Crunch time for Caribbean Christmas cargo

From left, Marcia Conyers, administrative supervisor, Vance Miller, warehouse supervisor and Gavin Kahn, associate vice president of Laparkan Trading and Logistics.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Shipping companies in the Caribbean community are inundated with procrastinators who are busy stuffing gifts and staple food items into containers and flat-rate boxes to meet the deadline so that relatives can have a ‘Happy Christmas’ back home.

Gavin Khan, Northeastern manager of Laparkan Trading and Logistics, is urging nationals to adhere to the cut-off times to ensure their cargo arrive in the various islands, and South American countries for the festive season.

Khan said the company is seeing a huge resurgence of barrel shipment – a 30 percent percent growth from last year. This, he added, is because nationals are going back to the basics of food and clothing, that relatives in the Caribbean request.

Customers that are shipping to Guyana and Barbados are urged to get their barrels collected by Nov. 22, and 25 respectively. Cargo to Trinidad has until Dec. 18.

With a three-week transit time to Antigua estimated, expats have until Nov. 29, to send off their shipment, while nationals who are sending items to Kingston, and Montego Bay Jamaica, have until Dec. 1, and Dec. 14, respectively with a transit time of 10 to 14 days.

With its motto “Connecting the Caribbean Globally,” Khan said all would not be lost if these cutoff dates are not met, because Laparkan has an airlift service for both flat-rate boxes and barrels that guarantees a Christmas delivery. The barrel has a 200-pound limit, and cost $250.00, depending on its destination.

With locations in Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, and Bronx, Khan reaffirms Laparkan’s committed to excellent service, but warns that delay at ports, and inclement weather could sometimes hinder on-time arrival. Money transfer is also an option.

Brooklyn resident, Viola Harris who has been shipping barrels via Laparkan with much needed staple food items to relatives in Guyana since she came to the America 20 years ago, caught an early shipment. However, this was not the case for Maud Moffat, who is now rushing to get her cargo to relatives in Trinidad.

Wasting no time, president of Friends of Victoria Diaspora, Claire Goring, already shipped two barrels of donated books for the establishment of a library in the village where she grew up. However, she is in the process of collecting more reading material to catch the last shipment for the Christmas holiday.

Andre Lyle of Dennis Shipping, with locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx, said the company started its busy season in September and estimates that they will ship more than 300 containers to Jamaica, Barbados, St. Vincent, and St. Kitts – their most lucrative markets.

Tooting the horn of Dennis Shipping’s as being “Committed to Excellence,” Lyle recalled a customer who recently screamed out with delight, when relatives told her that the container had arrived in Montego Bay, ahead of schedule.

He said throughout the company’s 25-year history, they have made it convenient for customers to pack their containers in the warehouse. Shippers, he added, also trust Dennis Shipping to pick up items from their homes to be sent to relatives.

He noted that the logistics team has been working late into the night at a fever pitch to ensure that the transit time of two to three weeks are met so that relatives back home can enjoy their gifts and food items at Christmas.

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