Shipping Car & Crates - Costs
Would you know cost of shipping your car? How about crates? Or, do you know generally what you spent on the actual move... flight, car, shipping... and do you know of specific necessities to bring and specific unneccessary items? Any help is appreciated
Here is a quote from a post in the last 90 days (different poster jefgar)
"Having just gotten my car from the docks today......
First you get your shipping documents from your freight forwarder. Then you go to the VI IRS office where you pay
1) road tax: (gross car weight)x $0.16
Then you go to the registration office where you pay a $5 fee to get a special permit allowing you to move the vehicle from the docks to the registration office (you can't drive legally w/ non-VI license plates). You'll need proof of having paid road tax to get this "special permit."
Then you go to the port where you pay
2) excise tax (car value) x 4%
3) customs/import duty (car value) x 3.5% (that's what it was for a Swedish car; I think it's the same for a Japanese car).
When you've satisfied the excise folks, the customs folks and the shipping company (you'll need to get a "release form" from them to get the vehicle off the docks), you can drive your own car again...
Return to the registration office to get your car inspected and registered. You'll pay
4) Inspection/Registration/Title: $88.
The VI Customs folks assess the escise tax, based on the blue book value of the car.
US Customs assesses the import duty -- they're pretty liberal; they start with the blue book value and then subtract for mileage, wear & tear,etc.
For my 1998 Volvo S70 T5 (paid extra duty because it's a turbo), I paid around $525 in road tax (based on 3272 pounds of gross weight), around $280 in excised tax and $225 in import duty. Not bad, considering I didn't have to pay anything for shipping (my employer paid).
Law 64 (get to love this one) is the basis on which we're charged import duty for bringing goods into the VI. I read Law 64 yesterday. It starts off: "We, Christian the Tenth, by grace of God, King of Denmark........" According to the treaty that made the VI the USVI, Law 64 continues in effect for 100 years. So I read on. Law 64 refers only to "St. Thomas and St. Jan" -- nothing in it about St. Croix. When I mentioned this to the US Customs Officer, he asked if I wanted to take the issue to court. I just wanted my car. I suspect I'm not the first person to have noticed this discrepancy, so I just paid."
For a little extra money, you can save yourself most of the hassle and hire an expeditor to do the move and/or registration/taxes/etc. He/she knows exactly what to do, knows the officials, and will get it all done fast, while you unpack or whatever else you'd rather be doing instead. On STX, we have used and have been very happy with Larry of Caribbean Automart 340-778-0600, and Lee Fleming of Managed Freight http://managedfreight.com/. Other readers may suggest other expeditors. There are many.
A year ago, my wife and I spent about $10K moving a 40 foot container from NJ to STX. It had household goods and a car in it. We used an expediter, Lee Fleming of Managed Freight, and he did an excellent job. Flights were extra. See orbitz.com, etc. for that. We paid $100 extra to bring our cat as carry-on.
I fretted over what to bring or not bring, and it didn't matter in the end. I brought stuff I didn't need, and left stuff I should've brought. What you bring depends on your personal situation and preferences. There is almost nothing I cannot find on STX if I need to, although it may not be the exact brand, size, flavor, etc. If I'm feeling really picky, I'll buy it online and get it shipped here (amazon.com delivers to the VI). People who come to visit us are always asking if they can bring something. I've always declined the offer. But that's me. I'm not very picky. If there's something you must have, bring it.
The funny thing about our move was we lived minimally (in NJ) for 1 month while the container was en route to STX. 2 suitcases, 1 laptop, 1 car, and a file folder. We didn't miss any of the stuff in that container.
Specifically unnecessary (and by default, stupid) would include furniture made of any kind of wood other than that which has weathered in an environment such as the tropics. Doors get stuck and swollen, termites are awful...leave it there. This is the voice of experience talking....leave your gorgeous couch behind and buy some slipcovers. Everything smells funky a lot of the time because of the humidity....you just chunk a slipcover into the washer...it gets harder with other fabrics and styles.
One item you might consider bringing since the ones we have found on STX have been priced ridiculously high for comparable items stateside - a generator. Ours was invaluable last year when WAPA was having a hard time...they seem to be doing better lately (oh, I just put the double whammy on us all!) Battery back up for the computer is most likely a great idea.
Leave treasured family pictures or expensive artwork behind unless wherever you are living is going to be climate controlled (aka, air conditioned). Bring a lot more sleeveless t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops, and don't think you need to bring five pairs of khakis and three linen suits...you won't need them unless you're going to be the bank president or something . If there's a particular style from a company you like, stock up now...they may or may not ship to the VI, and you may or may not get your package even if they DO ship here.
I don't know about STT, but one thing that is difficult to find of any quality here is bookcases. Then again, those you find in the states probably aren't made for this weather - but that fiberboard crap will disintegrate in no time.
I agree with many who have gone before me and were wiser - I would have left all our stuff in storage, rented a furnished apartment, and figured it out from there as to what to bring and what to leave. Everyone does it their own way, I just wish I had listened to that particular tidbit of advice.
We came from Arkansas and used Lee Fleming as well and were VERY pleased with his service and communication with us. I think it was $8500-9000 total for a 45' container with all of our worldly possessions (half of which are still in boxes) and our car to arrive. We ended up with the 45' by mistake - and the movers were excellent, we could have brought in another family's stuff as well. We had local movers pack the container in our hometown - they were very reputable and accomplished an amazing feat in getting everything going one direction with Lee's assistance. They will communicate with him and the effort on your end will be minimal unless you freak out and write Lee every day like I did....
Check marine insurance before you make a decision whether to utilize that option or not...and remember, some folks on this board have had HUGE holes punched in their containers in transit, ruining some of their stuff. I recommend it.
One other thing - when we came we had rather large certified bank checks - and our bank still held them for 10 days to make sure they weren't forged when we opened our account. Bring enough cash to tide you over...the green stuff...but keep it on you and not easily accessible. You might be able to set up with your bank to wire transfer to an account you set up after you get here - I don't believe those funds are held.
Good luck - you are planning well...but search the board on bringing your car, there are many schools of thought on that.
excuse me for tappng into this thread but; I've been reading about shipping a car on this board for some time. I've always read about getting the car registered inspected, etc. What about the insurance? Don't you need that before you can registrar the car ? Or, will the expeditor handle that as well?
One Love Ironman
I shipped a Jeep Wrangler down this spring from West Palm Beach on Tropical. Fleming handled all the details on STX including registration. Total cost ready to roll $2,496.
All you need to give Fleming is an insurance card for the vehicle in the VI, a copy of your driver's license from wherever and a copy of your social security card.
They call you when everything is ready. You hand them a check and they hand you the keys.
Jim Dandy - but it behooves to say, "no!" and explain why not. As in when you go to write a cheque at the supermarket and they ask for your SS# (sorry, no!) or you go to get money via Western Union for an amount under $10K and they demand same and you point out the BIG Western Union posted sign behind them which specifically notes what is required insofar as ID for amounts under 10K and clearly does NOT include SS#?
You can slough this requirement off as being, "this is the VI...things are behind the times.." and if you simply accept that then all power to you. But many of us don't just sit back and just arbitrarily assume that the Virgin Islands is simply, "behind the times." Because it's not.
If you take the time to read the online St Thomas Source, and the local Avis and Daily News newspapers, you will come across many different viewpoints from many different people. Being a part of this community involves getting involved. Enough said for now! Cheers!
Dntw8up is right. Your car is worth more money here resale than in the states. A $1000 car stateside would get twice that here generally. And besides, to ship a car off island you need a letter from the Lt. Gov. office and a hassle of lein holder approvals, insurance crap, and the island insurers here on stx won't cover the car once it boards the boat.