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One up this... Record for container shipment?

singlefin
December 07, 2017 08:42PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 562

I purchased a used 20' container to bring all our worldly belongings with us for the big move to STX.
Being a hands-on, can-do kind of guy, I arranged the empty container to be flatbedded to my home on Long Island. That would give us a few weeks to clean out the house we sold, and pack up the few things we wanted to keep. A few things turned into far more than we thought after emptying an entire house and a detached garage. I braced and strapped and chained down everything, even built a few crates to keep the delicates extra protected. It was packed to capacity when we locked it up and had the flatbed return. They trucked it to their yard, where it would be transferred to a tractortrailer frame and delivered to the port in Newark NJ. There it would be loaded onto a container ship bound for the island of Jamaica. Their it would be unloaded and then reloaded onto another ship bound for St. Martin, then transferred there to one last ship bound for STX. The entire sea voyage was estimated to take about 28 days.
That was fine with us because in the meantime we'd drive our pickup South and do an East Coast Farewell Tour, visiting a few reletives and friends. Afterwards we'd drive the truck down to Fort Lauderdale to ship it with the same shipping company. The truck would only take 4 to 5 days to ship to STX.
The same day we went to closing on the house on Long Island, we hit the road and headed South. As planned, after the farewell tour, we dropped off the truck, UBERed to a nice hotel in Miami, then took our AA flight to our new home two days later.
We got to St. Croix exactly two weeks before Irma. We contacted our shipping agent in Miami two days before Irma entered the Caribbean. Our container just arrived in St. Martin.
For anyone not privy to Irma's path, it drove headlong, straight into St. Martin. Miami lost all contact with the St. Martin port for nearly three weeks. Finally a list of damaged containers came in and ours wasn't on it, but no one knew for sure what the condition of it might be. I found on-line, aerial photos of the port the day after Irma struck. Containers were tossed everywhere, some dragged by the storm surge off the dockyard and into the Sea. Waves were washing over bulkheading and into the yard and surrounding neighborhoods. Maybe my container wasnt on the damaged list, but was it full of seawater?
Another few weeks passed before we got word that it was loaded on a ship and went to STX. We drove to the port in STX to set things up for delivery on my property here, but discovered that although the ship did arrive in STX, the port was so congested with relief ships after our Maria hit, that the ship was unable to dock and was turned away. No one knew where it was headed or when it might be back. My guy in Miami said the last time that happened the ship headed for Brazil and a few other South American ports and didn't return for eight weeks.
Four weeks later it returned, and thankfully was allowed to dock and unload in STX. We set up another flatbed delivery and nestled it down on our property, it was the last delivery of the day for the trucker and it was dark by the time we had it on the ground.
The next morning, we said a prayer and cracked open the doors. It was a miracle. All was dry and safe.

The time to beat is:
Left Long Island August 5th.
Arrived STX November 13th.

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

islandjoan
December 07, 2017 09:38PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 1,368

WOW absolutely amazing that you finally received the container, undamaaged and with contents intact!!!! I would venture to say that going forward after this disastrous season, not many would choose to ship their entire household during hurricane season.

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

singlefin
December 07, 2017 10:12PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 562

Everything was based on the sale of our old home and it took longer than anticipated. I had some hesitation about the time if year, but after watching the weather down here for the last five years, I figured " What could possibly go wrong?"

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

islandjoan
December 07, 2017 10:19PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 1,368

I'm glad everything ended up ok!!

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

Scubadoo
December 07, 2017 11:04PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,738

Maria was my fault. After Irma I figured what are the chances we'd get another on STX and ordered a pallet of non-cancel-able material to ship through VI cargo. Then came Maria. My shipment made it to Miami after Maria passed there then onto a boat and a week later it was on STX in mid-October. And then had to let it sit in the warehouse for a month since I had to delay getting back to STX due to Maria and no power. And everything came through fine.

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

Gator's Mom
December 08, 2017 08:16AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 701

1. Which shipping company did you use to get your container to FL?

2. Which shipping company did you use to get your container from FL to STX?

3. Which freight company did you use to get your container from the port to your property?


It sounds that despite delays, your belongings arrived safe and sound. That's a really good thing.

We were just a few weeks behind you. We had a contract on our FL house and then evacuated for Irma, which delayed our progress. Got back to our undamaged FL house from our Irma adventure in Alabama, packed our garage and Maria came to visit. Husband was on the last plane into STX before Maria to secure our house there (which he did successfully) and evacuated on the mercy cruise ship in early October.

In the meanwhile, I rented a small furnished house in FL to wait out electricity and recovery efforts on STX. We knew that would take months since husband is both a Hugo (on STJ) and Marilyn (on STT) survivor. Sold our FL house at the end of October and moved into the tiny house with 5 pets. Put our worldly goods into storage temporarily. Thankfully, I had not yet quit my full-time job prior to all of this so I continue to work.

Now, we are loading our 20 foot container and will ship by early January from Fort Lauderdale to STX.

Any advice on shipping companies and how to get the container from the port to East End is much appreciated.

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

singlefin
December 08, 2017 09:09AM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 562

Glad to hear Gator's Mom is making the big move, but since we've got no alligators on the big island, you may have to change the name ;-)

I used Blue Ocean Transport (see add below every page on this site). John Estelles was a great guy to deal with. He had an incredible amount of patience with dozens of questions I had, I had never shipped anything like this before.
Shipping the vehicle was a piece of cake, the container was far more involved. John was able to talk me through the whole process, helped me attain an EIN#, and get all the paperwork squared away, estimate insurance needs, and set me up with his receiver in STX.
In STX he suggested I use Ferrol Trucking as the receiver. Talk to Lorretta over there, she helped me in a huge way with getting a piece of commercial equipment in. They also flatbedded the container to my property.
Other than the unexpected "Acts of God" and the massive delays they caused of everything this side of Alabama, all went relatively smooth.
The toughest part was the purchase of the used container from a local guy up on Long Island and the ludicrous fee he charged me to get it to the port in NJ. But that was NY and one has to expect the "NY gotcha fee" added to everything up there.

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

COLDER
December 08, 2017 11:47AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 179

Shipping goods is not for the weak of heart.
I should know as I have done it 40+ years and still work for a company on the mainland and due import Customs for them.
But, as I am a professional, here is my story.

10/20 shipped a Nissan pick up out of Colorado via truck to Vi Cargo in Miami.
12/4 heard from VI Cargo that it "might" have discharged on STX on Sunday
12/8 Have not heard a word if really is on STX ? Still I'm MIA? or ???

It happens to the best of us
Glad you got your goods and all is well

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

singlefin
December 08, 2017 01:33PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 562

The container port in STX did take a real beating from the two hurricanes, in fact Ferrol Trucking's office was the only one left standing on the south side of the parking lot. Several companies were all working out of large trailers and I guess because Ferrol's was in the middle, it was protected by the ones surrounding it, or I should say, used to surround them.
The large steel Customs warehouse was ripped apart as well, they're now working out of a small building by the airport.
I doubt anyone has working phones down there still. Everyone was working off generators and iffy cell service as well. I don't know how anything was getting done when I was there.

Re: One up this... Record for container shipment?

Scubadoo
December 08, 2017 09:57PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,738

Quote
singlefin
I doubt anyone has working phones down there still. Everyone was working off generators and iffy cell service as well. I don't know how anything was getting done when I was there.

A lot of business phones are not yet working. Have no idea when we might see any Viya cable service, phone or TV. I guess it's time to ask the question, I'll have to try and contact them. VI Cargo's STX phones have been working for many weeks now, often get a recording that mailbox is full when no-one answers the phone. Their temporary office is setup like a war room with a lot of activity going on. It's no wonder they don't always get a chance to answer the phones.

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