Chicago-Phnom Penh, five month in SE Asia

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by ralph1464, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. ralph1464

    ralph1464 Adventurer

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    In case somebody is interested:
    Over the course of the next months I will post information here in regards to paperwork, shippers, agents, forwarders, waybills, driver licenses and insurance for my five month trip (BMW R1200GS ADV), as accurate as possible, and without chatter or crap.

    Cheerio,
    I hardly can't wait.
    #1
  2. atravlr

    atravlr Been here awhile

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    I'll be looking. Good Luck
    #2
  3. nomadicbear

    nomadicbear Vagabond

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    I'm in for the ride, in addition to all paperwork you talking about don't forget to take lots of photos.


    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

    U.S.Army 1971-1974
    American Legion Rider
    Pony Express Rider
    Patriot Guard :muutt
    #3
  4. Degvr56

    Degvr56 n00b

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    Looking for your new post:norton

    #4
  5. ralph1464

    ralph1464 Adventurer

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    After a job-related pause in planning this trip I am back at it.

    I finally decided to ship by ocean from the US to the Port of Bangkok, Thailand.

    The reasons are relatively simply:
    It was -at least for me- impossible to find a freight forwarder or cargo airline to take the bike by air. The reasons are: I am considered an "unknown" shipper, they would not accept cargo from an individual. This was the case for: Lufthansa and Thai Cargo (out of ORD), and Thai Cargo and Air Canada (out of Toronto). None of the Shipping companies did provide an "air" quote. I don't know why. I was told that shipping by air out of Europe is seemingly easier.

    So it will be "ocean", and the destination port will be Bangkok on the Chao Praya river, despite all the horror stories of rampant corruption at that location. I will see. (You can easily find horror stories of Suvanabhumi airport in BKK as well, no problem!)

    It takes countless emails and phone calls to find a shipping company to ship the bike from Long Beach to BKK. Most of my emails or phone calls were not returned.

    The exception were two shipping companies in California, one in LA (dhx.com, professional, relatively fast response, however expensive) and one in San Francisco (accordx.com). I finally settled for Accord Export Lines, Mike Ansari's company. He answers the phone the same day and it seems a straightforward deal. The quoted cost is VERY reasonable (approx. $800, one way, from Chicago). I also had people tell me that they were happy with this company's service.

    Since it is only about $140 more to have the crate trucked from Chicago to Long Beach CA I decided to have the bike crated in Chicago, near were I live. I will post when this is done. I haven't found a crating company yet, though.

    What I learned so far in brief:

    1. You need to be in possession of the Original Title, the bike must be registered in your name, your name must be on the sales invoice.
    2. You need to apply for an EIN from IRS (online, immediate response.)
    3. You need to FedEx the Title to the shipping company for Custom's validation. (It will be returned to you prior to your departure.)
    4. Transfer time: Chicago-LA: 3 weeks (truck); LA-BKK: 4 weeks(container vessel).
    5. Crate needs to be fumigated and heat treated for Export. (7 CFR 319.40 - "Importation of Wood Packaging Material." ISPM-15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures #15) for Wood Packing Materials (WPM) wood regulations.) The size of the crate is important of course, windshield and mirrors have to come off, at least. I will not take the wheels off since I like to get out of the harbor asap. Some people really dismantle the bike radically to save cost, but I don't plan on wrestling with a 600 lbs. bike in 100 degree heat and 95% rel. Humidity, potentially without help if I don't have to.
    6. Although some shippers (incl. DHX want you to provide a Carnet (CDP)(either ATA or CAA) none is required for the countries I will visit (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand.)

    Check back for more.

    Time line:
    Crating in Chicago will be in mid-September, shipping by sea out of LA is scheduled for four weeks after.
    #5
  6. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    You can send a bike by air, what you cannot do is do the Dangerous Goods paper, that has to be done by a certified agent. Perhaps will be necessary to use an agent for other paperwork as well.

    I sent by air from India to BKK in -08, clearing at Suvarnabhumi was a breeze. I was warned NOT TO SEND TO BKK SEAPORT! (but of course this was years ago, dunno what the situation really is now, just thought I'd mention). You won't need a carnet for Thailand.

    Burma is still tough to get your bike into, although some signs of change may be emerging right now.
    #6
  7. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    We heard nothing but bad things from other riders about shipping by sea into BKK. Bribes and delays, mostly. Is your quote really for the Port of Bangkok and not Laem Chabang? Almost all of the freight traffic goes through Laem Chabang now. Also be sure that your $800 quote includes wharfage and port fees as those can add up to hundreds of dollars more. If you are sure you want to go by sea, I would suggest look into shipping into Port Klang, Malaysia. It is supposed to be a MUCH better and less stressful experience.

    I'd also double check the fumigation/heat-treated wood requirement. Our crate that was made in Nepal for shipment to BKK sure wasn't made from heat treated wood or fumigated. The only place on our trip that this was required was when we returned to the US (and we instead had a crate made of engineered wood which is exempt from this requirement).

    We shipped by air into BKK and it was a simple matter to clear everything by yourself, they even give you a map with step-by-step instructions at the Custom's Office and will let you uncrate your bike in the warehouse (and dispose of the crate for free). We never heard any horror stories about Suvarnabhumi and I cant recall ever seeing any. Someone may have had an issue with an agent, but that is why we never used one.

    We shipped by air out of Toronto on British Airways (to Cape Town, SA) and didn't use an agent. We just contacted the Air Cargo division directly and they handled all the paperwork for us. We just rode to Toronto and had our bikes crated there. None of the "Known Shipper" or "Personal Effects" bullshit applies in Canada, only the US.

    Good Luck whatever you choose and have a great time!
    #7
  8. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Yes, Pt. Klang seems to be the best seaport to send to in that region.

    But there might be one catch: Malaysia is officially a carnet country, and while they were, shall I say VERY relaxed about it, when I crossed by land coming from Thailand (and I had the carnet, so that was never gonna be a problem), sending the bike in as freight could be a bit different. Actually I don´t know, if anyone has sent there without a carnet, as most who do, are coming from the Indian subcontinent, and that´s why they will have it.

    Me, I´d probably send by air to Bangkok, even if it costs a bit more. It´s a place, where everything is known to work well.
    #8
  9. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    So the $800 is all you will pay to get your bike from Chicago to Bangkok? Or do you need to ship the bike to Long Beach, CA for a big additional cost?

    If the $800 includes everything except the crate to ship a big bike from Chicago to BKK and there are no further port fees/etc, that seems like an excellent deal.
    #9
  10. ralph1464

    ralph1464 Adventurer

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    The GS will be crated by CrateTech in Chicago ($450, crate, blocking, strapping, fumigated, heat treated, export).

    Their are astonishing price differences:
    1. NAVIS Inc.: $1250
    2. Custom Crating and Logistics Chicago: $990
    #10
  11. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Some airlines might allow you to send bikes uncrated. Could be worth checking, especially if you're about to spend hundreds on a crate.

    I've sent from India to BKK by air, only used a simple wooden pallet to strap the bike on. Definitely no fumigation treatment was needed for it... this was 5 1/2 years ago, though.
    #11
  12. Guzzi Cambodia

    Guzzi Cambodia n00b

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    Did you look at shipping to Sihanoukville from Long Beach? Maybe a more direct option.
    #12
  13. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    I was going to ship from Long Beach, CA to Bangkok via sea. The only issue is in order to claim the bike you need a tourist visa (to claim your motorbike) that is only valid for 30 days once you enter through the airport. The issue is sea freight often has scheduling difficulties and its difficult to guarentee the load to the destination on time...or within a reasonable time before your visa expires. Due to this reason I chose air freight from Los Angeles to BKK. use a shipping agent as you will get better quotes than dealing directly with the airlines.

    Best of luck.
    #13
  14. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Has anybody done this before, and how it went?

    I also heard bad things about Bangkok seaport some years ago.
    #14
  15. ralph1464

    ralph1464 Adventurer

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    OK, here we go, also for all of the scaremongers out there in cyberspace (and on this forum) who tried to convince me that shipping by ocean would end up being a disaster, and/or enormous bribes would have to be paid in Thailand, and/or the bike would never arrive, or would be eaten up by salt water spray, and so on, and so forth....

    A
    1. Shipping broker: ACCORD EXPRESS LINES, San Francisco CA. Mike Ansari.
    2. Trucking from Chicago-Long Beach CA/Los Angeles: BRENNAN/VANGUARD.
    3. Ocean shipping: VANGUARD. On board of OOCL "Luxembourg" (2010), China.
    4. Agent in Bangkok: VANGUARD Thailand.
    5. Trucking from Laemg Chabang harbour to Bangkok warehouse: VANGUARD Thailand.
    6. U-Haul truck from Chicago crating company to shipper in Chicago (self).

    B
    Tracking
    All international container vessels can be tracked real-time here:
    http://new.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/477738600

    C
    Prep:
    The bike was only minimally disassembled, I only took the wind shield off, disconnected the battery and reduced amount of fuel in the tank (front/rear tires, brakes etc. untouched, panniers on bike, locked). Other nonsense like COMPLETELY draining fuel, or oil, didn't happen. The bike was shrink wrapped completely. The Touratech/BMW alu panniers were taped.

    D
    Crate dimensions and weight:
    453 kilogramms, 4.79 m3 volume (169.50 cuft.) The panniers were fully loaded, the helmet and some other gear were in a box, loose, inside the crate.

    E
    Cost:
    (Items 1-5) $845, plus $110 Document and handling in Bangkok, $15 wharfage in Bangkok warehouse, $1.50 ramp fee at warehouse.

    F
    Not included:
    Crate (heat treated, stamped) by Cratetech in Chicago ($450), Insurance (Total loss only) $220 (optional), $25 FedEx Title back from Customs Long Beach to Chicago. ($35) Taxi from downtown Bangkok to Bangkok warehouse, about 6 hours total, including wait time at warehouse, customs etc. Anf the cost of my flight, of course.

    G
    Customs in Thailand:
    $0

    H
    Time:
    The bike arrived almost exactly on time, in fact it was two days early, but due to a Thai national holiday (Chulalongkorn Day), the warehouse was closed.

    I
    Condition, damage:
    When the warehouse workers in Bangkok opened the crate, the bike was in that shape as it was when packed in Chicago. All work at the warehouse was done by their workers, fork-lifting, uncrating, detach straps etc.)
    The crate, unfortunately, is of no further use and got discarded.

    Other:
    Since I didn't get much good advice here I will not post.
    If somebody is interested see my blog:
    http://junglemoto2013-14.blogspot.com/
    #15
  16. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Glad it worked out so well for you.

    But why you are being such a smartass about the whole thing, I don´t really understand. Shipping is a process, that has many variables at play each time. Seafreight is more vulnerable to delays, and if your shipment gets delayed, it is likely to be a much longer delay, than when sent by air. Also airports are in general easier to deal with, than seaports.

    I´ve done one major shipping by sea, from Australia to Finland, and otherwise it went quite well, but the shipment missed a change of vessel in Singapore. So I waited 3 more weeks. This was most likely something, that the shipper I had used in Australia, could do nothing about. It does not happen every time, but it really seems to be quite common with seafreight (to be delayed days or weeks), so to be warned about this possibility, is still good advice IMO. How big of a problem it could be, depends on your plans – when I sent out of Oz, it was the end of my trip, so did not really matter. Having an extra 3-week delay in the middle of the trip, and especially if you end up waiting in some more expensive country, could be a different story.

    Anyway, I wish you a memorable and safe journey.
    #16
  17. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    Glad you made it fine and enjoy your riding over here.

    I thought sea freight would be markedly cheaper. My air freighted bike from Los Angles to Bangkok was $1100. Only a couple hundred more, though I'm hoping mine is a lot smaller crate than your BMW:lol3.

    Before enclosing the crate:

    [​IMG]

    Arrival at the airport in BKK.

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    If that sum really includes everything, then it is a very good price for airfreight across the Pacific IMO (and I would not even think about seafreight, if I could send by air at that price!)
    #18
  19. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    And $300 for having it crated.
    #19