Stolen in Transit
July 29, 2011 7:55 AM   Subscribe

How to ship items to Kenya from Canada?

A family member recently shipped a large amount of sporting equipment (as a charitable donation) via CanadaPost to a poor/low income school in Kenya that they had visited. Unfortunately the items never arrived. Any suggestions on how to make sure the items arrive next time?
posted by blue_beetle to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
"Recently" is your key word here. By regular mail, I expect CanadaPost would take between 1-3 months for a regular-sized package to Kenya, and that's assuming you mean Nairobi. And that's also assuming that you can bring it in duty-free (did your family member check customs requirements?) For a large package, or to a rural area, probably longer.

DHL is your answer - it will cost quite a bit, but your likelihood of getting it there in a more timely fashion is much, much higher.
posted by quadrilaterals at 10:20 AM on July 29, 2011

Canada Post will be responsible for your package in Canada. But once in Kenya, you're subject to the vagaries of their postal service and there are no assurances at that point. Go with a courier. Costs more, but you will have the peace of mind of knowing that they'll be handling it from point A to point B.
posted by fso at 10:36 AM on July 29, 2011

How recently? Domestic mail in Canada has just got back on schedule in the last few days after spending all of July catching up on the backlog from the strikes and lockout that started toward the beginning of June.
posted by mendel at 7:45 PM on July 29, 2011

Did you check with the school before you mailed it? Were they expecting to be levied for customs fees on the arriving mail? I know of a few African countries where you have to pay exorbitant customs fees for shipments.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:35 PM on July 29, 2011

As an alternative: airlines sometimes allow charitable donations to be shipped with them on transatlantic flights. I spoke to someone who talked delta into carrying a whole bunch of computers for a school for the blind. I think it took some persistence and relationship building for them to make that happen however, it was certainly philanthropy on the airlines part.
posted by stratastar at 10:50 PM on July 29, 2011

Hi. I live in Kenya.

May I humbly suggest you don't mail anything here that you wouldn't first leave out on the street overnight with a big sign that says "Free - Please Take" on it? That's about the level of trust I have in the Postal Service here - I've never once received an item via international mail that was not ripped open and often plundered. Its very unlikely that the issue was with CanadaPost and very likely that it was with the postal service here.

That said, posters above have pointed out that your goods may still be in transit, or delayed in customs. I work for one of the largest NGOs in the world and *we* - along with our diplomatic status that alleviates us from paying taxes on the charitable items we import for our programs, still have a huge time getting around such hurdles. So, there's a strong chance its just sitting somewhere (most likely Jomo Kenyatta Airport).

To answer your question more directly, your best options are A) DHL, B) cargo freight with an airline - try Brussels Airlines for example - and you'll need someone on this end waiting to receive them when they arrive, or C) mailing them to someone in-country that has access to a diplomatic mail box.

I can probably help you a lot more on me-mail if you're interested - I would be happy to help out in any ways I might be able with this or future shipments.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:12 AM on August 1, 2011

« Older Don't want to eat all of the things anymore.   |   Help me keep my commute educational... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.