Best freight-shipping service from Netherlands to USA?
November 13, 2018 6:35 AM   Subscribe

I’m considering ordering a cargo bike from a vendor in Amsterdam and having it shipped to the US, but I’m at a loss for which company to contract for the shipping. Anyone have any experience with a shipping service they like?

Btw, I’ve been in touch with the folks at Dr. Beyk, the vendor, and they do provide weights and dimensions for the packed bike, but they don’t have any recommendations as far as shippers are concerned.
posted by jacob to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can buy Urban Arrows in the US (check the map of dealers). Is there a reason you want to ship one from the Netherlands?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:42 AM on November 13, 2018

Response by poster: Yep, EndsOfInvention: Purchasing the bike directly from the Netherlands is about $2,000 USD cheaper than buying it from a US vendor. I’m hoping to keep some of those savings, even with international shipping.
posted by jacob at 6:46 AM on November 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's a pretty friendly/helpful Facebook group of Urban Arrow owners (including Americans) that might have some advice.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:57 AM on November 13, 2018

Note that there are import duties to consider as well -- here's a tariff database which could easily add hundreds if not thousands to the cost.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:24 AM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have good experiences with DHL. You might want to hit them up.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:34 AM on November 13, 2018

what are the dimensions of the box? That will determine if you can use FedEx/DHL/UPS or if you'll need to use a freight forwarder to handle the operation for you.

If it fits the parcel guys will probably cost you 600-700 USD. Freight forwarders will be more. This assumes the folks you buy it from are comfortable packing to ship, etc, etc.
posted by JPD at 7:51 AM on November 13, 2018

If you're planning on having a local bike shop assemble it, you might ask them what they recommend - people ship bikes to/from bike shops pretty frequently (e.g. if you're traveling for a race or tour and want to bring your own bike).
posted by mskyle at 7:56 AM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: JPD, here’s what Dr. Beyk says about the shipping size:

> The total weight of the 2 boxes is 50kg. measurements of the boxes are:
> Box 1 (front frame): 120 x 70 x 90cm
> Box 2 (rear frame): 130 x 30 x90cm
posted by jacob at 7:59 AM on November 13, 2018

You are right on the edge. You might need to palletize it. Regardless call all three global players and price it out. I think you'll find that it's closer than you think to the 2k price differential. Maybe a few hundred bucks which might just be down to the VAT arb and or fx moves.
posted by JPD at 8:11 AM on November 13, 2018

You might check with ParcelMonkey. When I was shipping a smaller box from the US to Europe, they had the best rate by far - the box went USPS to their facility in New York and then DHL to Europe. It took a while (as advertised) and tracking information was late/missing but it was much less expensive than using a conventional carrier.
posted by exogenous at 8:15 AM on November 13, 2018

Lol. I just punched it into the DHL website and got quoted 5500.
posted by JPD at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Add too the cost of insurance, and then the opportunity cost of your time in the event that the unit is badly damaged in transit and either needs to be repaired or even disposed of entirely. At this price point, I would more likely let the pros be responsible for it door-to-door and buy it stateside. Sorry, I know that's not the answer you're looking for.

(Source: was a freight-forwarding Ops Mgr for many years and have indeed worked on insurance claims for one-off freight damaged in transit.)
posted by vignettist at 8:57 AM on November 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Recommending strongly against UPS. A few years ago my partner purchased a bike that was shipped by them and they damaged it to the point it needed to be returned to the vendor. When my partner contacted the vendor, the vendor noted that that had happened to just about every bike they had tried to ship and that UPS was known for this.
posted by urbanlenny at 9:52 AM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hey everybody, thanks for all the helpful feedback and advice.

Looks like shipping costs a whooooole lot — I had no idea!

I’ll be buying the bike Stateside!
posted by jacob at 5:18 PM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you want any advice on the various accessories (rain covers and the like), hit me up. I bought a UA about 6 weeks ago and love it.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:04 AM on November 14, 2018

I was curious if it makes sense to fly to Amsterdam, buy the bike, have it crated, and fly back with it? I know that flying with a bike is a thing, and custom bike crates are a thing. Maybe you can spend the $2000 savings on a "free" junket to Amsterdam?

It looks like you either pay 3% or nothing in tariffs, but maybe I don't understand how to read the tariff thing that Homeboy Trouble pointed to.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 5:02 PM on November 16, 2018

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