Originally Posted by iTom
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!
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.
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
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.