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The news comes from packers and shippers Cadogan Tate, who have just announced a joint venture with FedEx – PicturePack, which they say will drastically reduce the cost and time involved in gallery owners and dealers gauging shipping times for clients’ artwork.

The instant online quotation service for shipping fine art of all shapes, sizes and values should allow dealers to provide clients with a price for shipping in seconds, allowing dealers to eliminate the waiting time between closing the sale and knowing the precise shipping costs.

“In the past, providing a quotation to ship a piece of art may have taken a number of days to calculate and then send back to the client but the Cadogan Tate new PicturePack service is not only instant but paperless,” said the shippers’ fine art managing director Graham Enser.

“PicturePack gives the dealer the tool to close the sale much sooner than previously. The beauty of this new service is that it’s available instantly, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, giving us an advantage over our competitors whose offices are typically open nine to five Monday to Friday.”

The process is designed to be simple. As long as the art collector or dealer knows the longest length of the piece of art, the country it is being shipped to (and from where), the value and whether insurance is required, the website should be able to provide a price, in seconds, for the packing, handling, shipping, insurance, customs and legal formalities.

Clients have to complete six online questions for the website to calculate the cost. It then emails the quotation to the specified email address. The service, which Cadogan Tate say is instant, has taken three years to develop and also offers to calculate the cost of shipping a consignment of several paintings to the same destination. For shipments within Europe, it will even determine the VAT payable.

“Once you have provided the appropriate details, if you are happy to proceed with the order the website will take you directly to the Cadogan Tate main website to complete the transaction and your piece of art will be on its way to its new home in no time through our partners at FedEx,” Mr Enser explained.

Currently the service is available only to works of art originating in London, but within six weeks PicturePack will also be able to offer the services from New York, Paris and Nice.

Halcyon Gallery Head of Art Services, David Jenkins, said he wasn’t aware of another quick and easy product like PicturePack and mentioned that getting a shipping pricing matrix out of some shipping companies was a challenge.

“It certainly is a time saving device that will help us to close a deal much more quickly than in the past, when shipping quotes could take up to three days,” he said.

The idea for PicturePack came about five years ago when Mr Enser and his colleagues were trying to come up with a simpler way of quoting for art logistics.

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