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timdais 2 Feb 2011 18:20

clearing customs UK
 
Hi all, we are possibly shipping 2 crated bikes back to the UK from SA, and have had a quote to clear customs etc at the UK end and its expensive!! So wondered if its possible to clear them yourself and how much it cost, for both air and sea freight.

McCrankpin 3 Feb 2011 02:02

Hi,
I'd be interested to know what 'expensive' is.

I brought one bike back from South Africa last year, by air to Gatwick. On a wooden pallet.
I didn't know beforehand, but there's no customs at Gatwick Cargo, they're in Salford and do everything by computer. So Heathrow might have been cheaper, I don't know.
Anyway, at Gatwick you have to use an expediter, and the total cost was GBP116. Customs fees, expediter's fees and the airline's ground handling. It was all very quick and simple so I was fairly pleased with that. (Not having anything to compare it with).

The airline said it was possible to do it yourself, but you'd have to find a computer terminal (maybe your own laptop with mobile internet), establish an account with customs, do the clearance, and the whole thing would probably take the whole day if you started early.

Hope that helps. How does that compare with your quotes?

Cheers

timdais 3 Feb 2011 17:49

good price!!
 
Hi, we would be very pleased if our quote was the same as yours! We are looking at over 600.00GBP for both bikes that does include everything using an agent. We have heard it is not possible anymore to do it yourself as they dont deal with private customers, so maybe setting up an account gets around that?

McCrankpin 3 Feb 2011 20:11

Hello again,
Don't know what more I can say really, except give a bit more detail of what I did, that may help.

The bike was put on a BA flight by the agent I used in Cape Town. He said the price I paid for shipping got the bike as far as being offloaded into the BA cargo depot at Gatwick. After that I'd have to take over, and he said it's "all straightforward, BA will guide you for handling customs."

So I turned up at the Gatwick BA cargo where they were very helpful, explained the possibility of handling customs myself "but you need a computer and internet etc etc and it'll take all day. You see, there's no customs here they're in Salford." That was the first I'd heard of that.

So they rang an expediter company for me (I think there's just one at Gatwick, just across the cargo area car park). One of their chaps came round pretty quickly, took me to his office, played with his computer and fax machine and I had clearance in about 40 minutes.
Walk back to the BA shed and they gave me my bike (well, fork-lifted it into the back of the van I had).

Had I done the clearance myself, as far as I can work out, I would have saved GBP25. That was the expediter's fee.

Don't know about DIY not being possible now, this was November last year so not long ago.

So, in summary, I did nothing about UK customs clearance before leaving South Africa, put my trust in BA, and it worked out pretty good.

One other thing I've just remembered, my bike is UK registered, and I think if it was non-EU registered things might have been different.

Hope you have success.

mark manley 4 Feb 2011 03:53

I did mine myself in about 5 minutes at Heathrow and it cost nothing just have docs with you, that was 3 years ago so it might be different now, that was a UK registered bike by the way but I don't see a foreign bike being any more hastle.

Grant Johnson 4 Feb 2011 04:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by timdais (Post 322463)
Hi all, we are possibly shipping 2 crated bikes back to the UK from SA, and have had a quote to clear customs etc at the UK end and its expensive!! So wondered if its possible to clear them yourself and how much it cost, for both air and sea freight.

The big difference:

1: They're UK registered bikes coming home

OR

2: They're foreign registered bikes and you want to import them into the UK to keep and register in the UK.

TOTALLY different fees and hassles.

2 will be much more expensive if it's even possible. Many countries you can't do it at all. e.g. Canada - it has to be over 25 years old or (virtually) forget it. Last successful import I know of took a year and a couple thousand dollars. For a $5000 bike.

So are talking apples or oranges here? :)

Grant Johnson 4 Feb 2011 04:58

A quick example of the above I just noticed.

timdais 4 Feb 2011 16:31

Thanks for all the info, sorry should have put that they are UK registered, so talking apples! if you have any more info, cheers

McCrankpin 4 Feb 2011 19:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark manley (Post 322688)
I did mine myself in about 5 minutes at Heathrow and it cost nothing just have docs with you, that was 3 years ago so it might be different now, that was a UK registered bike by the way but I don't see a foreign bike being any more hastle.

Thanks for that.
Yes, although Gatwick was OK, but costed money, I did wonder if Heathrow would have been better.
Will go that route next time, M25 or no M25.


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