When considering shipping companies, one can distinguish between those specialized in fragile and valuable goods and those that transport any goods and commodities imaginable.
Specialized shipping companies such as Schenker, Hasenkamp/Cologne, Tandem Kunst GmbH/Frechen, DART Cologne/Berlin, and HEED! Eventlogistik GmbH/Erding frequently offer personalized service: The whole project is planned and supervised from door to door. Object-specific packaging systems are made available, the staff is specialized in dealing with objects of art and insurance coverage is guaranteed. The customs formalities in the country of origin and the destination country are also handled by them. Necessary accompanying documents (customs declarations, (pro-forma-)invoices, etc.) still have to be provided personally, however.
Unfortunately, such specialists are rather expensive and thus are often not an option.
Non-specialized shipping companies are usually cheaper and just as reliable. The fact that the staff is not trained to handle, for example, works of art or design objects, can be addressed by carefully securing the package.
It may be worthwhile to inquire with local companies. They frequently offer transport services within Europe; to what extent they offer services outside of Europe and on what terms must be researched. Some organizers also report that working with foreign shipping companies - with the help of the cooperation partner abroad – is often a viable alternative.
If one is flexible in terms of schedule, one can inquire about additional cargo for previously planned trips. Shipping companies often offer the remaining free space at a cheaper rate. This is also possible for transports abroad, at least for routes between major cities.
If the goods are so extensive that they must be transported as cargo by sea, by air, or by train, cooperation with a shipping company (or a courier service) is recommended. For transports by ship, train, or plane, container space must be purchased (complete or part load), which is handled by the shipping company. The transport process is less flexible and a period of several weeks should be allowed for.
The following applies when working with a shipping company: Several quotes should be requested in advance, as the price difference between providers is very large.
In addition, it has to be taken into account that transport companies are bound to national standards, so that the return transport may have to be organized differently than the outbound transport or that the costs may vary.
form 221, BfN
form 226, BfN
Tips ATA Carnet, IHK Berlin (German)