Shipping Parts

Shipping Parts in South America

Travellers information, Provided by Cynthia Milton, UK, RTW

Sooner or later, odds are your bike will break, and you may need to get parts shipped in from your home country, or another closer country. Don't get hung up on your "home country" - often another country is closer, or cheaper, or deals with the country you're in on a regular basis, making getting parts shipped in easier. My first rule is to find out what courier companies (DHL, Fedex, UPS etc) are in the town you are in, and use them as the first choice for shipping parts in. The last thing you want is to have a hand-off from one company to another - that's a sure recipe for lost parts. Grant

Cynthia had a number of bike problems in South America, and gained a lot of painful experience shipping parts in.

Cynthia writes:

If you can't order from a dealer or otherwise source parts locally, you'll need to get parts sent out from somewhere else. These notes only apply to parts from the UK to the named countries. Especially in South America, it may be easier to get stuff from the US.

In all cases I recommend a method using tracking numbers. However, be warned that the UK Royal Mail/Parcel Force tracking ceases once the item has left the UK and restarts in the destination country, which requires navigation on a sometimes strange website and is generally no help.

In the case of postal tracking numbers, you can't beat a visit to the local post office with the number in your hot little hand.

Chile

General: Not really a problem - very European country and well-organised.

Normal post: No problems. Took nearly two weeks to Punta Arenas, but acceptable in the circumstances.

Couriers: No problems. About a week, unless you're in southern Patagonia, in which case you'll have a longer wait (in my case, five days to Santiago then a fortnight to Coyhaique, but as there are no roads to speak of down there . . . ).

Customs duty: If courier, they'll generally contact you, and its even possible the customs agent will visit. If post, you need to haunt the post office with the tracking number. You can sometimes avoid duty if you go to the customs people and produce your temporary import papers. Otherwise you'll have to pay. This is normally by means of paying the appropriate amount into the bank account they tell you and producing or faxing the receipt to the the postal/courier people.

Peru

General: Peru does not allow the import of used automotive spares. So if you do this, ensure there's an invoice declaring the parts as 'new' and get the sender to scrub them up well as the customs chaps may open the package and check.

Normal post: Unreliable. Stuff may just go missing.

Couriers: Should be OK.

Customs duty: You probably won't be able to avoid it. Otherwise, as Chile.

Argentina

General: Argentina does not normally allow the import of used automotive spares. So if you do this, ensure there's an invoice declaring the parts as 'new' and get the sender to scrub them up well as the customs chaps may open the package and check.

Normal post: Unreliable. Stuff may just go missing.

Couriers: Should be OK.

Customs duty: If ever get your stuff out of customs, just heave a sigh of relief and pay whatever they want.

Ecuador

General: No problems.

Normal post: Works OK and takes about a week.

Couriers: No experience.

Customs: Doesn't appear to be an issue.

Colombia

General: No problems.

Normal post: Takes about a fortnight.

Couriers: No experience.

Customs: Doesn't appear to be an issue.

Panama

General: No real problems. Note that postal addresses are different from street addresses, so post needs the postal address and couriers need the street address.

Normal post: Takes at least a month.

Couriers: Five days.

Customs: Doesn't appear to be an issue.

 

Comments

Hi Folks,

I've broken down and been stuck several times in South America while having parts sent from Blighty and I wanted to add my experiences to the list.

Sending by courier anywhere in South America will usually require a trip up to the courier's office to collect your package.  You will be stung for import tax so it helps to put a low value on the parcel.

Sending by ordinary post is slower, the tracking number will show when the package left the UK and nothing more but it is less likely to attract the attention of customs and it's quite possible that you'll get away without import tax.

Chile.
Courier takes about a week, post about three weeks.  I got stung for tax  each time I used a courier and got away with it using the post.

Ecuador.
I'm in the process of sending parts to Ecuador at the moment, I'll let you know how it all pans out.  Before sending, I went around and looked up a few expats and asked for their advice.  To summerise, they have what they call the 4x4 rule.  That is, if your parcel weighs under 4Kg and is valued at less than USD$400 _AND_ it's sent by ordinary post then it's likely to get through.  Also, don't put a business name on the parcel, only the street address.

Sending by courier is going to guarantee a trip up to the office for a wallet lightening exercise.

Argentina.
I have no personal experience of sending to Argentina but I have been reliably informed that sending by courier will definitely require a trip to the customs office at the airport to pay tax whereas ordinary post may get through unmolested.

OK Folks, that's it for now, I'll update when I know more.

Dunc.



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