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After getting royally screwed by a certain individual, I have decided to order from Oriental Aquarium Directly. Now the only problem is the shipping costs. To get an order from Oriental Aquarium in Singapore to the U.S. is roughly $300.00 to $400.00 Why I do not know. If someone can help me with this reason, I would really appreciate it.

Now to the good stuff... They have over 1000 different plants and their prices are very, very cheap. Since the cost of shipping is so ridiculous, I am hoping to go in with about 10 other people. Each person would pay an equal amount for shipping @ 35 - $40 each. It might sound like allot, but then when you can get plants like Cyperous Helferi for $1.20 each and most bunch plants for 60 cents each, not to mention ALL THE HARD TO find plants, I think it is a great way to add to ones collection.

I will accept the first ten people who respond to me. I am not doing this to make ANY money, unlike other people, but rather I am setting up a 150gallon tank and would like to deffer the costs and share the wealth of cheap quality plants. I have the price list ready to go, but I will only email it to those who WILL be ordering.

Thanks ahead of time.

Just a little info, the individual That was getting the plants for me, as a favor, but agreed nonetheless...the original price of all plants, plus a hundred dollars for his trouble was $245, thats a 145 dollars in plants and a hundred to help him with the shipping, since he brings plants in every other week anyway. He writes me the day before he places the order and tells me he decided not to do this "FAVOR" and the new total was get this....$1629.00!!!!! Thats right One thousand six hundred twenty nine dollars for $145.00 WORTH OF PLANTS!!! Hope he is happy with his greedy ways!!!!!

Let go and buy some plants!!!!!!!!!!!!![/b]
 

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Remind me of the US customs import requirements for aquatic plants and the likelihood of a shipment being delayed. I assume that regular importers hire expediters to get the shipment through customs ASAP.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Having been on the receiving end of both and fish and plants shipments such as this before, when working at a lfs, I have a tiny bit of experience with the process.

Oriental will ship via airline. You'll want it to come to an airport with a US Fish and Wildlife inspector on staff. Last I checked that was Miami, Washington Dulles, Newark, Chi, and LA. Inspectors work M-F 9-5, so you will need to time it to fit that. Paperwork, you need an import lic, takes a few weeks to get one and OA will supply the phytosanitary cert.

If you are not based near one of those airports all bets are off.

The other alternative is deal with a trans-shipper, for a fee they walk the shipment thru customs, fish and wildlife, rebox/rebag if need be and get shipment to US based airline for delivery to local airport.

However, to deal with transshipper they will want you to have a retail lic, they want repeat biz, not one off's.

A quick search of livestock shippers will show most marine ones are based around LAX and FW ones are near MIA. They have the expertise, licenses and relationships with Customs/ Fish and Wildlife to do this a regular basis and make money.

The process is fraught with peril for a one time receiver.
 

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I agree - it's really a complicated process. The LFS I get my plants from often suffers HUGE plant losses depending on the route that the shipment is taking, the timing of flights, and the mood of the inspectors... I guess if you're going to do it, now is the best time. The worst is during the summer, especially if the plants happen to stop through any hot places.

AFAIK, the receiving party has to pay the inspectors overtime if it goes past their regular hours. But it's worth it, because time is of essence... If they keep something "for closer inspection" then forget it - you'll never get it back in salvageable condition. Some plants will NOT take well to shipping. Others will be sent in emersed form and may not transition successfully.

Another cause of big losses is when the inspector has no idea what s/he is looking at or is "too careful." I heard a story of how the LFS had ordered a huge amount of Hygrophila difformis, and the inspector thought it was Ceratopteris thalictroides, which is banned in California. So they confiscated it all, which made up like *most* of the shipment :shock: :-X . By the time they realized their mistake several days later and approved the plants, it was too late (and H. difformis is not exactly a "delicate" plant, either). This sort of thing happens regularly, though, so money-wise, you have to be in a position where you're able to shrug it off and call it a [bad] day.

One more thing - again, if you can't be talked out of it, then it will at least make things much easier for you if you got LOCALS to get in on the deal with you. There will be stuff that arrives to YOU in bad condition - you don't want to send half-dead stuff to people all over the country, only to have it arrive to them all-dead, and have *them* be angry at *you* 8-[ . If you're dealing with just locals, then those poor plants don't have to suffer through an additional 3-5 days in dark boxes. You can arrange to have them pick it up right after it arrives.

You may not be making money on this deal, but I hope that the final outcome is not of 11 people ALL taking relatively big losses. Best of luck :)! Hope all goes well...

-Naomi
 

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It's cheaper to fly there yourself: to Taiwan or Singapore.
1. You will get to meet some nice people and see some excellent tanks
2. You will get to eat some great food
3. You can hand pick the plants and baby them all the way home in your suitcase....
4. Some of the associated aquatic products have excellent resale value here in the USA.

Inspiration rather than perspiration will help in this case.

Andrew Cribb
 

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You could combine a holiday to Thailand with a plant-buying spree too. Bangkok's famed Jatujak weekend market has lots of plant-focused shops (and nice tanks too), with a good range of stem plants, crypts, barclaya, ferns, mosses, oddballs etc.... the city has also just opened a nice new aquarium (featuring plenty of native fishes). And the prices make Singapore look like Neiman Marcus'! I grab a huge lot every time I am there.
 

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Budak, You almost persuaded me. My wife's best friend lives in Thailand so that is possibly on the cards. Are ADA products available in Thailand?

Andrew Cribb
 

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ADA isn't available in Thailand yet. But the Thais have their own brands of fert (base and liquid).... I tried one base fert brand called Ferka and found it good for crypts.
 

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Combine the beauty of Thailand, the lovely flora and fauna, the great food, I am persuaded. Now to get the other half persuaded.

Andrew Cribb
 

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It shouldn't be difficult to persuade your other half to go, Thailand is renowned for it's beauty of unspoiled beaches, exotic food, exotic plants, cheap clothes and jewelry (once you compare the exchange rates anyway).

If she loves seafood, that is the best place to go, no doubt about that.
 

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Oriental will ship via airline. You'll want it to come to an airport with a US Fish and Wildlife inspector on staff. Last I checked that was Miami, Washington Dulles, Newark, Chi, and LA. Inspectors work M-F 9-5, so you will need to time it to fit that. Paperwork, you need an import lic, takes a few weeks to get one and OA will supply the phytosanitary cert.
OA does not supply the the phytosanitary cert. for free. They charge for it. You need the import license, not free either, bill of lading, customs forms... The cost of freight is based on weight, and there is a minimum amount of freight that is either set by OA or the shipper. The prices are all in singapore dollars and is usually paid upfront... It is a very complicated process and expensive. It does not surprise me at all your friend backed out of it. Good luck. OA has minimum count of plants in packs, each pack must be 25 to 50 plants depending on the specie. One little pack of 50 plants is about 1/500th of whats needed to make their minimum weight requirement. You need to order LOTS of plants to make it worthwhile, more than you could ever get enough people together for.

I cant do it alone for my business. African exporters are pretty much the same. The minimum can be anywhere from 1000 to 5000 plants per specie. That is why you sometimes see some online guys selling Anubias incredibly cheap...they are desperate to get rid of them!

Here is an example. I get emails from exporters offering me stuff all the time. This one is from Central Africa.

He offers several Anubias species and Crinums for for 7 to 25 cents per plant. There are 500 to 800 plants per box per specie. Minimum order is 8 boxes. Each box weighs about 12kgs. phytosanitary certif. is $80. There is a box charge of $8.50 per box. Then comes the freight charges, customs charges, forwarder charges. When you are done, that 7 cent plant costs you about 60 to 70 cents or $300. Thats just for one plant. Multiply that by eight to reach the required minimum. If it is held up in customs for a week or two, you may lose a good portion of the plants. If customs find any irregularities and destroyes the plants, oh well tough luck. You are out the plants and the money.

It's cheaper to fly there yourself: to Taiwan or Singapore.
Not if you want to do it legally. It is called smuggling. These guys in Taiwan that are selling plants via Aquabid and mailing them to the USA are smuggling as well.
 
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