There are some types of services for international moving.
They are 1) Door-to-port, 2) Port-to-port 3) Door-to-door and 4) Room-to-Room
1)Door-to-port moving and shipping services
Most people moving from Japan to the US, Australia, NZ, Canada, and Europe use the services of door-to-port where a moving company or shipping company makes arrangements of having the packages picked up from the shipper’s residence, custom-clearing the shipment on the Japan side and shipping it to the destination terminal where each client will custom clear the shipment either by going to the custom house in person or hire some local customs broker directly. This is the cheapest option. Customs clearance itself is quite simple but the consignee will have to find a way to bringing the shipment to his residence by using some U-Haul vehicle or hiring some local self-style mover. Sometimes the bonded warehouse where the packages are consigned to and stored can introduce some trucking company who offers the delivery services at reasonable prices.
Occasionally, our international moving company have clients who say that they wish to deliver the boxes to the bonded warehouse on the Japan side themselves by car. In such a case, it is called port-to-port service because the moving company or shipping company does not get involved in domestic pickup. The procedure at the destination side is the same as the door-to-port service.
3) Door-to-door service
Sometime door-to-door service is described as the service where the shipment is delivered *directly* to the residence at the destination but note that every shipment has to be unloaded from containers one the vessel arrives at the destination port and it has to be cleared customs like any other international shipment. Door-to-door services simply means that the client pays the charges that will incur in the destination country including customs clearance and delivery through a Japanese moving company. Naturally when international moving companies in Japan sell the services to clients they add their profit on top of the actual charges, therefore, it will be more expensive than hiring a local customs broker and pay them directly. One advantage of door-to-door moving services, however, is that clients do not have to search the customs broker they would hire if they require customs clearance and delivery services to their residences. Door-to-door moving service is considerably more expensive than door-to-port service.
4) Room-to-room service
Room-to-room service is the service where a moving company moves the household goods and personal effects from rooms in the residence in Japan and delivers them to the rooms in the residence in the destination country. Major difference between room-to-room moving service and door-to-door shipping service is that if you ship room-to-room, packers from the moving company in Japan will come to your residence and pack even odds and ends and also they move large items such as pieces of furniture. Basically you do not really have to do anything. They pack everything in moving boxes, make packing list and pick up all household goods to be moved. This service is also called “full service moving” and naturally the charges are very expensive. International moves can be as simple as moving within Japan if you use such services.
You can save a large amount of money by going to the customs yourself and pickup up the shipment once it gets to the destination. Unless your employer reimburse your moving expenses, it will be wise to ship only the items you can pack into cartons, have the cartons collected from your residence door and ship to the destination terminal or port.