KOP delivery outside of US

Team 433 is concerned about the time it will take the kit of parts to reach our friends in Ghana this season. Other teams who are new to mentoring teams from abroad have expressed similar concerns.

 I have heard from other teams who have received the kop late and still managed to complete a successful robot.  While this is phenomenal, it seems to me that we might be able to reduce this obstacle.  Does anybody have experience in this matter or suggestions as to what we or FIRST could do?  


Talk to team 759 from England, they are I believe the oldest non North American team in FIRST and are without a doubt the foremost authority in Shipping issues, having had KOP’s late and even a robot turned away by customs.

Also send a PM to Manoel, from team 383 in Brazil.
They deal with challenges each season -

I believe that would be team 383.

Has the team talked with someone who has shipped from the US to Ghana? They might have some hints. There may be delays once the KOP gets to Ghana. I am just recalling a conversation I had with someone who was talking about all the problems they were having getting items through the customs maze in Ghana for their import business there. Hopefully this won’t be a major issue for the team.

Don’t forget to clarify import taxes if they plan to return robot to Ghana after competition. This was a big issue for Team 383.

Good luck!

Thanks for the comment, Chris.


At some point last year I exchanged e-mails with someone on your team about the Ghana team, but they weren’t able to compete then. We’re really happy to have another international team and we want to do everything possible to help.

About the KOP:
Before FIRST Brazil was created and the Local Kickoff was started, we had to go to Manchester to pick up the kit. FIRST will ship the kit to your location, but you’ll have to pay (and it would be REALLY expensive) and, if the Ghanaian government is like every other government in the world, the import taxes would be huge.
Until FIRST Ghana takes off (and we all know it will, sometime… it’s FIRST fever :p) and you can have your own local kickoff, FIRST will not ship the kits for free. Since this is a special situation, you could try to contact FIRST and explain it to them and see if there’s anything that can be arranged about that.
Even if there is, you still have to consider how long would it take for the kit to arrive and the potential custom taxes that could be charged.
Getting the kit late is terrible - we are a veteran, experienced team and having the kit delayed for over two weeks a couple of years ago almost ruined our season. I can only imagine how bad it would be for a rookie team. Back then, the quality control on kit shipping wasn’t as good as it is now, so there were always lots of parts missing. It shouldn’t happen by now, but imagine getting your kit three weeks late and then finding out you only got one CIM motor, as opposed to all the other teams getting six of them, or whatever.

I can’t really help you with the customs procedures in Ghana, but underdeveloped countries like Brazil and Ghana are often swamped in corruption, bureaucracy and heavy taxes, so you really have to consider that.

Just last year, what we had to pay in taxes to get the kit in Brazil was enough to send two people to Manchester and get them back with the kits, poof balls and a couple of AndyMark’s transmissions. :slight_smile:

This year, luckily, things are more organized and we will be paying around 40% import taxes on the kit value (around $ 3000, declared), but it still is a lot of money, and doesn’t solve the need for game parts (balls, tetras, whatever). Being in Manchester helps you with that, as well.

This has been a long message and all I could really do is present you with some options, not definite answers. As low as your budget may be, if you can’t work something out with FIRST, I believe flying into Manchester to pick up the kits is still the best option.

Feel free to reply with doubts and questions, we’re always glad to help rookie teams so they don’t have to go through all we had to go to to get where we are now. I mean, nowadays there’s even a manual session for international teams!

If you have questions about other problems international teams may encounter, PM me and I’ll try to help.

Sorry for being so long,

393, 383 -

Hey, I was within 3%.

ps - it must have been late or something… thanks for the catch,

Thanks everyone for the insight. We are shipping a box to Ghana now (thank you to everyone at Duel on the Delaware for adding to our collection of parts to ship), and we will be shipping parts of a crate later, so we should have some more experience before kickoff.

Manoel, how many Brazilian teams did it take to get a local kickoff?



The first year we had a local kickoff in Brazil was 2004, with 3 teams (veterans 383 and 1156 and then rookie 1382) but, more important than the number of teams, that was the first year we had a Regional Director, Mr. Ivan Boesing, so that meant someone taking responsibilities and willing to work towards that goal.

Keep the questions coming! :slight_smile:

Best regards,