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Options for Shipping Things to Panama

shipping things to Panama, panama real estate

My Panama Real Estate is not just about real estate — it’s about sharing information about our experiences here in Panama. Deciding whether to ship your belongings from North America (or elsewhere) is always a difficult decision. Just how badly do you need all of those items or whether you can find something that you love as much is really the bottom line. When I first moved to Panama over two years ago, I felt like shipping belongings from the US to Panama was senseless. However, after over a year of searching every department store in Panama looking for dining room chairs to fit my taste and a comfortable leather sofa that did not cost $10,000, I changed my mind. Perhaps shipping things to Panama wasn’t such a bad idea!

So then began the Happy Hour inquisitions of fellow expats who had shipped over their belongings so I could figure out who to use and who NOT to use. One company in particular kept coming up as a very positive experience: Rainier Overseas Movers, Inc. We completed on online form to get an estimate for a 20-foot steamship container. The quote came in at $9400 and included packing up our items in Texas, shipping them to Panama (20-30 days), and then delivering the container to our home in Gorgona. It also included unpacking the items at our residence, assembly of basic furniture and the removal of packing material – truly door-to-door service!

The service on the Texas side was outstanding! All of our items were carefully packed, pictures and dishes carefully wrapped, and then came the time for the company to load up our 20-foot container. That was an amazing procedure to watch and the crew chief in charge of loading the container said it best: “It’s like Tetris for adults” – hahahaha!

We received an email when it shipped, and exactly 21 days later, Karen with Panama Intermoving & Relocation Inc. emailed that the vessel had arrived and gave us a detailed description of the procedures for the next few days. Our customs and port charges came to $1441 which included the $425 for the customs official to come to Gorgona (approximately 90 miles away) from Panama City to inspect the goods. It took two days for the container to be cleared from customs; once cleared we received an email letting us know our container would be delivered the next day with the crew chief’s name and cell phone number.

The following morning Alex (the crew chief) called us to say he was headed our way. He arrived with the customs official and a crew to do the unloading and unpacking. They were OUTSTANDING! In the entire container only one picture frame (that was very old) was broken, but everything else was in perfect shape!

So I had the exact dining chairs I wanted, a leather sofa that cost a fraction of what they cost here as well as a gas grill that was half the price of one in Panama – so all-in-all the savings easily paid the cost of the container!

If the dollars required to ship a container give you sticker shock, pallets may be more up your alley. Keep your best and sell the rest! Some friends here recently shipped three pallets. Each pallet measures 4 x 4 x 5 (80 square feet). Dove Shipping International got their 240-square-feet worth of household items safely delivered to Panama in three weeks. The cost was $2,500 and included getting the goods through customs and hand-delivered to their Panama residence (approximately 90 miles away from Panama City).

If you have any additional questions regarding shipping goods to Panama, please do not hesitate to send me an email at My Panama Real Estate – I am always happy to help! We are not just about Panama real estate; we are about helping you with all things associated with relocating to this fabulous country!

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