02-02-2011, 11:24 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Clare, MI
Shipping motorcycles sucks! After doing some research we decided it would be better to ship our bikes by air instead of by ship, but it didn't work out for us. We were told by our shipping company (Shipping-Worldwide) that we needed to bring our crate to there warehouse 1 week before we wanted it to arrive in Cape Town. We did. We dropped it off 10 days before we were suppose arrive. A day or so later we received an email telling us the price was being increased by $500 because it was the "busy season". We didn't have much of a choice so we just bent over and took it. A few days after that we received an email telling us the estimated arrival time was going to be January 9th, not the 4th like we expected. We had no choice but to bend over for that one too.
Finally we arrive in Cape Town. Now the company is telling us the bikes won't arrive until the 13th. They said the bikes were still at US Customs waiting to be cleared. Then they say the bikes will be there on the 18th, we don't buy it anymore. Good thing too, they didn't arrive on the 18th. Finally I call the airline they are suppose to fly on. They tell me the bikes will be in Johannesburg and have to clear customs. Somehow I send 20 emails and make about 30 phone calls just to find out we have to wait for them to be loaded on a truck and driven to Cape Town (which I would think the US company should have done for us since the bikes weren't in Cape Town yet). The bikes arrive in Cape Town on the 22nd. Too bad we can't get them since customs is closed on the weekend. Finally Monday the 24th rolls around. WE ARE PUMPED! We wake up early like kids on Christmas morning to get our toys. After walking all over the place getting paperwork and finding the building they are in, we still have to have them clear customs in Cape Town. Swissport is the Company that trucked them from Johannesburg so we go there. They tell us another company is handling customs for us. So we sit around and wait for them to come pick us up.
We get to there office (Broadspeed Logistics) and are excited to find out they are friendly people that seem to want to help us out. Unfortunately our paperwork is a disaster. They are telling us that our bikes have been in Johannesburg since the 28th of December and all our paperwork was lost. Which is a different story than the company in the US told us. Since our paperwork is a disaster we can't get our bikes that day. They tell us to come back in 2 days and see if they can sort things out for us.
While we wait for the airport shuttle we have to do the mandatory tourist picture.
It has become obvious to us, and everyone else, that we have been waiting for a long time. We're not too worried about it though. I'm too busy watching TV in the background.
After waiting the two days we had back to Broadspeed hoping to get the bikes cleared through customs. We went with the company to the customs office, so the customs office would see travelers were bringing bikes into the country without carnets instead of weasels trying to sell motorcycles and skip out on import tax. It didn't work. I guess they could sense Luke and I have a little weasel in us. The new plan of attack is to make a temporary import which is 14,000 Rand per bike, and then export them at the boarder and get our money back. So they give us a driver to drive us to a bank so we could get 17,000 Rand in cash (about $2,500). The good news is riding in the back of a truck is always fun.
The fist bank we went to said foreigners could withdraw 30,000 Rand from the atm per day. Luke manage to get 10,000 Rand before his debit card wouldn't let him get out anymore. Mine didn't let me get out any. We were then told by the bank that they could manually do it. The bad news was the machine that withdrew from Visa cards was broken, AKA Luke was screwed and I wasn't. Joke was still on me though. My bank declined the withdraw. Luke managed to find a different bank that allowed him to get out all the money he needed. My bank declined every attempt to get out enough money. After calling them I was told I should be able to do it. They lied to me. I only was able to get out 3,500 Rand. It's not too big of deal, we've got pretty good at bending over the last few weeks, touching our toes is no problem anymore. I spent the rest of the day on the phone with my bank in Michigan trying to work out a deal. They agreed to up the amount I could withdraw from the atm to $2,500 for one day only. Finally some good news. The bad news was I had to make the withdraw at 1:00 in the morning on a very shady street. On the way to the atm we got offered drugs before we opened the metal gate to our hostel. So we gathered a posse to escourt me to and from the atm.
The next morning we head back to Broadspeed and gave them the money. Talk about feeling like a baller with all that cash.
We wait around for a few hours and they tell us we won't get the bikes that day and they will email us when it's time to come back. The next day we get an email telling us to come. So we call up Steve, the guy that is going to take transport the bikes to the BMW dealer, and head out to get out bikes. We are very excited to be reunited with them again. Joke was on us though. We had 3,000 Rand in fees to pay and luke left his money at the hostel. So Martin (our driver from the other day) takes us to the closest atm. In the meantime Steve waits with the bikes.
Joke was still on us, Lukes bank was not letting him get any money out. We went to three atms and all of them declined his card. Good news is my bank let me get out another 3,000. We head back to Broadspeed, pay our fees, get the procedure for exporting, and exchange digits, AKA emails. Then we head to BMW to unload the bikes and put them together.
Needless to say we were very excited to finally had our bikes. We got some weird looks while we did a small victory celebration.
I can't describe how great the guys at the BMW dealership are. First they let us leave all our stuff at their office for 3 weeks. Then they let us work at their shop for free. They even helped us put part of our bikes together and get them of the crate.
Shane in particular has been incredibly helpful to us.
We get the majority of the bikes put together at their shop and decide to finish the minor details back at out hostel. It feels really good to ride our bikes again!