Many countries around the globe have grounded flights and are in lockdown as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you plan to relocate to another country, then you might be wondering if it’s still possible to ship your belongings from the UAE. The experts at ServiceMarket and several international moving companies have joined hands to demystify and help you navigate this complicated and developing situation.
Relocation companies are still operating during the crisis
Given that ports and shipping, along with airports and airlines, have been identified as one of the vital sectors of the economy, its members are exempted from any restrictions on movement that are currently imposed due the COVID-19 crisis. This means that even while the COVID-19 pandemic persists, you can ship your belongings around the globe without facing any major challenges except for a few countries like India that are under complete lockdown.
Restrictions on outbound passenger travel
Since passenger flights are limited at the moment, the main challenge when relocating at the moment is to fly to the destination before your goods arrive. However, outbound flights from the UAE to select destinations are increasing on a daily basis to allow residents to leave the UAE along with their belongings. As we write this article, select flights are operating to 30 destinations across Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, and the US.
You can expect delays at some destinations
Being exempt from restrictions, there’s nothing stopping international moving companies in the UAE from packing your belongings, getting them to the port, and shipping them. But there might be delays after your goods reach the destination port, depending on the situation in that country. According to Inchcape WorldWide Movers, some of the countries where you can expect delays include India, Jordan, Egypt, and Western Europe. Typically, shipping a full container from the UAE to any destination takes around 4 to 6 weeks, but due to a complete lockdown or possible restrictions on working hours or mobility of port and shipping workers in the country you are relocating to, you may have to face some delays. So, it’s important to make sure your relocation plans can provide a buffer against delays. For example, you should consider shipping your belongings as early as possible, may have to make arrangements for an alternative accommodation, or rent storage space for the goods at your destination.
No new quarantine rules for goods
While you and your family might have to self-quarantine for a certain number of days as per the guidelines issued by the country you’re relocating to, there are no new quarantine rules or procedures for goods. Keep in mind that some countries like Australia already have rules under which your goods may be inspected, isolated, or undergo a treatment such as fumigation.
You might have to face additional storage costs
If you’re shipping your belongings right now but won’t be able to travel yourself due to restrictions, then you may have to keep your goods in a storage facility for a while, which could be an additional cost. Keep in mind that most international movers provide up to one month of free storage for large shipments (usually, 20 CBM more), so discuss your options with your relocation company. If you need storage for longer or the size of your belongings isn’t large enough, be sure to find out the cost of storage beforehand to get an idea of how much you would have to pay for it. One way to cut down your shipping as well as storage costs is to make sure you don’t ship any unnecessary items. Sort through your belongings before getting an estimate from your international movers, and consider donating, selling, or discarding all the items that are not essential or can be bought after you land.
International movers are taking strict precautionary measures
ServiceMarket reached out to multiple international movers and packers in the UAE, including Fusion Specialized Shipping & Logistics, Inchcape WorldWide Movers, Interem, and TransOn Movers, to find out what steps are being taken during the packing and unpacking process to ensure safety. Here’s a list of some of the precautionary measures that can be expected:
- Daily health screening of the staff is conducted before they start working. If anyone is not feeling well, they’re not sent to customers.
- All packers are provided with face masks, hand sanitizers, and gloves. Since gloves can make the process of packing difficult, they may be removed at that point, but the packers will sanitize their hands after removing the gloves and before they start packing.
- The movers wash their hands with antibacterial soap and water before wearing a new pair of gloves.
- The staff maintains a safe distance and also refrains from physical contact with the customers.
- The vehicles used by international movers and packers are properly sanitized at the end of each day.
- No more than three staff members may travel in a vehicle.
- To ensure the safety of both the customers and staff, a questionnaire is also sent to all customers before work begins. It may include questions related to their international travel history, contact with overseas travelers, and experiencing flu-like symptoms.
- You may even be asked to ensure that only one member of your family is in the house while the services are being carried out.
This is a developing situation and international movers like Fusion Specialized Shipping & Logistics, Inchcape WorldWide Movers, Interem, and TransOn Movers are going the extra mile to ensure that you can have the best possible and safe experience when shipping your belongings from the UAE.
Finally, book licensed and accredited movers at this time
Finally, we highly recommend that people shouldn’t take any risks at this point in time when comparing between different moving companies. When comparing moving quotes, do not just opt for the cheapest quote you come across, as you may end up with an unregistered moving and relocation company. To ensure that your items arrive safely at your destination, book your service with accredited moving companies with strong financial backing and international shipping networks. While the most important accreditation you should look for is FIDI, there are also other accreditations like IAMX and BAR. You can easily check the accreditations of international moving companies in the UAE on ServiceMarket.