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Old 1 Dec 2009
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how to ship EXPENSIVELY with HASSEL!

how to ship a motorcycle from USA to Australia with high cost

How to ship a motorcycle from USA to Australia. (With hassel and high cost)

Company: Swindle Logistics, Los Angeles (not the real name since we cannot advertise here.)

1) one has to chose USA as an export location. Many go north to Canada to do a hassel free custom job.

I chose Los Angeles because by looking at the map, it was the biggest city from USA to Down-under, thinking that the airplane would save more fuel. (WRONG CHOICE!!)

2) Ask for quote from Freight company. Airline will not entertain private customers.

when asking for quote, do not take it too hard, they do not mean what they quote. take it as a 'hello'.

even they quote you $1.00/kg, later they will say 100001 reasons for increasing of fuel price from the date of quote to the date of flying. then they will not mean their quote. usually they will use a cheap price to attract you to come to them, making you to put the bike with them so it would be hard for you to take it out even it becomes $7.00/kg.

3) DONT CLEAN YOUR BIKE! do not tear down the whole bike for washing. need not take out every screws and nut, every blind spot, wash with metal scrubs and lots of detergent. instead of using 3-4 full days for cleaning it, RELY on those car wash people or power jet spray. they will make the bike wet, put alot of shampoo and looked like a good shower and they sure know how to put armor all onto the tires. DO not care about the dirt on the bike. when arrived in Australia, the quarentine officer will put your bike into a container, either fumigate it with a HIGH cost or you can chose to destroy the bike with fire on the spot to advoid this fumigation cost. bring your own lighter.

4) DO NOT built your own crate. use the 'pallet' given by the freight forwarder so that the packing guy you were forced to use (US$200) will have an easy task of putting on the bike into the crate. Remember do not take out the front tire! it will take up more space when calculated as a whole volume, it will help the packing guy to ease his job, creating more sales in his company.

Imagine i had taken off the tire. How is he going to put the bike on the crate? i did it in Bangkok, the airshipment to Katmathdu.this was the easiest way that he could work. you see the space between the skid plate and the wood, it is a waste of space! by compressing the front suspension all the way down using his tie downs are not 'healthy' for the bike.

DO not take out the handlebar. it will contribute 30% to the final bill. taking out the handlebar will not ease the packing guy's job and might make his day bad. anyway, it's only US$800 bill if you did not take out the handle bar and you can make everyone in that company happy.

by building your own crate will only limit the specification that you know. for example, if you measured by tearing down your bike and put it in a box, the diamension will be 2meters length, 0.7meters width, 1.3m height. BUT if you use their system, they will measure the widest point of the length, width and height, ignoring the pallet size.

***saving money tips here***

ask any grandparents that is walking on the road, that has nothing to do, or someone's little nephew/niece that is having their kindergarden vacation, US$50 for the above 30minutes job.

5) tell the US customs that you had smuggled your bike in because when entering USA from Mexico, the custom officer quoted that you will NOT need any documents to bring your bike in. then when exiting the country, they will say that you had smuggled your bike into usa. BUT the operational manager of the company will be very tackful with this, by convincing the officer. so even when you are not happy with the price and want to bring the bike back and repack, the next time when u want to sent again it will not be easy to 'convince' the officer that you have not smuggle the bike in. so, just tell them you had smuggled the bike in and pay some fine... everyone will be happy.

6) throw away the payment recipt. you do not need any proof to show the company because even you show them the recipt, they will say that the $ has not appear in their account yet, so that they can hold your goods back and delay your plans/shipment.

7) do not give them the address in australia or USA. they will not sent any documents there. you will have to walk 30minutes to a train station, take a 50minutes train, stand on the road and wait for a taxi for 30 minutes with no taxi will appear. then ask someone how to catch a taxi. after 20minutes the taxi had still not arrived and you will have to hitch hike.

there is no need to rush for time to get the documents because the company close at 5pm and the next day is a holiday, nobody is working and you are suppose to fly on that day.

8) after a long journey on public transport of getting the documents from the company, throw away the documents or burn it. (bring your own lighter). the document is useless. really! they just want to see the recipt of payment by scanning and email is useless.

so... how to save money and hassel free shipment?

NUMBER 1: DO NOT CHOSE USA AS AN EXPORT DESTINATION. i believe my travellers agree with this.

but if you have to, then:

1) request for quote from a company.

a) i will need to supply them with estimated specifications. for my Honda Africa Twin 750, i can resize it into a box that is of

200cm length x 70cm wide x 130cm height = 1820000cm cube.

so after packing, compressing the front suspension, pallet thickness, the total height became 135cm, where u can see my left hand is. my chin level is 150cm.

then use 1820000 divided by 6000 (thats the fomular) = 303.33kg which is the volumetric weight.

b) i have to supply them with the actual mass weight also, which is estimated 300kg INCLUSIVE of the crate (metal)!

ask for all the other fees like

a) documention and handling
b) fuel surcharge
c) airfreight charge
d) Hazard / Restricted Goods Handling
e) screening Fee - HAWB
f) DG (dangerous goods) cert
g) security surcharge - HAWB
h) packing / crating
i) airport transfer
j) any other fees that are not on the above!

ask how they charge for the above, by per kg or a one time fee. i was lured into the company because item d,e,f,g and i was not in the initial quote. when i question them about this, they give me unfavourable reply.

2) after selecting the company, i have to choose the crate. the company , Swindle Logistic (not the real name), had finally found a wooden pallet given to them by Qantas. that was after 3 weeks of waiting for their quote for a crate. Duncan of Santa Barbara, helped me to call BMW at Long Beach, LA, USA if they had a crate.

Thanks Duncan.

BMW has a metal crate but it was too huge and it would be about 50kg.

after all, to pay for someone to built a physical crate would be the best, knowing the volumeteric measurements would be limited inside the crate. like my case, i used their pallet, not knowing how they calcalute the volume.

Australia Certified Wood. Heat treated?

before putting the bike onto the crate, both of us went to a bike wash and do some cleaning. Reached home at 1pm and we took out everything like mudguards, wheels, chain, skid plate, fairings, boxes, signal indicators, radiator fan ... for washing. real dirt scrubbing with metal scrubs and kerosene. we use 2 days to clean the bike and on the day of sending the bike to Swindle Logistic's warehouse, we went to a carwash again and clean the bike. during packing of the bike, we have to make sure no dirt sticks onto the tire.

when packing the bike, the requirements are:

the gas tank must not be more than 1/4. (so i drained some away till reserve)
the battery terminal must be connected and taped.
I release both the tire pressure abit as the airplane will fly very high, creating more pressure in the tire.

i let the packing guy witness all these.

but i have a question, if i am going to crate the bike myself, who is going to witness that i had done all these?

the sales person does not know how to do it. he say ALL FLUID MUST BE DRAINED. then he verbally tells me that after i drain the gas, there are still some gas left in the pipeline of the motorcycle and he need to charge me US$50 or more to get another certificate of it.


after all these, all I need is just an airway bill number or a photocopy/softcopy of the airway bill. make sure to book a flight 2-3 days before you leave the country.

How to clear a motorcycle in Australia.

i had the airway bill. i know it is flying with Qantas. Just log in to Qantas website and put the tracking number and will know where is the bike. then i called qantas if the bike is avalible for collection. i just need to quote the airway bill number.

go down to Qantas freight terminal at link road, near Sydney airport.

S 33deg 55.849'
E151deg 09.950'

(we googled Link Road and found out that it was 1.6km to where we are staying now. so we walked there in the morning and realised that we are in the wrong Link Road, ended up taking a taxi.)

Go to the counter and collect a stack relevent to your shipment. take this stack of documents to the customs house near to the passenger airport, 5 minutes walking distance away.

S 33deg 56.011'
E151deg 09.853'

go into the ticket machine, press the button :EXAMINATION and get a ticket.

(i pressed some other stuff, went to the counter, showed them the documents and they ask me to fill up 5 pages of form. the form includes many technical terms which i have to refer to a big 'bible' on the table to find some related code numbers.

the questions were like:

Owner ID (ABN/CAC) i donno whats that.

Header Valuation advise number. donno whats that.

EFT payment. donno whats that.

Tariff classification number. got to refer to the big 'bible' on the table

treatment code: donno whats that.

preferece scheme type: donno whats that
and many more.

i almost wanted to give up. it's like going to a school examination without doing any homework.

i went to submit the form to the officer. she was nice to explain every little detail to me until the section on supplier's name.
She asked me who did i bought the bike from?

i said from a private owner.

then do u have his address, name or company name, telephone number, invoice of the bike???

i said no. it was because.....

she stepped back and said i MUST HAVE all these info in the form, if not they cannot proceed.
at this time i was very stucked! then i took out my weapon:

The Carnet De Passages En Douane, which Jiawei and Michel helped me to apply for in Singapore.

Then there was a change of situation, i was asked to get another ticket from the button: examination. phewwww.....)

when called, show them your Carnet De Passages En Douane and they will arrange a custom officer to meet up with you at Qantas freight terminal, the place where i had collected the stack of documents earlier.

together with the quarentine officer and the custom officer, they check our goods.

the custom officer checked the VIN number of the bike and stamped onto the CPD, tearing the bottom section part away.

The quarantine officer is satisfied with Hope Too's cleaniness.

(we had 3 friends that shipped the bike into Australia. All of them were caught with dirt somewhere in the bike and was put into quarantine. the officer had to fumigate the bike at a high cost.)

We proceed with the payment to Qantas.

Import Document Fee: A$33.00 with GST
International terminal fee: A$93.72 with GST
Total : A$126.72

we wait outside, the fork lift brought the bike to us. we unpack, throw the pallet and rubbish on site and roll off with my reserve gas in the tank!
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Old 1 Dec 2009
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Welcome to Australia and sorry to hear of all the difficulties SD, it sounds very similar to my experience last year when I shipped my bike back to Australia from Rome - cost me around AUD$3,000 in total, which is probably more than the bike is worth.

I also ended up with prices being jacked up once I agreed to a specific shipper, and I got right royally screwed by the local bike shop who packed my bike into a used crate - that alone set me back 300 euro. .

However, coming back into Oz my only complaint was the local agents handling fees. Customs and quarantine were a breeze and my bike was truly filthy - completely unwashed and covered in bugs etc. (the Roman bike shop had promised to clean it, but didn't ) - but customs didn't mind and approved it anyway.

Let me know when you are heading down to Melbourne - would love to share notes with you.
Garry from Oz - powered by Burgman
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Old 6 Dec 2009
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Ha, great advice, thanks for sharing.
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Old 8 Dec 2009
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Some great advice there, but you never told us how much the total cost to you was, landed and ready to ride away in Oz. It would be great if you could let us know. Did you fly direct from US to Oz or was there a stop over? We're hoping to do the trip soon.
Thanks for the info. Enjoy your ride.
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Old 9 Dec 2009
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So you're here too.

Originally Posted by klavdy View Post
Ha, great advice, thanks for sharing.
Good to see you here Klavdy. It's been a while since I saw you on the FJ boards - good to know you're still doing a bit of touring.
Garry from Oz - powered by Burgman
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Old 10 Dec 2009
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USA side:

about US$3000 for the bike

australia side:

A$120 for quantas

thats all.

all these excluded the carnet which i applied in singapore with the help of my friend, just to import to australia.

the carnet costed a bomb!

the the bike could be under $2000 if......
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Old 10 Dec 2009
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Interesting stuff: I'll be boating into Darwin from East Timor in a few months. Hopefully my bike will be clean enough for customs too!

If anyone is intersted in cheap shipping but lots and lots of hassle, my advice is to use DHL in Calcutta. They are a great deal of fun
Far From Home, U.K - Oz and beyond.
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Old 11 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by nico-la-vo View Post
Interesting stuff: I'll be boating into Darwin from East Timor in a few months. Hopefully my bike will be clean enough for customs too!

If anyone is intersted in cheap shipping but lots and lots of hassle, my advice is to use DHL in Calcutta. They are a great deal of fun
hi nico.

r u in indonesia or east timor or india now?

im going from Darwin to East timor...
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