You’re moving to Alaska, Land of the Midnight Sun – how exciting! Alaska is not like anywhere else on earth, with stunning mountains, crystal clear water, abundant wildlife, and adventures galore. But before you can embark on your Alaskan adventure, you’ve got to get all your household goods to the 49th state, and you can’t just load up a van and drive everything north. Alaska is known for unpredictable and extreme weather conditions and a network of unpaved, rough roads that can make transporting goods very challenging. You’re going to need professional moving help to get everything to your new home, and the good news is, you have options. When it comes to shipping household goods to Alaska, a combination of several types of transportation services by air, land, and sea will likely be the most effective method of relocating all your worldly goods. What is the best way to find a moving company or carrier with mixed modes of transportation when moving to Alaska?
Intermodal vs Multimodal Transport
Intermodal freight transportation is the use of two or more modes of freight, such as truck and rail, to transport goods from shipper to consignee (the person or company receiving the goods). Intermodal shipping lowers costs by requiring less fuel than road transport alone, which also contributes to a greener environment. Intermodal shipping involves your shipment being handled by several different shipping companies, each of which requires a separate contract. Some benefits of using this method of shipping when moving to Alaska are the ability to negotiate each contract for the best price, flexibility and specialized handling during loading and unloading at various ports, and a reduced carbon footprint. Some disadvantages include dealing with more than one company, managing possible delays between different legs of the journey, and more hands-on involvement required from you.
Multimodal freight transportation also involves your shipment being handled by several different shipping companies, but only one contract, or bill of lading, is involved. The same carrier is responsible for shipping your household goods to Alaska throughout all legs of the journey, in all modes of transport. In a nutshell, the difference between intermodal and multimodal has to do with the contract and the responsibility/liability factor. Some of the benefits of using multimodal transport are ease of tracking your household goods throughout their journey, a single contract, less overhead for you, the carrier managing any delays during all legs of transport and having just one company handle your goods from origin to destination. One disadvantage is the inability to negotiate pricing.
Most professional freight services have very specific guidelines on what they will and won’t accept, and how items should be packed. As you prepare your personal household items for transport when moving to Alaska, there is important prep work that must be done. This work includes:
- Shop around for pricing, and visit each company’s website for online quotes, rules, regulations, and tariff information.
- Research and adhere to size restrictions.
- Calculate shipping costs — include any upcharges for delivery to a remote or “bush” location.
- Pack everything to be able to hold up under 8 to 12 physical handlings, tolerate at least 30 seconds in the rain, and withstand a 12-inch drop to any surface.
- Take a full inventory, including dimensions and weight, of all boxes to be shipped.
- Properly label all items and containers, including destination and return addresses.
- Make a detailed list of all items contained in each box or container shipped, take photos, and keep this information in a safe place.
- Add a contact phone number to all paperwork so you can be reached in an emergency.
When shipping household goods to Alaska, make sure to pack everything securely, and know what can’t or shouldn’t be shipped, such as:
- Hazardous materials (anything flammable, corrosive, infectious, radioactive, explosive, or batteries of any kind)
- Firearms or fireworks
- Anything requiring protection from heat or cold
- Live animals or plants
- Liquids or perishable items
- Antiques, artwork, or museum quality articles
- Stocks, bonds, cash, rare coins, stamps, cash equivalent
- Jewelry, furs, precious metals
- Fragile items
Shipping Terms to know and understand
Here’s a helpful glossary to help you understand shipping and freight terminology you’ll deal with when you’re moving to Alaska:
- Air Waybill: A non-negotiable contract between the shipper and the transporter.
- Consignee: The person whose name appears on the Air Waybill as the receiver. This can be the name of a moving company if you’ve contracted for a professional mover in Alaska to handle receipt and delivery of your household goods to their new location.
- Continental United States: The 48 contiguous States, Alaska and the District of Columbia.
- Contiguous United States: The 48 adjacent States, and the District of Columbia.
- Legal Holiday: Any local, state, or national legal holiday.
- Seal: A device used to secure the contents of a container. If a seal is broken, this will show that the container or package has been opened during transport.
- Shipper (or Consignee): The name of a person or company that appears on the Air Waybill as the responsible party contracting with the transporter for the shipment of goods.
If you’re moving to Alaska, Golden North Van Lines provides a cost-effective option for shipping household goods to Alaska that will save you time, money, and worry over your move and the safety of all your personal belongings. Our dedicated team of experienced professional movers will help you stay organized, avoid injury, and arrive at your destination ready to begin your Alaskan adventure knowing your household items are in good hands. Put your trust in Golden North Van Lines and rest assured that we will treat your household goods as if they were our own.
With offices in both Anchorage and Fairbanks and decades of experience successfully moving households and businesses of all sizes to and from Alaska, Golden North Van Lines is the Alaska moving company you can trust. If you’re moving to Alaska, contact us today for a free quote and let us help you prepare for a successful move.