Shipping a Piano Internationally

Posted by: fj_s

Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/26/13 07:17 PM

Hi everyone!

I'm moving back from Boston to Singapore in June, and need to ship my 1917 Steinway A back home. The complication is that it has ivory keys.

Does anyone have recommendations for movers/shippers that would ship pianos overseas, and has experience with documentation required for such a move?
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/26/13 09:06 PM

Unfortunately, shipping an item through customs like a piano with ivory keytops is somewhere between quite difficult to impossible.

There is a ban on shipping ivory. I ship pianos internationally regularly and I do not attempt shipping ivory keytops. If there is a way it is not cheap or easy.
Posted by: Scott Hamlin

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/26/13 09:19 PM

Wow - great topic!

This page has some info you may find useful...
good luck!
Importing Pianos - Ivory
Posted by: Supply

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/26/13 10:47 PM

I just recently learned that clients of mine have received the CITES permission to bring in a 1970s piano with ivory keys from Europe. I didn't think that was possible. Go figure...
Posted by: Nash. Piano Rescue

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/27/13 11:46 AM

Getting permission is the easy part. The hard part lies in the one hot shot custom inspector that could be out there. The one who secretly goes to PETA meetings. I've got paperwork in my office of a piano being shipped ( not by us) from California to Oklahoma City OK and being confiscated at Arizona Agricultural Inspection Station and held there. The carrier had all the paperwork but the inspector simply said... " I don't care" take it off the truck or you can stay here too" So like I said getting documents is one thing and the actual inspection is another thing
Posted by: Supply

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/27/13 01:59 PM

You are probably correct, a lot can depend on the official's position on the individual case. But one would think that the proper documentation should over-rule a lower-down's arbitrary (ab)use of power.
Posted by: fj_s

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/28/13 02:48 PM

Thanks all!

I'm going to call a local company that has contacted me on this thread; however if there are other recommendations in the Boston area please PM me as well.

It's a very personal piano with a story, which is why I would really like to bring it back with me to Singapore.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/28/13 06:07 PM

Wait four years. Under most country codes the piano becomes an antique if it is older than a century, and can be shipped internationally with ivory keys.
Posted by: fj_s

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 02/28/13 09:42 PM

Thanks! That may be a last resort. I'm hoping my move qualifies as a personal effects move exemption under CITES, since I am moving home. smile Thanks all, and I'll share my experience in 4 months after my move is completed!
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Shipping a Piano Internationally - 03/03/13 08:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Nash. Piano Rescue
Getting permission is the easy part. The hard part lies in the one hot shot custom inspector that could be out there. The one who secretly goes to PETA meetings. I've got paperwork in my office of a piano being shipped ( not by us) from California to Oklahoma City OK and being confiscated at Arizona Agricultural Inspection Station and held there. The carrier had all the paperwork but the inspector simply said... " I don't care" take it off the truck or you can stay here too" So like I said getting documents is one thing and the actual inspection is another thing

Arizona is probably the single worst state in the union with regards to personal rights violations (though most are usually due to police--we have "Miranda Rights" because of Arizona State Troopers). That being said, if you had all the paperwork, I would have that guy's job and nothing short. Find a reason for an expensive lawsuit. You'll get your piano back, and that guy will be gone.