So, in the last post (A Moving Adventure ~ “Bon Voyage”, Container) I told you how easy it has been working with Sea Freight to get all our belongings to Grenada. Well, there’s a post script to the story.
The cargo ship was scheduled to leave on Tuesday, and the Friday before – at about 4:45 – PM Michael was copied on a cryptic note that our container would not be allowed on the ship unless some missing paperwork was filed. Of course, there is no answer at either Sea Freight or Sea Pac (a related company that gets the handoff of the container before it is loaded) so now Michael has the whole weekend to worry. At that point, I was remaining optimistic because everything had gone so smoothly so far, we had Monday to sort things out and Michael is known for getting things done, that this was just a blip that would be resolved shortly.
Bright and early on Monday morning, Michael was at his computer, with phone in hand, trying to understand the issue so it could be resolved and our container could be released and then loaded on the cargo ship in time to sail on Tuesday. We didn’t really know how much time we had before the actual loading cut-off before the container would be delayed for another week so Michael was all over it (and them).
Time and time again, he thought the issue was resolved and some new “requirement” would pop up. First, it was the need for an invoice for every single thing in the shipment. Michael patiently explained that some items were years old and in some instances generations old and there was no way we could produce invoices, but everything we hadn’t purchased new for the trip had been appraised last year for insurance purposes and we could produce that paperwork. Then they wanted invoices for everything that was new. We could provide that but it would involve electronically sending over 100 invoices, some for items as low as $25. No, they didn’t want that – just invoices over $4,000. That was easy as there was only one item over $4K.
During these conversations, Michael was also trying to sort out insurance. We had been told that insurance would be a percentage of the total value and we had sent money to cover our goods but hadn’t received the final contract. As Michael got bounced from one person to another, and then to another, he was told we couldn’t insure the shipment because the freight company hadn’t packed the container – no one ever mentioned this requirement in any of the previous conversations (although they were happy to have taken our money) and now the point was mute because it was already packed, sealed and sitting at the port. Michael countered with us taking responsibility if something got broken during “normal” shipping but if they dropped the container, it flooded, fell off the cargo ship, etc. we would be covered. They finally agreed.
I was out doing last minute errands and came back home around 4:30 PM. Michael was still on the phone and we ended the day not knowing if our container was going to be loaded for the next day departure and wondering if it was already too late or if there was a sliver of possibility that it would still make the loading deadline. Needless to say, things were tense – especially because we couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone.
Tuesday came and went, Wednesday came and went and we still couldn’t find out if our container was sitting in the port or had sailed on the ship. CRAZY! Meanwhile, we’re driving to Miami to catch our Thursday flight. Finally, on Thursday afternoon just before our flight, Michael confirms that our container went – we have no final bill of lading, no insurance paperwork. Oh, and surprise, surprise – no more using Sea Freight for shipments for us!
Now we wait. … And hope that weather is good … And there are no issues … And our container arrives with everything intact.
Next week we are shipping a 10 foot by 16 foot hurricane shutter from Miami via Tropical (750 lbs!, one invoice). I wonder how that shipment will go?