SHIPPING THINGS TO SAIPAN
There are a number of options for getting things to Saipan, depending on the contents and how fast you need them.
US POST OFFICE
Really not a bad option for a lot of normal things… clothes, books, your DVD collection, a new hand mixer, etc. The flat rate box is a great choice where possible for smaller items. The cost is the same whether you want to ship feathers or lead bricks, as long as you can stuff it into one of those boxes. Be careful when going to get a bunch of flat rate boxes that you get the flat rate box; the priority mail envelopes/boxes look very similar but go by weight. Look for the words “Flat Rate” on the boxes.
Priority mail is also good… gets here in about 10 days to 2 weeks. As with everything sent to or from here you need to fill out a customs form for every box shipped, so if shipping from home do yourself a favor and get a bunch to take home so you are not filling them out while standing in line. Many US post offices don’t really know the correct form and think you have to fill out the “big customs form” although a wrinkle in the regs specifies the simpler “small customs form.” Ask what form your post office demands.
Parcel post is cheaper, but really slow. Plan 2-3 months.
4th class is for books.
THINGS YOU NEED REALLY FAST
Send by DHL. Usually 5-7 days, fine service since the founder (Larry Hillblom), lived and started the company here. He is immortalized in the forthcoming movie “Billionaire” and purported to be the father of 12,000 illegitimate children. I hear they still sacrifice a virgin to his honor every week. Nevertheless, his company is great to work with. UPS and FedEx not nearly as efficient.
PRETTY BIG THINGS OR HAZMAT (your big TV set, drill press, motorcycle, ANYTHING with a Lithium-Ion battery, etc.
Use Triple-B freight forwarders. They can ship by ocean for your motorcycle, and they have a twice weekly cargo only plane for all those portable electronics like cellphones, cameras with batteries, etc. Anything with a Lithium battery is now regarded by the FAA as only slightly less dangerous than plutonium, and although DHL will usually ship them, lots of mainland stores don’t deal with them, having contracts with FedEx or UPS. Since they found that a FedEx ground driver will drown before he or she has gone 100 miles when trying to deliver to Saipan, you often encounter a lot of “DOES NOT SHIP TO YOUR AREA” alerts when ordering, and giving a mainland US address circumvents that.
Call BBB for further advice at:
Phone (Mainland office): (310) 604 5840
Toll Free: (800) 228 8465
Address things to yourself as follows:
(Your name) (your phone number with a 670 area code)
ATTN: (Air Freight or Ocean freight, depending)
1511 Glen Curtis St.
Carson, Ca 90746
REALLY BIG THINGS (cars, yachts,motorhomes, your pig iron collection)
Contact Matson Shipping 1-(800) 4MATSON. Specify you want to ship from their Long Beach terminal. The Seattle terminal changes ships in Hawaii, US customs gets involved, and things can get hung up for months. Takes about 3 weeks.