Sunday, December 10, 2006

Shipping and Mailing Solutions in Panama

>> my package went were?
Shipping and Mailing Solutions in Panama

When your address changes from “128 Elm Street, Farmsville TX 76508” to “El Cangrejo, la Vía Argentina, la primera calle después del parque, a una media cuadra norte del almacén, frente a la casa amarilla de tres pisos, apartmento tres D, ciudad de Panamá, República de Panamá”, receiving your Christmas cards from family in the States may not be as simple as it used to be. Christmas cards, however, are probably not your main concern. When you choose to live in a foreign country, many items are simply unavailable or out of your budget when available locally. The fact is that sometimes you will need to receive documents and packages quickly and securely. Luckily, there are several solutions.
a po box in miami
In Panama, several companies offer mail-forwarding services. These private mail companies provide you with a PO Box address in Miami to receive your mail and then forward it to Panama within 48 hours. Most companies will deliver the mail to your home. The cost for this service is based on the weight of your correspondence, which generally runs around $3-4 per pound depending on the terms of your contract. It is a good idea to know how much mail you expect to receive in order to select the plan that suits your needs. Keep in mind that magazines with several hundred pages can weigh up to 2 pounds each. Another benefit of maintaining a US mailing address is that you will not be charged a fee by your credit card company for having an address overseas or receive your frequent flier statements in Spanish.

internet purchases
While shopping is great in Panama, there are occasions when you need to shop online. There are several things to keep in mind when placing an order. The first is to know the weight of your purchase as well as the size of the box. With that information, you can consult with your mail-forwarding provider as to the expected cost of delivery, taxes, and customs fees. The cost of bringing in merchandise varies depending on the item, but expect to pay between 10-20% in taxes. If you do not have a credit card from the US, it is often difficult to place orders online. Some of the larger mail-forwarding services place your orders online for you using their credit cards.
air vs. maritime cargo
Depending on how quickly you need to receive your package, you can opt for what is called maritime shipment. Your package will arrive safely, but will take a week or two longer. However, the savings in freight costs can be significant for large, heavy items over eleven pounds. You will still have to pay taxes and customs fees. Once again, it is important to consult with your mail-forwarding provider, since the address for delivery via maritime shipment may be different from the one you would use for shipments by air cargo.
international couriers
Sending correspondence from Panama using your mail-forwarding provider is generally done using their discounted rates with DHL and FedEx. Some mail-forwarding companies offer a less expensive option using the Priority Mail service in the US.
deciding on a service
If you have decided to use a mail-forwarding service, it is a good idea to ask for references. Friends and business acquaintances may offer insight into which companies are more reliable than others. You may also want to visit the office and ask how their operations work.
A mail-forwarding service is a good way to stay in touch with friends and family back home. It is very helpful to be able to receive urgent items in a safe, economical way. If you do your homework and ask the right questions, you will overcome one of the challenges of living abroad.º
By Pamela Oakes Aguilar
Airbox Express


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Hailey Andersen said...

I hadn't really thought about the hassles of mail-forwarding when moving abroad. Can you do this for all types of mail? Say, for a newsletter or promotion from an online company? I still use physical mailing solutions in addition to email to contact my customer base, and I'd like to share your tips here so that those who are moving away can easily stay connected if they so choose! Thanks!