Container Shipping to the ABC Islands and Sint Maarten: 5 Questions to Ask


Keep these questions in mind when choosing an ocean freight service to save you money, time and headaches when doing  container shipping to the Caribbean.


There are as many reasons you would need to use container shipping to the Caribbean as there are grains of sand on the beautiful beaches of the ABC islands. You may need to use container shipping to the Dutch Caribbean to ship goods for business purposes or maybe to ship a vehicle. You could also be an individual shipping a package or sharing a shipping container (LCL services) with other customers to get consumable goods delivered.
Container shipping to the Caribbean
Why you need these services are just one of the important factors that you want to consider before choosing an ocean freight provider. Ask yourself and your container shipping company these 5 questions to make sure that you are making the best choice. Remember, you are hiring professionals to get the job done. They should be able to help guide you and answer your questions.



  1. What is the best option for shipping my goods to the ABC islands?


Before you choose how you are going to ship your goods, you should ask and see if ocean shipping is the right choice. For some goods, shipping by sea may be the best option. For others, using an air service may be the better option. The type of goods, the time frame and the budget you have to work with will determine whether using container shipping to the Caribbean is the right choice.

Container shipping to the Dutch Caribbean

  1. What route will my ocean freight be taking when using container shipping to the Caribbean?


The answer to this question will give you an idea of where your goods will travel before they get to you.
Say you are using a provider for container shipping to Sint Maarten but realize that your goods will be stopping in two different locations before it arrives. This may affect whether or not you would use that provider.
* Is price more important than transit time or is it necessary that your cargo arrive in the shortest possible time?
This can be a function of product shelf life, competitiveness of the market and many other variables that will help you decide which service is the better option.


  1. How much time will it take from departure to the time I get my shipment?


All cargo is precious and it is essential to know when your shipment is arriving. For example, if you have purchased a car in Florida and are looking to use container shipping to Aruba to deliver your vehicle, you must understand the time lines involved. By knowing when your shipment is expected to arrive, you can make any necessary arrangements to clear Aruba Customs and take delivery of your car as soon as possible.

container shipping to the ABC Islands

  1. What are the rates and are there hidden fees?


For almost all customers, this is one of, if not the most important question. There is a real need to understand the costs and potential hidden fees. These aren’t hidden fees, they are simply fees that can arise due to late pickups, extra duties, etc. Understanding all of the fees is crucial to staying on budget for your container shipping needs  to the Caribbean.



  1. How do I avoid all delays possible?


There are delays that are uncontrollable, such as weather delays. Other delays are avoidable and are often costly if they do occur. Ask your shipping container service provider what they need from you to ensure there are no avoidable delays. These can be the product of simple mistakes such as not being registered in the proper systems to be invoiced for goods or having out of date contact information. Making sure to speak with your ocean freight provider to understand what they need from you will create a smooth and enjoyable shipping experience. And having a Customs’ Broker engaged to avoid overseas delays that can get very costly


Asking these questions will give you the confidence to know that you are using the right service for your shipping needs and that you will be able to receive your goods without unnecessary delay or incurring extra fees.

Container shipping to the Caribbean

Bon Trade has been providing businesses and individuals the opportunity to leverage their container shipping to the Caribbean for all of their freight and cargo needs to the ABC Islands and Sint Maarten for almost 40 years. Contact Bon Trade to inquire about using ocean freight services today, and Register to be in their system for when you are ready to ship. You will not get better logistical advice and assistance for these markets from anyone else.





Small Package Shipping efficiency and Bon Trade Intl.

In the first blog post about small package shipping to the ABC Islands I talked about the bar codes.

In this post I want to explain how our system operates so you can understand what makes your goods ship fast.

How does the Bon Trade system work and how does it aid efficiency of Small Package Shipping?

Before we receive any packages or cargo, and enter them into our cargo system, it is necessary that our customers be part of our system.  So we need to create an account for each person or company that makes use of our cargo service. That is why we ask everyone to Register with us before using our service.  This accomplishes several things:

Registration Benefits:

  • It allows our receiving department to enter arriving cargo under the name of the correct owner of the cargo and avoid shipping mistakes.
    Note: Registering with our system is especially important because we ship to several Caribbean destinations. Shipping to the Wrong Destination causes major delays and is Very Costly.
  • To notify you when orders arrive register in our system with an email address. If you are not in the system we have to wait for you to claim the cargo and then register your information in our system.
    Note: This is the Biggest reason why cargo is delayed and why we ask everyone to Register with our service before sending cargo to our address.
  • Once registered in our system you get your own account and receive a login (username and password).  This gives you access to your cargo activity and all documents that arrive with the cargo.  With this login you can see if you have cargo without invoices even if you have not seen our emails.  This counts for all the cargo we handle!

So How do you register with us for service for Small Package Shipping?

To confirm: In order for the system to work correctly you need to register.  The easiest way to accomplish this is by going to our website ( and choosing the registration tab.  The screen will display a form with all the information we need to open your account.

Note: To register you can also click on this URL: to go directly to the form.

Small Package Shipping Registration Form
Complete this form on our website to register with our service to Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten…… Click on this image to go directly to the registration form on our website
Magaya Livetrack Screen and Small Package Shipping
Magaya Livetrack screen once you log into your account Note: Click on this image to log into your account. Request your tracking invitation!

You will receive your own login to see what you have in our warehouse and your historical data.  In your account there is much more information, but everyone really wants to know where their cargo is, which you can easily see in your account.
Note: It will tell you
1. If we received your order,
2. Whether the cargo is missing an invoice,
3. If it is on the way to you, or
4. Waiting at our agent’s warehouse for you to pickup.


When everything goes right the most you have to do is send us an invoice.

If your goods arrive with an invoice at our Doral warehouse you will find out from our agent that your order(s) are ready for pickup about a week to 10 days later.  But there are some things that can cause delays and I will explain the most common ones here, and they are easy to prevent.

Possible issues to bear in mind:

  1. It is very common for items you order to come from different warehouses.  This is normal in the U.S.  However, sometimes the items will arrive without your name on them.  In which case your order will be entered as unknown till you contact us to claim it.
  2. Sometimes the mistake is made of putting Bon Trade Intl. on the shipping label without mentioning the name of the buyer.  This way we cannot identify who the items belong to and we have the same problem.
    NOTE: See our FAQ’s for clarification and recommendations.
  3. When orders are received in multiple deliveries it often happens that an invoice is sent that covers many more items than are in the delivery. The customer, not realizing this, will have items sitting in our warehouse without an invoice and cannot ship.

    This also causes duties to be paid twice since these items will have to be declared again!

  4. Sometimes an account holder will change their email address without notifying us.  We send them arrival notifications, but they are no longer receiving them.  The result is that cargo does not ship because we do not have an invoice and this can cause long delays.

    Always notify us of email changes to make sure you continue receiving our notifications.

  5. If for any reason your order arrives with another name on it that is not in our system it will end up in the Unknown category.

    So we highly suggest using one name for all your orders.

When these issues occur how do we solve them?

The way to locate your orders and correct these issues is always the same: ‘THE TRACKING NUMBER.”  The tracking number, as mentioned in the previous blog post,  is the identification of your cargo when all else fails.

If you provide us with the transport company (UPS, etc.)and the tracking number we can find your order in our system and put your name on the cargo  We then request the invoice and manifest the order to be shipped.

Once you understand the importance of Registering with our service and of the Tracking Number the whole process will be easier to manage.

We do count on your cooperation and do our best to keep you informed of the status of your ordersThis will help keep our service Fast and Economical. So Please Register with us AND Maintain your account by sending email updates, address changes, etc.

In the next post I will look at Small Package Shipping coming from outside the country and what makes them more complex.

Thanks for reading the post and see you in the next one……


Package Handling Post # 1

Small Package handling introduction

I wrote these blog posts to clarify the basics of small package handling and shipping in the U.S.A.

Customers regularly ask questions about their packages that this information will help answer.  And this particular post will clarify parts that will make future posts easier to understand.
By the way, to register for service click here.

Present day small package handling technology.

Small package shipping
Small package      shipping

Small package services have evolved greatly due to the Internet and the computer systems that allow them to work efficiently.  The efficiency with which small package shipments are handled in the USA is impressive and very sophisticated.

Amazon and eBay are the first to come to mind when we think of small package shipping services.  But all online retailers, and most wholesalers, use the system. The difference with Amazon is that they even created their own service and continue to use the others to deliver orders.

Why is knowing this information important?

Understanding the way package shipments work in the U.S. is important for us to be able to provide the service our customers have come to expect. It is also important for our customers to understand so they can efficiently manage their orders.  The understanding of the system by everyone concerned is not only important for the efficient delivery of orders.  It is also extremely important to offer a well priced service that is reliable and predictable.

How does the system of small package handling work?

In this article I will explain how the basics of small package control and tracking is possible and how the Bon Trade system plugs into the the package services in the U.S.A.

What are barcodes and why are they so important.

The first thing I want you to understand about package services is that every package is assigned a number before entering the distribution system.  That number is applied to the package in the form of a label with a barcode.
Before UPS (United Parcel Service) can put a package into their system it has to be entered into the computer system with:
-Name of sender (shipper),
-Name of receiver (consignee),
-Package weight,
-Content of package.
Once that information is entered into their system  the UPS system creates a number for that package.  That number is represented by the barcode/label.
Note: A barcode is just a combination of letters and/or numbers that can be read by a computer by using a barcode scanner!

Once the label with the barcode is placed on the package and put into the UPS distribution system it will be moved to the right points of transshipment till it arrives at its destination.  The entire system is preprogrammed to handle packages as efficiently as possible to get them from point A to point B.

This process is repeated for every package handled.  And this is also the way all other package systems work.  Examples are Federal Express, DHL, the Post Office parcel service, Amazon package handling service, etc.

What does this system accomplish?

This process of labeling and identification may sound boring.  But if you consider that you can take that package and drop it into their system at any point, and still reach its destination, is very impressive.  You can give it to a driver, or drop it at one of their warehouses, and it will get routed to where it has to go.  You can drop it off to them in Orlando, Florida or Miami and it should still work.

Hopefully this explanation makes it clear how important the barcode or tracking number is to us as a receiver and handler of small packages.  It is the unique ‘name‘ or ‘handle‘ of that package, and only that package will have that number out of the millions of packages handled by the same service on a regular basis.

Why our first question to you is “What is the tracking number?”

Now that you understand how the system works you know why we always ask our customers for the tracking number.  The tracking number, or barcode, is how we keep track of the packages we receive.

How do we use the tracking number?

When packages arrive we enter them in our system and generate a warehouse receipt number.  This allows us to keep control of the hundreds of packages received on a daily basis.

Once at the destination our agent uses our labels to sort and deliver the cargo to the right customers.
Note: The carrier barcode, and our barcode, gives us the control we need to provide a predictable service.

The whole process, if done correctly, should be transparent to the owner of the cargo.  It also allows us to automate many parts that used to require additional input and handling.

In my next post I will go into more detail about our system.  Also about why we ask customers to register with us before using our shipping service.

See you in the next post.



The relationship between a customs broker and a shipping company such as Bontrade is a symbiotic one. Together, we make the import and export process run smoothly. The ultimate product of this relationship is money: better profits for us, and more money in the pocket for the client (who is likely to give us their business in the future.)

But how does this relationship work, and how can a shipping company help customs brokers save money?

What are Customs Brokers?

If a client wants their cargo to reach its destination without too much fuss, they hire someone who knows how to navigate the complicated landscape of imports and exports. They hire, in other words, a customs broker.

Customs brokers arrange for cargo clearance, meet with customs agents to make sure that the items are inspected without issue, pay duties, and pick up the item for delivery. They even arrange for transportation to get the item delivered. They keep up with the latest rules and regulations and monitor the cargo under their care as it traverses the process of customs.

There are, however, a lot of job-related expenses for a customs broker, both in time and money. So how can you save money as a customs broker, pass those savings on to clients, and make a profit?

Saving Money through Collaboration

The answer is that you tap into the services of other professionals. Just as a client is hiring a customs broker to manage their cargo, a customs broker can use warehouse, transportation, and delivery services that they trust. Building long-term relationships with capable and efficient service providers make a huge difference, saving both trouble and cost. This sort of arrangement benefits everyone: the service provider gets a steady stream of business from the customs broker, and the customs broker can negotiate a lower “wholesale” price for a set of services that they need. The client, of course, feels this lower price too. Everyone wins when professionals put their expertise together.

Though this meeting of the minds helps at all stages of the importing and exporting process, it is especially helpful during shipping. Getting the cargo to its destination can be very complicated; delays in transit, problems with customs due to packaging, and communication problems make up many of the money-eating troubles that a customs broker will face. You can avoid these troubles by building a relationship with experienced, trustworthy shippers who know how to manage these hurdles. And, when shipping arrangements are taken care of, a customs broker can focus their energies on what they do best – making sure that the cargo gets through customs. Again, everyone wins.

How Bontrade can Help

For customs brokers in the Caribbean and South America, partnering with Bontrade can save money, reduce delays, and improve their profit margins. Based in Miami, Bontrade is an experienced shipping company with a wide network of carriers. This network allows us to offer efficient transit and competitive bulk shipping rates for a variety of cargo, including vehicles. Bontrade also has negotiated rates with FedEx, reducing the price of deliveries and US transport.

Bontrade offers consistent transportation times, reduced transportation-related expenses, and lower risks of delays. As an experienced shipper, Bontrade also makes sure that the item is properly packaged and shipped, reducing delays at customs and potential damage to the cargo in transit.

All of this translates to happier clients and better profit margins for customs brokers. Contact Bontrade today and see how you can benefit from this partnership.

Submit the details about your shipment and receive a Free Quote.

Bon Trade Intl. Corp. was founded in 1984 to be a service company in support of the export trade to the Caribbean from South Florida, The Gateway to the Caribbean and South America.

Read more >>>


  • Bon Trade Intl.
     9643 NW 33rd St‎ Doral, FL 33192
  •  Call us today: 305-593-1177 Fax: 305-593-1299
  •  Monday to Friday 9:00 – 5:00 p.m warehouse 8:00 – 4:00 PM
Call Now Button305-593-1177