In 2018 we completed our seventh ocean cargo shipment to Malawi, the largest yet, which was comprised of four crates totaling almost 16 cubic meters, and weighing 7000 pounds. Included in the shipment are
- 120 boxes (5000 pounds) of books
- 10 library tables
- 200 pounds of LEGOs
- 60 foam floormat sections
- 9 boxes of Day's for Girls kits
- 8 solar panels and aluminum frames
- solar controls and hardware
- 200 pounds of heavy low voltage wire
- irrigation fittings
- 10 battery boxes
- 4 welded steel supports for crosses
- much more
Our major international shipments have become an annual operation, and are a huge project in themselves. We would not be able to carry out operations on the scale we do in Malawi without the ocean container shipping expertise we have developed. Cost of shipping by container is volume based, and not weight - shipping heavy cargo such as books and steel shelving would otherwise be cost prohibitive.
We greatly appreciate the expertise and support of these partner businesses.
Our crate base must first be heat treated to meet IPPC ISPM-15 international shipping regulations before the crate itself (plywood is exempt) can be constructed upon it.
We construct a large primary crate custom designed to accommodate the largest items. Our primary crates are constructed according to international regulations, which require all wood (non-manufactured, e.g. plywood) be heat treated and appropriately stamped. For several years General Pallet Llc. of Flemington, N.J. , active supporters of our Malawi efforts, graciously performed this operation for us without charge.
As in 2017, again the size of this year's shipment required additional crates were needed . General Pallet donated 3 surplus crates to us. Some modification to those donated crates was required, which our team completed at our Randolph workshop.
Our 2018 shipment is on the MSC Gina, which departed Port Newark, N.J. on June 6 and has a E.T.A. in Durban, S.A. of July 10.
Our 2018 Shipment
Even the smaller crates, once loaded, exceed 1500 pounds, for which we do not have the capability to move. Therefore we must place each empty crate in a trailer, or truck bed, before final cargo loading.
Then loading begins . . .
While our shipments, to us are large, they do not fill a full 20 foot container, and thus are considered LCLs (less than container) loads. We deliver our cargo crates to a "freight consolidator" in Linden, N.J. where they are consolidated with other shipments following the same route.
A series of events, we believe divinely orchestrated, led us to association with Farren International, a worldwide rigging and transport company for loads of massive scale, located within 5 miles of our Randolph operations. Farren graciously has allowed us to deliver our crates to them, offloading and warehouse our shipment overnight until a LTL (less-than-truckload) carrier we hire arrives truck them to the Linden consolidator.
Because our early shipments were considerably smaller and only required one crate, we used to truck them ourselves from our Randolph workshop 45 miles to the consolidator warehouse in Linden. This became a dilemma when our 2017 book collection resulted in 3 crates and would have required multiple trips with heavier than usual loads.
We have worked with UTC Overseas Ltd as our freight forwarder on all of our shipments, who organize both ocean and land transport in Africa. We have found the most efficient shipping route, pirates not withstanding, to be from Newark, NJ around the Cape of Good Hope into Durban, S.A. Offloaded there, our cargo is transported by lorry 1200 miles to Lilongwe, Malawi.
The ocean trip to Durban requires approximately 6 weeks and is the most predictable leg of the cargo’s journey. The land trip from Durban, S.A. crosses through Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and we while predicted at 2 weeks we experienced delays due to longshoreman strikes, truck breakdowns, non routine border crossing inspections, and the like.
The most unpredictable last leg is when the shipment reaches a Clearing Agent in Lilongwe, and is subject to official inspection and duty payment by the Malawian government. We plan for an overall transport time of 2.5 months to be conservative. Planning our trip for September 1 means our shipment must depart Port Newark by early June.
The transport from Durban delivers our cargo not to MOH but to their Clearing Agent in Lilongwe. Here it is subject to MRA (Malawi Revenue Administration) inspection, payment of import duty, VAT taxes, inspection, clearing agent, shipping agent, forklift, and fuel fees. This can be a time intensive process.
Duties and fees paid, finally a local lorry is hired and our cargo loaded for transport to the MOH offices.
Another forklift and operator is hired who drives to the MOH offices and unloads our crates. Finally, they are home!
Here at home we enjoy following the progress of our container ship via satellite tracking.