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intrepid

SHIPPING A CONTAINER

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intrepid    2,149

Shipping a container is not really hard.  You locate and contract with an international mover/shipper and they will handle most everything for you.  Before going any deeper into this topic let me say I am no expert nor a professional on this topic.  All I will do is relate a little of the process I went through including the thought process in deciding why a container was the way for me.

When we first decided back in 2006 to move to the Philippines after I retired the plan was to just ship everything in balikbayan boxes.  At the time it seemed the cheapest and easiest way to move what we wanted.  At this time most any balikbayan shippers would ship almost any legal item as long as it would fit into their container, for a fee depending on it's size.  Also at the time first considered a container.  After checking the prices for the container it seemed not worth it because most of our furniture and larger items were getting older buy the year and we had plans to buy mostly new furniture after we built a house.  Our plan moved would be April 2016 and my retirement was to be September 2015.  Now with less than two years till our move there was a big crackdown on the balikbayan shippers as many will remember.  It seemed the customs was starting to enforce allowable items per letter of the law.  Another related decision at the time was whether to get a 13a visa or just do the balikbayan thing.  After a little calculating it seemed it would be more economical for me to get the 13a visa.  Along with the 13a is the one time allowance of shipping all your household goods with a tax and duty free clearance.  Now I know if shipping BB you do not have to pay extra tax or duty but legally I'm not sure you could send a container full of bb boxes to the same address with incurring a tax or duty fee.  I have heard some say you can but with all the boxes we were planning, I didn't want to take a chance.  Originally we were planning between 17-26 large boxes.

 With the decision made to get the 13a visa and the amount of boxes, plus I had model ships which push 4' long and some machine tools that just would not fit into the largest bb boxes, I started looking into other ways of shipping.  As mentioned earlier the crackdown by Philippine customs on the bb shippers had them shy and I could locate none on the US east coast that would ship anything larger than what would fit into a standard large bb box.  So my decision was if I want my larger items I would have to ship them another way instead of BB.  This was the time I got a little education.  You can ship LCL (Less than Container Load), full container, 20' or 40'.  You can ship yourself and save a bundle, but requires you to do a lot of work both in packing and paper work in your home country and arrival in the Philippines.  Or you can contract with an international mover.  This is the route I took.  Most all movers charge by volume not weight.  They will also pack everything for you.  This is one place where money can be saved.  We packed ourselves and delivered our boxes to their warehouse located about 50 miles from my home in the US.  After getting a quote I was able to determine what their cost was per cubic foot for my shipment.  Our 17-26 boxes grew to 35 and then later to about 65 large BB size boxes.  I did have some oversize boxes for tool cabinets and chest and some machine tools.  Also a 58" flat screen tv.  No furniture.

 We were shipping LCL, not a container and I was told by the shipper that our stuff would be placed into a container with other peoples shipment.  Well, as my luck would have it, our shipment once placed into a 20' container took up about 2/3 of the container and because of the cost, we would be the sole users of the container.  I could have filled the rest of the container at no additional cost.  This was a two edge sword because at that point I would have liked to have filled the container.  However, we were already concerned where we would store all the boxes until we got our house built more that a year down the road.  The cost of shipping the 20' container from Baltimore, MD to Manila was ~$4,000.usd  plus some small additional fees upon arrival.  I was told the 40' container was just a little over $6,000.usd.  The process was fairly easy when using a good international mover.  They handled about everything including obtaining a receiver in Manila.  The receiver is actually a mover/shipper who handles all the paperwork at this end including the customs clearance.  We did have to visit their office in Makati so they could scan my passport and visa.  Also they prepared a letter for me to sign to the Department of Finance requesting the duty/tax exemption.  For more information and costs see this topic: Packing for the move;   http://www.philippines-expats.com/topic/24373-packing-for-the-move/

 

Edited by Jollygoodfellow
broke up long text for easier reading
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Old55    6,393

This is the first clearly detailed account of how to go about shipping a container to Philippines. 

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. Well done!

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Jake    10,383

Hey Danny,

I tried doing some research about shipping a motorcycle in one of those 20 footers.  I have a feeling it may be restricted or you must pay heavy custom duties.  Can one partially disassembled one and ship it in parts to get around a loophole, if there is one?  

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JJReyes    4,421
30 minutes ago, Jake said:

Hey Danny,

I tried doing some research about shipping a motorcycle in one of those 20 footers.  I have a feeling it may be restricted or you must pay heavy custom duties.  Can one partially disassembled one and ship it in parts to get around a loophole, if there is one?  

Hi Jake,

As a returning Pilipino (i.e., born in the Philippines), there are privileges including shipping a used car or motorcycle from the USA. Your motorcycle could enter the country on a duty free basis. You need to check since I am not up-to-date on the law.

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jpbago    3,610
1 hour ago, Jake said:

Can one partially disassembled one and ship it in parts to get around a loophole, if there is one?

Yes, I know of one done this way from USA duty free.

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mogo51    4,759

We are just starting the BB process here in Pattaya, had some cartons delivered last week, SO will start to fill them over this month.  

It is cheaper to ship from US than 'just over the ocean' from Thailand, go figure?

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intrepid    2,149
4 hours ago, Jake said:

Hey Danny,

I tried doing some research about shipping a motorcycle in one of those 20 footers.  I have a feeling it may be restricted or you must pay heavy custom duties.  Can one partially disassembled one and ship it in parts to get around a loophole, if there is one?  

Jake, As I stated above I am no expert on this subject but have done a lot of reading.  Although the import laws have relaxed a bit in the Philippines in recent years, they are still subject to change at any time like many things here.  From what I read it is much easier to import a brand new vehicle than an older one.  Still requires so much paperwork and fees and of course inspections.  Most feel it is cheaper to sell what you have and purchase upon arrival.  I also have heard of some shipping parts to reassemble upon arrival.  Some have been lucky but from the rules I read this is not allowed and of course if inspected,...you loose.  Although they are now not opening every box arriving, they do random x-rays and chances are high the offenders are caught.  That's my 2peso worth.  YMMV.

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Jake    10,383
44 minutes ago, intrepid said:

Jake, As I stated above I am no expert on this subject but have done a lot of reading.  Although the import laws have relaxed a bit in the Philippines in recent years, they are still subject to change at any time like many things here.  From what I read it is much easier to import a brand new vehicle than an older one.  Still requires so much paperwork and fees and of course inspections.  Most feel it is cheaper to sell what you have and purchase upon arrival.  I also have heard of some shipping parts to reassemble upon arrival.  Some have been lucky but from the rules I read this is not allowed and of course if inspected,...you loose.  Although they are now not opening every box arriving, they do random x-rays and chances are high the offenders are caught.  That's my 2peso worth.  YMMV.

Forgetaboutit, I just read some references of shipping either a new or used motorcycle and it's not worth it.  Too much red tape and custom duties can be up to 100 percent.  

Oh well......thanks anyway Danny!

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Gary D    520
5 hours ago, Jake said:

Forgetaboutit, I just read some references of shipping either a new or used motorcycle and it's not worth it.  Too much red tape and custom duties can be up to 100 percent.  

Oh well......thanks anyway Danny!

Registering the reassembled bike in the Philippines would be near impossible and very very expensive.

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bigpearl    512

Thank you Intrepid, gives us hope that we too can get through the shipping issues, I read with great interest your post from 12 odd months ago.  

For me we have to go down the SRRV path but getting straight answers from the PRA, BIR, Customs, shipping brokers left us very frustrated and despondent to say the least, in fact we looked at simply selling everything here in Oz and buying new there, we get 2 bob and a bottle of beer for all our stuff here and then spend over a million plus pesos there to replace. Many things cannot be replaced, artworks, we have some 25 indigenous paintings worth a house in the Philippines that I want to keep, tools and equipment worth nothing to sell here but a small fortune to replace there, quality furniture/quality linen are worth a fortune there, family memorabilia that no one in the family is interested to take etc.

We are allowed to bring US 7k under the SRRV, not much in the scheme of things, My question has always been who values our belongings when they land in PH? I can easily fire sale value them below the tax free import in the manifest BUT.

We also to date have not been able to find a company here in Oz that will take on the whole deal, Oz to Manila to La Union, I have spoken to brokers in Manila but can't get straight answers mainly I think because they know little about the SRRV exemptions and another issue appears to be the fact that I will purchase a seaworthy container in Oz so I can have plenty of time to load it and yes manifest etc. to be dropped at our house and left there (time to unpack and future storage for us) this is very alien to the brokers I have spoken with and they all want the container back even though I purchased it. Phone conversations seem to go nowhere but always a request to formalise my questions in an email so they can be reviewed by a supervisor or manager, never a response, follow up and still no response, this seems to be the normal practice not just with government departments but also private companies and individuals.

We are heartened to finally hear that others have succeeded with this process and appreciate the knowledge and input from forum members, Intrepid, you have sparked my fire again, thank you. We are fortunate that we still have 2 years to get all this on the go, next year prior to arriving back in Manila I will make an appointment with someone learned in the PRA and hopefully be able to get answers and work our/their time schedule as well as more info on duty/tax free imports, possibly info on how to deal with customs and BIR etc.

My ex wife and I moved from Victoria to Queensland 18 years ago, 2 shipping containers purchased, loaded over a month or so and transported some 2,000 kilometres, still have the containers, fantastic extra storage for junk (yes I'm a hoarder). I do know how much one can get into a 20ft container if planned wisely, lol, so do customs. Again great to hear a success story.

Cheers, Steve.

 

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