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Getting the Most Value for Your Lump Sum Relocation Allowance

Congratulations! You have just received a job posting overseas — a great opportunity for you to advance your career and personal growth. Feeling excited? Thankful? Perhaps a little lost? Working and living in another country enables a unique cultural immersion: relish in local delights, explore the sites and meet new friends with a different perspective on life. Get In Touch With Our Experts Today!

However, the initial leap overseas can be daunting, especially so if you are just given a fixed allowance with little guidance on how to plan for your relocation. How do you even begin planning for your move, who can you approach to ship your items and more importantly, how can you make the move as smooth as possible with your budget? To get you started, we have compiled these tips to help you make the most out of your lump sum relocation allowance.

An overview of the moving process

When you relocate overseas, there are three main groups of costs to consider: Origin, Freight and Destination costs. Origin costs are costs you incur to move your items from your home to the freight forwarders. These will include surveying cost (an agent will inventorise the items that you want transported to compute the volume), packing cost and transport cost from your home to the port. Freight costs include the price of shipping your items to your destination port. Destination costs include transport cost from the port to your home, cost to unload the items and cost to assemble the items in your overseas home.

Access cost, especially in the origin and destination sites should also be considered under special circumstances. For example, the cost to move the items into your overseas home will be higher if it does not have a lift, as the movers will have to manually carry the furniture up the stairs. Additionally, the current covid has also increased the freight cost greatly with fewer in and out flow. The low supply has resulted in a higher overall moving budget. However, sometimes things cannot wait.

Lack of data transparency

In truth, current pricing strategies in the traditional logistics industry tend to lack transparency, making it difficult to gauge what a fair price for relocation at a given time should be. A study by Freightos found that carrier prices for forwarders travelling from Shanghai to Long Beach, CA (one of the world’s busiest routes) alone could vary by more than 30% within a day.

(Data from Freightos: Range of Carrier Prices 40’ CNSHA->USLGB, Single Day in December 2016)

While it is difficult to predict the seasonality index and freight prices due to the lack of real-time data, we have compiled a list of top tips to help you save cost from other aspects of your relocation expenditure.

1. Book early
Overall, lower carrier prices (as depicted by the lower mean) tend to see greater volatility, in part due to their increased exposure to external factors in the market.

(Data from Freightos: Range of Carrier Prices 40’ CNSHA->USLGB, Single Day in December 2016)

As a result, if you are looking for lower freight prices, expect to see greater fluctuations day-to-day. To manage your cost, consider planning for your move early so that you can monitor prices and identify bargains on your desired dates.

2. Avoid the peak periods
Based on research and historical data, June and July are the most popular months for moving, with prices peaking during these months. The surge in demand is a result of better weather conditions in the Northern hemisphere and the semester break between academic years, making it an ideal period for most moves to take place. You might want to consider moving a couple of weeks before or after the peak period for a more favourable price.

3. Opt for groupage shipping
To make the most of your shipment, shipping items is the most cost-effective when containers are shipped at Full Container Load (FCL). Understandably, you might not be bringing along enough items to fill an entire container. In such situation, you can save cost by sharing a container with other customers moving to the same destination so as to achieve FCL. Groupage option is available for most destination countries; speak to your local agent to find out more.

4. Know the regulations of your destination country
When moving, it is important to note that you are ultimately bringing your personal goods into your host country. Bear in mind the regulations and restrictions, as any violations may lead to fines, additional mandatory fees and delays (which ultimately lead to higher cost).

5. Consider buying non-essential luxury items from your destination country
Continuing on the issue of regulation, certain items attract high tariffs in particular countries. For example, in India, flat-screen plasma television sets will attract a 36.05% levy. Hence, it might be cheaper to purchase a new set from the destination rather than importing into the country.


With so many factors to consider, planning a move involves a great deal of research and time. Not sure where to start? Here at Moovaz, we understand that relocating is a big commitment and change. Our dedicated planners and crew strive to make you feel at ease during this process by providing you with a one-stop service that caters to all your moving needs. Coupled with our technology platform which aggregates the best price for your move, we empower you to gain the most value on your relocation lump sum while giving you peace of mind. Now you can spend your time on more meaningful activities like having a farewell barbecue with your loved ones and binging on local delights while we do the heavy lifting (literally).

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