I have this computer desk that I set up in my small studio apartment when I first moved in that is one of the most clever contraptions I have ever seen. It came in a box that was flat and fit very easily in the trunk of my car.
When I opened it up and assembled it I was pleasantly surprised that it turned into a sturdy, adjustable three-wheeled device that holds my laptop and has a small shelf that I can put my coffee and papers on. It adjusts in height and one leg can slide neatly under my bed to give me an opportunity to work lying down if I want. It cost me $19.99 and it was brought to the store I bought it from by an international shipping company that picked it up in China.
International shipping of furniture has become a profitable business in recent years with the development of items like my computer desk. International shipping companies charge by weight and volume so manufactured items that can be broken down into pieces and boxed economically like my desk are giving retailers like Walmart and Target affordable merchandise that sells very well in the U.S. market.
Custom furniture is also shipped overseas by international shipping companies and demands a high premium that is reflected in the cost to the consumer. Oak, Cherry and Mahogany are all expensive woods that furniture manufacturers make beautiful pieces from. These items are not sold at Walmart but are often special ordered and brought to America by international shipping companies that originate in Canada and Europe.
Bedroom sets, Living room sets, Dining room tables and chairs, and outdoor patio and lawn furniture can be found in any household in America. Many of us buy these products at retail stores and never really think about the process that brought them here. International shipping companies traverse thousands of miles by sea, air and land to bring you that plastic lawn chair or plush recliner. Often these pieces of furniture are transported in pieces from the country they are manufactured in and then assembled in the United States.
Of course, we do manufacture furniture here in America also. The carpenters and upholstery designers of the United States are some of the finest in the world and their workmanship usually commands a high price overseas. International shipping goes in both directions. If you were to visit Japan you might find that many of the offices of high level executives are furnished with oak desks from New Hampshire or Cherry from the forests of Virginia.
When people think about all of the items that are transported by international shipping companies they very rarely consider furniture as a major money-maker. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that keeps ships, planes and trucks moving across all of the continents and oceans of the world. Take a moment and look around your own home. How much of the furniture that you have came from another country?