Asian Tigers Group provides international relocation solutions for more than 16,000 families each year, with offices in 14 different territories. In this regular column, they provide advice for expats arriving and leaving Hong Kong. Here, they look at how the costs and logistics of moving have changed in the past year and what you can do.
“How have the logistics 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.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.