Are you moving to Hong Kong or living here and heading off to a new assignment? Or perhaps you’re considering relocating back to your home country. No matter how many times you’ve done it, moving can be a logistical minefield, and the events of the past year have added further challenges to the mix. International relocation experts Asian Tigers Group provide some advice on how the costs and logistics of relocation have changed and tips for expats planning a move.
“How have the logistics and costs of relocation changed in the past year?”
We in the international moving and relocation business are in the midst of a perfect storm of unprecedented size and scope. The causes are what you might expect: COVID-19, economic uncertainty and Brexit. But other factors have come together to create the most unstable environment that the shipping industry has ever experienced.
Why does this matter to an individual relocating from Hong Kong to London, or Singapore to Los Angeles? The easy answer is … cost. In November 2020, a 40-foot container from HK to the UK cost about US$2,500. As we write this in February, that same 40-foot container would cost more than $12,000. That’s if you can get a 40-foot container – and, even if you do, you’ll be lucky to get space on a ship. After all that, your container will likely sit moored outside the harbour in the UK or US for weeks, waiting for a slot to open up for unloading.
What can you do?
- First, be informed and knowledgeable. You’ve taken a good first step if you arrive at this point.
- Second, manage your expectations. You’ll likely have to deal with a high degree of uncertainty regarding the timing and price of your international relocation.
- Third, be proactive by asking your moving company or relocation consultant about the latest status and developments. Communication is vital to avoid disappointment.
Asian Tigers Mobility provides international relocation solutions for more than 16,000 families each year, with offices in 14 different territories.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.