THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO SHIPPING GOODS BACK FROM BALI
This is part 2 of our series on Bali shopping. Here is Part 1: Four ways to shop smart in Bali
So, you’ve done your shopping, you’ve got your treasures, and now you need to ship them back to your home country, either for resale or for personal use. You might not realise how many pitfalls still await you before your goods make it safely home. If done right, you can pay for your entire trip with sales from your purchases. If done wrong, it will cost you a great deal more than anticipated.
You can try to navigate them on your own, but, like most things in life, having the support of an honest, experienced agent will make your life a lot easier. Without one, you may well end up purchasing inferior goods, paying far more than you need to, and/or falling for the tricks of unscrupulous dealers, shipping companies, and even customs agents.
Thankfully, we’ve got your back. Putu, co-owner of Floating Leaf Eco-Luxury Retreat, is a local Balinese with decades of experience securing the best deals and keeping clients safe from scams. Here’s our insider’s guide to making the right shipping choices.
#1- CHECK YOUR HOME COUNTRY’S CUSTOMS AND IMPORT REGULATIONS
This is a small point, but vital. Some seemingly innocuous items, such as cosmetics and ceramics, may be considered contraband, as may animal products such as foods and furs. Know in advance and you won’t have any problems.
#2- BE CAREFUL WHEN BUYING TEAK
Much of the teak used in Bali is not kiln-dried, meaning that it can crack easily. It may be grown in villages, rather than on plantations, making it low-quality and a dubious choice environmentally. Plus, there’s a $150-$250 duty on exporting wood products from Indonesia.
#3- KNOW YOUR TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
Most people think that shipping goods out of Bali is a simple matter of using sea cargo (LCL). There are several reasons why you might want to rethink that assumption.
Firstly, in comparison with a shipping container, you lose space by using LCL. The wooden crates are big and heavy. Compared with a shipping container, they take up about 25% more space. Secondly, your LCL order will wait around on the docks until other orders come in to make up a full container. This usually means about double the transit time. Thirdly, the risk of breakage is far higher, because your goods will be hefted around with nothing but a wooden crate to protect them.
Air cargo can work, but usually only for small, high-value items or samples of a larger range. Otherwise it tends to be prohibitively expensive.
#4- MAKE A PLAN TO HANDLE DOCUMENTATION AND INSURANCE
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up paying far more than you need to for official documentation. Insurance, too, can be a false economy if purchased in Indonesia, partly because making a claim from an Indonesian insurance agency can be an enormous undertaking.
It’s also worth noting that, far from being set in stone, customs brokers’ rates are highly malleable. It pays to get the input of an experienced local.
#5- WATCH OUT FOR EXTRA CHARGES
Many, many people shipping goods from Indonesia have found their cargo held in customs, either in Indonesia or in their home country, and received sudden and unexpected news of additional charges. It takes a lot of care and experience to avoid these kinds of misadventures, and they can easily triple your shipping costs.
The best way to avoid this, and all the other pitfalls mentioned above, is to get us to take care of your shopping and shipping. We know the best suppliers and have long standing relationships with them and all the others every step along the way. We take care of all the packing, negotiation, and organisation. Putu’s experience and local knowledge is invaluable, and will probably save you twice what you have paid in unnecessary charges, plus an enormous amount of time and stress.