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Thread: Shipping from Japan to USA?

  1. #1

    Default Shipping from Japan to USA?

    I'm buying a mandolin from a builder in Tokyo.
    I've heard that currently, due to covid, postal shipping, which is the least expensive option, is taking approximately 6-8 weeks. Under normal circumstances it is 3-7 days by Japan Post EMS. Japan Post is still quoting 3 days, but EMS has this posted "because of the global reduction of flights, considerable delivery delays are expected for outbound mail items to other countries/territories". I know that they use many carriers for their shipping, but it seems that packages are sitting at the departure location for weeks before being sent.
    I'd like to keep costs down, but having an instrument sit in some unknown warehouse for weeks on end is really not going to be good for it.
    Does anyone have experience shipping with other carriers from Japan to USA, that can provide any direction?
    I know that UPS, FedEx, DHL use their own fleets to ship.
    I'm willing to spend more, but I'd like it to not be $500 more.
    Thanks!

    Edit - Just read that EMS service from Japan to USA is now suspended
    https://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/in...423_03_en.html
    Last edited by stevojack665; May-04-2020 at 10:06pm.

  2. #2
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    one day in getting to the air freight terminal, 1 to get to your door, 1` in the air and sorting out the other 2 sounds reasonable to me.. ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  3. #3

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    one day in getting to the air freight terminal, 1 to get to your door, 1` in the air and sorting out the other 2 sounds reasonable to me.. ..
    It sounds reasonable to me too, however that service is currently suspended due to covid and no airlines to transport mail

  4. #4
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Container shipping, on the surface, by sea, is a fortnight ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  5. #5

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Container shipping, on the surface, by sea, is a fortnight ..
    Um, thanks?
    If you read what I posted above, it is taking 6-8 weeks for surface shipping at this time.

  6. #6
    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevojack665 View Post
    I'm buying a mandolin from a builder in Tokyo.
    I've heard that currently, due to covid, postal shipping, which is the least expensive option, is taking approximately 6-8 weeks. Under normal circumstances it is 3-7 days by Japan Post EMS. Japan Post is still quoting 3 days, but EMS has this posted "because of the global reduction of flights, considerable delivery delays are expected for outbound mail items to other countries/territories". I know that they use many carriers for their shipping, but it seems that packages are sitting at the departure location for weeks before being sent.
    I'd like to keep costs down, but having an instrument sit in some unknown warehouse for weeks on end is really not going to be good for it.
    Does anyone have experience shipping with other carriers from Japan to USA, that can provide any direction?
    I know that UPS, FedEx, DHL use their own fleets to ship.
    I'm willing to spend more, but I'd like it to not be $500 more.
    Thanks!

    Edit - Just read that EMS service from Japan to USA is now suspended
    https://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/in...423_03_en.html
    Ouch.
    I just took a quick look at FedEx; Tokyo to Seattle. FedEx International Economy (about five days) for a 10 pound package is around $235. FedEx International First (about 3 days) is almost double that. Didn't see anything about delays resulting from COVID; their banner says "We Are Delivering."
    It's expensive. But then it beats the heck out of several weeks of salt air.

    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/home.html

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  8. #7

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    From my experience working with a firm that imported and exported 95% of their products overseas (medical supplies, including reagents), Fedex has by far the best international service. It's a bit pricey, but they are more practiced than any other service we used. However, much of the time they purchase cargo space from commercial passenger airlines. If those flights are still running, then I'd give it a try.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  10. #8
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    When I buy things from other countries, I never pay a high rate to get them quickly, partly because I'm both cheap and patient, and also because no company can guarantee how long an item takes to go through customs. I've received things from overseas in less than a week, and things from much closer in the US in six weeks, without any consistent pattern. I'm in Canada but I assume the customs process is the same in most countries, where anything brought in can be randomly put aside and eventually given a thorough inspection.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  12. #9
    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    From my experience working with a firm that imported and exported 95% of their products overseas (medical supplies, including reagents), Fedex has by far the best international service. It's a bit pricey, but they are more practiced than any other service we used. However, much of the time they purchase cargo space from commercial passenger airlines. If those flights are still running, then I'd give it a try.
    Terrific idea! I had completely forgotten that commercial air carriers also carry cargo. In fact, I recently read an article that most international carriers are now carrying cargo in lieu of passengers. I doubt if the commercial airlines provide pickup and delivery. But it truly is worth looking into.

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  14. #10
    Registered User GeoMandoAlex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    I had some documents shipped via FedEX to Kuwait. I shipped them on 13March with a delivery date stated 16March (I paid the international priority). I tracked it to Kuwait. It was in Kuwait on 23March (a week delayed, no worries). It was finally delivered to the company on 23April. Not sure what happened in Kuwait. I have a friend there and he said the country was shut down. I had FedEX looking into it 2 weeks before delivery. They said they were delivering, but could not get a hold of the distribution center in Kuwait.

    Not sure if this helps, I did send the package when the outbreak started so the delay could have been due to FedEX-Kuwait being under a country wide quarantine.

    Is it possible to have it delivered to your closest distribution center and pick it up from there. With the delays in delivering, you may receive your package faster that way.
    I can only play half as much as I want, because I only play half as much as I would like.

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  16. #11
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    I suppose using Marine Traffic you could track the cross Pacific transit time of an individual container ship..
    I am 2 blocks from the Columbia river, often looking out the north facing window,
    and up, at international shipping passing by on the high slack tide..

    Bulk and Car carriers. ..

    The container ports are Tacoma, Oakland, and dominantly Long Beach - San Pedro.



    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  17. #12

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by NursingDaBlues View Post
    Ouch.
    I just took a quick look at FedEx; Tokyo to Seattle. FedEx International Economy (about five days) for a 10 pound package is around $235. FedEx International First (about 3 days) is almost double that. Didn't see anything about delays resulting from COVID; their banner says "We Are Delivering."
    It's expensive. But then it beats the heck out of several weeks of salt air.

    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/home.html
    With insurance to CO, it's almost $600 for a mandolin sized package! Ouch!
    Maybe I can have it sent to a friend in Seattle and they can forward it on to me by UPS ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by NursingDaBlues View Post
    Terrific idea! I had completely forgotten that commercial air carriers also carry cargo. In fact, I recently read an article that most international carriers are now carrying cargo in lieu of passengers. I doubt if the commercial airlines provide pickup and delivery. But it truly is worth looking into.
    Japan is currently not allowing incoming passenger flights from the USA, so there are also no outgoing passenger flights. So I think there are basically no passenger carriers moving in and out of country. I don't know if carriers have shifted to cargo, but I'll look into it.
    Thanks!

  18. #13

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I suppose using Marine Traffic you could track the cross Pacific transit time of an individual container ship..
    I am 2 blocks from the Columbia river, often looking out the north facing window,
    and up, at international shipping passing by on the high slack tide..

    Bulk and Car carriers. ..

    The container ports are Tacoma, Oakland, and dominantly Long Beach - San Pedro.



    Again, it is less about the transport time, and more that items are sitting in a warehouse in Tokyo for weeks to months before even being loaded onto transport. Thanks though.
    Last edited by stevojack665; May-05-2020 at 1:30pm.

  19. #14
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Just watching
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  20. #15

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Best I can find is UPS for about $350.
    Mandolin won't be ready for shipping until the end of the month, so hopefully EMS air will be operating again by then, but we'll see.
    Thanks everybody!

  21. #16

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Don’t forget the import taxes! I got hit with near $400 tax from having
    Lawrence Nyberg build me an octave mando and ship it to Long Beach from British Colombia.

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  23. #17
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    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Given all the uncertainties, you may want to consider asking the luthier to hold on to it until you have shipping you trust.

  24. #18

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    Given all the uncertainties, you may want to consider asking the luthier to hold on to it until you have shipping you trust.
    I think that is probably the best idea for now unfortunately.

  25. #19

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    I just waited for FedEx to deliver an item from Indianapolis to central Kentucky for seven working days. Could have done it on a pogo stick in that amount of time. I don't think you can trust any shipping ETAs at the moment.

  26. #20

    Default Re: Shipping from Japan to USA?

    No, you are right, they are very open about "no guarantees".
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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