After enquiring with UniRelo, Universal Relocations and SFL, we chose SFL as we felt their pricing was straightforward for our needs (20 boxes). They quoted ~$1800 for door 2 door shipping from NY to Mysore, including all charges (demurage etc.), but excluding any customs duty.
Most boxes were about 50lbs and we had a mix of Lowe’s Heavy Duty Medium and Large Boxes. They sent us FedEx labels for the first leg of the journey to their warehouse in Secaucus, NJ. We shipped the boxes out April 15th. It was loaded on to the container around the May 5th and reached Navi Mumbai on June 13th. We sent our original passport via Blue Dart that same week. So far so good.
Sadly, destuffing, port backlogs and customs took more than five weeks. Customs clearance was completed only on July 25th. From here, the transfer to their warehouse in Mumbai was completed on July 31st. SFL communicated with us the entire time sending us weekly updates about the customs delays.
They used Delhivery for the last leg from their warehouse to our home in Mysore. 19 of our 20 boxes arrived in Mysore on Aug 7th, but the entire shipment was held at their warehouse pending a lone box traveling on a separate journey. Our shipment wasn’t being delivered and no one provided answers. The experience with Delhivery was pretty anxiety inducing. They have no phone number and there is no way to contact them. SFL too, dropped the ball here and was unhelpful in tracking delays in delivery and sent us canned responses. On Aug 10th, we went to the local agent for Delhivery and asked for partial delivery and they obliged. It was delivered the same evening. The last box was delivered the evening of Aug 14th.
As for the boxes, all of our stuff arrived in pretty good condition. The boxes seem to have been opened at least twice, but nothing appears missing or pilfered. Medium boxes were in better condition than the large boxes - although all boxes took a good beating, on our count its been through at least 7 warehouses. Large boxes fill up (weight wise) fast and you need a ton of packing peanuts to fill up the void. Some ceramic frames seem to have broken despite bubble wrap and great packaging - the damage seems to be limited to boxes in which items were moved from their original location within the box by what we think was a random customs check.
All in all, we’re happy that the shipment was delivered as promised and in better condition than we expected. Attached are photos of the before and after. Hope this helps people expecting to make the journey soon! Best of luck.
Boxes ready for FedEx.
We purchased plastic wrapping for the boxes from SFL ($5 per box or so). Dust didn’t make it to inside the boxes.
There were two distinct tapes on the boxes besides the ones we used for packing.
Medium boxes made it home in better shape.
The boxes took quite the beating.
They opened our Sonos (not sure if this was at SFL or Customs). We bought insurance for the one box with electronics.
Bubble Wrapped ceramic and glass frames arrived damaged.
Some stuff was opened and looked into.
Some plastic containers that we brought along didn’t survive heavy boxes being stacked on top.