Shipping and storage in the superyacht industry
Written by Michael Henson
Most items on a superyacht are unique, rare or very expensive, some items even cost upwards of six figures. This can make the process of moving something from A to B a lot more difficult as extra assurances need to be made.
What is your shipping & storage criteria?
Don’t just base your shipping criteria on costs; there are other factors to consider. For example, speed, the time it takes to get to the final destination, insurances, how the special items will be protected and destination agents and quality, do both sides of the shipping have the same quality accreditations.
The quickest and easiest thing to do to ensure you are going to get the quality of service you want is to check the company’s accreditations and membership of professional associations – there are many, but the big ones that are suggested are:
- ISO 9001: 2008 certification demonstrates that a mover implements a quality management system that provides a consistent high quality service and is independently audited by the British Standards Institute. This ensures the processes the company have in place for all departments (operations, sales, finance, human resources etc.) eliminate room for error and poor service; staff follow processes to guarantee a quality service is consistently provided.
- AEO (Authorised Economic Operato) - An AEO is a business involved in the international supply chain, which has proven to be compliant and trustworthy, and where applicable, safe and secure.
- BIFA - The British International Freight Association is the trade association for UK-registered companies engaged in international movement of freight by all modes of transport, air, road, rail and sea.
- FIDI the largest professional network of international movers. FIDI certifies movers that meet the strict international standards to the FAIM standard. Movers are independently audited in areas such as financial stability, responsiveness, facilities and equipment, trained and knowledgeable staff (crews and move management) and complaints and claims to demonstrate they are meeting the strict criteria developed to ensure customers receive satisfactory service.
An international move is broken down into origin services (packing and loading, transport to docks) freight (ocean or air transportation) and destination services (customs clearance, transport to your home, unloading and unpacking). This is usually where crew may slip up if they don’t ensure who will be handling their item through the entire process. There are generally three different ways companies offer destination services.
- Larger global companies may have their own overseas-office-based team who will provide destination services.
- Others will be part of a global network where a group of independent companies form their own network to provide each other with regular destination services.
- The third type is where an independent UK company will select an overseas agent to handle destination services.
In all instances it’s important to check that the destination agent is a professional company, i.e. do they have the same quality accreditations? Companies with established relationships with destination agents offer the added peace of mind that they are experienced in working together so should provide a smooth transition and preferable rates.
Factors involved with costing of shipping goods
- The volume of goods you wish to ship overseas
- The type of goods you wish to move (is there lots of packing involved, does something need special protection, is something going to be hard to get off the yacht?)
- How quickly you need your item to arrive
- The services you choose (packing, insurance, crating, handyman)
- The move plan (how efficiently a move can be planned based around your own time constraints)
- Your special requirements (out of the ordinary items for example or additional collection points)
- Access to your origin and destination properties and the distance from the ports
- The type of company you choose to ship with (for example the quality certifications they might have)
- When you want to ship or store (peak periods can affect pricing if demand is higher or lower than usual)