One of the most painful parts of an OCONUS move is planning for how you’re going to do your shipments. We’re very much a PPM (personally procured move) family, but obviously that doesn’t work when you’re crossing an ocean.
Types of Shipments
- Household Goods (HHG) – Your largest shipment. This will be 50% of your allowed weight under the Joint Travel Regulation (JTR). It will get to Korea via container ship.
- Unaccompanied Baggage – A smaller shipment that arrives sooner (theoretically). This is up to 1,000 lbs, and will count against the 50% of your allowance. It is flown to Korea.
- Non-temporary Storage (NTS) – Anything you don’t want to ship will be put into storage at the Army’s expense. Why the Army has to call it “non-temporary” instead of “permanent” I have no idea.
- Vehicles – If you’re authorized to ship a vehicle, you’ll be directed which Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) you’re to use. For us it was Atlanta.
What We Did
One of the benefits of sending Hillary and the kids home early was that we were able to schedule our HHG early, and not have her and the kids suffering the joys of an empty house. This meant our HHG would be waiting for us in Korea.
We scheduled our HHG packing and pickup for the week before Hillary and the kids left. That was about 3 and a half months before we would be arriving in Korea.
The HHG movers came with five containers (photo above) at about 1000. Unfortunately, they needed six containers, so they filled up the first five, left for a new truck and didn’t get back until after 2100. While it was nice getting everything done in a day (they’d predicted one day for packing, one day for loading) it was kind of a pain having them there so long. We had 4,660 lbs. We didn’t ship a good portion of our furniture, leaving our dining set, king bedroom suite, and dressers behind. The only furniture we shipped were our couch and loveseat, the kid’s bunkbeds, and our queen bed.
As we usually do, we had bottled water, pizza, and Mountain Dew for the movers.
The shipment was picked up on June 2nd, and arrived in Korea on August 31st for a transit time of 90 calendar days.
While we had plenty of weight left on our HHG, we didn’t for unaccompanied! We hit 820 lbs. We mostly shipped things we knew we’d want right away once we arrived in Korea, in case our HHG hadn’t arrived yet. The Xbox One, a small (24″) LCD TV, some dishes, etc. This was an easy one for the movers, since we had everything in the dining room.
It shipped on June 30th and arrived on July 28th, for a transit time of 28 calendar days.
The government will put anything you don’t want to ship into storage for you.
This is pretty straightforward. Make sure the vehicle is VERY clean – if you’ve got a van or SUV that lets you tip/remove the seats, make sure to clean in all those spots. Also, make SURE you have the following paperwork:
- Title (or letter of lien release if you live in a state where lien-holder retains the title)
- Letter from lien-holder allowing you to take the vehicle overseas
It’s not required for shipment, but make sure to have insurance lined up for when you get there. We had to switch from Geico back to USAA, since Geico couldn’t provide full coverage in Korea.
- Like any move, stay organized. Hillary put together a PCS binder, and we kept a few sheet protectors in it for the bills of lading.
- If you’re able to, get your HHG picked up early. It took three months for our shipment to make it to Korea. We’re tentatively planning on doing the same thing for our return trip – sending Hillary and the kids home early so we can get HHG picked up early.