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Old 10-01-2020, 12:30   #1
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Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

Hi,

I have a logistics question that I had no success researching online, so maybe someone here might be able to enlighten me. I am in Martinique right now going south to Grenada and then ABC, Columbia, Panama. Somewhere on the way I need to receive
a) a pallet with parts from the USA
b) 5 lithium batteries (either battleborn or Trojan, both from USA)

Air freight is way above 1000 USD (quote from battleborn).

Does anyone have experience how to deal with this without spending a fortune and without being stuck somewhere waiting for a delayed shipment? I have read somewhere about cheap sea freight options?

Many thanks!
Tom
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Old 10-01-2020, 13:09   #2
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

Best to pick a country for specific answers as forwarders, procedures, customs duties, etc vary by country.

In general for bulky heavy items you want to go ocean freight...WAY cheaper.

I can provide answers for Guatemala or Panama...and tell you not to try and ship into Belize.
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Old 10-01-2020, 13:39   #3
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
I can provide answers for Guatemala or Panama...
Thank you - any particular carrier and location recommended for Panama? We are going through the canal end of March.
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Old 10-01-2020, 14:03   #4
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

If you want Trojan you can buy them in Le Marin on Martinique. Perhaps better than shipping them? If you want to ship I can recommend https://www.caribbeanshipper.com
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Old 10-01-2020, 14:10   #5
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

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If you want Trojan you can buy them in Le Marin on Martinique.
Huh, that would be by far the simplest solution, any chance you know the store here in Le Marin?
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Old 10-01-2020, 14:18   #6
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

Unfortunately I do not. But it is one of the bigger ones close to the marina.

I dis see them there last year. T-105. Budget Marine in Trinidad and Grenada also stock Trojan.
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Old 10-01-2020, 14:38   #7
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

It could be http://www.caraibe-marine.fr/. Another alternative is Budget Marine on St.Martin. They are a little bit pricey on Budget. But normally you can negotiate a lower price than the sticker price. On Grenada you buy tax free if you show clearance papers.
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Old 10-01-2020, 16:27   #8
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

He did say Trilliums, not lead Trojans.

Although maybe the dealer could get them included with their next lead drop as a special order
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Old 10-01-2020, 16:33   #9
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

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He did say Trilliums, not lead Trojans.

Although maybe the dealer could get them included with their next lead drop as a special order


Oops did not see that. Doubt they sell Trilliums
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Old 10-01-2020, 20:01   #10
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

We shipped two pallets of boat goods into Grenada from Florida. We have since done two additional shipments into Curaçao and Colombia....yes, we have a lot of boat parts but one included a genset for a friend.
The cheapest way to do shipping is to be at the point of origin and take the freight directly to the shipper, not using a freight forwarder. I believe this was Tropical for Grenada, for example. We took it to their facility in the port of Miami. Then met the shipment in Grenada and put it thru customs ourselves and picked it up at the port. The freight forwarders and customs agents are the expensive part!!!!
Many sellers have batteries or can order them. Budget marine and Island Waterworld come to mind. We were in Curaçao and a boat shipped in Lifeline AGMs at great expense and they were cheaper at the local battery supplier....so it pays to check. The marine stores in Marin on Martinique have everything you could want, or can get it.
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Old 11-01-2020, 05:56   #11
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

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Thank you - any particular carrier and location recommended for Panama? We are going through the canal end of March.
One thing to be aware of in Panama regardless of the carrier you use is that technically, if shipping to "yacht in transit" (YIT), the shipment must be delivered by carrier to your boat. However, the carriers often will just deliver to the marina and not insist on the letter of the law. Shipments are commonly delivered to marinas used by boats waiting to transit the canal. Those are Shelter Bay and Balboa Yacht club. Depending on carrier you may be able to arrange delivery to another location or just be at the usual marina to pick up. Ive shipped in stuff many times and just arranged to meet the driver at Shelter Bay. Shelter Bay may also be willing to accept a pakage for you for a small fee.

You cannot pick up a shipment to YIT from Customs directly yourself. It must be deliverd to your boat by an authorized courier. Been there tried that, almost successful, but got shot down in the end...damn, I was almost out the gate!

Import duty for shipments to YITs is 2%. Note: not all carriers/forwarders will handle YIT paperwork.

Marine Warehouse is the easiest option. You can order from them directly (anything in a Port Supply catalog, plus other vendors, they will do some special orders), they ship containers to Panama about every 2 weeks, they handle all the importation documents and delivery to the marina. They have a local office in the Armador Causeway area of Panama City. Arturo, who mans the office, is a great guy and bilingual (Spanish & English). They also deliver to Bocas Marina in Bocas del Toro for an additional fee.

http://www.marinewarehouse.net/?gcli...SAAEgLZHvD_BwE

FedEx Cargo. Ive had very good service at reasonable rates from FedEx Cargo. They handle YIT paperwork and deliver to Balboa YC & Shelter Bay. Ive made arrangements to meet the driver at locations more convenient to me, but thats only because I knew him and paid a little "propina" (tip), thats not officially permitted..technically it must go to the ship to location (marina name & boat, name needed for shipping).

Freight Forwarders...most are based in Miami. You can make your own arrangments with them, but it is more convenient to use an agent as they know the drill/paperwork/etc. There are independent agents in Panama, but Ive not used them. Krystal Logistics is a good freight forwarder in Miami. They service most of Central America.

http://krystallogistics.com/es/homepage-es/

Retail Services like MBE and AirBox Express. These are like the UPS Stores etc in the USA, you pay a premium for convenience. They primarily use air service. They are quick, good service, and expensive for anything other than small items. If you need a small part or mail quickly they are a good option. They do not handle YIT. They offer ocean freight, but tack on so many junk fees/mark ups that its not as economical.
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Old 11-01-2020, 06:43   #12
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

I’ve had stuff shipped to Grenada, a pretty big box but relatively light, so it went air freight.

I use Four Star Cargo in Miami to ship to St. Martin or Grenada. They are good at answering the phone and giving advice, but you may want to call twice to see if you get the same answers. They can be a bit clipped, it’s their business and they know it, but can assume you know more than you do. They cover a lot of the Caribbean with both air and ship.

St Martin is a snap, stuff just comes to Safe Cargo Services at the airport. You go there and pick it up. No customs.

Grenada is a bit more hassle. You have to have receipts foe everything, fill out some forms, and pay some import tax, not much. I have found the local customs agent to be......., well he was marking up grade school projects and drawing pretty pictures on them..... I by contrast was most annoying.

For anything except very simple stuff best to bite a local import broker. I’ve used Ricky Telesford. Not always the experience you want but he does get it done, on island time. But that may not be his fault. The only pain you feel is waiting and waiting, and there it is! But I don’t know what he has to do to make it happen, and I don’t ant to know. I do know my last shipment was VERY complicated with many parts and questions. Ricky made it happen.
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Old 11-01-2020, 09:51   #13
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

Shipping lithium batteries (even AAA) by air is prohibited, at least in the US. Lots of reputable freight companies in the Caribbean, like Tropical Shipping. I used them to import a replacement engine into Grenada. They not only arranged truck pickup and transport to their Ft. Lauderdale docks, but took care of all the import documents necessary to release it from bonded storage in Grenada, then arranged a trucker to transport it to me in the boatyard. Have you considered shipping into St. Martin to avoid any import taxes?
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Old 11-01-2020, 11:23   #14
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

I don't recommend buying batteries from Budget Marine in St. Maarten. They sit on the shelf with no maintenance and are **** by the time you buy them. The shop has gone downhill considerably over the last five years or so.
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Old 11-01-2020, 21:11   #15
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Re: Cheap freight forwarder USA -> Caribbean

I used Larparken to get a reefer shipped to Trinidad. Had Amazon deliver diet to them at their Miami location.


Paid for shopping by sea which takes 1 week. They messed up and missed the ship so they flew it out for no additional charge.


They serve some of the other Caribbean islands. Given their customer service I would use them again.


As I recall moat islands get 1 week delivery by sea from Florida, and some from NY NJ ares.
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