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[Discuss] Travelling abroad & taking technology

On Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 1:21 PM, Rich Braun <richb at> wrote:

> I learned something about international shipping this year. Know why we
> don't make much in the USA anymore? Because a couple of companies have
> built an oligopoly of shipping services: the costs are incredible, and the
> paperwork burden is horrendous.
> I moved into a house vacated by a Taiwanese friend. He asked me to ship a
> few things. My jaw dropped at the price quoted by UPS: anyone in China or
> Hong Kong or most places in Asia can send a package to the USA for a few
> dollars; we have to spend tens to hundreds going the other way.
> I tried sending a laptop battery at a downtown UPS store. After 20 minutes
> of writing up my order, the store manager cancelled it, apologizing that he
> didn't have the precisely correct hazmat label to get past the (American)
> bureaucrats to make it across our border.
> At work, it took about 5 weeks to transfer 2 boxes of embedded-systems
> equipment to the office of one of our contractors in India.
> So: you're better off hand-carrying equipment than mailing it. I look out
> at the harbor wistfully, looking at Chinese-flagged container ships filled
> with Chinese Christmas goodies as they arrived earlier this month, empty
> steel boxes going back the other way.
> -rich

My 2 load balancers that I shipped over a month ago have just been shipped
back to me.  We provided them the original invoice which showed we paid
$100k for them a couple years ago.  This would be what we'd pay for them if
they were lost to get the latest model with support/replacement.  UK
customs said our price was wrong, to send an eBay page with what they go
for used.  The current value (without support/replacement) is around $5k.
 So custom's told FedEx to ship them back.

Anyone have experience taking servers/network gear on the plane with them?
 What should I expect as far as taxes and penalties?  etc?


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