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Re: shipping containers & shipping plants

Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2001 13:18:13 -0500
From: "Cameron Case" <cameroncase at hotmail_com>
Subject: shipping containers

>Looking around on the internet, and judging from what others have used to
send plants and livestock to me, one of the nicer looking contairs is
Thermalok.  The web page (http://www.thermalok.com) lists the various sizes,
but from them you apparently have to buy by the case (with a $400
minimum...WAY more than I would ever need).  Does anyone know of some place
to buy these in smaller quantities (i.e. four or five
I've been a bit busy lately so I haven't been able to properly respond to
Robert H's response on how plants <can> be packed.  So here's a partial
response now so perhaps you can go out and find some containers.

I decided to go to one of the companies that supplies a lot of the foam
containers, Polyfoam Containers.  Yes, a box will cost you money.  I checked
with Polyfoarm Containers who make all the boxes I scavenge from the trash
at work.  A good small box for shipping (8" x 6 x 9) cost $9.20 each,
shipped to your location (Robert H's zipcode, in Oregon) (model #319 @
12/case price).  The 8 x 6 x 11.5 cost $11.50 each (per pkg of 8).  It's not
cheap BUT it's nowhere near the $30 he quoted for this added expense.  Also
there are a lot of fish stores that can't find ways to get rid of their std
boxes.  It would be worthwhile checking with one to see if they have
a supply they would be happy to part with for $1-2 each.  US postal rates
are on a weight basis until you get about 2x the size of a std fish box, so
except for the extra weight a fish box isn't going to cost you that much
more, they are quite lightweight.  US Priority shipping  to 2 lb is $3.95
then $1.25 for each lb after that, at least up to 5 lb, which covers most
plant shipments.  People that buy a lot of plants from the cardboard box
shippers are usually smart enough to stop buying plants from them in the
heat of the summer and the dead of winter.  I took a look at Robert H's site
and realized that many of his plants cost as much as many of the fish that I
ship in fairly regularly.  $2-$4. Buy 15 nice crypts and you soon will have
a bill adding up to over $50. Why does someone who sells fish at the same
price use a styro yet someone who sells plants thinks he doesn't need a
styro?  I guess if he guaranteed his plant shipments then I would be more
confident in his shipping methods that don't include a styro.  I think those
of you that have been buying from Arizona Aquatics that have been getting a
package of mush in this heat wish they had used a real styro.  If you use a
real styro more times that not you can send the fish/plants via Priority
instead of overpaying for express mail.  Just because a Florida Plant Farmer
ships that way doesn't mean you have to risk your plants by shipping in the
same risky manner.  People who do order from the farmers have come to
realize that they just have to make their orders in the spring or the fall
to avoid the heat and the cold of the seasons.  I've done very well shipping
plants in the manner I've described, and yes I guaranteed my shipments as I
was confident in my shipping methods and the US Priority mail.
Unfortunately Aquabid crashed awhile back which took out all of the comments
from satisfied customers.  I'm sure you can sometimes get away with shipping
in cardboard boxes, especially with non-stem plants but you should really
make the option available for the more delicate stem plants.  I think my
plants deserve the same protection as I give my fish when I send them out to
people.  I want to make sure that they arrive healthy, not wilted or mushy
due to excess heat/cold or damaging packing practices.  If the customer
starts with a healthy plant they have a much better chance of getting it to
grow and perhaps from buying more plants because they were successful the
first time.

BTW for those of you that are looking for smaller supplies of styros see if
you can't find a friend at a local hospital or Biotech lab.  They get a lot
of items delivered in styros and a lot of these end up being thrown out.
Hopefully some of you will use these ideas and start listing your plants
<for the defense fund> on the Aquabid site.

Gary Lange
gwlange at mindspring_com