When you opt for Transporteca’s “Direct Van” transport solution you buy space on a van with a driver to transport your goods within the EU. You get the benefits of co-loading with other customers, a favourable price, excellent communication and access to our customer support team, who always know exactly where your goods are – all the while we guarantee that your goods stay in the same van all the way from collection to delivery, with no reloading during transit, which minimizes the risk of damage significantly.
When you need to transport goods within the EU, you have different transport solutions to choose from, and you need to know the pros and cons of all of them. This post will focus on the transport solution “Direct Van”, developed by Transporteca, and compare it with alternative modes of transport.
A van with a driver
The transport solution “Direct Van” consists of a network of vehicles, which operate on fixed routes across the EU, 100% controlled by Transporteca. All communication and planning of routes and time schedules are handled by Transporteca’s customer support team, allowing the drivers to focus on what is most important in their roles: To drive and provide good customer service.
There are pros and cons of all transport solutions, which are important to be aware of before deciding how to transport your cargo.
Considerations for choosing our “Direct Van” service
The benefits of “Direct Van” include:
- No transshipments, which minimize the risk of damages and loss.
- Limited requirements for preparing and packaging your goods, which reduce both time and costs of preparing your shipment.
- Favourable prices, which are 50-80% below the prices traditional moving companies offer.
- Available to all – both private customers and businesses.
- Close to no restrictions on types of cargo, as long as it fits and can be loaded into the van.
- Good communication before, during and after the transport.
- GPS tracking on the van and cargo.
- Pickup and delivery within a two-hour time slot, which is agreed in advance.
No transshipments ensure minimal risk of loss and damages
The vast majority of damages happen during transshipments. Once a shipment is loaded properly into a van, truck or container, there is basically no risk of damages during the transport itself. One of the biggest advantages of the “Direct Van” service is that your shipment is collected and delivered on the same van. In other words, when your shipment is loaded in the vehicle, it will not be reloaded to another vehicle or transferred via a transhipment hub. This minimizes the risk of damages and loss significantly.
Limited wrapping and packaging requirements reduce time and cost of preparation
Another benefit of the “Direct Van” service is that you are part of loading and unloading the van, letting you witness how your goods are handled. Everything is managed by hand by experienced drivers, thus guaranteeing no machine handling with for example forklift or conveyor. This makes the requirements for wrapping and packaging minimal compared to other modes of transport, saving you both time and money preparing your shipment.
Cost savings between 50-80% compared to traditional moving companies
Prices for the “Direct Van” service are calculated on the base of the volume and weight of the goods you need to be transported as well as the distance. One of the main differences compared to a traditional moving company is that moving companies often provide several people to manage wrapping and packing, carrying and registration of your personal effects.
“Direct Van” is a ‘simple’ service, meaning you are responsible for preparing your shipment yourself, and unless otherwise is agreed upon, you must make sure that your goods are ready for pickup at the curb when our van arrives. Likewise, unless otherwise has been agreed upon, you must be able to receive your goods at the curb upon delivery. This, of course, reduces costs, why you can expect the “Direct Van” service to cost you 50-80% less than it would with a traditional moving company.
Available to all – both private customers and businesses
Most transport options are unfortunately offered only for commercial goods. The reason why is that these services are designed for collections and deliveries at warehouses with loading docks, they require flexible collection and delivery within business hours, and due to rough handling of the goods, they require professional packing to avoid damages.
That is not the case with Transporteca’s “Direct Van’ service. This transport solution is available to both private customers and businesses – everyone with an international transport needs within the borders of the EU.
No restrictions on cargo types
Often there are restrictions on what types of goods carriers and courier companies can accept. With the “Direct Van” service you can transport anything that fits in the van, and which does not perish (expiry date products), or is at risk to the driver or van. There may be requirements for packing and preparation of your shipment, but as a rule of thumb, there are no restrictions on types of goods.
Good communication, tracking and pickup within two-hour time slots
As Transporteca’s customer service team is responsible for all communication with customers and drivers, we can ensure proper and timely communication both before, during and after the transport.
Detailed route planning and GPS tracking of all vans mean that we in advance can offer a two-hour time slot for collection and delivery on the respective collection and delivery dates, and we can send a text message half an hour before the driver arrives at your address. Thus, you do not have to spend a whole day waiting for the driver.
“Direct Van” limitations
Of course, there are also shipments that are not ideal for the “Direct Van” transport solution. In addition to shipments that require customs clearance (ie in/out of the EU), please be aware of the following limitations:
- Transit times are longer than for other modes of transport, and the “Direct Van” service does not offer daily departures.
- Some flexibility on your part is required in regard to pickup and delivery, as this must be done when the van is in the respective area.
- It is a curb-to-curb service, meaning pickup and delivery happens at the curb unless otherwise agreed in advance.
- If you choose not to add transport insurance, you bear the full risk of any incidents due to unforeseeable circumstances or force majeure.
- ”Direct Van” cannot load palletized goods.
Goods that require fast delivery
A standard trip from southern to northern Europe and back is scheduled to take around 18 days. Sometimes there will be weekly departures, other times monthly. Thereby, the “Direct Van” service is not relevant for shipments that require fast delivery. Such shipments will benefit from an alternative mode of transport, which we will introduce later in this article.
Pickup and delivery at the curb
For this service pickup and delivery is at the curb, unless otherwise agreed in advance. You should, therefore, expect to help out with the loading and unloading of your cargo. If you are not available to help or arrange for the shipment to be ready at the curb, perhaps you need the services of a traditional moving company instead.
The driver is happy to help carry a few larger items, such as sofas that require more people to carry. For additional assistance, this will need to be booked in advance at a fixed hourly rate.
The risk of not adding a transport insurance
Transporteca offers you to buy transport insurance when you book your transport online. If you, against our recommendation, do not buy transport insurance, you will take on the full risk of loss or damage during transportation. Legally, for personal effects, Transporteca’s liability is limited to damages and loss as consequence of negligence, and for commercial goods, limits apply as per the CMR convention. However, your entire risk can be eliminated with the purchase of transport insurance when you order your transport – read more about it in the section on insurance later in this post.
The drivers cannot load pallets into the vans. All vans are packed by hand, and the drivers do not bring pallet trucks, why we have decided not to accept palletized goods. Therefore, in case you have a pallet of goods be aware that only the boxes will be loaded into the van and the pallet will be left at the pickup address.
Transit times and scheduled routes
Transporteca plans the routes in accordance with the transport needs. An example of a standard route starts in Malaga and goes on to Lisboa, before continuing through Portugal, Spain and France to London, and then through Belgium, Holland and northern Germany before continuing to Denmark and Sweden, where the van turns around in Stockholm. Then the trip goes back south through eastern Germany and Austria, onward to northern Italy, where the van drives through Verona before it heads southwest through southern France and on to Barcelona, before finally returning to the south coast of Spain.
A trip like this, including the time to load and unload shipments, extra time to deal with unforeseen incidents, and where the driver complies with the regulations on driving and resting times, is scheduled for 18 days. The number of vans that drive at the same time is determined by the number of transport bookings we receive. However, we aim to offer at least one departure every week.
When you receive your quote for your “Direct Van” transport it will include information on the next available departure as well as expected transit time. We try our best to arrange a pickup of your goods on the first available van or latest within four weeks. You can of course also book space on our vans that are planned for routes further ahead.
The transit time starts at pickup, and to give you an idea of what to expect here are a few examples of transit times with our “Direct Van” service:
From Lisboa to London – 6 days
From Copenhagen to Malaga – 11 days
From Stockholm to Verona – 10 days
From Berlin to Barcelona – 9 days
Pickup and delivery times are always planned ahead. In this way, you are guaranteed a two-hour time slot, in which the driver will arrive at your address.
The transport price depends on the volume of your goods, how much it weighs, the distance your goods need to be transported, and how far the pickup and delivery addresses deviate from the ‘standard’ route. When you request a quote on Transporteca’s site you will either see the price instantly on the screen or receive a quote by email within one business day.
Below we have listed a couple of price examples on different types of goods on different routes:
20 moving boxes and 1 bike from Leeds to Marbella, Spain (2,596 km) – 3.2 m3, 380 kg – USD 1,320 incl. VAT
3 paintings and a statue from Braga, Portugal to London (2,004 km) – 1.2 m3, 86 kg – USD 476 incl. VAT
16 boxes containing binders from Berlin, Germany to Norwich (1,039 km) – 1.8 m3, 260 kg – USD 614 incl. VAT
1 contrabass, 3 guitars, amplifier and speakers from Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Marseille, France (1,235 km) – 4.8 m3, 170 kg – USD 1,067 incl. VAT
These prices are based on a curb-to-curb service. It is possible to book the driver to assist you with carrying your goods in/out and up/down at an hourly rate. However, this must be booked in advance, so it can be taken into considerations when planning the route.
We highly recommend our customers to purchase insurance when they book transport. We do this because Transporteca cannot be held responsible for damages and loss unless this is due to negligence when we transport moving goods and other personal effects. For other types of cargo, the CMR convention applies, which limits the liability of the carriers.
The reason we cannot be held responsible for damages of personal effects is that we do not participate in the wrapping and packaging of the goods. For other types of goods, the internationally recognized CMR Convention comes into force, which is applicable to all road transportation, developed to keep transport prices as low as possible.
When you book transport with Transporteca you have the option to purchase insurance. When you decide to do so you must specify the total value of your goods, which besides the price of transport, will be the price you are insured for. Please note that for damages on used and unpackaged goods you have an excess of USD 315 per damage for commercial goods and USD 470 per damage for personal effects.
The value of the goods should be the replacement value prior to the transport. Should any damages occur, the insurance company will either pay the replacement value, deliver a new effect identical to the lost or damaged one or have proper repair work performed on the item. You should not include any sentimental value or other special value (for example if the effect is a collector’s item) in the total value.
Price examples for transport insurance
Personal effects (value USD 4,686), transport (value USD 1,071) – USD 125
Spare parts for a car (value USD 10,075), transport (value USD 388) – USD 110
When you have purchased a transport insurance, and in the unlikely event that your goods are damaged or lost during transit, our insurance company, First Marine, will handle your claim. We have only positive experiences with fast and fair handling of insurance claims as well as quick payouts.
All of Transporteca’s vans are equipped with GPS tracking in real-time, this to ensure that our customer service team knows the whereabouts of our vans at all times, and can anticipate any deviations from the planned time schedule. You can expect the following communication from Transporteca when you book transport with our “Direct Van” service:
- With your quote, you will receive one or more possible date ranges for pickup and delivery, and you can then choose the schedule that best suits your needs.
- If the expected pickup date changes due to adjustments in the route or time schedule, you will immediately receive a notification with the changes.
- As the expected pickup date closes in, and no later than one week prior to departure, you will receive an updated schedule, which we kindly ask you to confirm.
- Two days before pickup you will receive an email with a two-hour time slot for pickup.
- On the day of pickup, you will receive a text message from the driver half an hour before he or she arrives at your address.
- Likewise, for delivery you will receive an email should there be changes to the expected delivery date, you previously received.
- Two days before the delivery you will receive an email with a two-hour time slot for delivery.
- On the day of delivery, the driver will send you a text message half an hour before he or she arrives at your address.
- After delivery, you will receive an email where we kindly ask you to confirm that you have received your shipment, and also let you share any comments or observations.
If you are planning travel activity around the pickup or delivery date, we advise you to wait to buy tickets until a few days prior to pickup/delivery. This reduces the risk of the tickets going to waste in case the transport is delayed. Transporteca cannot be held liable for loss of airline tickets due to delays in transportation.
You can always reply to the emails you receive from Transporteca, which will go directly to our customer support team. In addition, you can always reach us within opening hours on chat or phone if you have any questions.
In the rare occasions, where damages or loss occur you will receive a template containing the information the insurance company needs to handle your claim. This information should be forwarded directly to the insurance company by email.
It is your responsibility that your goods are packed properly to ensure that it does not sustain any damages from the movements it will be exposed to during transit.
As the responsibility is yours we do not have any formal requirements for packaging, but we kindly ask all customers as a minimum to follow the recommendations below, in order to minimize the risk of damage:
- No loose objects in the van – everything should be packed in boxes, sacks, bags, barrels or the like.
- When using moving boxes, please use professional boxes (7 mm thick), which can be found at any hardware store. The moving boxes must be assembled correctly, see the assembly instructions printed directly on the box.
- Anything that fits in a moving box should be packed in one. However, no more than 20 kg in each moving box.
- Try to fill your boxes to the brim, reducing the risk of the boxes collapsing during transport. For example, if you have binders or books in a box, then top up with pillows, towels or the like.
- Do not pack items that are flammable, explosive, toxic, corrosive or similar.
- Batteries for electric bikes, electric scooters and the like must be removed before transport.
- If you have items that can cause unpleasant odours, they should be packed in heavy plastic bags before packing them in boxes.
- Furniture must be taken apart if it is necessary in order to move them. Legs on sofas, beds, tables and the like must also be removed if possible.
- Furniture and other items that are not in boxes must be covered in plastic or cloth. In particular, for light furniture, it is important that the furniture is not ‘exposed’ to reduce the risk of staining.
- When transporting washing machines, the transit bolts must be applied before transport.
In addition, it is not possible to load goods on pallets into the van, as the vehicles are hand-packed. Palletized goods will, therefore, be loaded without the pallets and the pallets will be left at the pickup address unless otherwise agreed in advance.
The vehicle’s cargo space is 190 cm high, 370 cm long and 185 cm wide. Therefore, your cargo cannot exceed these dimensions.
The vans that operate our “Direct Van” services have a maximum capacity of 14 cubic metres and 1,400 kg. As Transporteca never drives with overweight, and because we plan the vans and routes carefully to fit the goods from all customers it is important that the dimensions and the weight you indicate for your goods are correct when making your booking. Should there be deviations we will try to accommodate these, but we cannot guarantee that it is possible, as this depends on the specific route. Therefore, to avoid unfortunate surprises, you need to measure and weigh your goods. If this is not possible we suggest you indicate larger volumes and weights rather than lower.
“Direct Van” is the ideal transport solution for most cargo types. To benefit from this service you simply have to be flexible with the transit time and make sure that the dimensions of your products do not exceed the limitations of the van (as indicated above).
Examples of cargo types that are relevant for our “Direct Van” service within the EU:
- Smaller loads of personal effects/moving goods
- Art and antiques
- Furniture bought on auctions
- Antique furniture
- Car parts and tires
- Music instruments
- Goods for fairs and exhibitions
- Motorcycles and scooters
- Electronics such as televisions, stereos and computers
- Items purchased on Lauritz.com, catawiki.com, eBay and similar auction sites
- Items bought online
- Bikes and fitness equipment
- Trophies, wedding dresses and headstones
And most likely lots of other items, we have not added to the list. As long as it fits in the van and can be packed by hand, we can move it.
Book transport with Transporteca: This is how it works
Once you know what to transport, choose the category below and fill in your transport needs. As soon as you have received your quote, you can complete your order online and add a transport insurance. You will receive your booking confirmation and invoice right away.
- Transport of furniture
- Transport of furniture for businesses
- Transport of personal effects
- Transport of art
On the day of pickup, when the driver arrives at your address you should have arranged for your goods to be ready by the curb (unless otherwise has been agreed upon), and you or your representative must meet the driver to review the goods and make sure it corresponds to the booking confirmation, which the driver will bring.
If there are changes to the packing list in regard to the what is booked, this must be discussed and settled with Transporteca, as the driver will not load your shipment until he has confirmation from our customer support team. Minor changes will usually not be a problem but can be rejected at times if the van is scheduled to be fully booked on the specific trip. Your goods will be delivered at the curb unless otherwise is agreed upon, why it is a good idea to arrange in advance for someone to be present to carry the goods inside if this is necessary.
At delivery, please make sure you receive your full shipment as collected. In case of damages or loss this should, if viewable at delivery, it should be notified to the driver immediately, who will relay the information to Transporteca. Information on damages that were not visible at delivery should be forwarded to Transporteca no later than 7 days after delivery in order for the insurance company to process the claim.
When the delivery has taken place you will receive an email from Transporteca, and we hope you will spend a few minutes sharing your experience with us. This will help us give feedback to our driver and keep optimising our “Direct Van” transport solution.
What makes Transporteca different
The transport industry in Europe has gradually gained a tarnished reputation – with “Direct Van” we offer an ethical alternative that we can vouch for.
There is a lot of talk about the ill-treatment of drivers on European roads – we have decided to change that. You can deliver an efficient and profitable service while providing drivers with good and respectable (living) conditions:
- We comply with the driving and rest time legislation for larger trucks, although there is no legal requirement for the type of vehicle we use.
- We coordinate everything from the office – both communication, hotels, routes and timetables – the way the drivers can focus on driving and delivering an excellent service.
- The drivers are self-employed, but we pay for ferries, bridges, payment roads, accommodation and a price per mile that covers both the vans and diesel.
- We cover running costs upfront, so the drivers do not need to expense these and pay the driver for his work as soon as the trip is completed (typically within 3 days). In this way, the driver’s financial risk is limited while maintaining the motivation to deliver an exceptional service to every customer on the route.
- Timetables include a buffer for unforeseen events, such as traffic, tire change, or bad weather.
We believe this is a fair solution that gives drivers a sense of work satisfaction and ensures our customers a better transport solution and experience.
There are many modes of transport within Europe, which provide an alternative to Transporteca’s “Direct Van” service. As mentioned, there is no guarantee that “Direct Van” is the ideal match for your transport need. Find the alternatives below including their individual pros and cons. Some of these services are available on Transporteca – others we have chosen not to offer:
Haulier – hub and spoke
The traditional trucking company in Europe has a number of smaller vans, which collect shipments and bring them to larger terminals, larger lorries then drive between terminals in Europe, and finally, the smaller vans deliver the goods (often through a network of agents). This model is known as “hub and spoke” as it reminisces the spokes of a bicycle wheel, where the goods are transported via a terminal – a so-called “hub”.
- This mode of transport has rather fast transit times (5-6 days across Europe) and has relatively fixed pickup and delivery dates.
- Good prices due to the economy of scale the hauliers achieve by driving with large trucks.
- It will usually be a requirement that all goods are palletized in order for the goods to be machine handled at the terminals.
- This also requires for pallet trucks at shipper and consignee, unless pickup and delivery by lift truck are booked and purchased in advance.
- Minimum two transshipments in which the cargo is handled.
- Designed for commercial goods, why is it expected that collection and delivery are available within regular opening hours (8-16) without prior communication.
- The service is not available for private customers and does not accept personal effects or moving goods.
This mode of transport is also available on Transporteca, where we partner with some of Europe’s most reputable hauliers.
Courier companies offer fast transit times and good prices, especially for small parcel shipments across all of Europe. Shipments require particularly good packaging as they are handled multiple times during transit and often rather harsh.
- Daily pickup, fast transit times and good tracking in real-time.
- Good prices, especially for packages and smaller cargo shipments.
- Strict requirements for proper wrapping or palletizing of goods, as well as restrictions on dimensions, as they are sorted and handled by a machine.
- Many transshipments during transit, both manually and mechanically, which pose a high risk of damage.
- Shipments containing multiple parcels often get split up in transit and delivery can spread out over several days.
- Additional costs for private deliveries.
- No advice on delivery time, so you should plan to be available for delivery on a given day between 8-16.
- If delivery changes to a different day, the courier company takes no responsibility – and it often happens without notice.
Transporteca also offers courier services, as this mode of transport is ideal for some shipments.
“Any man and his van”
This mode of transport is in some ways similar to our “Direct Van” service. The difference is, however, that the transport buyer, in this case, makes a deal directly with a driver with a van. The given driver is then also responsible for all planning and coordination and usually has no support handling the complex work with route planning, time tables, communication and the like, let alone he will not have a network of vehicles.
- No transshipments, which minimize the risk of damages.
- The price can be very competitive if you are lucky that your shipment match with the planned route and space available on the vehicle.
- Will often exceed the vans weight limitations, as the driver alone is responsible for route planning – this will often lead to delays and extra costs, which will often be charged to you before delivery.
- The drivers’ conditions are rarely very good: They often choose to sleep in the vans and drive approximately 14-16 hours per day.
- The routes change continuously as bookings come in and since there is no tracking, pickup and delivery dates will often change – without notification.
- The driver is responsible for everything, why communication is often lacking.
- Many have a bad reputation. We have unfortunately experienced unfortunate incidents ourselves, for example with goods left stranded or drivers who have taken customers’ goods hostage.
This type of transport cannot be booked via Transporteca, but there are multiple European sites that offer to connect customers with this type of drivers.