If you’re moving internationally, there’s no reason to leave your piano behind. There are ways to make sure you can keep playing the music you love after your move. Read on to find out how to move or ship your piano internationally with the helpful tips in this guide.

Who Will Ship My Piano?

One of the first steps in shipping a piano is to find someone who will ship it. If you’ve found a company that has the capabilities to ship your piano overseas, they may or may not be a freight forwarder.
The freight forwarder consolidates the items for shipment into containers and will deal with the steamship line. The company will pick up your items and deliver them to the freight forwarder who will tell you what steamship line your goods will take, where they will leave from, dates of departure and arrival and the container number.
Some foreign piano manufacturers will wrap their pianos in airtight plastic to prevent them being exposed to excess humidity during transit. Find out if the company you hire will perform a similar service during transit.

How Much to Ship My Piano?

International shipping can become costly as it is generally priced either by weight or by volume. Because pianos are heavy, the optimal pricing should be by volume.

The price will vary from company to company and whichever options you’ve chosen when planning your move. You’ll also have to consider import duties and taxes assessed by the various government entities once the piano arrives at its destination.

Packing the Piano

When your piano is being shipped overseas, it will be carefully wrapped in padding before being placed and strapped onto a skidboard. The skidboard will be bolted to a platform with the piano to ensure it doesn’t move during shipment. Once it’s bolted down, the sides of the crate will be constructed around the piano, sealing it in place. The voids will be packed with stiff packing material to further ensure there is no shifting during transit. The crate will be closed up and labeled and then loaded onto a truck for transit to the air or sea freighter.


It’s recommended that you purchase insurance on the replacement value of the item at the destination. Consider all the insurance options offered to you by the company. Generally speaking, replacement value insurance only covers a certain amount of the item’s value. If you have homeowner’s insurance, find out if it will cover the shipment of your piano or do further research and purchase different insurance for your shipment.

Ivory Ban

If the piano you plan on shipping internationally has real ivory key tops you may be in for trouble when it goes through customs. The international ban on ivory production and sale will mean that many nations will remove the ivory from the piano as a condition of letting it pass through the country.

If the piano is more than 100 years old, it might be able to pass through with appropriate documentation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the equivalent agency in the foreign country you’re sending it to. Allow yourself at least 90 days to procure the proper documentation.

If your piano is less than 100 years old you should just plan on having your piano keys re-topped in plastic before shipment or don’t move your piano. If you opt for recovering your piano keys, do it before the move as the customs agents may damage the keys when removing the ivory.

Get Quotes

There’s no need to worry about shipping your piano overseas. With some preparation and planning you’ll be able to continue tickling the ivories at your destination.

Need to ship a piano internationally? Contact International Sea and Air Shipping today for a free estimate. They have experience shipping pianos worldwide and will make sure your piano is carefully packaged, carried and shipped to its destination. Call them today at 1(866) 788-1090 today to find out about moving your piano.