Understandably, many people believe that sending a container to Haiti will not be as safe as sending a container to, say, Shanghai. With its unstable government and economy, it stands to reason that a container to Haiti may not be handled with the same care that it would receive in a more developed port. However, the international container shipping industry operates in exactly the same way in every port around the globe.
A container to Haiti goes through exactly the same procedures as a container to Hawaii goes through. It takes a different route and may call in at different ports enroute to Haiti, but the procedures are identical and they are all designed with safety and efficiency in mind.
Let's start with the container and imagine that you are shipping household goods in a container to Haiti. All containers are made to the same exacting standards. Containers are measured in "TEUs" or "Twenty-foot Equivalent Units." Household goods will generally be sent in either a 1 or 2 TEU container or a 20 or 40 foot long unit, depending on whether you are sending a small or a large house full of furniture.
As a one-time user of the container, the cost of renting the container will be included in your container shipping price. Many businesses that frequently ship a container to Haiti or elsewhere either buy or lease containers. Your container shipping cost will also include insurance and other incidental costs. Be sure that you have adequate insurance, no matter where your container is being sent.
Once the basic cost of shipping your container to Haiti is determined, you will have many other options to consider. Many people use the "Live Load" option. This expression is confusing to outsiders, but well-known in the industry. The reason why it is called "Live Load" is because the driver delivers your container to your door "live" and waits while you pack the container. In contrast, a "Drop Off" is when the driver drops the container off outside your home or business and returns at a designated time to pick it up. In either case, you "stuff" (pack) the container yourself and save on labor costs.
Your container will be bolted shut before it is taken to the terminal. Then it will either be loaded directly onto the container vessel or left in a nearby warehouse until it is time to ship your container to Haiti. It will still be bolted shut when it arrives in Haiti and will remain so until you arrive.
At the port in Haiti, dock workers and customs will handle your container in exactly the same way international container shipping workers and officials all around the world handle containers. It can only be opened and inspected by designated officials. Once the contents have been inspected, they will be released to you after you have paid any outstanding port fees. Throughout its journey, our container to Haiti has been in as safe and competent hands as your container to Hawaii or any other destination would be.