knowledge, and compassion are important traits in who you decide to hire.

The Federal Maritime Commission regulates ocean transport, so a company would need to be licensed. Don’t go with a company that doesn’t follow the rules.

You will also want to go with your gut if you come across a savvy pushy sales rep move on. There is no reason you should feel pressured when moving overseas.

Lastly, make sure you ask all the right questions. Ask what is and what is not included in the cost. If you have any questions or need a professional moving quote, feel free to contact us at any time.