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Communication is the key to any successful project, including the one when you are moving your house, especially long-distance. International shipment companies will literally flood you with various contracts, agreements, documents, specific insurances to be made, check-lists and kits, full of their professional, technical terminology.

In order to not lose yourself in translation within the language of moving, we’ve wrapped up a quick list with some important terms and abbreviations. Of course, we do not claim that this list is exhaustive, as it most probably could be endless. But we do hope that it will give you some confidence in this new endeavor.

Most importantly, even when you think you already know a specific moving term, don’t hesitate to ask your moving company for a repeated explanation, as this is the only known way one really starts to understand a new langue, isn’t it?

Access – the area around your home which has an effect on how the moving company will get in, e.g. bridges, staircases, lifts, etc.

Bill of lading – the agreement for shipping between you and the company, usually you will be given a specific bill of lading number in order to track the progress of the dispatch

Consignee – the party which receives the goods according to the shipment agreement

Dishpack – a big tall box for transporting dishes and/or other fragile goods

ETA = Estimated Time of Arrival – the approximated time for arrival given by the moving company for the dispatch

Fuel surcharge – an additional fee for transportation, charged by some movers

Groupage – basically this is a shared container used for the transportation of goods overseas

High-value article – different companies have different definitions for such items, but usually, these are articles above some specifically defined monetary value and/or items of personal value, which are non-transferrable

Incline dolly – a movers’ vehicle for transportation along staircases

Long carry – a surcharge applied when you ask the company to move the goods from the van to your door

Marine insurance – a special type of insurance offered by some companies when transporting overseas

Non-binding estimate – a rough estimate usually communicated over the phone or e-mail upon the customer request and description of goods and property, when the moving company has not yet inspected the house on the spot for an exact estimation

OF = Overflow – the part of the goods to be shipped which remain after the truck has been fully filled

Packing kit – kits offered by some moving companies providing all the stuff you need to pack up yourself

Reefer – a moving truck which is refrigerated

Stretch-wrap – a protective plastic material usually used to cover your furniture which is to be moved

THC = Terminal Handling Charge – a fee charged by the final air- or sea-port for the handling of your shipment

UNLD = unloading

Van lines – a big moving company which usually offers a full range of services

Waiting time – basically the time you make in your move to wait, e.g. when no one is at home. Make sure that it is not long or equals zero, as most companies charge for that

X = also abbreviated as XTRA = extra.

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move – this is what most moving companies will give you as part of the agreement, a very important document, which you should carefully read

Zoning – a term used mostly in the US for federal rules of how you can use specific properties in an area