MTL Removal ABC

Technical terms & abbreviations from A to Z

In the moving business, just as in so many others, many technical terms and abbreviations are in use. This applies especially to the international moving business.

This glossary lists and explains the most important technical terms and abbreviations. It should help you to communicate with us. Cross-references are marked by an → arrow. If you click on the following term in italics, you will be taken directly to the section or web page where the corresponding term is explained. 

If you take some time to look through the glossary, you will see that a moving company needs more than a few strongmen and a van.

If you have any questions, check out our answers to → Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Contact the→ MTL team if you have a question that is not answered in the FAQ, if you don't understand something or if you miss explanations of a term or abbreviation.


The fastest shipping method for international moves is to transport your removal goods by air freight. Instead of one or two months, an airfreight shipment takes a maximum of ten days before delivery to the destination address. For small quantities up to a maximum of 2 cbm volume of removal goods is also the most economical solution. The packed removal goods are packed in ultra-stable boxes made of heavy corrugated cardboard, equipped with wooden skids, the Air Vans. 

For removals with a volume of between 2 and 9 cbm Lift Vans are the more economical transport solution. However, lift vans are at sea for a considerably longer period of time.

When using a container for an overseas move, it makes sense to have a few important items such as clothes, documents or children's toys sent by air freight to bridge the time until the container arrives. Ask your airline about the price for excess baggage, or ask us. We take care of packing, transport to the airport, customs clearance, and we deliver your shipment to the front door of your new residence.

Air Van: Airfreight container made of strong corrugated cardboard

→ airfreight

Federal Association of Furniture Removers (AMÖ) e.V.
The association emerged in 1999 from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Möbeltransport. It retained its abbreviation after the change of name, as this had become familiar in the market. You can tell whether a removal company is a member of the AMÖ by the kangaroo emblem.

= Airport of entry for removal shipments via airfreight.

= Airway BillBill of Lading


= Bunker Adjustment Factor.

BAF is charged by shipping lines to compensate for the risk of fuel price fluctuations for seafreight.

In the case of cross-border removals, a Bill of Lading or consignment note documents the owner and principal of the freight, the holder (i.e. the carrier) and the consignee of the freight. The quantity, quality, point of departure, transport route, and destination are described. This means that the possession and ownership of the goods and their conditions are documented in a legally binding manner for all parties involved in the transport process: freight forwarders, warehouse keepers, customs authorities, and others.

In the Bill of Lading document, the owner is called Shipper, the recipient, Consignee. In addition, another address may be named as the Notify party which has to be informed about the status of the shipment by the carrier, here the shipping company, or the NVOCC at the port of destination.

For air transport, the Bill of Lading, or B/L for short, is called Airway Bill or AWB.

When packing items before each international move, and when loading items into storage, the packer team numbers each package (boxes and furniture parts) and adds the number and description to an inventory. At each handover, the total number of packed items is checked by means of the bingo list by crossing off the numbers of the packages handed over from this list of consecutive numbers.

Pianos, grand pianos, upright pianos, safes, sculptures or other objects of extraordinary size or with excess weight classify as bulgy or heavy items. Their removal, transport and unloading into the apartment requires great physical effort, and more working time, special precautions and equipment. A surcharge is levied for this. If we call in a specialist company, you will be charged for the costs incurred. 

A bulkhead is a partition wall made of wooden slats which is installed in a container to separate removal goods and cars or to stabilize removal goods if the container is only partially filled.

We can transport individual pieces of furniture or smaller quantities of removal goods on our furniture vans in combination with other removals. This low-cost solution may be convenient for you, but requires flexibility on your part with regard to the collection and delivery date.

We do not load byloads to overseas removals. Reasons for this are problems with customs clearance and organizational problems.




= Currency Adjustment Factor: Surcharge for the compensation of exchange rate fluctuations in  seafreight/collapse_link]

If you have hired MTL to organize your move, we'll be responsible for the entire organization of the removal as agreed in the move contract. We try to find the best solution for every step in the removal process. This means organizing the transport of your move well and cost-effectively. For longer distances, we check whether we transport your removal goods with our own trucks or whether we commission a company specializing in furniture transport, i.e. the carrier. Especially smaller removal transports we hand over as a byload to carriers who are regularly on the road with several removal loads on a certain route.

In the case of transport by vessel, the shipping line commissioned is the freight carrier, in the case of removal transport by air freight, the airline.

We are happy to receive feedback on our work. You can provide feedback in different ways:

Recipient of a container at the Port of Entry

Bill of Lading

For overseas moves of more than 9-10 cbm volume containers are used. A 20' (twenty-foot) container holds just under 30 m³ of removal goods, as much as a 7.5 t truck, a 40' container twice that. We make sure that a clean container is available for loading at the right time and that it is transported by sea to its destination after loading.

We take care of packing and loading for you. The loaded container is sealed at the loading location with a seal, which may only be opened by customs or by the destination agent. This ensures that no one in between can tangle with your removal goods.

Interior measures of containers

Interior length
Interior width
Interior height
20' Standard


40' Standard


40' High cube


When moving house, in most cases furniture has to be taken down at origin and set up at destination, shelves have to be dowelled, ceiling lights installed, and washing machines hooked. What we do is agreed upon in the move contract. Our packers are trained to do most of this kind of work. 

We have trained specialists for kitchen assembly at origin, and we can arrange for such specialists to work with us at destination.

We have to decline liability for some services such as, for instance, hooking washing machines, attaching lights and drilling dowel holes, or assembling antique furniture. In those cases, we can recommend or arrange for external specialists. These are paid by the hour and according to the materials required.

Crates made of wooden slats to protect particularly fragile objects: glass or marble slabs, large framed pictures or mirrors, art objects, etc. When moving internationally or overseas, upright and grand pianos are also transported in crates. Piano transport. These crates are made to measure. During a move survey, the move consultant will discuss with you whether such crates should be used to adequately protect the items from damage during the move. Crates cause → surcharges.

Crates must be heat-treated against pests, this is documented on the crates with an IPPC stamp. Non-compliance will have severe consequences with customs authorities at the port of entry

If you choose not to make use of crates for fragile objects, the removal company cannot be held liable for damage to the respective removal goods. Liability of the removal company.


= Container Safety Convention: Fee for checking containers for compliance with international safety standards.

IMO Declaration

Port charges

If removals are directed to destinations outside the European Union or to overseas destinations, the German customs will check the export documents and has the right to inspect the removal goods before loading or before loading the container at the port at loading. A customs officer may request to be present during loading. In fact, however, this rarely happens during export. More common is an X-ray inspection of the container at the port of entry. The fees for such inspections must be passed on to you.

Before importing into Germany, we will inform you in good time about the documents required for clearance and submit copies of these documents to the responsible customs office. In rare cases, customs may require the presentation of original documents. In this case, we will inform you and assist you with the clearance.

Abroad, the respective customs office controls the import of removal goods. We will compile the necessary documents for you, but we need your assistance. X-ray controls at import are now quite common at US ports of entry, and physical controls of the removal goods are becoming more frequent. Customs checks whether the respective import regulations are being observed and whether taxable goods are part of the imported goods. We try to inform you as best as possible about the respective import regulations. However, we have no influence on the ordering of inspection or on the amount of import taxes. As a rule, the destination agent submits costs incurred in connection with customs clearance. He is entitled to claim these from you before the delivery of the removal goods into residence.

If the documents submitted are incomplete, customs may order that the removal goods be temporarily stored in a bonded warehouse. → Storage. This will generate additional costs.

Documents required for import customs clearance in Germany


In case of complaints, we try to reach an amicable settlement with our clients. The → Bundesverband Möbelspedition und Logistik (AMÖ) e.V. offers out-of-court arbitration in cases of dispute. Details (in German) can be found on Our customers have not yet had to make use of this service.



Before packing and loading begins, any damage to the removal goods and at loading point is noted on the work orderslip. At destination, again any damage to the removal goods and that has occurred during the removal is recorded. These logs are the basis for a damage report to the insurance company.

Liability of the removal company

Transport insurance

Deadlines for reporting damage to removal goods


Even if we do our very best – sometimes things get damaged during a move. In this case, you must take action to assert your claim for compensation:

Upon delivery of your removal goods into your new residence, pay attention to externally visible damage. You should take a detailed note of any damage on the inventory or in a specially prepared damage report and take a picture, if possible. This suffices to comply with the notification deadline. To be on the safe side, inform your → move consultant by e-mail the same day.

Damage or loss that is not externally visible must be reported to the removal company within 14 days of delivery. Summary damage reports are not sufficient in any case. Please note that, as regulated by law, we are not liable for malfunctions of electrical appliances and for the loss of valuables.

Liability of the removal company

Transport insurance

Demurrage: charge for exceeding the loading and unloading time at the port of entryPort charges.

When organizing an overseas move, MTL obliges a removal company at destination to do the port clearance and customs clearance at the port of entry or inland terminal POE as well as delivery to the apartment. These agents are carefully selected by MTL.

Details of the delivery Destination Service can be arranged directly with the destination agent. Usually, temporary storage of the removal goods can also be arranged at a favorable rate. Storage.

Port charges and customs fees at the port of entry are usually outlaid by the destination agent Port charges, → Customs clearance. The move contract with us obliges you to reimburse the agent for these fees before or on the day your removal goods are delivered.

For international removals, everything related to the removal work at the destination, from customs clearance, haulage to door, and loading into residence, to setting up the furniture and disposing of the packing material. If desired and offered by the destination agent, cartons are unpacked and the contents spread out on a flat surface. Additional services at the destination must be paid for separately.

The following charges and services may be billed:

Please contact your -> move consultant if in doubt about the additional charges.

Certification according to DIN EN ISO 9001 attests to the existence and practical functioning of a company-specific quality assurance system. It is considered a recognized proof of competence and performance for companies of all sizes and in all industries. MTL GmbH is regularly audited and certified by → SVG Zert (the certification body of the German road traffic cooperative).

In order to qualify as duty-free household goods and personal effects for import customs clearance at German customs houses, the following conditions must be met:

  • The imported items must have been in your possession for at least six months;
  • You must have resided outside of Germany for at least one year;
  • You may not have resided in the European Union for more than one year before the arrival of the removal goods;
  • You must have German citizenship or a residence permit;
  • You may not resell the imported items for at least twelve months after importation.

Please check with the website of the → German customs for details.

Customs authorities will require documents to prove that the above conditions are met. In general, the following documents will be required as PDF:

  • passport & visa stamp, if applicable
  • Bill of Lading (provided by us)
  • inventory (provide by us)
  • townhall registration registrations and de-registrations
  • a letter from your employer abroad stating that you have resided outside the European Union one year prior to your present move.

Depending on the circumstances and the kinds of removal goods, additional documentation may be required. The customs officers are entitled to check document originals.

Your → move consultant will advise you and help you to compile the necessary documents.

customs clearance

Special regulations apply to the import of motor vehicles, foodstuffs, and luxury foods.

Special rules apply to the import of diplomatic shipments.

= Destination Terminal Handling Charges: Port charges at the port of entry

Port charges


As technically complex objects, electrical appliances in a household can pose a particular challenge when moving. As a customer, you should consult the operating instructions for the appliances before moving and then make sure that the appliances are de-energized and that refrigerators and freezers are defrosted and dry. If washing machine drums need to be secured for transport, you should do so or give the removal team the associated parts supplied with the units.

Refrigerators and freezers should be allowed to stand for two hours at their final location to allow the coolant to settle before re-starting at the unloading point. These measures can prevent malfunctions of the units. Companies cannot be held liable for malfunctions of electrical equipment. Liability of the removal company.

The best way to prevent transport damage is to leave the packing of electrical equipment completely to the packers. Transport insurance

Additional challenges are posed by international moves and overseas moves:

  • At what voltage is the electricity supplied in the respective destination country? Equipment is designed for a specific voltage and will be damaged if the actual voltage differs from this. Within the European Union, the voltage is standardized to 230 volts. 
  • What type of plug is required to connect the electrical equipment? Socket shapes and plugs also vary within the EU. 
    Here you will find a list of voltages and plug types as they are commonly used in most countries of the world.
  • What regulations apply to the import of electrical equipment? In many countries, customs require a detailed list of the electrical equipment you are carrying. Therefore our packers note the type and the serial number of the equipment on the packing list. Sometimes a special import tax is levied on these devices, sometimes quantity limitations apply, sometimes special rules and fees apply for special types of equipment such as radio and television receivers, satellite receivers, or playback and recording devices. Such rules vary from country to country. We make every effort to inform you precisely about the respective regulations and name the sources of our information, but we are not liable if the information we provide proves to be incorrect. Customs clearance

If your apartment is located on an upper floor at the loading or unloading point, we should know if there is an elevator in the building that can be used for the move. If this is not the case, we will check whether we can use a lift.

floor surcharge

= Estimated Time of Arrival: Date of arrival of the vessel at the port of entry (POE).

In advance, only an approximate date can be given, as sea freight is dependent on weather conditions and on loading and unloading conditions in ports on the route. The ETA is indicated in our order confirmation. If you are not sure or want to know if the date will change: ask your move consultant or the Destination agent.

Important to know: Between the arrival of the container ship at the port of entry and customs clearance a few days may pass, due to unloading times, transit to a terminal or customs clearance. The destination agent will be informed about the details.


= Estimated Time of Shipment: Date of the container with your removal goods leaving the port of loading onboard of a vessel.


= Full Container Load: Removal goods that are transported in a container.


I.e. Bundesverband Möbelspedition und Logistik (AMÖ) e.V. This association is the umbrella organization of the German removalists. Together with 18 regional member associations, AMÖ represents the interests of around 900 member companies. Members may be identified by an orange Kangaroo logo on their vans.

Members who submit to AMÖ's comprehensive quality controls are certified. MTL is an AMÖ-certified company.

When removing from a floor higher than the 1st floor above ground we need additional manhours for carrying and therefore charge a floor surcharge. If we can use a suitable elevator in the house, this surcharge may not be applicable in whole or in part.

If you move within Germany or to a member country of the European Union, bringing food and alcoholic beverages in normal household quantities and for personal use is no problem from a customs perspective. However, the respective customs authorities reserve the right to check this in individual cases.

A removal truck is not specially equipped to protect perishables. It is also not temperature-controlled, so the cargo space can become very hot or very cold depending on outside temperatures. Liquid spills can damage your removal goods. For this reason, you should at best carry food without special storage temperature requirements, with stable packaging, and long shelf life, such as rice, pasta, pulses, and dried fruit or tinned food.

When moving to countries outside the EU, different regulations apply to the import of food and alcoholic beverages depending on the destination country. If the import of the latter is not prohibited, high customs duties and import taxes are usually charged. In general, a detailed listing is required. The listing of food and alcoholic beverages in the → inventory increases the probability of a cost-intensive customs inspection. We generally advise against taking food with you.

Here you may find information on the import of foods and beverages into the US.

Items ineligible for shipment

Customs clearance.

Besides packing and loading at origin we also dismantle and assemble beds, wardrobes, shelves, curtain rails, and kitchens, based on the agreement reached beforehand. Our packers are trained and experienced. Your removal consultant will tell you if we need to call in a carpenter or kitchen fitter and what it will cost.

Craftsman service

We also dismantle and assemble furniture pieces that you assembled after buying in packages from a furniture outlet. As a rule, however, these pieces were not designed to be dismantled and reassembled again after an assembly. For this reason, we do not accept any liability for damage resulting from disassembly and reassembly of this furniture type.

If you wish to dismantle and reassemble your furniture yourself:

  • Please mark the furniture parts so that you can later assemble them appropriately,
  • Attach the mounting parts (screws &c.) directly to the corresponding furniture part,
  • Remove shelves and moving parts of furniture or fix them with masking tape.


In the oversea moving business, some companies offer cheap rates based on groupage. This means that several removal goods shipments from different clients are stuffed into a container together. These are first collected at various consignors and "collected" in the warehouse of the forwarder. Then the goods are compiled by a transport planner according to direction, urgency, weight, and volume. Once arrived at the port of entry, the shipments are then de-consolidates and sent off to different destinations.

While this looks like a move at a good value, the problems attached to this methods are considerable:

  • There may be a long storage-in-transit period until there's sufficient cargo volume for a particular port of entry, so you may wait for several months for your household goods;
  • Mix-ups between different shipments are not infrequent, so you may end up with items missing or not belonging to your shipment;
  • Damages are more frequent due to stuffing and consolidation;
  • If, for some reason, customs authorities order an inspection for one particular shipment, the others may be affected as well, causing additional delay and costs.

For all of these reasons, MTL does NOT offer groupage for overseas moves and does not handle groupage forwarded by other overseas moving companies. We handle every shipment as a separate entity, to be packed separately and shipped directly.

We do, however, offer byloads for moves in moving vans.

= General Storage ConditionsStorage

= General terms and conditions.

Before every move, a move contract has been concluded, in which the services and fees for the respective move are agreed upon. Our contractual conditions, which apply to every move, are set out in our GTC. They correspond to the specifications of Federal Association of German Removalists and the legal framework of §§ 305 - 310 BGB (German Civil Code).

The following issues are regulated in our GTC:

  • the conditions for service provision
  • the terms of payment
  • Liability and insurance
  • Withdrawal from the contract
  • the legal basis


= Household goods & personal effects

The US import customs regulations differentiate between household goods, i.e. furniture, tableware, household textiles, books &c., in short, objects that are used collectively in a household, and personal effects, objects that are individually assigned to persons in a household, such as clothing, jewelry, but also audio-visual equipment. In the overseas removal business, these terms are generally used. The abbreviation HHG &PE is used for removal goods.

Removal goods


= Headquarters
Head office of a (moving) company. The headquarters of MTL Umzüge Möbel Transport, Lagerservice GmbH, and MTL Moving Transport Logistics, are located in 61169 Friedberg, about thirty kilometers north of Frankfurt/Main. 

ImprintOverseas relocation

I | J

The → International Association of Movers was founded in 1959 as the HHGFA (Household Goods Forwarders Association) to represent the interests of US moving companies. Today, this association is globally oriented and has members from all parts of the world who are committed to quality standards. The adherence to these standards is supported by the organization by webinars and teaching materials. The IAM facilitates contact among its members through a membership directory, an association magazine, and an annual general meeting.

MTL Moving Transport Logistics is a certified IAM Member.

Form issued by the → International Maritime Organization about documenting a sea transport of fuel driven aggregates (motor vehicles, lawnmowers etc.) It must be confirmed that the unit is free of flammable liquids. The IMO is an authority of the UNO, which is charged by the international community with formulating rules for safe shipping and against pollution of the world's oceans.

Every nation-state imposes its own regulations regarding which articles may be imported and under what conditions. Customs clearance. These regulations are not always precisely recorded on the websites of the respective customs authorities. We ask our destination agents for the rules applied by customs offices in the destination country.

Special regulations generally apply to the import of alcoholic beverages, foodstuffs, and electrical appliances or audiovisual equipment in particular. In Asia and the Middle East, the import of media carriers (printed matter, CDs, and DVDs) is also regulated.

Supranational regulations for the transport by ship or air, intended to guarantee the safety of the transport, also exclude articles or materials or prescribe special rules and testing procedures that are subject to additional charges. items ineligible for shipment

In some countries (f.i. Australia), fumigation or quarantine can be ordered if certain products of plant or animal origin are part of the shipment. Wooden packaging and lift vans must be marked with a special stamp to show that the wood has been impregnated against pest infestation. IPPC stampWe take this regulation into account.

Special regulations apply to the import of live animals, such as medical certificates, vaccinations, and quarantine. Please consult your move consultant some time in advance.


Origin service for international and overseas removals includes numbering each separately packed item and each cardboard box by the packing team and entering of the number and description in the inventory list; the condition of the packages is also noted there. The inventory list serves to inform the customs authorities and to check the completeness and condition of the removal goods.

If a box or item has not been packed by us, it will be marked PBO (= packed by owner) on the inventory list. This can have consequences for → import customs clearance or for the handling of claims transport insurance.

An inventory list is also created for removal goods that are taken into storage. 


IPPC = International Plant Protection Convention.

The agreement of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization regulates, among other issues, how the global spread of animal pests spread by untreated wood packaging material is to be controlled. 

For lift vans and crates only wood that has been treated against such pests and bears an IPPC stamp may be used. This is checked by the authorities in charge at the port of entry.


ISF Filing = Importer Security Filing/10 + 2.

Information on an import shipment to the USA transported by sea must be available to the US Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP) 24 hours before the ship leaves the port of loading. This information is listed by the removal agent, the list must be sent to the destination agent 48 hours before the departure of the ship.

For overseas removals and removals by air freight, certain rules apply that prohibit or restrict the transport and import of certain goods and materials. These rules differ from country to country. Where imports are not completely prohibited, control methods and fees usually apply, making imports time-consuming and costly.

Based on the current rules, we have compiled a list of such articles and materials. Ask your moving consultant for a copy and get advice in individual cases.

Items that must not be carried in overseas removal goods (sea freight & air freight)

  • Flammable liquids: E.g. oils, paraffin, petrol & kerosene, oil paint & varnish, turpentine, pure alcohol, methylated spirits, photo developer, perfume, lighters, nail polish remover
  • Toxic substances: E.g. material containing poisonous elements, polishes, pesticides, weed killers, irritant gas
  • Explosive material: e.g. flares and flares, fireworks, detonators, ammunition, explosives
  • Flammable gases: e.g. oxygen, methane, acetylene, choir gas, fire extinguisher
  • Radioactive materials
  • Corrosive substances: E.g. acid-based batteries, oxides, mercury, acids & pickling, dry cleaner, bleach
  • Firearms & other weapons: E.g. handguns, military weapons, machine guns and pistols, air rifles and pistols, daggers & switchblades, shock weapons
  • Printed matter and media: writings and media carriers with politically and religiously subversive content, pornography
  • Miscellaneous: e.g. irritants, matches, rubber dinghies, diving bottles, spray cans, pressure vessels, explosives, gas cylinders (also: soft drink devices), drugs & medical preparations, drugs, devices for drug processing and consumption, soil (in pots, on garden tools & tyres),
  • Rare or endangered animals and plants: stuffed animals and trophies, ivory, rare plants and products made from them
  • Plants & Food: Strictly prohibited: live plants, seeds, fresh fruit & vegetables, meat & dairy products, tuna products, animal feed
    • Please note: ALL food must be declared and packed separately. Customs inspection is likely to be carried out.

Ineligible for air freight, in addition to the above:

  • Batteries, liquids such as alcohol, beverages, cough syrup, shampoo, toothpaste, detergents, perfumes & perfumes &c.
  • Prescription drugs may not be packed.



= Less Than Container Load Seafreight

MTL may be held liable for damages for which the company is responsible. This liability is limited according to § 451 of the German Commercial Code:

  • to a maximum of € 620.00 per cubic meter of removal goods,
  • to the current value of the damaged removal goods

The liability does not apply

  • in case of damage for which MTL cannot be held responsible (e.g. shipwreck)
  • for the loss of valuables (jewelry, works of art, cash, certificates &c.),
  • with self-packed removal goods,
  • in the case of particularly fragile items which have not been properly packed (e.g. glass or marble slabs,
  • for already damaged objects,
  • for unforeseen events,
  • for damage caused by unknown third parties,
  • in case of malfunction externally intact → electrical devices

For detailed information, please refer to the → information on liability and insurance on our website. When reporting a claim, please be sure to observe the deadlines for damage reports.

By buying transport insurance you can insure your move at replacement value.

If there are narrow staircases inside your residence, bulky furniture must be brought out of or into the apartment from the outside. In this case, we check whether we can use a lift. Sometimes a lift is simply practical for transporting your removal goods because they need not be carried over several floors.

We will tell you if an outside lift is necessary and what it costs. There may be additional costs for a permit to operate it on a sidewalk.

A lift van is a large, stable wooden box that is used for the sea transport of small removals Seafreight. A standard lift van holds a maximum of 4.5 to 5 cbm of removal goods (depending on the bulky nature of the furniture), two lift vans hold twice that, i.e. 9 - 10 cbm. For a higher volume, the use of a → 20' container is usually the cheaper solution due to the high handling charges for lift vans at the port.

Upon request, we're glad to provide you with our "Lift Van" flyer with the exact dimensions and an illustration.

Removals up to a maximum of 2 cbm gross volume are best and cheapest to send by airfreight.


Organizing a move to perfection means planning and controlling the entire process in a way such as to co-ordinate customer requirements, packers, trucks, materials, and routes to the possible optimum. These logistics processes are an essential part of our work. This work also includes working with the best partners in each case: carriers, port agents, and customs agents, craftsmen, and other, depending on the particulars of the move.

MTL co-operates with global logistics networks as an independent partner.

Carrying furniture and boxes means hard physical work for the packers. We calculate the size of our packer team accordingly. For longer distances (more than 20 meters) we need more manhours and therefore charge an extra fee based on the length of the carrying distance.


In addition to the normal destination service, you can book a maid service with the destination agent. After you unload, a special team will be sent to help you put your belongings in closets and wardrobes, iron clothes, wash dishes, and help you find a suitable place for everything in your new home.  Maid service is NOT included in our price unless specifically agreed upon in the move contract.


In case you don't want to drive your car or motorcycle to your new home yourself, we can offer overland transport by truck.

Taking a car or motorbike overseas requires you to familiarize yourself with the import regulations in the destination country in advance. These are usually explained on the websites of the respective customs authorities. For example, only vehicles that meet the registration criteria may be imported into the USA, unless they are more than 25 years old, i.e. old-timers. Vehicles more than five years old may not be imported into other countries. Sometimes high import duties apply.

Car ferries regularly call at east coast ports in the USA. There are special car shippers who organize these shipments, pick-up, and delivery. However, the cars on such shipments are hardly protected against damage due to careless handling at port. For high-value vehicles, domestic destinations and destinations via the Gulf of Mexico or ports on the West Coast of the USA, shipping by container is the better solution. If the removal goods and the car fit into a 40' container, this solution may be an economical option.

MTL takes care of the safe stowage of the car in the container and the compilation of the documents necessary for export and import clearance.

Motorcycles can either be shipped individually in a motorcycle crate or, also in a crate, together with the removal goods in a container. Before each vehicle transport, previous damage is recorded in a status report and compared at the destination with the condition at unloading.

→ Transport insurance

Together with you, our move consultants assess the volume of your household goods and personal effects and the required or desired services, calculate an offer, and give advice on cost savings. They'll be available during the whole move process.

Please contact → the MTL Team

The move contract is not one separate document but consists of three documents: our written move quote, your acceptance of the offer, and our order confirmation. Together, these documents define the scope of services and the price.

In general, these documents are generated electronically and sent by e-mail.

In general, we try to reach an amicable settlement in disputes ourselves. The → Bundesverband Möbelspedition und Logistik (AMÖ) e.V. (Federal Association of German Removalists) offers out-of-court arbitration in disputes. Our customers have not yet had to make use of this service.

Removals consist of a range of complex services. A quotation should describe exactly which of these services are included in the offer and which are not. Essential elements are:

In the quote, it should be clearly indicated whether the offer is a fixed price offer or an offer based on time and effort or volume. In this way, both sides can calculate in advance what costs and any additional costs are to be expected.

Offers are only comparable if they meet the same criteria. Our → move consultants will be happy to help you compare offers.

Is the offer from MTL the best offer for my move? Please check our answer to this question in the → "Frequently asked questions".

An inspection of the household goods and personal effects that will make up a shipment serves to determine the volumeof the removal goods, the required or desired services (e.g. packing, dismantling and assembly of furniture), and the conditions at the loading location (e.g. floor, parking space for the removal truck, carrying path).

During the inspection, every aspect of the removal can be discussed in detail with the move consultant. Therefore, such an inspection is important for larger moves.

For smaller moves, it is usually sufficient to agree on the volume and details by means of a list and/or photos.

If necessary, MTL organizes → virtual move surveys via smartphone: via MOVERSCAN, with our ONSITE VIEWER, SKYPE Video or by means of special apps. This makes scheduling and documentation of a survey easier for both parties.

In order to be cost-effective, we usually handle moves from Germany to another European country with the help of carriers, who regularly serve certain long-haul routes with outward and return freight. They usually use large trucks with trailers that can hold several removal loads. We then hand over your removal goods at our warehouse. Therefore, packing of your removal goods according to EU standards or, if there is multiple reloading, according to export standards is necessary. 

Depending on the destination country, different rules apply with regard to import declarations of removal goods:

Within the European Community removals like domestic removals are handled without any special formalities. Special rules may apply to the import of food and alcoholic beverages; household quantities may generally be imported duty-free.
Switzerland and Turkey are neither members of the EU nor the EEA and are therefore third countries in terms of customs. The respective import and documentation regulations for the import of removal goods apply here. The import is usually duty-free.
Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein belong to the European Economic Area but are not members of the European Union. Here, as with Switzerland, the import regulations of the respective country apply. The import regulations of Liechtenstein are adapted to those of Switzerland. 
For removals to a country of the European Union, we have to charge German sales tax to private persons. Removals to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland are treated like transports to a → third country and are VAT free.

Customs clearance




During packing and loading at origin and unloading and unpacking at destination the removal van, a container truck, or transporter must park near the front door parking space.

If there is a public parking space there, we can reserve it by obtaining an official permit and by putting up No Parking signs. If there is already a parking prohibition, we can try to negotiate a special permit with the public order office.

In both cases, deadlines must be observed, which vary from place to place. It is therefore important that No Parking zones are applied for in good time. Talk to your → move consultant.

= Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier: Port agents responsible for the import clearance of a consignment. 

Port charges



Origin service means everything related to the work at the loading site, from dismantling furniture, packing, and writing the inventory to setting up a No Parking zone and loading the van or container.

Depending on the loading location, either a packer team from MTL is responsible for the origin service, or a partner company put in charge by us.



Our packers are trained, experienced, and helpful, and they work in well-coordinated teams. For them too, international thinking and cosmopolitanism are decisive. Almost every one of them speaks more than two languages.

Your contact person will be the team leader, who will introduce himself to you. With him, you'll discuss the course of the work on site.

Packing is hard physical work. Packers know how to pace themselves. This also includes breaks. In order for the team to work well with you, please remember to allow them to go to the toilet. Where possible, provide them with water, soft drinks (no alcohol) or coffee, and a snack. You are not obliged to do this, however. If you do, please respect that some packers won't eat meals prepared with meat. They'll be grateful if you acknowledge this fact. 

If you were satisfied with their job performance, the packers will be happy to receive a tip depending on the total workload. They usually receive € 15 to € 20 per packer.

Our packers will pack your removal goods swiftly and professionally.

We use high-quality packing material for packing: bubble wrap and stretch film, packing paper, adhesive tape, removal blankets, and more, as well as stable three-layer folding boxes in three different sizes that are easy to stack. Crockery and other fragile items are wrapped in soft packing paper. For clothes, we use special clothes boxes with a metal bar.

Furniture parts are wrapped in blankets inside the moving van during van moves within Germany and securely fastened to the sidewall of the truck. For removals within the European Union, carriers with large moving vans are often used, which follow long routes and transport several removals. If we use this transport method, we have the furniture parts wrapped in laminated bubble wrap.

For overseas moves, the furniture parts are additionally protected with cut corrugated cardboard to protect them against the strong movements of the containers at sea. The cardboard also absorbs air humidity, which can cause damage to the removal goods. Removal goods that are to be stored are also packed according to export standards to prevent damage and dusting.

We use → special packing methods for particularly delicate items, glass and marble slabs, works of art, and antiques.

At destination, we take the packing material back with us on the day of delivery.

Who's packing?

For the smooth processing of a move, it is important that the moving van can be parked as close as possible to the front door at both the loading and unloading locations. Parking the van during the move is hardly possible because the removal goods are not yet finally stowed in the truck and may, therefore, fall over, causing damage to the removal goods and instability of the truck, a dangerous situation.

Depending on the vehicle used, we need parking spaces of different sizes. If you would like to arrange this yourself, please contact your → move consultant. If you would like us to arrange the space, we'll apply for a No Parking zone at your local authority and put up No Parking signs, or we can load your removal goods into a smaller transporter and shuttle the removal goods to the moving van or the container. Shuttle service.


Every move generates costs. To be able to work economically, we need to be sure that no unnecessary costs due to non-payment are incurred, which we must and can charge. Therefore, for private removals, we require the transfer of the agreed price in advance. This way you can claim the removal costs in your tax return. We accept if you pay twenty percent of the amount in cash after the transport before the delivery of the removal goods. If the removal costs have NOT been paid before delivery, we will make use of the carrier's lien and take the removal goods or part of them into our warehouse.

We try to avoid additional costs that may arise during the move as far as possible by planning ahead, and to draw your attention to them in time. Such additional costs must also be paid in cash before or during delivery. We always try to keep such costs as low as possible.

In the case of overseas removals, we must conclude far-reaching contracts with the overseas agents in advance. Therefore, overseas moves must be paid before loading.

In the case of company or employee moves, we will issue the invoice after the move and expect a transfer within fourteen days of the invoice date. If desired, we can issue invoices in US Dollars, but then additional bank charges will apply.

Please discuss the details with your → move consultant.

= Packed By Owner.

For removals outside the RheinMain region and for storage, our packer team writes down aninventory. If you have packed cartons or other items yourself, we will annotate with the standardized abbreviation PBO. This note serves us as insurance against liability: Self packed items are only insured in case of a total loss, not in case of damage.

Liability of the removal company

When moving to countries outside the European Union, customs authorities charged with → import customs clearance often regard such packaging as a risk and order a physical examination or reject the entire shipment. It is therefore highly recommended that we take over the packaging and draw up the inventory list. 

Our vans and transporters are not equipped for pet transport. We can transport aquariums, terrariums, and birdcages only when completely empty.

We can arrange the transport of your pets by air. In this case, a specialized agency will take care of the handling and inform you about the necessary certificates. The agency can pick up and drop off the animals if you wish and can also arrange for them to be quarantined if necessary.

Pianos and grand pianos are highly complex, heavy, and bulky musical instruments. They should be transported by trained and equipped professionals, especially if they have to be carried upstairs or downstairs. As a rule, we commission a specialist company to carry out the transport at the loading and unloading point. For international and overseas moves, upright and grand pianos are transported in custom-made crates.

Often, indoor plants are long-cherished components of the domestic environment. We can take them with us for shorter removals by moving van. However, they take up a comparatively large amount of space in the van, as they cannot be stacked.

However, inside the van, it's dark, and the inside cannot be heated or cooled. Sensitive plants may suffer damage. We cannot be held liable for this. It is not possible to take plants or parts of plants with you for international or overseas removals. Details are regulated by the respective Import regulations

Ask your → move consultant for details.


= proof of delivery. A set of documents showing that the removal goods have been delivered at destination overseas. 

The set consists of the signed off → bingo sheet, the signed off inventory and, if necessary, a damage report.


= Port of Entry

The → import customs clearance and the transfer to the destination agent take place either there or at inland terminals. 

= Port of Loading. There, the vessel with a container used for a move departs.

The port agency plays a crucial role in the organization of overseas moves: For container moves abroad, it books the container and the container slots on a vessel with the carrier, transports the container to the loading location and to the port and takes care of customs clearance and handling at port.

The agency also transports lift vans from the furniture warehouse to the port of loading and takes care of the further transport in a container.

When moving from overseas to Germany, the agency takes care of port handling, import customs clearance, and the transport of the container or the lift van to destination.

A range of costs is associated with the port handling of a household goods shipment. When exporting from Germany, the port agent can estimate these costs fairly accurately, so they are stated in the removal offer (THC = Terminal Handling Charges) and included in the removal price. For some overseas destinations there are flat-rate charges (DTHC = Destination Terminal Handling Charges), which can be paid in advance and are thus cheaper than in the port of destination. These are also stated in the removal offer and are included in the price.

ATTENTION: When comparing moving costs, please make sure to check whether THC and DTHC are included in the offer!

However, at most ports of entry the DTHC can be established only after the arrival of the vessel. Sometimes additional costs may arise, for example, if there is a congestion at port, or if containers or lift vans have to be stored temporarily. Such extra costs will be charged extra.

Even if THC and DTHC have been paid in advance, the exact amount of the port costs can be difficult to estimate in advance. Such extra costs are NOT included in the moving costs and will be charged extra. These extra costs mainly  consist of three components: Fees for the intervention of intermediate agents (NVOCC), storage costs at the port(storage), and fees for exceeding the unloading time of the container (demurrage). The latter two costs arise from the fact that ships are unloaded 24 hours a day, every day of the week, while the customs office has limited staff resources and opening hours. Public holidays also play a role. Sometimes documents have to be waited for, or the customs office orders an X-ray check or a customs inspection Customs clearance.

The destination agent can only have the removal goods transported and delivered to the destination address after customs clearance has been completed. This may result in further process-related costs that must also be paid before delivery.

A Power of Attorney is needed for  Customs clearance to destinations inside the US.

Please read the section "How to prepare for the move" in our → "Frequently Asked Questions".

At MTL, we value your privacy. Please consult our → privacy protection statement, in particular our data storage, data processing, and data communication policy.


MTL acts quality-oriented as well as price-sensitive. We do not make any concessions to the quality of our work in order to save costs in the wrong places. Our quality management works on several levels:

  • We train our own specialists and provide them with regular training,
  • We discuss improvement options in employee meetings,
  • We take customer feedback into account,
  • We employ a sophisticated IT system,
  • Our teams in the field and in the office work together in a spirit of trust.
  • We undergo an annual external ISO certification DIN EN ISO 9001

This focus on quality is reflected in the ratings we receive from our customers.



In Germany, there are many instances for you to register upon arrival and de-register upon departure: the townhall, the foreigners' registration office, the post office, and your insurance companies. Your children have to be registered and de-registered at their schools; your car needs to be registered at the car registration office, your television and radio need to be registered or re-registered at the Gebühreneinzugszentrale der öffentlichen Rundfunk- und Fernsehanstalten (GEZ), your dog needs a dog tax stamp. You must notify your bank or savings bank. You must change your electricity and gas provider, your church congregation, and your club and association memberships and your magazine subscriptions.

If you move to Germany from outside the European Economic Area and from overseas, you must submit a current residence registration to German customs on your return so that the removal goods can be processed duty-free as removal goods. If you have not de-registered when you leave, the customs authorities will require additional proof that the center of your life has been abroad for the last twelve months. Contact the → MTL team in good time to avoid storage costs.

If you commission our Relocation Service, we'll make everything very easy for you.

A whole range of services at destination is summarized under Relocation Service:

Many companies offer relocation services to their employees to make it easier for the whole family to settle in their new home in a foreign environment. MTL co-operates with experienced professionals to offer relocation services in the Frankfurt RheinMain and in the Istanbul metropolitan areas.

Removal goods are all those household goods and personal effects (HHG & PE) that are transported from one apartment to another.

When relocating to a country outside the European Union, you need to pay particular attention to certain items in your HHG & PE shipment:

Depending on the destination, we apply different packing standards for packing of removal goods.

For international removals special rules apply with regard to items ineligible for shipment.

Removal goods can be valuable, transportation always involves a certain risk. We strongly recommend that you buy → transport insurance.

Please consult your → move consultant.


Overseas removals are shipped in containers shipped on cargo vessels. Lift vans are also transported in containers. After booking, we will inform you which vessel will carry your shipment. On → you can follow the route of that vessel across the oceans in realtime.

Sea freight costs represent a significant part of the total moving costs. In this context, carriers use numerous technical terms, some of which can be found in the offers for overseas moves. Here are the most common ones explained: BAF and CAF are charges designed to compensate for fluctuations in diesel prices and exchange rates. These are included in the price. However, fluctuations in the dollar exchange rate are not compensated for; these must be cushioned by the removal company itself. Therefore, in extreme cases, you will be charged for fluctuation losses. Fortunately, this happens very rarely.

FCL (Full Container Load) refers to removal goods shipped in containers, LCL (Less than Container Load) to general cargo. We secure your removal goods in lift vans which in turn will be consolidated in containers. According to the SOLAS regulation , VGM (verified gross mass) or gross weight must be specified when booking the containers for loading in order to ensure safe stowing of the containers. 


After having been loaded with your removal goods, the container will be sealed. The seals used in the overseas removal business comply with international conventions. They are individually numbered, the number is noted on the Bill of Lading.

The seals can only be broken with special tools and cannot be re-used. Only customs authorities and authorized companies are eligible to open the seals. This way your removal goods are secured against theft during transport.

= Sender of the removal goods shipment

Bill of Lading

Depending on the total volume of a move, removal goods are often transported in large moving vans or in trucked containers. These vehicles can only drive directly to a loading or unloading point if the road conditions on-site allow for it. If they don't, the removal goods are first loaded into smaller transporters, which drive back and forth several times between the van or container and the loading or unloading point.

SOLAS = Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

A United Nations convention regulating global measures for ship safety. 

Special objects may require special protection during a removal. Large glass tops, such as tabletops or mirrors, but also marble tops must be packed in suitable wooden boxes crates, otherwise, damage is not covered by insurance. We also pack large and valuable paintings, sculptures, and pianos in wooden crates for transport. 

For bulky and fragile objects, for which a wooden crate is out of the question, we build our own transport containers made of sturdy cardboard. 

Depending on the requirements, we also use other special packing materials such as bottle covers, edge protectors and other materials to ensure that your removal goods will arrive safely.


If you cannot move into an apartment at destination immediately after moving out, because the new house is not yet finished, an employment contract has not yet been signed or because you are working abroad for a limited period of time but only want to take a little with you, MTL can safely store your removal goods. At our headquarters in Friedberg and in Berlin, we have secure furniture storage facilities where your belongings are safely stored in locked storage boxes. Before storage, your removal goods are packed to prevent damage during storage. Before each storage, a storage contract is drawn up in which the services and fees for the storage are agreed upon. The goods to be moved are documented in a storage receipt note. The completeness of the goods to be moved is documented by means of a bingo sheet during storage and removal.

In the case of long-distance removals by truck, the removal goods are often put into storage and temporarily stored after packing, in order to be transported together with other removal goods by large trucks as additional cargo to a warehouse in the destination area, from where they are then delivered.

If documents for import customs clearance are missing, the removal goods must be stored in a bonded warehouse until the documents are available. At our Friedberg location, we have the customs approval for the temporary storage of removal goods during customs clearance. In other destination countries, the respective destination agent is responsible. In any case, costs will be incurred. Therefore it is very important that you communicate the relevant documents in time. 

Here you'll find a list of the documents required for importing household goods and personal effects to Germany. For documents required for import to all other countries, your → move consultant will inform you.

In our move quote we list which services are included in our offer and which additional costs may be incurred. In case of additional costs, you will be informed by us, by the carrier or by the → destination agent about the type and the estimated amount. If you are in doubt, please contact your → move consultant.

Port charges

Customs clearance


= Terminal Handling Charges: Costs incurred at the port of loading.

→ Port charges

Countries outside the borders of the European Union.

Costs for relocations to a third country are not subject to value-added tax. 

We handle moves to any country. We regularly organize moves to the following third countries: the USA, Turkey, and Switzerland. 

In Germany, all inhabitants are required to register with their local town hall. In order to get your removal goods through German import customs clearance, a copy of the townhall registration is required.

Registrations and de-registrations

In the event of loss, transport insurance covers the replacement value of your removal goods. It thus offers much more comprehensive protection against a small amount, which is based on the replacement value of the removal goods, than the legally regulated liability of the removal company.

This applies especially to overseas moves. The liability of the remover ends at the port of dispatch. A transport insurance includes damage or loss of sea freight, including the pro-rata liability in case of loss at sea (Marine Insurance). Ask your → move consultant.

With transport insurance, it is important that you observe the deadlines for damage reports.



Even if you and we have prepared ourselves and you as best as possible for the move - sometimes unforeseen circumstances stand in the way of all plans. Examples:

  • Changes in weather conditions make it difficult or impossible to load, transport or unload your removal goods;
  • An accident leads to a complete blockage of the transport route;
  • A construction site makes access difficult or impossible;
  • A stairwell turns out to be too narrow for furniture transport, or a piece of furniture does not fit through a door.

We try to compensate for such circumstances through improvisation. However, we will have to charge you for any additional costs incurred.


You can trust our packers that they won't take possession of removal goods on their own authority. However, you must also know that the loss of valuables is not covered by liability or transport insurance. Therefore, we advise that you carry jewelry, precious metals, and other valuables yourself.

Liability of the removal company

Transport insurance

= Vehicle Identification Number

Motor vehicle transport

Apart from the distance and the agreed services (packing, assembly &c.), the total volume of the removal goods is the most important factor for calculating the necessary working hours, the size of the moving van, and thus the removal costs.

The most important tool to assess the volume of a move is a list of key figures for the total size of typical furniture, in which the number of each piece of furniture is recorded during an inspection. These figures, which are commonly used by serious removal companies, are based on agreements between associations of removal companies and public service bodies and do not differ significantly from country to country.

On the basis of these key figures we offer different methods of volume recording depending on the total size of the move:

  • You can fill in a → questionnaire and send us photos of the goods to be moved. This method works for smaller removals;
  • Via → MOVERSCAN you can use your smartphone to create a structured and detailed report with photos. This works for medium-sized moves, such as three-room apartments;
  • Via → ONSITE VIEWER you can make an appointment with one of our relocation consultants for a live inspection via smartphone for larger moves;
  • For complex removals, a moving consultant will come to your residence in person, if possible.

Once the moving volume has been determined, the total weight of a move can be calculated based on an algorithm in common use in the moving trade. The weight must be stated for overseas moves and moves by air freight. If there's doubt about the weight of the removal goods, we can have the container or lift van weighed and the tare deducted. 

Look at our → "Frequently Asked Questions" for the entry: "How is the moving volume calculated"?

If you want to have a concise idea of a cubic meter: think of the washing machine and dryer in your basement: both together have pretty much the volume of a cubic meter.

W | X | Y | Z

When using our own vans and transporters for your removal, we can track our vehicles using a real-time tracking system. So we know if they are in a traffic jam or if there are other reasons for a delay. If we have contracted a partner for transport, we can ask them.

In the case of overseas transport, we will provide you with the name of the ship on which your container is being transported. If you enter it on → you can track the position of the ship in real-time. For airfreight we rely on our air freight forwarder. 

At the destination port or airport overseas, the destination agent takes over the shipment, informing you about the clearance status, onward transport and unloading date.


Do you want to pack carton boxes yourself? Please use only such boxes, new or used ones, as used by a moving company. Cheap boxes from the hardware store break easily and cause problems when carrying and stacking. Please note the following when packing:

  • Use large boxes for lighter items;
  • Use smaller boxes for heavy items such as books;
  • When packing, heavy items should be placed on the bottom and lighter ones on top;
  • The packed cartons should not bend, because they are then difficult to stack;
  • The total weight of a packed carton should not exceed 30 - 35 kg
  • Nothing should rattle when shaking a carton. Therefore, fill cavities with soft material;
  • Please place books vertically, as well as the plates individually wrapped in packing paper.

On request, we can supply professional carton boxes and wrapping paper in advance. The necessary number of boxes was estimated by the moving consultant during the inspection.

Please note that even packed goods are only insured in case of total loss, not in case of damage to the removal goods. Liability of the removal company

When moving to a Third country, customs officers at destination often order customs controls of self-packed removal goods. Here you should definitely leave the packing to us. PBO


On the day of the move, our packer teams bring a work slip with them, on which is noted in detail what was agreed in the → move contract in terms of services.

In a separate section of the work slip, any existing damage to the removal goods and the unloading and loading point is first noted and then any damage caused by us is noted.

Damage protocol