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  #1  
Old 14 Jul 2010
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Air freight v shipping - transporting a motorcycle from Australia to South Africa

Hi All,

I'm currently weighing up the costs of transporting a 250cc motorcycle from Australia to South Africa, and trying to decide whether air or sea is best.

I'm tempted to try air freight, as I'm not keen to wait weeks for the bike to materialise at my destination - but worried it might be a lot more expensive. Does anyone know any good air freight companies that would safely transport a motorcycle from Australia to South Africa? I'm in Melbourne, but could get the bike to another location if need be (eg Perth/Sydney). Similarly, at the South Africa end, I'm open to Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban if it helps logistically or costs-wise. Any indication of costs and timeframe would also be much appreciated!

Alternatively, if anyone's used a good and/or cheap shipping option from Aus to SA, I'd love to hear about that too!

Thanks, guys.
Jeanie
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  #2  
Old 14 Jul 2010
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Jeanie,
We are flying 3 F800gs & 1 XT250 to Egypt with Qantas from Brisbane, Cost for the lot is $4800 (900kg) plus about $400 in charges. Who knows what it will cost to get them from customs in Egypt. When are you going over, why don't you buy one there they are quite cheap and you would save on bucks !
We will be in Capetown around Aug next year, my wife is talking of selling her bike there as we are going onto Sth America and she also has a F650gs that she wants to ride over there. However I think she just may keep the XT250 as she is only 5'2 and weighs only 48kg. Riding it down from Cairo she may be just hooked on it.
I would fly your bike rather than shipping just my opinion.
Thanks
Paul
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  #3  
Old 14 Jul 2010
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Hi Paul, thanks for your speedy reply!

Yeah, transporting bikes from Oz to SA seems to be an expensive business whichever way you do it!

I just rang FreightCare - they quoted around AUD $1,800 to transport a 250cc bike from Melbourne to Joburg by ship, PLUS customs and wharf charges (indeterminate, so who knows how much extra that really is?), or about $3,200 to do it air freight. Shipping would take 5 weeks and the bike would have to be crated.

You're the second person today who says I should maybe buy in South Africa (!). So I'm already starting to wonder if that really would be a cheaper/better plan. The attraction of buying at home is that I could then spend the coming weeks/months kitting it out at evenings and weekends (I work fulltime) and get used to riding it loaded up with gear before tackling the wilds of Africa. But money is a real issue (isn't it always?), so I'd happily truncate that prep process if it meant I could get out on the road in Africa cheaply AND quickly!

Just not sure at the moment...

Jeanie
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  #4  
Old 14 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanied1 View Post
Hi Paul, thanks for your speedy reply!

Yeah, transporting bikes from Oz to SA seems to be an expensive business whichever way you do it!

I just rang FreightCare - they quoted around AUD $1,800 to transport a 250cc bike from Melbourne to Joburg by ship, PLUS customs and wharf charges (indeterminate, so who knows how much extra that really is?), or about $3,200 to do it air freight. Shipping would take 5 weeks and the bike would have to be crated.

You're the second person today who says I should maybe buy in South Africa (!). So I'm already starting to wonder if that really would be a cheaper/better plan. The attraction of buying at home is that I could then spend the coming weeks/months kitting it out at evenings and weekends (I work fulltime) and get used to riding it loaded up with gear before tackling the wilds of Africa. But money is a real issue (isn't it always?), so I'd happily truncate that prep process if it meant I could get out on the road in Africa cheaply AND quickly!

Just not sure at the moment...

Jeanie
Hi Jeanie

If you want to buy a bike here, look at the following site.

Wild Dog Adventure Riding - Index

It's an excellent site, with good members. I'm sure someone will be able to help you on there. There is a 'for sale' section, and you'll get a good idea of current prices.

Cheers
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  #5  
Old 14 Jul 2010
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Jeanie,

If you decide to Fly it, don't go near forwarding agents, we were quoted uo to $7000 for ours. All you have to do is get a dangerous goods cert. leave a 1/4 tank of fuel, then take it to Qantas and they even put it on a pallet rack for you. Should cost about $7-$8 a kilo for a sml bike. Plus fuel surcharge of about $1 and a couple of other charges. You will get out of it this end I would think around $1500. Qantas try to tell you to go thru an agent but don't you will save plenty. Send me an email and I will get a price for you off the Qantas bloke who is doing ours as he is really helpfull.
We are shipping ours for the same reason you are we set them up and did some trips to get used to them, as it will be many years before they return to OZ if ever.

Cheers
Paul
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  #6  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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There is a myth on this site, I think, about sea freight prices. So, just to sum up:
air freight:
- easier
- less charges
- what you pay is what you get: very little extra charges.
I've only done two shipments so far, but got great advices here and there. Both of them were by sea. And I discovered that: As long as you pay the destination charges before hand, and that you don't send your bike to a dodgy port, there is no worry to have. Port klang, Malaysia, to Vancouver, Canada = 750 euros by sea, for a 6 cubic meters crate (it's a side car). All included. Freight itself is around 75$ by cubic meter. The rest of the price is everything related to port handling, storage, fumigation, and all that sort of things. I can get you all the details if you want.
So, if you're curious how things work, if you have a bit of energy, and costs are a concern, you can ship by sea. You can MP me if you want details, no problem. If money is not your concern, don't bother. Plane is an option.
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  #7  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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I've shipped bikes and cars into and out of Australia many times, including from Africa (Mombasa, Kenya) and have also flown bikes betwen countries.

I think it would be quite expensive to ship to South Africa as there is relatively little trade betwen the two countries (apart from BMW cars).

In all honesty, if I was going to ride up (have previously ridden down) I'd be looking to buy locally iin SA.
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  #8  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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Paul,

Sounds like you don't have to crate them with Qantas. Are the bikes just secured to a pallet?
$1500 is a real good price for Europe, can you give me some details so i can get a price to Singapore or KL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
Jeanie,

If you decide to Fly it, don't go near forwarding agents, we were quoted uo to $7000 for ours. All you have to do is get a dangerous goods cert. leave a 1/4 tank of fuel, then take it to Qantas and they even put it on a pallet rack for you. Should cost about $7-$8 a kilo for a sml bike. Plus fuel surcharge of about $1 and a couple of other charges. You will get out of it this end I would think around $1500. Qantas try to tell you to go thru an agent but don't you will save plenty. Send me an email and I will get a price for you off the Qantas bloke who is doing ours as he is really helpfull.
We are shipping ours for the same reason you are we set them up and did some trips to get used to them, as it will be many years before they return to OZ if ever.

Cheers
Paul
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  #9  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by vincek100 View Post
As long as you pay the destination charges before hand, and that you don't send your bike to a dodgy port, there is no worry to have.

I´ve only sent once by sea, from Sydney to Helsinki in April 2008. Costs (for just over 2 cubic) meters in Sydney were 480 euros, and costs in Helsinki were 180 euros. The latter is a considerable percentage of the total amount, and I picked up the package the first day that it was possible, so there were no extra warehousing fees. I dont consider Helsinki a ´dodgy port´.

I also have no idea, whether it would have been possible to pay those Helsinki port fees in advance in Sydney, but the whole idea sounds a bit strange, and at least no-one mentioned anything about that. Not saying it´s impossible, but I was too busy to handle the sending to think about the receiving end.

It was estimated to take 42 days, but ended up taking just a bit over 2 months, the explanation was that the container had missed a boat in Singapore (after which it was re-routed to Europe, finally arrived from Sweden by truck). Not that it mattered so much to me, because the trip was already finished, but it did take some 3 weeks more than planned. With airfreight possible delays are usually only a few hours or days, but by sea, they can easily be very long.

For shorter distances, say, 2000-3000 kms I´d take the plane any time, because it´s just so much quicker and smoother, one bike in a container in a huge freight ship doesnt get handled so quickly. And even prices may be surprisingly close between air/sea (from India to Malaysia, 3 hour flight time, the prices were in fact just about the same). One traveller that I met, was offered almost the same price to ship the bike by sea from KL to Chennai, or to send it to Hamburg!! The boat has a real price advantage only, when you send very far.
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Old 15 Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
I´ve only sent once by sea, from Sydney to Helsinki in April 2008. Costs (for just over 2 cubic) meters in Sydney were 480 euros, and costs in Helsinki were 180 euros. The latter is a considerable percentage of the total amount, and I picked up the package the first day that it was possible, so there were no extra warehousing fees. I dont consider Helsinki a ´dodgy port´.
Helsinki is definitely not a dodgy port (after all, it's not Hell Sinky). However, depending on the port, destination charges can be very different. And it does not solely depend on the country. There are huge differences, for instance, between Le Havre and Marseille in France.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
I also have no idea, whether it would have been possible to pay those Helsinki port fees in advance in Sydney, but the whole idea sounds a bit strange, and at least no-one mentioned anything about that. Not saying it´s impossible, but I was too busy to handle the sending to think about the receiving end.
It is, as a matter of fact possible, but not always easy. The company arranging your shipment has to find out about the handling charges with the agent they're dealing with in the destination country. Insisting is a good option, as they are not used to that.
When destination charges are paid - and you have a proof for that - then there is (normally) no surprise. I hope I'll be able to firmly confirm that assertion in about four days, when I go and pick up the side car in Vancouver...
For the rest of your post, I have to agree that sea freight schedules and reliability are two notions that do not ultimately get on well together... And for just a 250cc, for that distance, I'd go for air freight. But: it depends on what you got most: time or money!
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  #11  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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Mate,
if you go by the dvd done by HU they advise fly as you can go at the same time as in the past, they have arrived in the country and found the boat is still en route or not sailed as still waiting to fill the containers up!
my own experience is fly cheaper better quicker.
have a look here James Cargo Services IATA, AATA, IPATA and DEFRA approved Cargo Agent
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Old 16 Jul 2010
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Hey thanks All for this very lively feedback - seems like air vs ship is quite a controversial issue amongst the biking fraternity, hahaha!

After all I've heard, I'm still veering towards air freight if poss - PaulD, I'll email you separately about getting a quote off that handy Qantas guy, as it sounds like you're onto something good there. As you advise, I always try avoiding agents/go-betweens anyway as I prefer to be more hands-on and save money: it's worth it for a little extra effort!

Buying a bike in South Africa is of course still a possibility (thanks again Pumbaa for that very useful link). But as a newbie rider I still feel like I'll want to be riding a bike I'm familiar with and am drawn to the idea of spending time kitting it up properly at home (and practising riding being loaded up) before I head off on my adventures...

Jeanie
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Old 16 Jul 2010
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Gary,

I was told by Qantas they they go on a pallet, and are not crated (that was after I had arranged for crating !) I have a friend in Townsville who flew his bike to Singapore but I just can't remember the airline (it was not Qantas) It was very reasonably priced and also not crated. I will try and get the details for you and pm them to you. It was this year also.

Thanks
Paul
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  #14  
Old 16 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanied1 View Post


Buying a bike in South Africa is of course still a possibility (thanks again Pumbaa for that very useful link). But as a newbie rider I still feel like I'll want to be riding a bike I'm familiar with and am drawn to the idea of spending time kitting it up properly at home (and practising riding being loaded up) before I head off on my adventures...

Jeanie
No probs - everyone on that forum is very nice and really HELPFUL, going out their way to help you if they can...there are a lot of lady riders too and also a lot of shorter people. They should all be able to give you some good advice.

If you know what you want and want to avoid the shipping costs etc, its definitely worthwile keeping an eye on the for sale section. Lots of guys wil be able to help you kit it out too if not already kitted out.

btw, my wife is going for her first lesson tomorrow, also vertically challenged and petite at 5ft2'...hope she enjoys it!!

Cheers
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Old 16 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selous View Post
Mate,
if you go by the dvd done by HU they advise fly as you can go at the same time as in the past, they have arrived in the country and found the boat is still en route or not sailed as still waiting to fill the containers up!
Sorry mate, I don't go by books or DVD's, I'm an empiricist, I go by experience. The inconveniences you mention are things you have to carefully check with you're agent (whom you have to choose with great caution).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selous View Post
fly better
Yes, I can agree with that
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selous View Post
fly quicker
Yes, definitely
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selous View Post
fly cheaper
Definitely not. Or at least, it depends on the size of your motorcycle. Now, here is my last shipping bill:

Currency: USD
Ocean Freight Rates => 75$/CBM X 6CBM* => 450$
ACI (advanced commercial Information)----=> 25$ per bill of lading
Local Handling charges Vancouver -------- => 95$ per bill of lading
Local Security Charges Vancouver ---------=> 15$
Currency: Malaysian Ringgits
Terminal Handling Charges => 40 per round up CM = 240
Bill of lading------------------------------------ => 110 per set
SMK fee --------------------------------- ------=> 30 per set
Surrender fee---------------------------------- => 80 per bill of lading
Custom Examination ----------------------------=> 30 per 1st sets of declaration
Custom Documentation -------------------------=> 30 per Bill of lading
Electronic Data Interchange---------------------=> 30 per Bill of lading
Forwarding fees --------------------------------=> 100 per shipment
Handling and supervision fees -------------------=> 100 per shipment
5% government tax -----------------------------=> 14.50
Fumigation charges -----------------------------=> 175 per wooden crate
*CBM: Cubic Meter

Total = 2870 RM (malaysian ringgits)
= 900$


That's for a 6 Cubic meter crate! If you do a nice crate, and use your screwdriver a bit, you can get it to 2CBM for a rather small motorcycle (mine is a long K100 with a large Ural).
That gets you to

2 Cubic Meters = 550$


Malaysia to canada is a long distance. But it is a fairly common route (going to Singapore, Beijing and so on).
This I hope gives a rough estimation of shipping costs.

Quote:
But as a newbie rider I still feel like I'll want to be riding a bike I'm familiar with and am drawn to the idea of spending time kitting it up properly at home (and practising riding being loaded up) before I head off on my adventures
It is always preferable to ride a bike you know, in terms of road behaviour and in terms of mechanics. That is an advice that I think everyone on this forum will agree with ;-)
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