NEWS & UPDATES


IMPORTANT UPDATES BELOW



NOTE TO PROSPECTIVE PARTICIPANTS

If you are not yet a participant please read the following pages carefully.  They contain information you will need about 

 WHAT WE DO,  WHAT WE CAN'T DO  and  HOW IT WORKS.  If this community service meets your needs please go to the GET STARTED  page and sign up.  Alternatively, feel free to call or write with your questions. 

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Here’s an update on our loads:

About CR33 (Feb load): CR33 - RECEIVED mostly-- JUL 16 UPDATE: CR33. Pkgs held back are now looking more like 1 to 2 more months. We are doing everything that can be done, every day.

        None of this is new but here it is, hopefully a little better explained. As you know we were the first container subjected to an industry audit. I use the word 'audit' only because that is what they called it. What they did was introduce entirely new rules for declarations then stood over us as we inventoried all 2,000 items and reworked all of the paperwork according to the new rules -- and then they audited that. The problem is that we had already submitted a number of declarations before they stopped us. Those DUAs were compliant with the rules in force at the time they were filed; the day before. Because they were already in the system however, Aduanas' only option was to "fail" those declarations. Now, once something is 'in the system' any changes must navigate a paddle line of inane and obsolete processes layered one atop another and seemingly designed to provoke maximum frustration. That is our particular hell of the moment. To their credit they have revamped the "rectificacion" process so that the brokers can actually make and submit correction themselves, rather than relying on Aduanas to find the time to do it (think double-digit months). It is newly reminted for outside use however and we have been advised by Aduanas that if we make a mistake we will probably never see our cargo again. For that reason we hired a consultant who used to work at Aduanas on their version of the system. He gave us a time frame of "a couple months". BTW, did I happen to mention that this was an industry audit? Well it seems that it includes the likes of Walmart and PriceSmart among others. These are folks with real clout (and real money). We were first to get to this guy but we quickly saw our priority status fade in the face of these powerful entities needing similar help. We have stayed on top of it -- and him. The paper work has indeed finally been completed -- but late (what else in CR?) and now we are in the process of getting it cleared first through Aduanas and second through Fiscalizacion (Hacienda's auditors). We really don't know how long that will take. For starters nobody has any experience with Fiscalizacion reviews or, for that matter, Aduanas reviews with Fiscalizacion looking over their shoulder. Again, we are the little guys and just getting the necessary appointments to look at the cargo can be an exercise in patience in itself -- and we have to do it through two different organizations.

        This website is how we communicate updates. Otherwise we try to reply to all emails and phone calls promptly. Admittedly I am not the best at keeping the website up to date. In part that is because substantive developments occur so infrequently that I seldom have much to add, making it easy to forget. The fact is that Aduanas is not a transparent process. We cannot look into the system and find out why we are not getting a particular notification. We do not know if it is because it simply has not been issued, or because of a system problem or because of ....... We just don't know. Our broker spends an aggregate of days every week sitting in line at Aduanas waiting to talk to someone at the window only to be told "that persons isn't here" or "you should have been notified by now, come back tomorrow" or "where's your _____document?" when no such document has ever been required before, or any one of a thousand other non-answers. Barely a day goes by that we don't work on this. We are doing all that can be done. We have talented and devoted brokers, highly experienced lawyers and the best consultants on it. I wish I could give you better news but this is it. We are HOPING that we will have it here within the next month but the fact is that nobody but nobody but nobody can tell us that for sure. We're in uncharted territory.

About CR34:  CR34 - RECEIVED open pickup ended. Please call for appointment.

About CR35:  CR35 - RECEIVED open pickup ended. Please call for appointment.

About CR36:  CR36 - RECEIVED open pickup ended. Please call for appointment.

About CR37:  CR37 - RECEIVED open pickup ended. Please call for appointment.

About CR38:  UPDATE: 8/12/18 - CR38 is in process in Aduanas. Crowley took 3 extra weeks to get the container to Costa Rica. Aduanas is red-lighting almost every load coming in, ours included. The warehouses are jammed up with red-lighted cargo and every process is jammed up. This simply cannot continue. The warehouses are full and containers are waiting in line. Something has to give.

About CR39: UPDATE: 8/12/18 - our warehouse systems were down last week and we were unable to process CR39 loading. It is now scheduled for this week. In all honesty it isn't going as well with Aduanas as we had hoped. We would expected to have the packages in Uvita in another 3 to 5 weeks.

About future loads:  It is our intent to begin sending a container every 2 to 3 weeks, eventually becoming a fixed 2 week schedule. Provided Aduanas cooperates we hope to deliver about 2 to 3 weeks later.   The last couple loads have taken 4 to 5 weeks but we are seeing steady improvement as they work through their own process problems. You see, nobody told Aduanas about the new rules either. Out of the blue they were being hit with a 2,000 line declarations when they expected to deal with a dozen lines. Here we are, the littlest guys on the block, and yet we are submitting the biggest declarations. That made us a giant thorn in their side, forcing them to rethink age-old, thoroughly embedded processes. They seem to be hearing the music now. It's a dance and we're learning how to lead without stepping on toes.


Given a new warehouse in Florida, a new warehouse in Uvita, new contract, new inventory management and all new declaration rules at Aduanas, we are basically faced with rebuilding our ENTIRE operation from the ground up -- systems, processes, technology, contracts, everything. We are making progress but we can't do everything at once. We know balls are dropping everywhere but hopefully nothing that won't survive until we can pick them back up. If anybody has a request or question that you feel we have not given sufficient attention to please accept our sincere apologies and just yank our chain. We will try to do better. We are always available by phone or email.


Cheers, jerry

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UPDATED May 14, 2018

 MUST READ...

WE'VE NEVER MADE A BIGGER ANNOUNCEMENT


TIMES ARE CHANGING, but

we are TRANSFORMING

We have SOOOOO much to share with you so please kick back for a moment and get excited with us.


First of all we are proud to announce that we have moved to a new bodega in Uvita:

on the Costanera;  1,200 meters south of Supermercado BM

or, if you are coming from the south,

700 meters north of Ferreteria Colono-La Jungla.  

Given our wonderful new facilities we are now able to offer an array of new local services:

  • Indoor car storage -- includes transfer to/fr Quepos or Palmar Sur airport.  The availability is limited so if you might be interested ask now about our introductory offer.

  • Public storage -- we can store your personal possessions.

  • Commercial Warehousing

  • Unloading Services -- we’ll help unload your truck/container or do it for you.

At the same time we are introducing entirely new classes of shipping services:

  • Air Courier Service -- receive your packages from the US in just 3 to 6 days.

  • Export Services -- are you moving back to the US?  We can now help.

  • Commercial import -- does your business involve imported products?  Let us help.

  • Vehicle Import --

    • ATV’s, UTV’s & Motos

    • Cars & Trucks

    • Boats & Jet Skis

“Is that all?” you ask.  NO, NOT EVEN CLOSE. In fact this seems the perfect opportunity to celebrate yet more truly exciting news.  We simply could not be happier to introduce you to the newest member of our team, Randal Zuniga. Randal, who has for years been an indispensable help, has now joined us full time to manage our bodega operations.  Whether it is package pickup, deliveries, bodega storage or transfers to the airport you will have ample opportunity to appreciate Randal and his commitment to the operation as much as we do.

And it just keeps getting bigger:

BEGINNING IMMEDIATELY we are

now shipping every 2 weeks

AND it still gets better -- not only are we slashing the time between containers BUT by combining the receiving in Florida with preparation of Aduanas documentation we will also slash days, if not weeks, out of the Costa Rican side of the process.  We are happy to wave goodbye to the days of waiting 6 weeks between containers and then another 4 to 6 weeks to get it to Uvita. Our goal is to average 3 weeks from receiving to pickup.

    And bigger news still; we promised "transformation" and we deliver (pun intended):

WE NOW HAVE

our very own warehouse in FL

    We are partnering with our brokers to jointly operate our own receiving warehouse in Florida.  

    Our fabulous new service offerings notwithstanding, what we are most excited about is the prospect of direct control of your packages from receiving until we put them in your hands in Uvita.   We are now able to integrate end-to-end operations into one cohesive process; eliminating duplicated effort and unnecessary time. By partnering with our brokers, we are also able to combine our shipping efforts and send containers more often.  Freight Forwarding is still our passion; that is what we do, that is who we are and we remain, as always, committed to your bottom line.

    In case you didn’t recognize it, that was a segue.  Yes, you knew it was coming, we must talk money. And yes, prices have gone up (honestly, when do they ever go down?:-).  The new prices are effective immediately but by adding all of the new service offerings to help defray our costs, we are able to continue our tradition of exceptionally low rates.

    Since we began doing this 5 years ago every one of our costs has gone up dramatically, with the biggest increase in the last 60 days.   Even as crazy as our cost increases have been our workload has fared far worse; almost all of the impact being in the last two years -- since our last rate adjustment.  The new processing requirements imposed upon us, just since February, have alone increased the overall per-package processing workload another 4-fold.  A declaration that was a single line item just 3 years ago grew to 400 lines last year and is now at nearly 2,000 lines per container. At the same time some loopholes were closed on us and we are now paying a bunch more in taxes.  

    Our casual little world of freight forwarding to Zona Sur is now but a quaint memory. The time-consuming process of generating a 2,000-line declaration combined with appreciably higher taxes rendered that business model unsustainable; it simply was not up to the new challenges. We and our brokers put our heads together and made some magic.  We can’t discount the value of luck here either. Our new bodega in Uvita fell into our lap. At the same time a Miami warehouse perfectly suited to our needs fell into our brokers’ lap. We closed on those opportunities in days and within a week we had the outline of new services and a new sustainable operations model. Best of all, the new model dramatically improves on the value proposition to our customers -- a much superior core service offering, supported by an array of integrated, cost supporting new services -- all at a marginal increase in price.   


We invite you to check out the new pricing.  Transformation by definition means big changes so while you are here please take a few minutes to review restrictions and also review our service agreement.

Thank you for your continued patronage.  We hope to continue to serve you well into the future,

Cheers, jerry and Lowell

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UPDATED May 6, 2018

NOW YOU CAN PICK UP YOUR PKGS IN

QUEPOS, SIERPE & CHACARITA


Instead of traveling to Uvita to retrieve your cargo you now have another option.  For residents of Quepos/MA

and north to Jaco we will be offering you the opportunity to meet us in Quepos to retrieve your packages.

Similarly, our customers to the south can meet us at Sierpe or Chacarita.

 When we announce the container arrival we will provide a place and time to meet us.

All you need to do is respond to the announcement RSVP.  

As always, delivery to your residence/business will still be available for our usual low rates.


We are always anxious to hear your thought and ideas. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is some way we can better support you. 

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UPDATED May 15, 2018

NO USED SHOES or UNDERGARMENTS


There is NO PROBLEM WITH NEW SHOES OR UNDERGARMENTS but Costa Rica has health department restrictions on the importation of these items and some customs agents have begun to selectively enforce it over- zealously.  While visitors and residents are certainly welcome to bring their own clothes into the country some agents have decided that it is restricted to your personal luggage only.  To date we have been successful in recovering most of the seized shoes on appeal but it is proving more problematic with time.  If you are shipping your personal clothing we recommend that you just bring your used shoes and undergarments with you in your luggage rather than sending them with us.  If they are seized we cannot guarantee that they can be recovered.  OR, maybe it's time to replace them with sandals, or go without (shoes that is :-)

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UPDATED Jan 20, 2018

 This is SOOOOO important 

PACKING LISTS NOW REQUIRED! 

ALL PERSONALLY PACKED BOXES & PERSONAL HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS NOW MUST A DETAILED INVENTORY WITH INDIVIDUAL DECLARED  VALUES.  IF YOUR PACKAGE INCLUDES NEW ITEMS THEN VENDOR SALES RECEIPTS MUST 

BE INCLUDED WITH THE PACKING LIST.  ALL PACKING LISTS AND RECEIPTS MUST BE SENT TO US IN AN EMAIL BEFORE THE CONTAINER IS LOADED.  WHEN YOU ARE PACKING UP YOUR HOUSE IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A GOOD IDEA TO KEEP A DETAILED RECORD OF WHAT WENT IN EACH BOX, 

AND NOW  IT IS REQUIRED  BY CUSTOMS. 

Customs requires a packing list, by box of all contents with declared value or invoice for each item.  An item can be a set or group of items like "silverware" or pots", or individual items like "helmet" or "coffee maker".  If the item is used you can declare garage sale prices -- the price you could buy or sell a like item in the same condition for at a garage sale.  If the item is new you must include the receipt.  Pictures of your goods are a good idea for YOUR records.  We may occasionally request a picture to help answer your questions relative to packaging, liabilities, legalities, etc but they otherwise serve no useful purpose for us.  Please do not send pictures unless we have requested them.

An electronic copy of the packing list should be sent to us in PDF or MS Office format.  If you simply cannot work with those formats let us know.  A paper copy can be included in the box if you wish

IMPORTANT NOTE:  INSURANCE ONLY COVERS PROPERLY DECLARED ITEMS!


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We’re EXPANDING

Beginning immediately we will be growing our

primary service area to include our friends and neighbors in

QUEPOS & MANUEL ANTONIO


After 3+ years of forwarding many, many thousands of packages for our local friends and neighbors here along the Ballena coast, we will now officially begin sharing

our little secret with our coastal neighbors to the north.  


While we continue to support customers throughout Costa Rica this is the first stage of a general expansion of the Primary Support Area within Zona Sur.  

If you would like to see your community included please call or write.



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UPDATED May 15th, 2018

URGENT

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
THE FOLLOWING HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE RESTRICTED ITEMS LIST
PRESENTED ON THE 'WHAT WE CAN'T DO' PAGE. 

NO FOOD, in all forms. If it is edible consider it food.
NO ANIMAL FOOD / TREATS / CAT LITTER
NO SUPPLEMENTS & NO ESSENTIAL OILS
NO MAKEUP & NO PERFUMES
NO MEDICINES & NO OINTMENTS
NO SOAPS OR CLEANERS OF ANY TYPE 
NO FABRIC SOFTENERS / DRYER SHEETS

NO LOTIONS & NO SUN SCREEN

NO INSECT REPELLENTS  & NO INSECTICIDES

NO SEEDS & NO FERTILIZERS
NO E-LIQUID for E-cigarettes

  NO TIRES

NO LIQUIDS OVER 4 fl oz

PLEASE SEE MORE RESTRICTIONS ON THE "WHAT WE CAN'T DO" PAGE.


In general, we are now restricted from importing FOODS, PHARMACEUTICALS, CHEMICALS, or HEALTH & BEAUTY AIDS.  If it falls into one of these broad categories and it is a 'consumable', meaning YOU PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH or otherwise USE IT UP, do not ship it.  

If you are not sure about something then please ask.  If the warehouse finds ANY restricted item FROM THIS OR THE FOLLOWING PAGE, including liquids in excess of 4 fl oz, then the entire package is set aside pending instructions from you.  Returns, forwarding and repacking are subject to standard warehouse processing rates of $50/hr (min $25 chg).


I would like to offer some perspective.  In defense of CR, importation of most of these products is controlled by virtually every country in the world, in one form or another.  If you think this is difficult then try importing controlled items into the U.S. or Canada without a product specific license.  Also, we all know that used up tires are an environmental problem throughout the world.  CR is no different and importing tires requires an approved environmental plan for dealing with the depleted carcasses.  

Watch here for updates and changes.  

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UPDATED May 15, 2018
THE BARGAIN PACK

Anything 1/2 cubic foot or under will be billed at a flat rate of $15.00*

AT POPULAR REQUEST THIS PROMOTION IS EXTENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE


HOW BIG IS 1/2 CUBIC FOOT?  A half cubic foot is actually quite a lot of volume -- think large men's shoe box and anything that will fit into it -- car or appliance parts, electronics or even shoes :-).  Need a new bathing suit?  Want some new sunglasses? Did you leave your favorite sweater in Kansas (probably where it belongs) or maybe a big stack of mail?  Now you can get it from Miami to Uvita for just $15.00 + insurance.
  • a large toaster
  • three 3-liter soda bottles side by side
  • my big head
  • USPS large Flat Rate box
Calculate It Yourself, use our new shipping calculator -- in the column to the left near the top of the page
Caution: just because you ordered something small doesn't mean that e.g. Amazon will pack it that way.  
The standard rates will apply to items exceeding .5cf.

* Price includes volume and warehouse charges but does not include insurance.

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