Shipping Panama-Colombia via Girag SUCKS

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by bananaman, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Be careful of promises from Girag in Panama and Bogota.

    I made a reservation last week to have my bike shipped yesterday from Panama to Bogota. The cost was $551.36. They only take cash.

    The promised me that my bike would leave Panama on the overnight cargo flight, and that I could pick it up this morning.

    This morning, after tons of hastle, they told me they left the bike in Panama.

    I asked to have my extra taxi and hotel expenses paid- not a lot of money, but it is their fault. Each taxi from the hotel to the airport is $15. The hotel is $17. And I lose a day.

    I never intended to stay in Bogota. I don´t care how beautiful this country is supposed to be- it´s not on my list today. Bogota was supposed to be a brief stop and nothing more.

    Now, due to the lies from Girag, I´m stuck here.

    I did not use Girag for thier prices, I used them because everyone else does. There are other companies and other means.

    There were also two boats I could have taken.

    If I had known the bike would leave today, I would have stayed in Panama another day.
    #1
  2. BrklynDakar

    BrklynDakar Been here awhile

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    How long was the delay. Short delays are not uncommon for freight since they try to consolidate shipments. If you are going south you should be prepared for frequent delays and never assume anything will go as promised. It´s all part of the adventure :D
    #2
  3. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Of course I know that there are going to be unknown delays. But this one was a flat-out lie. At least that´s how it feels. They told me the plane they fly is a DC-10. That plane is HUGE!

    I took it to them yesterday based on their own advice. I didn´t hastle them or give them any reason to not ship the bike on time. They promised me, a week ago, that if I brought it yesterday, they would ship it overnight, and I could pick it up at 8 the next morning.

    It´s only an hour flight. It´s not a great distance. There aren´t any difficult logistics involved. You drain the fuel from the tank. They strap the bike to a pallet. They use a forklift to put it on the plane.

    Catso and Marie did the same trip on Tuesday last week. No problems at all.

    The general manager here in Colombia said they don´t make much money on bikes. Then he said he really didn´t care. He said he was going to be honest with me. Then he said he didn´t care if they never had to ship another bike. He had a nice office but he didn´t give me his name. This was on the 2nd floor of the Girag offices at the Carga terminal here in Bogota, at about 11 this morning.

    btw, it was easy to get the vests, and the letters for the helmets. I went with Brian and Marie to 17th and Caracas. Every shop for two blocks sells the vests. 17,000 pesos, or just under $10.
    #3
  4. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Now it´s Wednesday and I still don´t have a bike. They say they didn´t fly yet, they didn´t fly overnight like they promised, and they didn´t know when they would. They said to come back today at 3. They said I could call but there wouldn´t be any promises that anyone would be able to answer the phone.

    The owner of the hotel here, a world traveller himself, says that five years ago they charged $150, then they discovered how much more money they could make because there wasn´t any competition.

    I´m also a pilot. It probably costs them $50 to ship the bike.
    #4
  5. Aussie_Gringo

    Aussie_Gringo I have a "get out of banning for a week" card

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    I flew my bike from PC to Bogota and have no complaints about using Girag as they are an established motorcycle carrier and have experience with bikes.

    On the other hand, shipping my bike from Argentina to LAX was a fecking nightmare as my bike got bumped from several flights and spent two weeks with US Customs.

    Deal with the delay and enjoy Bogota :D
    #5
  6. BrklynDakar

    BrklynDakar Been here awhile

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    Well, that doesn't sound good although I didn't have any problems any neither have many others. The worst thing you can do is get angry. Since you are Bogota you might as well enjoy it. Forget about this not on the checklist crap, every twist has a turn. As a friend always tells me when I complain on my trip is that don't complain at least your not back home working. I think you can find a good time in Bogota, it sound like you need some.
    #6
  7. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I didn´t ever get angry with them.

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions but next time I´m in Panama I´m gonig to find the guy (I know who he is but not his name) who just plain lied to me. That was at about 11:00 Tuesday morning.

    Girag can get away with the occasional mistreatment because they´re basically the only carrier.

    Over on HU there´s a really sad thread about a guy who shipped his bike from the US to England and it took months and months. And months. At least I´m not that guy!

    Bogota was ok. I know, I know- when you travel you just have to be like a duck, or whatever the saying is. I know. I usually do.
    #7
  8. BrklynDakar

    BrklynDakar Been here awhile

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    Just one more thing for those interested, Girag is not the only air shipper, although somehow they are used the most for motorcycles. HU has several others in there shipping database and several have good reports. Basically, any freight carry can do it, it is just some are more open to handling motorcycles.

    Also, the guy waiting months did not use Girag, fwiw.

    I know that was two things :))
    #8
  9. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    Those guys dropped my bike on both sides and picked up my BMW airhead by it's carburetors thereby ripping them off and delivered the bike to me with them just dangling from the cables- dirt flowing freely into the cylinder head. They just gave it to me that way as though I would not notice that it didn't run. Girag- :dizave
    #9
  10. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    What did you do?! I mean, did they pay for repairs? When did this happen? And why of WHY didn´t that info come up last time I searched for Girag info?!
    #10
  11. AndyT

    AndyT Been here awhile

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    I've used them twice without any problems at all. Luck of the draw, I guess. FWIW, Copa air freight inPanama city would have shipped my bike to Bogota, but Girag was cheaper.
    #11
  12. westnash

    westnash Long timer

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    If it is such an opportunity start your own service. You can't start a DC10 for $500, much less fly it for $50. It just boils down to they screwed you and don't care so you will just have to wait it out.
    #12
  13. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I don´t have the start-up cash required for standard DEA bribes. I would get an old piper navaho with a big back door, and fly Panama/Cartegena.
    #13
  14. westnash

    westnash Long timer

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    Good luck, that won't even haul 1 bike on a pallet.
    #14
  15. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    You don´t need much gas to get to Colombia. If you take the handlebars and wheels off, one bike would fit fine. But I´m just saying, for the sake of argument. Do you work for Girag or something?

    When I say something sucks, I´m saying from my personal experience. What girag did wasn´t cool, and then their attitude was even worse. They make you pay cash- no credit cards accepted, which means that once you hand over your bike, you have zero recourse in case something goes wrong. It would be impossible to sue them to recover any damages.

    I chose Girag because I was able to verify, in person, what I had read here and at HU. If I had read anything negative, I would have been more skeptical, and better prepared for them to disapoint me. I also would have more seriously considered putting the bike on a boat. I had an offer to put it on a katamaran- and two guys with KLRs were already signed up for the same boat. The katamaran would have been $700 for me and the bike (Girag was like $550, my airplane ticket was $301, and I had to pay for two extra nights in a cheap hostel- add another $100 for time spent in Bogota.) The boat Barb took from Cartegena to Panama was also an option, and I could have arranged it well in advance. The cost would also have been $700. (If anyone wants this contact info, pm me.) If I had known that the bike would be delayed, I would have spent another day in Panama.

    As for ¨enjoying¨ Bogota... I can´t stand big cities and I don´t do coke.
    #15
  16. clifffffffff

    clifffffffff Adventurer

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    I had no problems shipping my GSA from Bogota to Panama city with Girag last August. I arrived at their place with the bike around 10 in the morning and the bike arrived in Panama City the next morning. No reservations , no crate needed, i was able to leave the Jessies and spare tires onboard and a couple gallons of gas in the tank (they do not check closely). It was a bit of a challenge riding up the steps, through the office, warehouse and under a 747 to get to the loading area(dodging hustling workers, darting fork lifts, nervous horses along the way). When i arrived the next moring at the Girag place in Panama city the bike was there, pointed in the right direction. I was on the road with no addtional charges in under an hour.

    Now conversly, when i shippped the bike from miami to Quito at the begining of the trip it was a total PIA. Had to crate the bike (taking handle bars and windsheald off, battery cables disconnected) had to flatten the tires to make her fit. Could not leave the Jessies on (or even pack them in the crate). Had to drain the gas tank. had to get the crated bike to the shipping place in miami (BDP International) days before it was to ship. I flew Quito a day before the bike was supposed to arrive, whereupon i found an email waiting informing me the bike could not be shipped until saturday
    . Of course customs does not work on weekends and of course Monday was a holiday, so it was a full week after scheduled delivery before i could pick up the bike. It was a day long ordeal using an agent to free her. After obtaining a blizzard of paperwork from here and there, getting charged for this and that, they picked her up with a fork lift and set her down in the parking lot ( it had been about 2 weeks since i left her in Miami...will she be in one piece? will she start?? battery run down??) where i had to un-crate and re-assemble. It was getting toward dark by then, i thought it was gonna be a long night doing the work by myself, but fortunatly about 5 guys saw my plight and helped me out....all ready to go in about half an hour (thank goodness there is a gas station close where i rode with almost flat tires, running on fumes).

    I think next time i will just drive down to Panama City and ship from there.
    #16
  17. Aussie_Gringo

    Aussie_Gringo I have a "get out of banning for a week" card

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    This is fairly narrow-minded and ignorant view of travels in South America. I'm surprised you have made it this far in your travels :D . So you had to pay cash for shipping your bike...were you not aware of this when planning your trip?

    :baby

    You basically slammed Colombia with your negative shot at Bogota which happens to have a vibrant and beautiful city center. BTW, When I was there last year, no drugs were offered.

    IMO, it's a shame people like you end up being ambassadors for the rest of the US motorcycling community.
    #17
  18. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    FYYFF.

    I loved Colombia.

    I hate big cities.

    There was a lot of drug use in Bogota. I saw it. I met a few people at the hotel who were high on cocaine. Not everyone at the hotel was using drugs. Some of the people at the hotel were very nice. I left ¨drug use¨out of my ride report. Have you looked at my ride report?

    I knew ahead of time that Girag requires cash.

    I am Panamanian.

    You are an ass.

    I remember you getting into a pretty huge argument about how everyone would die if they tried to ride in Colombia. Make up your mind about Colombia. Should we hate it or love it? Wait a second. I don't care what you think.

    The Girag managers are asses.

    If I had known ahead of time of some of the negative experiences with Girag, I would have more strongly considered going by boat from Panama to Cartegena.

    I am like a rock star. Everywhere I go, I have a huge following. My big pig is a magnet. I smile, people take pictures of me and my bike, and they ask me to marry their daughters. Or they ask me to marry them. I stopped taking pictures of people looking at me and my bike. Today I was offered a free room in a hotel. I only didn't take it because I wasn't happy with the parking. (There was no parking because the parking lot was under construction.)

    I am practically bilingual.

    If you want to continue this, I'll meet you in Jo Mamma, or we can do it by PM.

    edit: I confused you with Santa Fe Rider from this thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=258136, but you are still a FF.
    #18
  19. Aussie_Gringo

    Aussie_Gringo I have a "get out of banning for a week" card

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    For a guy enjoying the ride of his life, you sure carry alot of anger.

    :D
    #19
  20. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I have never called this ride ¨the ride of my life.¨ It's interesting, but lately it's been kind of boring.

    Anger? You have never seen me angry.

    I think advrider and horizons unlimited would be absolutely worthless if the inmates don't report negative experiences along with positive experiences. I have read negative reports about other shipping companies, but before I started this thread, I hadn't read anything negative about Girag.

    As long as the Darien Gap exists, there are going to be issues crossing it.

    Patience? You have never met anyone more capable of patience. How did I get to Patagonia? Do you think I got here with a lot of anger and gringo impatience?

    I rode from Alaska to Argentina, and the only time I judged a culture was in Northern Peru, from the Peru/Ecuador border, to Lima. Otherwise I try to observe and have as little impact as possible.

    PS: I edited my post before you responded. Check the times.

    edit: I sent a PM to AG. I do not want to argue. I do not want anyone to have a Girag experience like mine. Use them if you want, but be prepared. If you use them, before you ship your bike, practice riding up and down stairs.
    #20