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ShipMe: hassle-free online shopping

Published:Friday | May 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Cargo being loaded on to the Exec Direct Aviation aircraft. - photos Contributed
Inside the cargo area of Exec Direct Aviation's aircraft. This aircraft is used to ship cargo between Miami and Jamaica.

Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer

Jamaican residents who wish to shop online but face difficulties in getting their packages delivered to Jamaica will have another service to choose from, as Exec Direct Aviation (EDA) which started its operations last July, now offers an alternative shipping service.

EDA obtained an Air Operator Certificate from Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority last April, permitting it to engage in international cargo service, and later obtained a permit from the United States Department of Transport for service to the United States. This service began in mid November last year, with flights to Fort Lauderdale.

With these authorisations, EDA opened its cargo service to the world. In February, EDA began shipping through Miami which is the world's largest gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, and controls the north-south cargo flows in the Western Hemisphere, handling 83 per cent of all air imports and 81 per cent of all exports from the Latin American and the Caribbean region. Miami also serves as the hub for distribution of perishable products, hi-tech commodities, telecommunications equipment, textiles, pharmaceuticals and industrial machinery.

Flagship product

In servicing the airfreight demands for these areas, EDA has added ShipMe, which is its flagship product. ShipMe provides for online shopping, package and mail-forwarding services for Jamaican residents and businesses. Membership is free and, on registration, members are given a US mailing and shipping address, which must be used in combination with the member's assigned mailbox as the shipping address when making online purchases.

Kamal Clarke, chief operating officer for EDA, said, "ShipMe provides a superior product to other package forwarders in the market, because we are able to integrate our own aircraft for transportation of our members' purchases from Miami to Jamaica. This allows for faster and more efficient delivery of purchases, since EDA has more frequent flights to the US and can adjust flight schedules to easily handle increases in demand," Clarke said. EDA operates a Saab A340 aircraft with a four-ton (8,000lb) cargo capacity.

Members have access to the usual services such as clearing of their packages from the Department of Customs, making online purchases for members who do not have US credit cards and, with the ShipMe dedicated website, are able to manage their accounts to pre-alert shipments, track shipments, determine estimated shipping costs and review their shipment history. In addition, ShipMe offers a Return Service Protection Coverage, which allows members to return electronic items that are forwarded via ShipMe.

Shermaine Robotham, EDA's marketing representative, told The Gleaner that purchases to Jamaica are delivered through third parties, which take long periods of time. "EDA will provide a US address for packages which they pick up and ship on their plane, cutting out unnecessary delays," Robotham said.

Robotham also stated that rave reviews have come from ShipMe members. "They find our service faster and more competitively priced. ShipMe is very transparent in relation to customs charges and provides to members the Customs Import entry document (C78X form) which details the customs charges for each customer," Robotham said.

Shipping charge

ShipMe uses modern computerised systems for its operations, which ensures faster processing of packages and allows members to manage their online, pre-alert shipments, track packages, provide up-to-date notifications sent via email or SMS messages, and determine estimated shipping costs.

A US$3 (J$25.80) per pound flat rate for shipping is charged and there is no charge volumetric or dimensional weight for its packages. "This can be an additional cost for the client. If you buy a package and it is sent in a large box, there is a charge for the dimensional weight, which is more than the actual weight. We charge for the actual weight and it turns out that our members save more," Robotham said.

The company also offers charters to several Caribbean islands including The Bahamas, Cuba and parts of Central America. EDA's corporate office is located along Ripon Road, Cross Roads, Kingston. Telephone 618-5884.