Packing list for shipping to VI
How much detail have you put on the packing list for personal effects that will pass muster with customs?
Do we need to number each box separately and put contents of each on the list?
Or, alternatively, can we put on the packing list
10 - plastic boxes
cargo description - personal effects
value $$ (how do you determine?)
We are packing our own 20 foot container.
Thanks for advice - we're not getting much assistance from shipping companies on this.
I would reach out to US Boarder Patrol and Customs. They are going to be the people most concerned with your invoice. I believe they have guidelines on their website as well. I do a lot of logistics for shipping, but in my case, it's always for new items. If you're having a company handle the clearing of your shipment, have them guide you. They will have to have the proper paperwork to get it done, and will be able to tell you how to prepare.
We will be shipping from the east coast of FL - probably Fort Lauderdale.
We are still pricing the how much .... but so far $1900 for a watertight 20 foot container delivered to us, $1000 overland from St. Petersburg FL to Lauderdale (priced by hour), and now working on which ocean shipper but I suspect that will cost $3-4000. Then from container port to our property will be another $500-$1000 give or take.
You don't need to buy a container BTW but we want it for our STX property for storage.
The CBP website provides little information about how to complete the inventory list. The bill of lading is not the issue. At this point, I think I'm going to have our container loaded by a local moving company here in St. Pete and I'll ask them to manage the inventory list.
The last thing you want to have happen is for CBP or the ocean shipper to pull your stuff out of the container at a port since you're responsible for the repacking.
So, if I may be so bold, where are you shipping from, thru whom and how much? We have to do it shortly, and were going to get a few people in on the 20 footer.
Your over thinking it, just like I did. The only things they were concerned with on my list was anything new, with a substantial price tag.
My list was somewhat vague, like for example, 30 plastic bins of household/kitchen items. I listed stereo equipment, clothing, large pieces of furniture, like a desk or couch (all of which was listed as used). I had 30 surfboards that I simply listed as "surfboard collection"
My 20' was never opened or inspected on its entire trip from NJ, to Jamacia, to St. Martin, to STX. I placed two personal padlocks on it, and then they apply a plastic/cable seal on it prior to initial shipping. All of those where perfectly intact until I removed them upon final delivery to my propert on St. Croix.
Like many things here in the VI, keeping it simple is best. No need to get overly detailed with things.
I was told however that it's best to remain honest on your claims in case of the very rare chance an inspection actually takes place, but it's not necessary to go into great detail.
I've come to find "fudging" paperwork seems to almost be a territorial pastime here.
I numbered each box and labeled it as well as I could. For kitchen items. I just put dishes or pots and pans or misc kitchen supplies. Bedroom, clothes. Linens.
On a sheet of paper I numbered each box. And wrote down what was in each box also , the exact same as it was on the box.
It was time consuming. But necessary. And for any move it would be a good idea
We packages our stuff and had a crew load our 20 Footer at our ranch in California. These guys know their stuff, there was not another thing that could have been put in that container they packed it so tight. I did a not to detailed manifest and sent it along with the container. It went by truck from Central California to Oakland where it was loaded on a train bound for Houston then a ship to Jamaica where it was held up two weeks by Hurricane Sandy. Loaded on another ship to St. Marrten and then to STX. Shipped from our Ranch on 9/26/12 and arrived here 11/21/12 with the same metal seal still intact on the locks. Never any inspection to my knowledge. Total cost was a little over $8,500 for everything.
We always provide list of contents that includes description, quantity, price/value (or estimated value if used items/bundle of used household goods), and made in the USA (yes or no). If new and made in the USA, you need to have at the ready the proof (either the invoice that says Made in USA or ability to show Made in USA on the actual item). When you're making the list, I recommend separating into 3 sub lists: New & Made in USA. New & made in [other country]. Used.
While I agree with "don't overthink", it has always gone much smoother for us when we've have our paperwork at-the-ready to present that is simple, clear and well organized. There's never been one time where an Agent didn't ask us to show proof of something. One time an Agent started out wanting to go through each item (like Ca Dreamers, there was not one inch of free space in our container) to verify new/used, USA/not USA. We were not worried because as Singlefin mentioned, we packed with purposeful intent on being completely honest / forthright. When the container was opened, the look on the Agent's face was priceless (that container was PACKED!). The Agent did proceed with inspection but after an hour comparing contents with paperwork, he made decision to believe the documentation we provided was accurate and complete. Many other times the Agent just accepted our paperwork and moved on. Be prepared either way. (Our experience is based on St. Thomas)
"How to determine the value?" For used goods, if it's small incidental items think of "garage sale" and estimate how many $1.00 / .25 items you have per plastic bin. SWAG is fine.
Things like power tools, microwave, ...things that could have "perceived" value....I go online and see what things cost new or even on eBay. If you can show it's made in USA, spend very little time on estimating value. Depending on how old the item is, I estimate a value 50% or more less than the cost of new or use eBay example pricing. If it's made in other country and the item could be perceived as more value tangible item, google it/eBay it, document estimated value, move on.