Sometimes as an expat you want/need to buy something which is unavailable locally – this is less of a problem in the UAE than many other places, but there are still times you can’t get hold of a must-have item! A possible solution to the problem, particularly if it is a low weight item, is a service called Shop and Ship which is part of the Aramex group.
How it works
You sign up for an account which incurs a one-off fee of $45, but currently (Feb 15) there is a special offer for only $10!
You receive forwarding location addresses (almost like a PO Box) in 14 different countries – Canada, USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, UAE, India, South Africa, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
When you buy goods online from a country which has a SNS depot, make your delivery address your forwarding address in that country. Please note that there is a list of prohibited goods – all parcels are inspected by customs so do not be tempted to import something illegal. Some sellers on ebay will not ship to SNS so check before you buy!
Shop and Ship will transport your parcel to the country you reside in, in my case the UAE.
It will then be delivered to your home but if you prefer – and I normally do – you can collect it at their local office. You pay the onward charges from the country of origination to your current location. Simple as that!
Prices are very reasonable and the service from the USA is very fast – less than a week in many cases!
GPS location of Aramex office in Al Ain – N24 13.372 E55 46.477.