Understanding removal company jargon

Groupage, consignment notes… Removal companies have their own jargon and you can’t make head or tail of it. To help you, France Global Relocation has provided a list of the vocabulary used in international relocation in this article. You will thus be able to understand the details of your relocation quote and speak the same language as your removal company.

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Technical inspection

This appointment is the key stage in your relocation. It enables the removal company to come up with an exact estimate of the volume of property to be shipped and the best way to handle the move: access to the home, parking options, specific equipment required, etc. The total given on your quote will then be calculated to match as closely as possible the reality of the situation.


The cubic capacity corresponds to the volume of property to be moved. It is expressed in cubic metres.

Heavy items / objects

A heavy item or object is a piece of furniture that weighs more than 80 kg (piano, American-style fridge-freezer, etc.) that has to be handled by more than one person.


This includes the distance between the place in which the removal lorry is parked and the entrance to your home. A significant distance will have an impact upon the total quote because it involves more lifting and carrying time.


Groupage or organised shipping means transporting your property along with the property of other clients. This is an economical solution for moving small volumes over long distances. It is the opposite of special shipping which contains only your goods.


This consists in unloading goods from the main vehicle to load them onto a light vehicle (e.g.: from a lorry to a van), principally where access is difficult: narrow street, parking difficulties, etc.

Packing list

The packing list enumerates every package contained in the same shipment. It is used to ensure that everything that was originally loaded was actually delivered to its destination. It may be required by Customs during an international move.

Declaration of value

When you move house, it is advisable to take out insurance and declare the value of your goods. This list will be useful to you in obtaining realistic compensation in the event of disputes (damage, breakage or loss).

Consignment note

On completion of the move, the operator will give you a consignment note to confirm that the service has been duly provided. This document allows you to make any comments your may have regarding your move and to point out any problems that may have occurred in the course of the move. Each party (you, the mover and their staff) must sign the consignment note.

Air crate

This is a container adapted to the volume of your shipment intended for shipping by air.

Maritime container

This large box intended for shipment by sea needs no further introduction! It may contain your goods only (FCL container) or group several shipments together (LCL container). It is fastened with a seal, a “padlock” that ensures that it remains sealed until it reaches its destination.


In order to prevent the spread of parasites, a gas is released in lorries and containers. Goods are loaded after the lorry or container has been aired. This operation is necessary, or even obligatory, depending on the country of destination. It may also be required for wooden items (such as pallets), which will also be marked and certifiedISPM 15.

Terminal Handling Charges (THC)

THCs are the port handling charges billed for loading/unloading a ship. The total cost of these THCs, which is very variable from one port to another, may significantly impact the removals quote.


This is the charge to be paid to the shipowner when the container remains in the port terminal longer than the time agreed. When it is kept for longer than anticipated outside the port, detention charges are referred to.


This is a safety convention that requires containers to be weighed before being loaded onto a ship. Without a weight declaration, the container is not loaded.

Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) / Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)

The ETD is the date of departure of a ship from the port. The ETA is its date of arrival at the port of disembarkation. The ETA depends on the transit time, i.e., the ship’s time at sea until the container is delivered to its destination.

Customs clearance

Customs clearance is a procedure that consists of declaring goods to Customs and ascribing a value to them in order that they may leave their country of origin free of duty (exoneration) or enter the country of destination after payment of duty and taxes.