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Shipping in goods to Tahiti

By Steve & Chris Rawlinson of S/Y Scott-Free and Laurent of PYS — last modified Feb 06, 2018 08:54 PM
We would like to recommend a company in Tahiti and to provide an update on costs for Ship in Transit goods.

Published: 2013-09-11 23:00:00
Countries: French Polynesia

Our service batteries failed in Bora Bora typically on the weekend!

We called PSA (found on Noonsite) on Monday morning. We spoke to Vetea who speaks very good English and he could not have been more helpful. That same afternoon we paid the proforma in the bank and the batteries were put on the overnight supply ship Tuesday and we collected them Wednesday morning! The delivery charge was 1500 PF about £10.

We had picked up a buoy off the Yacht Club and could watch the ship arrive and then jump in our rib for the short ride to the commercial dock. On presentation of our bill of lading we were pointed at the correct container and given our batteries, the gentleman then carried them around to the rib and helped load them. All in all a very satisfying ending to what felt like disaster when it first happened.

Contact details are:

PACIFIC SUD ACCUMULATEUR (PSA)

Vetea Liauzun
TEL : (689) 42.47.22  GSM : (689) 73.27.22
vlpsa@mail.pf

The rules for importing tax free goods into Tahiti (presumably for all of French Polynesia) changed mid July. You now temporarily import the goods and then export them when you check out of FP. This was not too onerous, but on the 1st August Customs decided you needed to pay to export the goods! This added 10,000 PF (£70) to our already expensive bill. S - we would now advise against shipping goods into Tahiti unless you really have to. We would recommend the agent we used as he was very efficient but even he was caught out by this new charge and was very apologetic.

Our agents details are:

POLYNESIA YACHT SERVICES

Laurent BERNAERT
(689) 77.12.30
pys@mail.pf

Steve & Chris Rawlinson
S/Y Scott-Free

Noonsite contacted Laurent of PYS for clarification of the new rules for importing tax free goods. He said:

Spare parts and equipment required to repair a vessel under the temporary admission status (“admission temporaire”), may be imported and cleared through customs without paying customs dues.

However, since mid-July 2013, these goods must also be declared for export when you check out of French Polynesia

Yachts owners/skippers can import/export goods by themselves, however there is alot of paperwork involved and the process can be "tricky". Assistance of a yacht agent can be very helpful (which also includes extra services like collecting the shipment at the port/airport and arranging final delivery to the yacht).

Fees involved for bringing in spare parts are those charged by the customs broker (for the 2 Customs declarations / paperwork for "temporary admission" and then "final exportation) and NOT for Customs duties. These fees depend on the shipment's CIF value (goods value + insurance+ freight). On average, fees invoiced by the customs broker for each declaration are between 10 and 25.000 Cfp depending on the CIF value (1 Euros = 119,33 Cfp, 1 Usd is currently approx. 87 Cfp).

Note that all other goods which are imported and not for repairs (for example tv, computer, crew clothing, etc.) must be cleared through Customs and DUTIES must be paid.

Finally, it seems that the specific rules of the Yachts temporary admission status are subject to change in the near future; they are currently under discussion with the local government ....  we hope that everything will be simplified for import shipments... we will see...

Laurent / PYS

Related content
Papeete
RANeyman
RANeyman says:
Feb 01, 2018 08:30 PM

I think things have changed quite a bit since September 2013 when this information was posted. Now, in January 2018, it seems extraordinarily complicated and expensive. I am only through arranging for goods to get aboard a ship for delivery to Papeete, and it's already almost unbearable. I started the process based on incomplete information from someone who was almost through it and now wish I had just bought what I needed here and paid the exorbitant prices in the local chandlery.

The original agent recommended to me for handling the paperwork in Tahiti has now refused to do the work. Apparently some agents have been screwed by cruisers who have skipped out on duty and/or fees. I have now tracked down through personal contacts a couple of agents willing to import my stuff, so I'm optimistic, but I have reason for pessimism as well.

My pessimism is based on the pain involved in the relatively simple process of getting an iPad back into the country after sending it out to the US for repair. It was actually replaced for free under warranty and mailed back. Unfortunately the fact that it was mailed (USPS) got it into The System and now customs wants to charge me duty on its value. I'm in the process of arguing that down by getting proof from Apple that it was replaced for free under warranty. Even if I am successful, customs wants to charge me (I think 30%) on the cost of mailing alone. That's $125 dollars, so an additional $37.50 right there. In addition, this apparently has to be handled by an import agent, so there's a minimum fee involved for them.

Technically, since I use the iPad for my navigation and for my radar display, I could process this import as Yacht-in-Transit and avoid duty. The downside of that is that the agent's fees are double what they'd be if I just pay the duty and that second layer of fees is probably more than the duty would be. For the iPad it's being recommended that I just pay the duty (after arguing down the value) and skip Yacht-in-Transit. For a larger, higher value shipment it might prove worthwhile to go the Yacht-in-Transit route.

BOTTOM LINE: Don't take importing equipment into French Polynesia lightly. Right now I'm expecting to pay over 30% of the value of my imported goods in duty and agent's fees. That may still prove to be worthwhile dollar-wise, but when considering the complicated paperwork, delay in the cruising schedule, and just plain bother, I think I would have avoided it if I could have.

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