■ UK (London) -- Sea
The customs clearance process in the UK was much much easier than that described by your Australian customer. Your UK agent, sent me notice that my goods had arrived. I had to fill out a customs clearance form, attach a copy of my shipping list and a copy of my passport and then sent it all back along with a check for about GBP150 which included delivery of the goods to my home. About a week later the agent called again to say that the goods had cleared customs and asked me when I'd like them to be delivered. A few days later a driver delivered my goods. I didn't have to go to the port at all, and the delivery charge (GBP35) was very reasonable as it costs twice that amount to hire a rental van.
■ Australia (Fremantle) -- Sea
Clearing our luggage here in Perth was very easy even though we had never done it before. First we went to your agent's office. We had received an arrival notice in the port. Fee to be paid was $234. They were 5 mins walk from customs, also 5 mins walk from Fremantle
Train station. Very easy.
Next we went to the customs office in Fremantle with my passport, B534 form filled out, packing list, a copy bill of lading and documents (arrival notice and invoice) from your agent. They took copies of everything and told me to call them in 24 hours. Very helpful. when I called in 24 hours they had cleared our shipment electronically. No need to go back. Being under 1 cubic meter and very little electronic or camera stuff helped I think.
We then rang the container company (container cargo specialist) to make sure our luggage was unpacked from the container and ready to be inspected by quarantine. We called quarantine and made an appointment 2 hours latter. Container cargo specialist is about 30 mins walk from Fremantle train station, or probably 15 mins walk from north Fremantle station. By car or taxi probably very easy. Quarantine charge $97 for the first half hour and $40 for every 15 mins after that to inspect your luggage, and they do inspect it. Australia is probably the strictest country in the world for quarantine. Best to declare anything if you are not sure. Quarantine took about 10 mins to inspect our luggage. They asked me to open two boxes, you need your own knife or keys if locked. Also one inspector opened a box and searched himself while I showed another inspector the other two boxes. They checked my packing list for accuracy and items that I had declared like wood and Xmas decorations. Xmas decorations sometimes have pine cones (matsubokori) on them and you cannot bring them in. They did take from us some wood that had bark on it. I had declared it so no problem. When they finished I asked how we could pay but they said no charge because we had under 1 cubic meter and we had a great packing list and had been helpful and honest. We then called a taxi and took our luggage home. Very easy process.
Comment by JLE:The part the quarantine did not charge him any fee is a good thing but perhaps future customers should not expect this too much because we all would be disappointed if we expect something like this from the beginning and then they actually charge us.
■ Canada (Vancouver) -- Sea
The customs clearance in Vancouver was unbelievably fast. When we arrived at Vancouver airport on April 1, we told the customs officer that we had "unaccompanied goods following us by sea." The customs officer asked us to go to a special area where a second customs officer examined our packing list and gave us a document to show to the customs officer when we claimed our goods. That took about 5 minutes and we were on our way.
On Monday, April 15, we received a call from your Vancouver agent. They told us that the vessel, Hyundai Admiral would arrive that night and that we could clear our goods on Thursday. The procedure is as follows:
(1) Obtain some documents from the agent (and pay them for "handling").The agent then notifies the warehouse that goods may be released.
(2) Make an appointment with customs. Go to Customs with packing list and documents obtained from Customs at Vancouver airport and documents obtained from the agent.
(3) The customs officer will decide whether they want to inspect the goods. When customs is finished, they will notify the warehouse that the goods can be released. Both of these notifications are necessary before the goods can be released.
Your agent is located very close to the main Customs Office. (only 5 minutes by walking).
We drove to Vancouver on Wednesday night and went to the agent's office AT 8:15 am. By 8:25 am we were finished and at 8:30 am we arrived at Customs for our 9:00 am appointment. The customs officer saw us immediately, looked at our packing list and cleared our goods for release. We were finished by 9:45 am! So we were very happy about how quickly we cleared customs.
■ USA (Dulles, Washington) -- Air
I was very pleased and surprised how cheap it was to get my items through customs. I went to the airline's office, I was told to take my packing list to customs, get it stamped and return. It so happened customs was 2 doors down from the airline's office. I had to stand in line for about 15 mins. When it was my turn, the officer asked what was in my shipment. I responded "Personal items". He asked how long I was in Japan. I said "2 years". He said " Welcome back", he stamped my packing list and I walked back to the airline's office, paid $10 for handling charges and received my luggage. I think I was finished in about 30 mins all together.
Thank you very much, I was very pleased with Japan Luggage, I would use again if I come back to Japan.
Comment by JLE: Customs clearance procedure is much easier for air shipments and charges incur are also far less expensive for air shipments than for sea shipments and locations of custom office and warehouse etc are normally located at different places if shipping by sea. Fee of $10.00 seems very cheap since at LAX or San Francisco Airport, they charge $40 or so for a small shipment of up to 100 kgs or so)
■ USA (San Francisco) -- Air
I just picked up my luggage from SFO. Thank you again for your help in handling my case. The shipment arrived last night, and staff from AGI - Alliance Ground International (handling Japan Airlines Cargo)called me at around 9am this morning. AGI is located at 606 McDonnell Road, San Francisco 94128. AGI is right by SFO airport. Once I got there, staff at AGI gave me paperwork to take to US Customs to clear.US Customs office is a two minute drive from AGI office - they're all pretty close together. At the US Customs, I gave custom officers paperwork from AGI, and they gave me US customs paperwork to fill out. Once that's done though, I got back to AGI which then released my shipment. AGI told me that even though I was able to get my shipment released right away, there are times when this process can take longer. The entire process from getting to AGI and then getting my shipment released took around 60 minutes. Note - I went around noon time on a weekday so I did NOT have to wait in line at either AGI or at customs office. AGI is open even on weekends, but Customs is open only on weekdays. So it is advised to do everything during weekdays. Otherwise even if you go to AGI you won't be able to clear customs, and can't pick up anything in the end. You can go to AGI, get the paperwork and clear customs during weekday, and then go back to AGI on a weekend to pick up shipment with friends. If I were to do that, AGI can hold my shipment for free until Sunday. They would have started charging from Monday. Thanks again for handling everything!
■ Australia (Brisbane) -- Air
I had no problem collecting my luggage. I received a phone call from the airline to say my luggage was at Brisbane airport. The following day I drove to the airport from the Gold Coast, about 40 min drive from my home to Qantas Freight. They gave me some paperwork to take to AQIS, Australian Customs Service, a 2 minute drive away on the same road. I filled in an unaccompanied Personal effects statement there, and paid their fee. They also gave me a quarantine order to take back to Qantas Freight. I had to pay a further $55 and my luggage was opened up and searched by an officer. The whole process took about one hour. Customs were happy that I had packing slips describing the contents of my luggage, this saved a lot of time for me! Thank you for the great service.
■ Australia (Sydney) -- Air
Australian Customs clearance costs $27.50 at Sydney Airport. The whole process only takes about 30 minutes.
■ Australia (Melbourne) -- Air
I am writing to say thank you to your company for delivering my goods efficiently and safely to Australia. I picked up my boxes from Melbourne Airport yesterday and everything is in good condition. The payment for collection was $55.
■ Australia (Adelaide) -- Air
Firstly I would like to commend you on the wonderful service you provide; not only did I have no problems but when inquiring for information via phone call or a email, you were always prompt in your response. THANK YOU!
The collection process took about 45 minutes which includes navigating around the airport complex and stopping at each checkpoint. I had no problems and was very pleased with the condition in which the luggage arrived. Please find a step-by-step description of the collection process.
First stop: AUSTRALIA AIR EXPRESS OFFICE located next to the Domestic Terminal, open Mon to Fri 9am to 4:30pm.
- Collect airway bill
- Get directions to customs (a map is provided)
Second stop: AUSTRALIAN CUSTOMS located by the International Terminal
- Deliver "Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement"
- Get documents stamped
Third stop: QUARANTINE (AQIS) located near the Domestic Terminal
- Get documents stamped
- You are asked if you have anything to declare
- If AQIS want to inspect anything they will give you a "MOVEMENT" stamp allowing you to go back to Australia Air Express collect your luggage and return to Quarantine for inspection.
Fourth stop: Back to AUSTRALIA AIR EXPRESS
-Hand over the documents from Quarantine
-Your costs will be worked out. Mine was $41.30 which you must pay before they release your luggage
-Your documents will be stamped for release
-Go to the storage area and your luggage will be given to you
Fifth stop: Back to QUARANTINE
-Quarantine will inspect your luggage
-They are mainly interested in wooden, plant and food products. Also if you have been near a farm or a rural area My luggage included shoes, boots and wooden platters. They were inspected and then we were free to leave.
■ Germany (Frankfurt) --Air
Fetching the luggage in Frankfurt is relatively easy. A few points about it:
(1) To go the area of Cargo City South, where the luggage is processed and handed out, it is best to ask for the easiest way to get to the buildings and take a leaflet with a map at the entrance.
(2) There is a good chance that customs decides not to look at the luggage if it is obviously not commercial. You are being asked whether you have already registered with German authorities at the place where you will stay in Germany.
(3) As customs did only check the paperwork, I was able to fetch the luggage within 45 minutes. Customs is probably busier during daytime. The transportation company (Eurohandling) charged Euro 9.28 for the luggage. No charges at the customs.
■ USA (Seattle, WA) -- Sea
Customs clearance went okay. Thanks to your instructions, I prepared a detailed manifest and did not include any food items. I paid $148 to the receiving company in LA and additional $70 bill to the warehouse company in Seattle.
One thing I did notice was that the company in Seattle would have delivered to my house for $130. I was able to go to get my boxes and this worked out well for me, but some other customers shipping to Seattle, might take advantage of their delivery service if they thought it might be cheaper.
-Mr. Andrew G.
■ USA (Tucson, AZ) -- Sea
As for the procedures here in the US, I can tell you what happened here in Tucson, Arizona. But I think in each state is a little different. Even though I'd never done it before, the clearing of my packages was relatively easy. I was notified by fax prior to the arrival of the vessel when the packages would arrive in port, the location they would forward my packages to in Tucson.
I first had to send a check to the container line's agent (LA) to have my packages released to my name. Then I called the storage facility in my town to set up an appointment with the Customs Official. At the appointed time, I met with the customs official, filled out the necessary paperwork, and brought along my passport, my packing list, the release notice, the faxed copy of the bill of lading and all other paperwork associated with this shipment. I viewed the opening of one of my boxes and answered the questions of the official. Being that I had a very detailed (and long packing list) and no food items packed helped. In a total of about 15 minutes my packages were cleared through customs.
The company here in my city offered separate delivery services if I didn't arrange to pick my packages up on my own. They even helped me to load my packages into my vehicle, about 1 cubic meter's worth. I don't remember the fees exactly, but I mailed a check for about 60 US dollars to the port location and I paid about 25 US dollars for an in and out inspection fee in Tucson.
I just want to stress again that every State and City are different in the US, but this should give a good idea of how things worked here. Very detailed and thorough packing lists are important. Any alcohol, weapons or medications especially prescriptions should not be packed as it will add time and hassle to your clearing procedure. Other advice is to be honest and helpful to the customs officials. This will ensure a very easy process.
■ UK (Manchester) -- Air
I had no problems collecting my daughter's packages from British Airways Freight at Manchester Airport in the UK. BA telephoned me to say the packages had arrived. I simply reported to the BA Freight Centre, was given paperwork to take to the Customs and Excise office (just across the road - two minute walk) where I completed a declaration form saying the items were my daughter's "personal effects", the form was then duly processed and I went back to the BA desk, paid the fee of ｣32.00 and a very kind gentleman even brought the packages to my car on a fork lift truck.
Mr. Shimizu - I was fortunate enough to visit my daughter in Japan in 2000 and I have many business dealings with Japanese companies through my work, so I am well aware of the courtesy and efficiency your country prides itself on. However, I have to complement Japan Luggage Express on an exceptionally courteous and professional service - if all the Operatives within your company are as polite and helpful as you are, then no wonder your company is a success. Very many thanks for all your help.
--- Sandra Littler (Mrs.)
■ Switzerland (Zurich) -- Air
The shipment was 246kgs of 20 boxes including a mountain bike. First the most important, everything worked out very smoothly. The shipment took eight days from the pickup day (as exactly expected).
After four hours after the landing of the airplane in Zurich, I received a phone call from the local cargo handling company, that was Cargologic. I could pick up the cargo anytime from the arrival day, the next day or two days after. After that charge would occur. I decided to go there the next day morning.
The whole handling at the airport was very easy and took only 30 minutes ncluding loading the minivan. I first went to the office of Cargologic and paid about 50CHF for the handling fee.
Then, I went to the customs office where they checked the packinglist and passport, After the customs, I went to logics center of Cargologic where they handed me out the boxes. Everything was ready there and I even got a hand to load the boxes into my car. Thank you, Japan Luggage Express!
■ France (Lyon) -- SEA
shipment of42 packages /752kgs/ 3.757 cubic meter This is to let you know that this Monday we got our cartons from Kyoto. It seems that everything eached in good order, and I would like to thank you for the efficiency of your help. The luggage even arrived quicker than expected.
Just for your information (for your possible future customers shipping personal stuff to France): we paid 380 Euros to Leon Vincent SA for custom clearance, disembarkation fee and delivery to door.
We received a notification by mail upon arriving of the ship and had 7 days to organize custom clearance (for a longer amount of time, there is an extra fee).
French custom clearance went fine and we did not have to pay VAT thanks to your help. The rule is that one should prove that one has spent more than 12 months outside France.
Though, your future customers should be informed that French customs accept only packing lists written in French (at least this is what Leon Vincent said).
And last, the luggage delivery is up to in front of the mansion (meaning that one needs to organize oneself to carry luggage between entry of mansion and one's apartment). Yet, it seems that Leon Vincent asks a separate company to make the home delivery task and that it might be possible for some fee to ask directly to the home delivery company to deliver luggage up to the apartment.
I hope that might help for your next customers and once again thanks again (we would be happy to work again with you in the future, or recommend your company to colleagues).
■ South Africa -- Sea
Actually, my things were delivered at last this Monday. I was so thrilled to see them! In terms of the process, well, on the Bill of Lading that you sent me was a South African number of the people at the port I think it was. Someone from that number/office called me about 4 days prior to when the vessel was supposed to land to inform me. I was requested then to start all the arrangements to have my things cleared. They charged me about R810.00 for their services and also recommended a clearing agent to me. His name is Robbie and his number is +27 564 3422. H/e helped to clear my things and in fact, I was out of the country at the time he went to the port to collect my things and was unable to supply him with my inventory. He was able to clear my things without my inventory! He then delivered my stuff to my address and this was done within about 2 days of making the request. He charged me R855.00. I paid all my monies to Robbie and he paid the first people on my behalf. I hope this makes some sense. If there are some specific details you would like to know, please do ask.
Tendency worldwide is that customs officers often go easy on individuals who come to the customs office in person especially when they are shipping for the first time and they overlook many things and it does not take much time to clear whereas if a shipment is cleared by a customs broker it takes several days and customs officers tend to be more strict on shipments and completion of documents.
Another worldwide tendency is that customs clearance procedure takes much shorter time for air shipments than for sea shipments. Many of our customers shipped by air tell us that they have not much to say because it is very simple and the time it takes is generally less than one hour. Many say that from the time they got to the airport till the time they fished loading the boxes to their vehicle and left, it took only 30 to 45 minutes. However, please note that at busy airports the waiting time can be more than one hour. (One Japanese customer who shipped to London Heathrow twice tells us that he waited for about one hour at the customs office when he shipped for the first time but when he was there for the second time he did not have to wait at all because he went there around the time they open in the morning.)
Some customers ship "door-to-door" meaning they make an arrangement of customs clearance and delivery at the destination through Japan Luggage Express. Some ship it door-to-port but they decide to use the services of container line's destination agent (if they offer such services and the charges are reasonable for them, as some of customers shipped to UK did,( Note some destination agents do not offer this service.) or use the service of a local custom broker of their choice. Majority of the customers ship door-to-port and clear customs themselves and collect the shipments.
All information here is given for guidance purposes only and there might be significant differences in charges and procedures. We do not take any responsibility for errors, omissions, inaccuracies or changes.
Also, please note that we are unable to reply to such inquiries as locations of customs office and airline's or container line's agent at a specific airport/port or exact destination charges for a volume of a certain shipment at a certain destination port/airport.