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What to Consider When Organising International Laboratory Removals

24 May 2018

Packing up and moving a scientific lab is a delicate and detailed operation in itself – but international laboratory removals involve an even more complex process that must be well thought out and carefully managed to ensure success. At Johnsons we’re well versed in the nuances of international laboratory removals. Here we share six key aspects to consider when relocating abroad.

Customs clearance

One principle difference between national lab moves and international laboratory removals is the requirement for customs clearance. Following a full audit of the equipment and materials destined for transportation your laboratory relocation specialists will need to make enquiries to determine the specific customs and declaration requirements in your destination country. Each nation has different rules and regulations – and it’s important to bear in mind that customs payments will need to be made to authorities on arrival.

Specialist equipment

Specialist equipment needs specialist care – for a number of reasons. The dismantling and packaging process will be crucial, as any damage can be financially difficult but also delays research and the set-up of the new laboratory. Weighing up costs, compatibility and processing involved in moving certain types of equipment can be useful, as it may be most cost-effective and safer to purchase new lab equipment on the other side.

Cold chain

Certain samples and items need to be transported at constant temperature – sometimes frozen, other times temperate. The reason behind this (safety, protection, prevention of spoiling) will dictate the handling and management of each substance or material. Specialist provision will need to be made from start to finish to ensure that temperature-controlled items are safely and securely transported.

Rules, regulations and documentation

International laboratory relocation comes with plenty of paperwork – as different rules and regulations apply at every step of the way. Your laboratory relocation specialists will advise you of the information required and can support you with the filling of forms and arranging permits, documentation and customs licences where necessary.

Hazardous and dangerous goods

Laboratories naturally tend to deal with materials and substances that can be classified as hazardous or dangerous goods. Whilst these items need specialist care and attention wherever they are transported, moving lab or medical equipment by air in particular adds a different dimension. This is where a specialist project manager will be essential, as they can review your materials thoroughly and ensure that each adheres to specific guidelines and regulations to avoid hold ups or difficulties at either border.

Get in touch today discover more about Johnsons global lab logistics and storage services.



“We have very positive feedback from the end users regarding all the crews involved in the move. Indeed at a steering group meeting this week one of the senior scientist not only praised the move teams but also requested if the same teams could be used for the move into the CL2 building next year.”

The Pirbright Institute

“The Johnsons team worked well with our own internal project team to make the overall move a success. The main phase went without any significant issues, and this was a testament to the close management and supervision of the Johnsons team at both sites during the 3 days of the move.”

Mark Garrod, Redx Pharma

“We have a good working relationship and specifically use Johnsons as they are competitive, always turn up on time with the correct number of operatives, and their removal team is always courteous which matters especially when patients and our staff are affected.”

David Shepherd, Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

“Johnsons Laboratory Logistics have been providing relocation services to us for a number of years now. They are competitive, reliable and trustworthy.”

Iain Ramsey, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

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