Unraveling the Mysteries of Ship by fjzhangweiqun


									Unraveling the Mysteries of Shipping

Unraveling the Mysteries of Shipping

by Arden Rembert Brink
Magallanes (San Ramon), Costa Rica

The whole question of whether or not to bring your belongings or your car is probably one of the
most hotly debated among to-be-expats. And there certainly is no single right answer.

For some folks, the idea of starting fresh is attractive. People suggest that you move to Costa
Rica with just a couple of suitcases and you think it sounds like a good idea. Itʼs the chance to
buy new all new things, maybe simplify your life and have fewer things. And for the cost of
shipping -- which will typically be somewhere between $7- and $12,000 – you might think "I
could buy all new furniture for that amount of money."

That's conceivably true, although you could also easily spend many times that amount.

Some things that are locally made are quite reasonably priced, especially some of the Tico
wood or bamboo furniture. But many people also find that some local things -- particularly the
beds and upholstered furniture -- are simply not very comfortable. You can get true North
American furnishings, but imported items here are typically very expensive. You can buy local
appliances quite inexpensively that could potentially serve you well. But again, if youʼre looking
for the brands, styles, or quality youʼre used to, youʼll generally be paying a lot more.

Another factor many people forget to consider is that a home is NOT just made up of the major
pieces of furniture and appliances. It's also the CDs and books, the pots and pans and
casserole dishes, the Christmas china and the plastic flamingo plates you eat lunch on, the
towels, bedsheets, down comforters (yes, you can use those here, at least in the central valley),
and shower curtains. It's all those little kitchen tools and gadgets, hairdryers and bathroom
scales, televisions and DVD players, lamps and clocks, rugs and throw pillows, family heirlooms
and treasures from your past travels. It's garden rakes and shop vacs, power tools and socket
sets, door mats and table saws, ladders and coolers.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Shipping

Some of those things are simply irreplaceable and if you want to have them here you'll have to
bring them with you. Youʼre likely to want your artwork and photographs, along with the pottery
your children made in school and your motherʼs antique crystal vases. (There are wonderful
flowers here; youʼll want vases!) While you can buy Christmas tree decorations here, are you
really ready to get rid of a lifetimeʼs collection?

The other things could be replaced here but can really begin to add up to much more than the
cost of shipping a container. Leave behind the Hoover
Windtunnel vacuum cleaner you recently paid under $230 for and youʼll spend over $380 to
buy the same model here at PriceSmart (after paying the $30 membership fee). That stainless
Frigidaire side-by-side that you paid around $1700 for not too long ago will cost you over $2800
to replace here. The large fiberglass ladder youʼve had for years might look a little ratty, but
when you go to replace it here in Costa Rica youʼll be looking at nearly six hundred dollars. And
all those Igloo coolers you have in your basement may seem unimportant, until you realize each
one here will cost from $60 to over $100 to replace.

Some clever folks are even finding that itʼs worthwhile to spend some time at garage sales and
their local Goodwill store in the last months before the move. Many of those harder-to-find items
that are so costly in Costa Rica can be picked up for a song in those places and are legitimately
imported as used goods with their low values, resulting in minimal import duties.

Lastly, there's also a subtle issue that some people forget to take into account. Even if you're
completely enthusiastic about moving to Costa Rica, it's still a big move for most people. The
comforting quality of having your new house feel like "home" when everything else around you
feels “foreign” shouldn't be underestimated.

So, youʼve decided to bring your stuff with you. How do you go about it? For most people the
simplest way is to ship a 40ʼ container – or a 20' (sometimes referred to as a “half-container”) –
full of your household goods. A 40ʼ container is especially cost-effective if you include your car
since a 40-footer will typically only cost 15 to 20% more than a 20-footer, but it gives you
TWICE the space. So it becomes one of the least expensive ways to ship the car, plus gives
you a little extra room for your household stuff.

But what size container do you need? Containers are essentially 8ʼ x 8ʼ x 40ʼ (or 20ʼ) –

Unraveling the Mysteries of Shipping

although the true interior space is slightly smaller than that. Since thatʼs a “shape” thatʼs hard
for many people to visualize, it might help to know that if you were to fill up a 10ʼ x 15ʼ room
solidly with your stuff, thatʼs about the same volume as a 20ʼ container. A good-sized single
garage of around 14ʼ x 24ʼ holds the same as a 40ʼ container.  A modest amount of furniture
and boxed goods will fit into a 20ʼ container, or a 40ʼ with a car. A 3-bedroom house
reasonably full of furniture will actually fill a 40ʼ container. And itʼs not all that unusual to ship
two 40ʼ containers, especially if you have a vehicle filling one-third to one-half of one of them.
People often have the misimpression that weight is a factor in the cost of shipping, but when
dealing with full containers this is just a non-issue. Itʼs effectively impossible with household
goods (including cars) to exceed the weight limit on containers, so donʼt waste your time trying
to restrict what you bring based on the weight. Those boxes of books, that cast iron lawn
furniture, that heavy-as-the-dickens dining table – if youʼd like to bring these things donʼt be
put off because you think theyʼre too heavy!

People also often have been misled to think that theyʼll need to have an inventory of every
single thing thatʼs in every box. They agonize over counting the silverware, the individual
books, the skeins of yarn, the number of screwdrivers in the toolbox. Tranquilo. Not to worry. All
we need on your inventory is an accurate but general description, something like “kitchenware”
or “used books.” When you become a client we give you extensive instructions for preparing
your inventory that should simplify the process and eliminate any agonizing!

So, how do you start? Email is one of the best places. Send an email to
info@shipcostarica.com and tell us about your plans. Are you bringing a car? (You should be!)
If you give us all the details on the car we can tell you how much it will cost to nationalize. We
also need to know where you are moving from and where here in Costa Rica youʼll be moving
to. When are you planning on moving and how much stuff do you think you have? We donʼt
need a detailed list but it does help us if you us a good general idea of what youʼre planning on

With that information we can get back to you with some good, detailed cost information. If
youʼre moving soon weʼll work up a specific quote for you that you can rely on. Even if your
move is still off in the future weʼll be able to give you a pretty accurate sense of how much it
would cost today so youʼll have a good figure for your planning. While we work hard to charge
a rate that youʼll find extremely competitive, we think many of our clients would say that even
more important is the way we can take the mystery out of your move and make the process as
painless as possible for you. And, as the currently popular ad slogan goes, thatʼs truly


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