Shipping and Removals in France
Expats will find shipping to France a fairly painless affair. The country has plenty of ports - the largest of which are Marseilles and Le Havre - a high density rail system and is home to one of the largest international airports, Charles de Gaulle.
It follows that expats can choose to ship by sea, by air or by land; there are plenty of service providers who can help to ship goods from door-to-door, or who can simply rather take responsibility for a piece of the process.
Still, despite the apparent ease of sending goods abroad, expats should note that shipping is expensive, and it’s often the case that they can purchase new or used household good upon arrival for less, or can simply find furnished accommodation.
Shipping costs are calculated based on volume, method of delivery and distance of the delivery.
Those committed to keeping their furniture, however, should pay attention to a few key points if planning to ship to France.
First, expats should seek at least three quotes from shipping service providers, and make sure that their chosen provider ticks all the boxes.
Common services to look for in a shipper
- Pick-up goods at your location
- Basic disassembly and reassembly of furniture
- Border clearance and customs formalities at the destination
- Professional wrapping of all wooden, metal and fabric furniture
- Fuel surcharge
- Export documents for household goods only
- Wooden crate liftvan or palletizing
- Preparing professional inventory list
- Unloading of all items to destination residence, and setting all items per request
- Agent fees and NVOCC deconsolidation charges
- Removal of packing debris from destination resident
Most shippers will charge by the weight and/or volume of the items. Expats should be aware that shippers often tack on additional expenses for certain packing materials, handling and hoisting of excessively large items, as well as for certain processing requirements.
Expats are advised to purchase insurance from a company other than the shipping company used, thus ensuring reliable coverage for broken cargo.
Shipping duty-free to France
Expats can ship used household goods and personal belongings duty-free to France, provided the goods are more than six months old and they have lived outside of the EU for more than a year.
In order to do so though, expats must have proof of residency in France, along with additional paperwork.
Because such stipulations are subject to change at short notice, expats are advised to check with the relevant governmental department for an up-to-date list of terms and requirements before shipping duty-free to France.