So when people move to Panama, what do they do when hiring a moving company in Panama?

The horrific stories are endless, although the odd expat has no problems.

Here’s just one of those horrific stories from someone else.

I’m not just posting this so you can read about moving, but rather how companies in general treat their customers so you understand this is NOT North America or Europe, so if you expect any resemblance of service on a consistent basis (you can find the odd company who cares about their customers) don’t move to Panama.

“About half of my things never arrived. Much of the rest was so destroyed by
bad handling. I had started my trek using Rainier Moving from Seattle. I
had videoed the packing process of the most valuable of my things. Rainier
insisted that I had to insure my goods so I bought a policy in Seattle.
The things that did finally arrive were damaged beyond repair, including a
300 year old armoire my mother had given me 50 years ago. As they Panama
Packers were unloading I realized that many of the boxes had been changed
and some were missing.
By the time everything had been unloaded I realized that I had a
substantial claim. I called the Panama Packers office was told my claim was
against the insurer. I tried calling the number in PC. Only to be told they
did not have an office there. I called Rainier was given the insurers
number in the U S. I was then directed to a web site where I documented 14
pages of missing or destroyed items. Within 3hours I was told I needed to
contact Panama Packers as their insurance would cover. They had/have no
Bottom line I took my claim to ACODECO only to find out all parties no
longer had offices in Panama. I began a lawsuit in the US only to find out
that Rainier Movers were an agent for a defunct insurer.
My losses were over $21,000.00 plus my legal costs.”



More when hiring a moving company in Panama stories

Is PTY also known as Panama International Packers?

“In 2006, we moved a 20 foot container load to Panama from East Texas through Houston.  Everything was packed, inventoried, labelled. Each box had a label on the outside in a plastic bag. A copy was in each box. Boxes were numbered. I kept a master list of box numbers and inventory and gave the mover 3 copies. I loaded each box into a storage that I had marked as 8’x8’x20′. I loaded the storage in reverse order and made a detailed loading plan according to box #.

First of all, the movers kept postponing sending the container and the loaders. After fighting with them for over a month (and I paid cash up front according to their contract), my wife and I had to leave for Panama. The company never sent a crew to load the container even though I had paid for a crew. My sister found a crew to load the container.

When everything arrived finally in Panama City, I was informed that I owed over $3000 dollars EXTRA to cover unloading, storage at Balboa while the aduanas checked everything. My contract specified that unloading, dock fees, warehouse and storage fees, customs broker, and even duties and taxes were all taken care with my original payment. The mover said that if I didn’t pay, they wouldn’t release my household goods and that they were charging me $100 per day for storage until I did pay.

I wrote up an email from a fake law firm from Oregon and attached a scan of the original contract and of the itemized bill for customs, taxes, and duties. The email was VERY commanding in its tone . The mover was scared into honoring the original contract; they would cancel all storage fees if I agreed to bay the official government invoice for the taxed and duties. I agreed and a week later, a 40′ container was delivered for my pre-packed 20′ container of household goods.

The contents that fit perfectly into 20′ were scattered loosely all over the floor of the 40 footer. Again, no crew was there to unload (even though specified in the contract) so as the driver watched, my foreman and I unloaded everything. I was unloading and trying to keep track of the boxes at the same time. No good. I lost 1 computer (out of 8 total) and my USMC Staff NCO Academy sword. I was not given the opportunity to go through the inventory of each box, only the number assigned each box. Over the next few days, I discovered the missing computer and the missing sword. The mover denied anything was missing because I had signed fot the total number of boxes.

If I ever move again, I will hire some Indians and a cattle truck. I’ll oversee the lo0ading, then the unloading and loading into a container and MY lock and seal  attached to the container. I will watch my container being loaded. I will watch my container being offloaded, and oversee the customs process. I will supervise the container contents being transferred into a cattle truck and its delivery to my new home. I will watch every step of the way. Trust no one!”


I also dealt with Al White & he was also a problem for me. I wanted him to ship my things from Canada to Panama & after talking to him for an hour about life in Panama (nothing really to do with shipping), he had to go & so did I. When I wanted to speak to him again about the shipping, he refused saying we had already talked.

I gave him one more chance when I needed a new mailforwarding company & he failed there too not telling me there was a minimum price for certain items I was bringing in like skin care products.

He was nice in waiving the fee altogether because I didn’t have the money to pay for the service rigth away. I was going to pay him, just not at that moment. He said to pick it up anyway.

When he was mean spirited in an e-mail, that was the last straw for me. I will NEVER recommend Al White to anyone & lots of people love him, but I can see now tehre are many who are smart enough to see through him real quick.

One woman says he’s very disorganized.

Well like all Panamanians, their heads aren’t screwed on right, so yeh, I could see here thinking he’s just disorganized.

From an expat trying to figure out who to ship with & other expats’ recommendations.

“Not sure you are Joking with us or not 😉 – but Al White has the very worst in reputation we have found over the last 2-3 years of our searches. We tried to give him a chance and get some bids and more information form him but in addition to being very nebulous in detail, he failed to be professional and temporally communicative from the beginning and so seeing that the rumors are true, we chose heartily to avoid heading down that path with him. ”


Supposedly there are tons of complaints about this company:

“Ditto!!!  We had a HORRIFIC experience with them”


“Do NOT get involved with Panama International Movers, owned by Rene Perez.  This slime ball tends to use several different company names, so be careful!”

“This is a quote from someone who used this company and had much of their fine art stolen from her container before it was delivered.  I met this person and had a personal conversation with this person.”



Sounds to me like you are using a broker to ship your things. This not the way to do it. As a ex-ships Captain and knowing how shipping works I recommend you going directly to a container company and make your deal directly with them they will make arrangements for the container to be delivered to your house for pick up and a crew to load it for you. It will be on the semi that will take it to the port. They will also make arrangements to have customs broker receive your goods here in Panama and have it delivered to your location. There is a cost for this depending on where you are going. I also had a car shipped in a container that I delivered to their office. When I took the car I paid for everything that the previously signed contract stated. There will be some extra charges which were minimal for the broker here in Panama. If you do it this way you cut out the middle man who makes more than the shipper. This was eight years ago nut I think it is still possible to do it this way.
Good Luck

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