Case Study: How ARTA Can Help With Complex Shipments

As ARTA continues to evolve our technology and product, with a mission to enable anyone to be a buyer or seller of high-value items, one thing remains the same.

Logistics has always been a cornerstone of what we do. Looking back at our 2020 Year in Review, we saw a major shift in how our customers operate on a day-to-day basis. Of the total shipping quotes we provided, 80% account for quotes requested through our Public API and Instant Quote tool, meaning that our customers are actually taking advantage of the technology we’ve built for them for the high-value goods they need to ship. The other 20% account for more complex shipments that include characteristics such as oversized objects, multi-city pickup/delivery locations, or international components, and require a high-touch human experience. And while our technology has accelerated the ability for our users to ship valuables faster, easier, and more streamlined than ever before — there will always be complex shipments that simply cannot be automated. ARTA has a team of experts that can help navigate the nuances of logistics for more complicated shipments.

For the City of Beverly Hills, who needed to transport a newly acquired cast-iron Ai Weiwei sculpture that weighed nearly 4,000 pounds (1,700 kg) from China to California with no logistics personnel on their team, it was paramount to find the right experts to help make this happen. Due to the many complexities involved such as size, weight, and international requirements, this was a shipment that could not be automated. Over an eight-month period, the City relied on ARTA to oversee, manage, and execute on all logistical elements of this complex shipment.

ARTA was extremely helpful in explaining the process and nuances, especially in this case. This was a complicated shipment due to it being international from China (during a global pandemic) and a federal tariff was in place.  

— Lucy Quiralte, Public Works Department, City of Beverly Hills

Streamlining the process

ARTA’s team of experts is able to leverage the technology we’ve built to streamline the quoting process. In doing so, ARTA was able to source multiple quotes including both air and sea freight options, while ensuring these were within the City’s budget and advising on each. When COVID-19 unexpectedly unfolded with new restrictions put in place and rates skyrocketing due to limited availability, a wrench was put in the City’s original plans. ARTA was able to re-quote all new availability daily and secure the most affordable preferred mode of transport.

ARTA was able to provide the cost for various shipping options and explain the pros and cons of each option. The turnaround time for quotes was unbelievably fast. It allowed us to evaluate our options and make contingency plans or decisions more quickly than with other vendors.

— Lucy Quiralte, Public Works Department, City of Beverly Hills

Navigating international nuances and managing timelines

With any international shipment, there are nuances of duties and taxes that can be very complicated to navigate. ARTA’s team continuously did our due diligence with the changing landscape of COVID-19 and international tariffs, keeping the City informed of any changes as they arose. In this particular case, the U.S. government granted a temporary exclusion on its import tariffs for most categories of Chinese art, including sculpture, which was set to expire on September 1, 2020. It became imperative to transport this work before the tariffs went back into effect to avoid costs from dramatically and unexpectedly increasing. It’s so important to work with knowledgeable experts like ARTA, who’s able to explain the subtleties in layman’s terms and thoroughly handle the commercial invoices to ensure compliance and avoid any delays.

I think this is where we realized we had selected the right company, a company that could be flexible and responsive at a moment’s notice. We had about 45 days to actually receive the sculpture upon being notified that the government granted a temporary exclusion on sculptures from the new tariffs on exports from China… ARTA checked the rates and availability daily, communicated with us regularly to ensure we would receive the sculpture by September 1, 2020. The sculpture arrived on August 17th!

— Lucy Quiralte, Public Works Department, City of Beverly Hills

Handling with extra care

The sculpture, which was not able to be disassembled, was already crated by the artists’ studio. In order to ensure the packing was substantial and safe for transport, ARTA had our trusted partners in China conduct two site visits in advance, who added some bracing for additional protection. From the first mile to the last, the City was able to have peace of mind knowing ARTA is a reputable, trusted global logistics provider and that every detail was handled with the utmost care.  

The process with ARTA was very smooth and we received our sculpture without issue and faster than expected!

— Lucy Quiralte, Public Works Department, City of Beverly Hills

Ai Weiwei, Iron Root, 2015. Cast iron, 125.98 x 86.61 inches | 320 x 220 x 107 cm, 1700 kg

Every few years, the City of Beverly Hills acquires fine artwork to become a part of the City’s Public Art collection. Most recently, the City acquired a cast-iron sculpture by famed artist Ai Weiwei as part of the Fine Art Commission’s priority exercise. The piece was planned to be installed in December 2020 on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Drive, the northeast corner of City Hall. With no logistics personnel on their team, they relied on ARTA’s expertise to transport this piece internationally from China to California.


If you have a complex shipment, ARTA’s team of logistics experts is here to help streamline the process for you and find the most optimal solution. Fill out the Custom Request Form or email to get started.


About ARTA

We provide end-to-end logistics solutions for merchants and marketplaces worldwide.

We’re continuously evolving our e-commerce infrastructure for the global collectibles industry through automated transaction, fulfillment, and post-purchase technology.

ARTA’s software provides instant shipping and handling quotes for any item type, regardless of size, material, or price point. Our API automates shipping and fulfillment for high-value items, providing a frictionless purchasing experience for our clients’ buyers.