RGO can advise on freighting of equipment between the UK and La Palma. The Freight Officer at Cambridge (Ext 4835) and Manuel Acosta at the ING Sea Level Office will be pleased to provide any information required. The following notes are included for general guidance. Santa Cruz de La Palma has a port for sea freight, but no commercial air-freight facilities. It is possible, nevertheless, to fly equipment to La Palma (via Germany) in passenger aircraft provided the individual items are not too large or unacceptable for other reasons (e.g. hazardous materials).
Past experience has shown that cases smaller than one cubic metre in volume and weighing less than about 150 kg can be air-freighted to La Palma in this way. Larger items may be air-freighted to Tenerife, where commercial cargo services are available, but have to complete the journey to La Palma by ferry. This is an important point to keep in mind, as packing requirements may be different if sea travel is involved. The minimum transit time for air freight from the UK to La Palma is five days after leaving RGO, probably due in part to the formalities required to clear customs at La Palma airport.
N.B: do not send goods via Madrid or Gran Canaria.
Alternatively, it is possible to send equipment to La Palma by sea freight, again via Tenerife. The time between acceptance of a consignment at the UK port of departure and arrival in La Palma is two weeks approximately. Mark freight for customs clearance in La Palma, not Tenerife, else further delays are likely to result. It is sometimes possible to get a sailing direct to La Palma, though these are less frequent.
There are port dues payable at La Palma docks, which are currently 2 per cent of the value of the goods shipped. Handling fees are charged at the airport at a similar rate.
RGO normally uses a shipping agent in the UK to arrange both air and sea freight. A minimum of 24 hours notice is required for collection and delivery to the appropriate UK airport; goods must reach the airport at least 24 hours before flight departure. For sea-freight, the consignment must arrive at the port of embarkation at least three days in advance of the sailing date. All cases must be clearly marked with the full Observatorio address and name of recipient. Details of the documentation required to ship equipment between the UK and La Palma and of the regulations regarding air and sea transport of hazardous items (such as chemicals, aerosols, compressed gases etc.) may be obtained from the Freight Officer at RGO. It may be possible to include items with RGO freight (cost to be recharged): contact the Officer before arranging freight to see if this is possible.
Paperwork must include a description (in English and Spanish) and the value of each item, also dimensions, gross and net weights of each case. Dimensions and weights must be marked on the outside of each case. Descriptions need not be very detailed (e.g. ``Telescope spectrograph with associated equipment''). Dimensions are in centimetres (L W H) and weights in kilograms. Paperwork can therefore only be completed after packing, so sufficient time must be allowed for both before shipment. Small items can be packed in almost any available case but larger items may require specially made casing made by a packaging firm. Around one week is needed to arrange purchase and supply of this casing (2 weeks would be safer).
If export is only temporary then customs are far happier if they can be shown recognisable marks such as serial numbers etc. Temporary exports must be returned to the UK within 3 years and be packed in the same way as when they left the UK. UK customs are not interested in permanent exports; only Spanish customs are concerned.
Written instructions for shipments to La Palma are available from RGO. These instructions give examples of certificates of origin, forms and names of people who would require notification of any shipment and their addresses.
Some hi-tech equipment may need an export licence before it can be shipped abroad. Computers with over 128 kbyte of memory and CCDs are examples. Advice should be obtained from the Department of Trade (enquiries telephone number 0171-215-8032 or 0171-215-8033) well in advance. Two to three weeks should be allowed to get the licence once the need is determined and the appropriate form obtained (from the Department of Trade, using telephone number 0171-211-6611).
Where an instrument is described under one heading (e.g. ``CCD Based Photon Counting System'') and one or more of the components of the instrument requires an export licence then it is advisable to list all of the components on the export licence application form, even though some of the individual items do not require a licence. If there is any doubt at all that a licence may be needed then an application for a licence should be made.
For shipping purposes, note that the Canary Islands, although part of Spain, are not in fact part of the EC Customs Union.