When the car arrives at the port

The Italian broker should contact you and inform you of the estimated time of arrival few weeks before. Don’t take the date as fixed as they can often change. They will take care of the custom clearance. However, if you are importing it as a resident to nationalize it, you need to let them know so they can do the appropriate paperwork. Otherwise, they may just import it for you as a temporary vehicle of a tourist without asking.

Again, if you have a qualified used vehicle, you do not have to pay duty and tax on the first vehicle. The broker is not always aware of the actual law, if in doubt; refer to the section Doing Importation Yourself in the eBook.

Once the broker gives you the exact arrival date of your vehicle, be prepared to make arrangement to come and get it. If you don’t pick it up by their deadline, they will charge you a hefty storage fee. This fee could exceed $100 a day! In my experience, I was given an arrival date several times by the broker, yet each time the ship was delayed and they could not give me a precise schedule. I had to travel for few days and during which they emailed me telling me to schedule for a pickup before I could come back. I couldn’t do it and had to pay storage fee. They did not want to take any responsibilities for their poor organization and communication that left me with little time to prepare.

The big surprise for me was the broker fee paid to the Italian agent. I inquired and re-confirmed with the shipping agent from Los Angeles and he assured me it is going to be around 500 dollars, but it turned out to be around 780 euros, which at that time were over $1100.

Again, get your shipper to contact its agent in Italy to give you a quote in writing. It may not be legally binding, but at least you have a reference to work with.

In some ports, like Naples, the warehouse workers help you to unload your stuff from the container, especially if you have less than a full container to your own transportations. They may ask for a tip, but this is neither necessary nor appropriate.


© 2008 Lincoln Han. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any form must be permitted expressly in writing.

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