Written By: Dave Hauenstein, Vice President, Compliance Services & Government Affairs-AMSA
The professional moving industry is organized differently for different types of moves and it will help you to have a better move if you understand the differences. First, there are important differences between local moves (called “intrastate” moves because your shipment does not cross state lines or enter into interstate commerce), long-distance moves (called “interstate” moves because your shipment crosses at least one state line and enters into interstate commerce that is regulated by agencies within the US Department of Transportation) and international moves (between the US and another country in foreign commerce regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission).
Local or intrastate moves are regulated (or not) by the state in which the move occurs. About thirty states have various degrees of regulation (some more than others) and the rest are unregulated. Check the State Map on our website to see if you live in a regulated state and which office in your state oversees movers. You can also find a list of state moving associations and state regulatory agencies on the www.protectyourmove.gov Web site that is maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Local (intrastate) moves are generally based on a per-hour cost for the personnel and the number of vehicles that the mover provides (up to a certain distance, with longer distances based on the weight of your shipment and the mileage it is transported). The level of liability that the mover will cover in the event of loss or damage is generally less than would apply for an interstate move. Charges for interstate moves are based on the weight of your shipment and the distance that you are moving and are usually subject to higher level of liability by your mover in the event of a claim. Charges for international moves are based on a combination of the land charges between your residence and the ports, the ocean transportation between the ports, and any additional customs, portage, or handling charges that may apply in the various countries transited. For more information on international shipments, you may wish to contact the Federal Maritime Commission at (202) 523-5807 or at the firstname.lastname@example.org Web site.