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Old 30-09-2010, 13:03   #1
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Shipping a Boat from US to PI - Customs Nightmare ?

Thread mates,

Had a question that hopefully someone can help us with. We have our eye on a MacGregor 26 for sail in NJ, and would like to ship it out here to PI. Wondering if anyone knows how much of a hassle that would entail?

The official line is that "importing" a boat to the PI means paying 70% customs levies, 10% on VAT and another 10% on related taxes. I have also heard, however, that, if the boat is registered in the US and considered a "household item" that the levies technically do not apply.

Any info on what is truth and what is fiction? Not much available on the official websites out here except for the official "import" line, so any advice would be truly appreciated.

If shipping to PI seems unfeasible, what about shipping to HK or Indo and harbor hopping back to PI? I work on the internet, so I could probably donate a few months to the project, working in port as I go.

Any advice, warnings or dispariging remarks greatly appreciated. : )

Regards,

Goner
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Old 30-09-2010, 13:22   #2
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Have you checked the cost of shipping?
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Old 30-09-2010, 13:48   #3
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Yes,

Shipping would be about $3,000. The boat would cost $12k, with motor and lots of extras. There is nothing similar for sale here.

Buying the same boat new without an engine would cost $54k here and 23k in the US. That being the case, buying used in the US and shipping here seems a reasonable option, given that, somehow one could avoid a 90% tax rate.

Even at the 90% tax rate, buying used in the US would cost $30K, with motor, extras and taxes included. New boat with motor here = almost $60,000.

Unless you live in the PI, this probably seems somewhat "fantastic". However, I can assure you that the figures are accurate.

Goner
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Old 30-09-2010, 13:56   #4
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Revenge of the Jones Act. Are you sure of the shipping costs??? I recently checked on shipping a 23' boat to Hawaii. The cheapest quote I got was $5,000. Matson wanted $9,000 initially but came down to $7,000.

I know not having to deal with the Jones Act makes international shipping cheaper. Still, half the cost for three times the difference seems a little questionable.
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Old 30-09-2010, 16:07   #5
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Good customs agent?

Before you do anything I'd suggest :-
1) Ask round about the reputations of customs at various ports in the Philippines. My recollection of discussions that I've read is that some are good and some are abysmal.
2) Once you've checked customs for your proposed port of entry I'd hunt round to find a good agent. Tell them what you want to do and listen very carefully to their suggestions.
3) Again third hand info:- Bringing a large outboard (indeed any engine) into the Philippines can be difficult. I have some vague memory of people doing it by bringing in a shipment of parts.
4) Do write to Phil. Customs telling them what you want to do after you've sounded them out over the phone and talked to your agent. It may be an idea to separate the outboard and the boat.
5) If you want your boat to come off the wharf you may need to be "friendly" with the key people involved. Courtesy and respect may be more important here than money.

Do remember that you're going to be enjoying a lifestyle that even wealthy upper class Philippinos envy.
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Old 30-09-2010, 16:48   #6
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Thank you Boracay,

Sounds like good advice, definitely like some other undertakings I've been through in this country.

Aprreciate your taking the time to reply in detail.

Regards,

Goner
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Old 30-09-2010, 17:22   #7
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Above all else: STAY AWAY FROM MANILA CUSTOMS!

Customs in Cebu is MUCH better and more reputable than customs in Manila, so the first thing is always try to bring items in direct through the Cebu port. Don't let them process in Manila, then satellite to Cebu. I can't tell you how many times I've had things held up in Manila, with an agent working for some sort of a bribe or another. I've even had them threaten to destroy the items, to which I've called the bluff a few times. Usually I end up getting what I had shipped, but not always...

After that, I think the 'household goods' exemption only applies if you're in the process of acquiring permanent residence? This country is truly a wonderful paradise, but they are so terrified of more invaders coming in and taking the place over (especially economically), that their immigration/ownership/asset introduction laws are just ridiculously tight in some ways. I can't say that I blame them one little bit, it just makes the lives of transients such as myself a bit stickier. Besides, there's a monetary limit on the value of goods which fall under the exemption.

I've got a beautiful Bayliner 21' sitting in the USA that I can't bring over for fear of getting held up in customs I would have so much fun with that thing here...
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Old 01-10-2010, 16:01   #8
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Not Quite Lost, Boracay, et all - Time Limit for Foreign Registered Boats in PI?

Guys,

I am an American, permanent PI resident, married to a Philippina. If I can't ship a boat here, I may fly to HK, buy one and sail it back. Any problem getting through customs that way?

I would assume not, but I have been told that there is a limit on the amount of time that a foreign registered boat can remain in PI waters. Anyone know about that?

I assume that if there is a limit, I would need to sail out and back in when the limit expires. Any first or second-hand knowledge out there regarding any of this?

Also, if I buy a boat in HK, what are the advantages or drawbacks, including costs of maintaining HK registration, as opposed to transferring it to US registration?

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Gone2long
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:02   #9
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Hi

I am in the process of bringing my boat out from the UK so, I thought I would share with you my experience, so far, My boat is L40' x W12' x H13,8" Wt 14 ton, Road move to Southampton 1,400, Ro-Ro Ship to Singapore, on load & freight cost, 3 Supporting frames 1,500, MAFY low trailer hire 1,500, 50' Mast $3,500, Boat $12,750......Singapore, off loading, road to Marina $4,000... Import TAX (Because the boat is CARGO) 7% reclaimable if exported within 6 Mts... Current total cost $25,000.....
RGS///Peter
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:24   #10
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For that money you can probably build a boat in the Phils. Look into Carmen Bay outside of the city of Cebu, or google philippine boat builders.........i2f
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:00   #11
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For that money you can probably build a boat in the Phils. Look into Carmen Bay outside of the city of Cebu, or google philippine boat builders.........i2f
I would agree. Most of the locals run plywood bungka's with outriggers due to the shallows in most places. From looking at the charts I know I'm going to have trouble with my 7' draft. And I see imagine2frolic has a Cat, probably for the same reason.

All though a McGregor can be a shallow water boat but something that size could be built in PI in a fairly short time.
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:49   #12
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Good post. I am considering doing the same. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 04-11-2010, 20:07   #13
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HGow cheap, and how fun can this be? A little larger, and you have some living space.......i2f
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