The Battle of International Forwarding Services: My Shopping Box vs. Johnny Air Cargo
To date, I know of two forwarding services for items purchased from United States stores to be shipped to the Philippines, these are: My Shopping Box and Johnny Air Cargo. Both companies offer an address in the US where purchases can be sent and then these will be forwarded to the Philippines (for an additional cost). Which forwarding service is better? Read on for a side by side comparison.
Round One: Rates
Both My Shopping Box (MSB) and Johnny Air Cargo (JAC) compute shipping rates based on this formula: (L x W x H) / 166 = shipping weight. For electronics and taxable items, JAC charges $7.50/lb + $5 handling fee. For all other items (excluding prohibited items of course) JAC charges $6/lb + $5 handling fee, for a minimum of two pounds. By air freight, MSB charges $8.50 per pound for items which fall into MSB's Air Cargo Class 2 category (i.e. merchandise that requires special handling such as electronics, notebook computers, signature items and the like) and then $5.50 per pound for all other items (again, excluding prohibited items). By sea freight, MSB charges $2.50 per pound regardless of item shipped.
Round Two: Reliability
Both MSB and JAC are known for getting your goodies to you in tiptop shape, although JAC has been in existence longer than MSB and so is understandably more popular.
Round Three: Shipping Options
MSB and JAC offer both air freight and sea freight, however, only MSB offers sea freight for small packages, JAC only allows sea freight for balikbayan boxes.
Round Four: Delivery
MSB delivers door to door, while JAC, for some bizarre reason, only allows pick-ups of packages at the JAC branches in SM Megamall or in Makati. I wonder if this also holds true with balikbayan boxes?
Round Five: Payment Options
For retail accounts from the USA to the Philippines, JAC accepts cash or credit card payments. And then for retail accounts from the Philippines to the USA, JAC accepts prepaid or collect (Note: I'm sorry but I do not know what prepaid or collect means when it comes to payments, so please don't ask me:p). Please click here for the full rates matrix. MSB requires that payments be made through credit cards.
Round Six: Taxes
Both JAC and MSB will pass on the customs dues to the customer (but of course!)
The runaway winner in this battle is obviously MSB when it comes to rates, shipping options, delivery and payment. For air freight, MSB and JAC practically have the same prices per pound but MSB does not have a handling fee and MSB offers sea freight for packages (not just balikbayan boxes) at a significantly lower cost. So if you're in no hurry to get your items, you're better off having it shipped by sea and saving a bundle in the process. The fact that MSB offers door to door service is also a big plus in my opinion, because coming from the dirty south, it will be such a hassle to trek all the way to Makati or Megamall just to claim a package (as is the case with JAC). However, MSB charges an annual fee of $25 for their services while JAC does not have such a membership fee. To fully maximize MSB's annual fee, you must regularly have packages sent from the US (oh the horror!), otherwise, if it's just a one time big time transaction, you're better off with JAC.
Chuvaness reports that JAC bundles up multiple packages sent and charges only one bill for them. I'm not sure if MSB does the same thing with multiple packages. If I regularly shopped online in the US and had no network of friends and relatives to handcarry my goodies, I would definitely plunk down the $25 annual fee and go for MSB's sea freight for only $2.50 per pound, since I'm a patient (and extremely stingy!) person.
But really, why must there be an annual fee? :(