Shipping and Removals in San Francisco

The Port of San Francisco, handling shipping from all over the worldShipping and removals to San Francisco are usually done either by container ship or flying the goods over. Shipping by air is usually faster, but far more expensive. Moving goods by sea can take as long as eight weeks, depending on the destination, but tends to be far more cost-effective.
Expats who do decide to ship by sea will have their household goods packed into a container that is usually loaded at their residence. The container is then transported to the relevant port in their home country and is loaded onto a ship as cargo. After the goods arrive in San Francisco or nearby Oakland, the container is unloaded and has to pass through customs. 
The San Francisco Port Department is in charge of the wider waterfront area all the way around the north and east shores of the city which include Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero, and to the south of the Golden Gate City just past Candlestick Point.
The Port of San Francisco constantly handles a wide variety of cargo at large volumes, meaning that it is more than equipped to meet the needs of expats interested in shipping to San Francisco.
Expats who have their goods imported into San Francisco will have to ensure they adhere to the regulations set out by the San Francisco ports authority, the law as set out by the State of California, as well as adhering to Federal Law as enforced by US Customs and Border Protection.
The cost of shipping to San Francisco depends on how many goods are shipped over, the value of the goods and the distance they are shipped. The complexity of the laws that govern moving household goods to the USA and the significant costs of such an operation mean that expats are advised to compare prices between shipping and removals agencies, and use a reputable business that is familiar with the latest legislation.
One way of ensuring that the company being used has a good reputation is to check whether it belongs to an association of international removers, ensuring that the company can be held to account if it fails to deliver to their clients’ satisfaction. Expats should also keep meticulous records of what is being shipped over, as well as record the value of each item, even if it is an estimate.
Some expats do choose to move across their possessions using air freight despite the higher costs, for the convenience of quicker delivery but also because it sometimes works out to be cheaper than renting out furnished accommodation, especially with the high cost of renting in San Francisco. Many moving companies offer both air and sea freight services, so expats moving to the city should be able to compare the options available to them.
Expats should be advised that if they elect to pack goods themselves, some shipping companies will not be held liable for any damages. Those who do decide to pack their own belongings before moving to San Francisco should ensure that their items are carefully and securely packed, that delicate items are clearly marked as fragile, and that all items be listed in an inventory.

While far more limited for owner-packed moves, moving insurance could be a valuable investment when transporting large volumes of goods. To ensure reliable coverage of broken goods expats should, however, use an insurance company other than the one used to transport their belongings. 
Certain household items and personal effects may be exempted from duty charges when entering the United States. Another reason it is important to work through a reputable carrier is that they should be able to advise expats on these regulations, and inform them when their shipment has arrived. 
Expats wanting to ship pets to San Francisco have to adhere to the regulations set out by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS). As a general rule, dogs and cats brought from overseas must be healthy and have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before entering the USA. There are, however, specific restrictions on certain breeds of dog and regulations may be different for other animals.

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