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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 22 Dec 2003
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Shipping parts- learn from my mistake

Dont ship them- just fly home and bring them back!!!

I needed parts in ecuador- here is my tale of woe:

I had the parts shipped via UPS from USA. It has been a nightmarish MONTH and I still dont have my parts!

The idiots at UPS are almost as incompetent in Ecuador as they are in USA. The USA ofice did not have an address or current phone number of their Ecuador office!! Major pain to track down , ad ABSOLUTELY NO HELP FROM USA OFFICE!

IN addition to paying UPS $275 (for 23 lb package!) for shipping, I had to pay $85 to customs, even though the invoice says warantee parts- no charge.

I would have been much cheaper (counting money spent sitting around Quito doing nothing) and much much faster to fly home, get the parts, and fly back! Learn from my mistake!
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Old 22 Dec 2003
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All depends on who you're dealing with. I had to ship a BMW gearbox from the UK to southern Germany in September.

I ordered it from the dealer (Sherlocks) late Tuesday afternoon, it was collected by the carrier on the Wednesday, shipped out to Germany & arrived direct at the BMW workshop nr Rheinfelden as requested during office hours on Friday.

I had to arrange for a 2nd hand gearbox as BMW Germany had no idea when they could supply the individual parts I required.

All the same, sorry to hear your tale of woe, I'd be pretty p*ssed off if that had happened to me.

Steve
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  #3  
Old 23 Dec 2003
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One lesson we've learned about shipping parts to wherever you are:

FIRST find the UPS/Fedex/DHL office where you are. If there is only one of them, then that's the company you ship by - and you've already made a connection, they know who you are, and you can sort things out directly.

If there isn't one at all, then you need to find out who is the local agent for which company, then once you've talked to them decide if you want to ship to another city instead!

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  #4  
Old 11 Jan 2004
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Hi, a friend of mine needed an alternator rotor for his BM in Khartoum, DHL got one to him from Germany in 3 days with no problems whatsoever. He contacted the Khartoum office first and then emailed his parts supplier in Germany on the Friday and on Sunday afternoon he fitted the part. It cost 150 euros for the posting but hey good service or what.
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Old 12 Jan 2004
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ChrisK

The price of rewinding a rotor for the BM in Africa is max 20 Euro...
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  #6  
Old 12 Jan 2004
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The competence of different courier companies varies from region to region. By this I mean the global couriers each have one area in which they excel, and they tend to do pretty poorly outside of that area.

My own experience in over 15 years of working in the 3rd world goes like this:

1) UPS is great within the USA, in particular they offer quite inexpensive shipping of large boxes in the USA, they are hopeless for international shipments.

2) FedEx is pretty good if you are shipping to and from countries that meet the following developmental benchmarks:

a) Lots of ATM's everywhere,
b) Low levels of corruption at the airport
c) Reliable phone systems in the country.

3) DHL is by far the best when shipping to a corrupt, screwed-up or war-torn country. It seems that DHL has the best 'local employees' who always know the ropes (to get your package out of customs) and know the neighborhood (to get the package to where you are). It also helps greatly if you establish contact and a rapport with the DHL destination office beforehand.

PanEuropean
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  #7  
Old 12 Jan 2004
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I agree with PanEuropean on this one - and also want to emphasize "establish contact and a rapport with the DHL destination office beforehand"

I've said this many times - BEFORE shipping anything find the local courier offices and visit them, make sure they're not just agents who may or may not have a clue. If it's an actual Fedex/DHL/UPS office there is far better chance of actually getting your shipment. Also ask if the shipments come direct from overseas to them, or via a few way points in SA or wherever first. You can guess which is better

PanEuropean's comments re the various shippers agrees with my own experiences and stories I've heard. Chris had a bad experience with DHL somewhere, don't remember where, but mistakes happen. As a rule, DHL is pretty good from what I hear and have experienced.

Finally I like to pick up at the DHL office where possible - getting it delivered adds more risk.

Grant

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