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Old 28-02-2016, 05:33   #1
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Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

Hello all,

I've just bought a boat in Trinidad & Tobago, and need to send a new set of sails and a windvane from Norway, to the boat. I spoke to a few people on Trinidad and the general consensus was that Trinidad is a tough place to bring in a shipment like this, even if it says "Yacht in Transit" and is obviously meant for a boat leaving Trinidad. Yachties are now being charged 12,5% VAT, the authorities are being difficult, etc.

Which island in the Caribbean would you recommend sailing to, to have the shipment sent to?

Best regards,

Andreas
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:01   #2
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by SettingSail2009 View Post
Hello all,

I've just bought a boat in Trinidad & Tobago, and need to send a new set of sails and a windvane from Norway, to the boat. I spoke to a few people on Trinidad and the general consensus was that Trinidad is a tough place to bring in a shipment like this, even if it says "Yacht in Transit" and is obviously meant for a boat leaving Trinidad. Yachties are now being charged 12,5% VAT, the authorities are being difficult, etc.

Which island in the Caribbean would you recommend sailing to, to have the shipment sent to?

Best regards,

Andreas
Any of the French Islands.. tho' my preference would be St Martin.. but there are closer ones.. Guadalupe etc
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:15   #3
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

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Any of the French Islands.. tho' my preference would be St Martin.. but there are closer ones.. Guadalupe etc
Thank you for your reply I was already contemplating a sail to St. Martin to buy some gear there, because it appears to be the cheapest place to buy things in the Caribbean (though having things sent from US companies to St. Thomas also looks smart, when buying new things).


With regards to having my sails and windvane sent from Norway to the Caribbean: Have you received shipments in St. Martin and know that the officials are easy to deal with? Would you recommend the French side over the Dutch side?

Best regards,

Andreas
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:35   #4
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pirate Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

Yes I have received stuff there in the past.. sails as it happens..
I had to go down to Julianna Airport and the shipping office to collect them but no problems.
But.. this was before Dutch side went semi-Independent.. so things may have changed.. I'd use the Marina in Marigot as your address just in case they've started charging Dutch side..
Pretty sure MarkJ, Zanchin or one of the others out there now will chime in soon.. they'll be waking up around now..
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:40   #5
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

St Martin there are no officials to deal with.
Its duty free.

Best side for business is Dutch side

Best cargo companies are Tropical Shipping and Four Star Cargo.

Tropical only does Miami to St Martin so for Norway check out Four Star Cargo

Sint Maarten is definitely the easiest, cheapest place in the world that I have seen

Its certainly worth the sail up from Trinidad.

One other point is that here the main language is English so it makes it easy. In the French Islands the main language is, of course, French.
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:45   #6
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

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Best cargo companies are Tropical Shipping and Four Star Cargo.

...

Sint Maarten is definitely the easiest, cheapest place in the world that I have seen

Its certainly worth the sail up from Trinidad.
Awesome. This sounds like the way to go. Thank you very much for you help.

Best regards,

Andreas
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:48   #7
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Yes I have received stuff there in the past.. sails as it happens..
Excellent First hand knowledge is exactly what I was hoping for!

Best regards,

Andreas
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Old 28-02-2016, 08:41   #8
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

I subscribe: any of the French Islands, French side of St. Martin best of all.
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Old 28-02-2016, 08:44   #9
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

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I subscribe: any of the French Islands, French side of St. Martin best of all.
Thank you for your input There seems to be a strong consensus for St. Martin, so I'm getting quotes to have the sails and windvane sent there.
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Old 28-02-2016, 09:25   #10
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

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Thank you for your input There seems to be a strong consensus for St. Martin, so I'm getting quotes to have the sails and windvane sent there.
===

I have no experience receiving things in St Martin but I once had an alternator shipped from the mid-western US to Green Cay Marina on St Croix in the USVI. It arrived in 48 hours with no problems at all.

On the outgoing side we have sent things by overnight mail using the DHL office in Martinique.

In the Bahamas, Staniel Cay Yacht Club is a very popular shipping destination.
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Old 28-02-2016, 10:24   #11
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

I don't have experience with St. Martin, but had shipped a lot of stuff to our boat a few years ago - sails, a pallet of solar panels, a kayak, several boxes (more than our boat really needed!) - and it went very smoothly using St. Lucia Express from Miami and Lisa Kessel as our agent there. We've also used Tropical, with no complaints (though SLE was more responsive and helpful in collecting various items from several different places). If you don't want to go all the way up to St. Martin and stay in the Windwards, it might be worth contacting Lisa and considering just going there. And, we've had parts shipped into Grenada, even closer to you, without much trouble.
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Old 28-02-2016, 15:25   #12
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

Here is another vote for 4 Star Cargo to St Maarten. Have sent many things from US to SM
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Old 28-02-2016, 17:02   #13
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by wayne.b View Post
I have no experience receiving things in St Martin but I once had an alternator shipped from the mid-western US to Green Cay Marina on St Croix in the USVI. It arrived in 48 hours with no problems at all.
This is good to know, because I might order some things from websites in the US and have them sent to USVI. It's good to know that it works well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcapital View Post
If you don't want to go all the way up to St. Martin and stay in the Windwards, it might be worth contacting Lisa and considering just going there. And, we've had parts shipped into Grenada, even closer to you, without much trouble.
Thank you for that tip. I've contacted SLE to get a quote and to see what they say.

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Here is another vote for 4 Star Cargo to St Maarten. Have sent many things from US to SM
I've contacted 4 Star Cargo, to find out how much it will be to get something sent from Norway. I'm feeling confident about SXM, because of the close ties with Europe, for some reason it is a bit more reassuring.
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Old 29-02-2016, 09:01   #14
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Re: Where to receive a shipment in the Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by SettingSail2009 View Post
This is good to know, because I might order some things from websites in the US and have them sent to USVI. It's good to know that it works well.


Thank you for that tip. I've contacted SLE to get a quote and to see what they say.


I've contacted 4 Star Cargo, to find out how much it will be to get something sent from Norway. I'm feeling confident about SXM, because of the close ties with Europe, for some reason it is a bit more reassuring.
There is a big thing to be aware of as far as shipping from the US to the USVI. Customs in St. Thomas will require you (or your agent) to clear the items, and if there is no certificate of origin specifying that the goods were made in the US, they will charge a duty, regardless of whether the items have already been imported into the US, and duty paid. Seems outrageous....well it IS outrageous! You would think that if duty has been paid once, when entering the US, you wouldn't be hit with it a second time in St. Thomas, but that is the way it is. I bring quite a bit of stuff in there and it has been a consistent experience.

As for Tropical Shipping, they do a good job, and sending something from Europe to Miami and then from there by Tropical may be quicker than direct from Europe to St. Martin. I don't have experience with the other shippers.

Another interesting thing that has been consistent over the years: I have never been able to beat the price on Raymarine stuff from Cay Electronics, on Tortola. Don't know if there is a special duty on stuff that comes through the UK (it's not manufactured there, anymore), but looking all over the US and elsewhere, I always seem to come back to Cay. Considering that they usually seem overpriced, it's a mystery.

Cheers,
Tim
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