Around 1990, the going rate for sea freight to Curaçao from Miami was ANG30/cu.ft (US$16.67), which works out to just under ANG945.75 per m3. The Curaçao handling agent makes a profit of 400% at least on this outrageous price, which very often is higher than the price of the transported merchandise. It may be, most probably is, even more now. Import duties and Omzetbelasting [sales tax] taxes are charged on freight (and insurance) costs added to invoiced price.
The standard rule-of-thumb rate, officially, for air freight is 1% of the price of a one-way first class ticket to the same destination, per kilogram. You may well call this airway robbery. It's figured that a passenger equals 100 kilos, and take it from there, and still higher: It equals what you're charged for overweight luggage when checking in.
Passengers who, with the bankruptcy of DCA, had luggage left stuck in Miami, were forced to pay $340 to get a suitcase to Curaçao, while an AA round trip (including luggage, of course) was only $235. This situation is by no means unique for Curaçao. The same goes for:-
Federal Express and U.P.S.
While there is a substantial difference in rates between these two within the USA, this drops to virtually no difference at all as soon as you get South of Miami. Much worse, Fed Ex tariffs go up to over double the rate you'd pay within the USA.
NA Post These guys have signed an agreement with the Canadian postal service. Just mentioning in passing that a lot of money has been siphoned off in that deal. Apart from that, in 2003 alone, ANG5M just disappeared—almost $20 per Curaçao resident. But let's restrict ourselves to the postal rates. A couple of years ago, they offered Surface Mail, Surface Air Lifted (SAL) and (fastest) Air Mail. Then, they just stopped sending Surface Mail.
As it's hard to keep anything a secret here, it didn't take very long before most people were aware that, in reality, they shipped everything by Air Mail, no matter if you had only paid for SAL. So, naturally, that service was phased out too, instead of really using it which would have meant extra work! Now, we can only ship by Air Mail. And it comes expensive: To reply to a letter from Europe or the USA, we routinely pay about twice as much in postage. Strange enough, their Express Mail Service which offered a better and faster deal than Fed Ex (easy, but still amazing) is still around - at least, I saw one of their cars on the road recently. The good news for tourists is, it will cost you less to send a picture post card by Air Mail to Taiwanaland than for us to send a letter to our neighbor here.
The agreement with Canada Post ended in October, 2007. We're still stuck with some of the results. As it turns out, in Canada registered letters are handled by 7/11.
For our CDs, like the Werbata Maps and the Papalagi, this results in international customers having to pay more for postage than we ask for the product.
As importers here are well aware of all this, they feel quite justified in applying the same profit margins. And can you really blame them?
Flying Prices/ANG international
Flights from/to Curaçao are at least ~1.5 times more expensive than others AA American Airlines - MA MartinAir - KL KLM AMS AmsterdamCUR Curaçao - LAX Los Angeles - LGA/La Guaira NY - MIA Miami - ORD O'Hare/Chicago
DAE Dutch Antilles Express - IA InselAir CUR Curaçao - PAP Port au Prince/Haïti - POS Port of Spain/Trinidad - SXM Sint Maarten
DAE Dutch Antilles Express - IA InselAir AUA Aruba - BON Bonaire - CUR Curaçao