Last updated 27 February 2017

Glenn Gainer – Director of Operations of Econoship Ltd.



Leveraging upon a large pool of strategic partners, Mr. Glenn Gainer and his wife manage hundreds of international moves every year. A small team, however, has allowed Econoship to respond to enquiries quickly and personally oversee each shipment every step of the way. In the interview, Mr. Gainer encouraged customers to weigh the value of their items against their volume and decide if they are worthwhile to bring with them. He also highlighted that last-minute add-ons often increase the volume and lead to a higher cost, as compared to the estimate from the initial on-site survey.

Company: Econoship Ltd.

Category: Moving services

Established since: 1979

Geographical coverage: Internationally from Japan



Q: When did you enter the industry, and when was your company created? How big has your team and clientele grown since?

A: Econoship was founded in 1979. My wife, Hisako, has been working for Econoship since 1992, and I began to work for Econoship full-time in 2006 when we were able to acquire the company from the original owners. Concerning the size of our “team,” we are “lean and mean”, or at least “lean”, because my wife and I handle everything. However, we do have many partners assisting us including companies that provide packing services, consolidators who secure the actual containers, customs brokers, trucking companies, and warehouse facilities, just to name a few. We handle hundreds of international shipments per year.

Q: What makes your company different from other international moving companies?

A: I believe that we respond more quickly than larger organisations, and also provide more detailed information in either English or Japanese in a concise, timely manner.

Q: How involved are you in the moving process of your customers?

A: We are very involved throughout the entire process. An international shipment is something many people never do, or only do once or twice during a lifetime. Therefore, most people have a lot of questions and need information concerning various aspects of international shipping. At Econoship, we always try to make sure that you have all the necessary information. We also welcome your questions and will answer them as precisely as possible in a timely manner.

Q: What are some challenging jobs that you undertake and how do you handle them?

A: Every customer presents a unique set of challenges. Our job is to determine the needs of each of our customers, and to provide services that fulfil the customer’s needs.

Q: What are the key factors you take into account when you send a quote to your customers?

A: The charges are based on the volume of the shipment, and, of course, the distance to the destination. Before I send an estimate, I have to get a good idea about the volume of the shipment. This frequently involves an on-site survey of the goods to be shipped. I always make it clear to our customers that the smaller the volume, the lower the charges. It makes no economic sense to ship a large item of little value.

Q: What are the occasions when you need to survey the items that will be moved?

A: If a packing service is required, we will always conduct an on-site survey. This will give us an approximate idea of the size of the shipment. Of course, many of our customers end up shipping more than originally planned. Last-minute purchases and unexpected presents can add a significant increment to the total volume. For this reason, I always stress that an on-site survey will only allow us to estimate the volume, and the actual charges will be based on the Official Measurements taken by an independent, government-licensed surveyor. This usually occurs on the second day after the goods have been picked up. 

Q: What are your company's policy when it comes to insurance, damage, and loss claims?

A: We always recommend our customers to get insurance because, without it, there is no recourse in the event of damage or loss. Items very rarely go missing, because the goods are shipped in bond, but damage can occur when the seas are rough, regardless of how well they are packed. The insurance fee is quite reasonable; only 1.5% of the total value placed on the goods on the packing list.

Q: What is advice would you give to clients looking to move internationally?

A:  Get an early start, and give yourself plenty of time before you are actually planning to move. If you are planning to ship a large amount of furniture, you will definitely need a packing service, and this will also require an on-site survey. I would recommend contacting Econoship at least two months before you are scheduled to leave Japan – any sooner would be even better. If you are only planning to ship goods that can be boxed up, and you can do your own packing, I would still recommend that you contact Econoship at least two weeks before you are scheduled to leave. Please remember, the lower the volume, the lower the charges. Feel free to contact me anytime you have questions on international shipping.


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