Thinking Inside the Box – What to take & what to buy locally

When relocating either permanently or just the essentials for a second home to Bequia here are a few tips and advice on the practicalities:

Shipping is easy. Any size box or package can be sent to Geest in Southampton in the UK. Geest load whatever you need into containers and ship directly to St Vincent.

If the quantity of items you want to take is large enough to fill a container, then Geest will deliver one to a UK address for you (10, 20 or 40 ft.). They will then wait up to 4 hours for the container to be filled and then drive it to Southampton for you.

Ships generally leave fortnightly and take 2 weeks to arrive.

Once at St. Vincent, a local shipping agent is needed to arrange customs clearance.

After payment, the goods are put onto a ferry and sent to Bequia for collection by the owner.

Import duty varies considerably depending on the goods. Goods are also subject to VAT and 5% customs handling fee. Generally, Shipping and duty is about the same as the cost of the goods. IE £1000 of goods would cost £1000 to ship here.

Vehicles are the exception.

Cars are hard to buy on Bequia and most English people tend to prefer to import a car that they have purchased in the UK.

One thing to consider before you ship your family car or treasured sport car is that Bequai is a very hilly island so the most popular and practical cars to invest in are 4-wheel drive.

There are extra duties applied to cars when buying direct on the island, this tends to make them very expensive.

A car costing £3,000 in the UK will cost around £6,000 in shipping and import duty fees, making the total cost approximately £9,000, still a better investment than buying on the Island.

Furniture on the other hand is not subjected to such duties when buying in Bequia or St. Vincent. Generally though, the furniture isn’t of good quality, style or price, so again shipping your own is well worth considering.