As you’re building your import export business, you’re probably looking for the perfect place to ship your products. In the course of searching for customers continent by continent, you might have become curious about whether or not you can ship to Antarctica.
The short answer is yes, you can ship to Antarctica. Unfortunately, you are prohibited from shipping items to Antarctica for resale. There goes your dream of starting a company that exports hot sauce to the White Continent. Honestly, there aren’t many potential customers there anyway.
Here’s the question: why would someone even want to send a package to Antarctica? Would it be to help out the penguins?
Actually, there are many people who live in Antarctica, even more than the population of Alma, Wisconsin! About 4,000 people live in Antarctica, depending on the season. If you decide to send a package to one of them, expect it to take a while.
Who actually lives in Antarctica?
The majority of Antarctica’s inhabitants are scientists, researchers, and military personnel sent by various countries. 32 countries currently have research stations in Antarctica: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the UK, the US, and Uruguay.
Antarctica offers a unique climate that interests researchers for many reasons. It has the cleanest air in the world, which is useful for providing neutral datasets. It also has minimal background radiation, which is helpful for experiments. Of course, many researchers work to protect its incredible biodiversity as well.
The US has two main research stations in Antarctica: McMurdo Station (1,200 residents) and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (200 residents). If you dream of living in Antarctica, you can try to get a job on one of these bases. Perhaps you’ll end up working at the Burger King on McMurdo!
You might be surprised to find out that researchers aren’t the only ones who live in Antarctica. There is a Chilean settlement on King George Island in Antarctica that is home to about 200 people. They have a school, bank, gym, chapel, and even decent phone service. Of course, residents face many challenges there such as the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables and…the cold.
Moving to Villa Las Estrellas is a big decision for families, particularly because they are required to get their appendixes removed before moving there. This is due to the limited medical care in the town. People are also encouraged not to get pregnant while living there.
If you want to visit Villa Las Estrellas and see what life is like there, you can join the group of tourists that typically comes during the summer months. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to send a postcard from the small post office there–marked with an Antarctic stamp!
How to ship to Antarctica
Maybe you have a friend or family member who lives on one of the bases in Antarctica…or maybe you’re planning on moving there yourself. You might be curious how you can send a care package or extra belongings to the icy continent.
Each research station has different requirements for sending packages. Make sure you check the delivery timeline. Sometimes people send packages to Antarctica for the summer only to have them arrive after they’ve already returned home in the fall.
As a rule of thumb, you probably don’t need to ship anything to someone who’s only there for the summer. Packages simply take too long to get there. Instead, find a different way to show you care such as writing notes and hiding them in your loved one’s suitcase before they go.
If you want to send a package to someone who’s living in Antarctica for a longer period of time, you’ll need to check the deadline for sending it. There aren’t many vessels that come to Antarctica in the winter.
Just because Antarctica does not fall under any particular country’s jurisdiction does not mean you can send whatever you want. Every package that goes to one of the US’s research stations will pass through Christchurch, New Zealand, and undergo customs inspection there. Check the regulations to make sure you’re not sending anything illegal.
There are easier ways to stay in touch with your friends and family who move to Antarctica than by sending mail. While they may not have sufficient bandwidth for regular video calls, they should at least be able to send you messages and photos. And no one stays in Antarctica forever. You’ll see your loved ones again soon.
If you’re starting your own import-export business, you need a qualified customs broker like BorderBuddy to help you with all of the details. We provide solutions for businesses of all sizes. Give us a call today.