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Old 23 Sep 2012
Wheelie's Avatar
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How to sort transport - tips?

Every time I am to go on a trip, sorting out the shipment of my bike in and out is by far the most difficult task... in particular just trying to find a company that will take my bike or that will respond to my e-mails at all... regardless if I try to arrange air, ship or truck...

How do you go about this? How do you find out who to contact? Who do you, and do you not contact? How much time does it usually take before you start searching until you have found anyone that will help you? How much time do you expect to spend sorting out getting your bike home - that is after you have sourced a company and you arrive at your destination.

My personal record is three days after having arrived at my final destination and having rolled into the parking lot of the lostics company... before my run arround from office to office, getting crate sorted, waiting for people to get their thumbs out, is finished...

Any particular type of companies you contact or tricks that you use?

The past few weeks for instance I have been trying to sort out freight from Norway to Iceland and then back home again. I have sendt e-mails directly to two air cargo companies that I know work this route (Iceland air and SAS), DHL and UPS, and four shipping companies/ferries (Smyril Line, Smyril Blue Water, Eimskip, and Samskip). I am no closer to get my bike to Iceland. Googling freight companies that do Iceland - Norway is coming up short.

On my last trip to Spain for instance, it was only through the grape wine that I was able to find a trucking company that would take my bike from Oslo.

From Guinea Bissau, it was only by chance that I got in touch with a totally unknown logistics company that had arranged container shipments from Bissau to Norway before - and that was after having contacted just about every office at Maersk, DHL, UPS and every airline that goes out of Bissau, and tens of other companies. It was only bu chance that I) got in touch with a fellw overlander that had done this particular shioment before and pointed me in the right direction. Not only was it a nightmare to get my bike out of Bissau with three days speaking with just about every government official, bribing, pushing... and that was after everything was "sorted" before I went on my trip. I also had to pay for a whole container - luckily I got four others to share it with me.

On a previous trip before that, getting in touch with the right people at DHL to get my bike to Cape Town, and then later out of Nairoby, was pure luck. And, things did not even remotely go smooth. Three days in Nairoby before I felt remotely assured that my bike would be taken care of - and i had to leave it without having everything sorted. It was a nightmare getting the rest sorted from home.

I am thinking there must be something I am doing wrong, and that there must be an easier way.

Any tips would be appreciated.
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Old 23 Sep 2012
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My top tip is to find the local MC club, there's always someone able and willing to help, especially if there is a language difference.
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Old 24 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie View Post
SNIP...
I am thinking there must be something I am doing wrong, and that there must be an easier way.

Any tips would be appreciated.
Wheelie,
You're not doing anything wrong. There is no easier way.

With the exception of certain "first world"--particularly transatlantic--air/seafreight routes, there is no regular or ordinary communication or contact method that always works best in all parts of the world, at all times.

Stephen's suggestion--contacting local mcyc clubs--is a good option to
add to your repetoire, but it's only another possibility.

The worldwide freight transportation infrastructure is so variable that almost every situation-routing-market is different, in terms of the actual transport options, and who, specifically, to contact at what level of what provider/ organization.

And, if there is any "regularity," it is that the system is NOT set up to respond to individuals wanting to transport single personal vehicles. There is little margin/ incentive for aircargo or seafreight companies, or freight forwarder-agents, to deal with you/ us, because this type of service is labor-attention-detail-cost intensive compared to the types & scale of cargo customers that generate the most revenue for carriers and agents.

Another suggestion: using your Norway-Iceland example, you say you used EMAIL to (attempt initial) contact with various possible transport company options, presumably based in Oslo. I would offer that, if initial email or tel contacts do not generate any response, that you go personally to any providers' office location and engage an onsite rep/ agent directly, face-to-face. That will sometimes help cut through the(ir) information overload that your emails are only a miniscule part of.

Carry on...and continue to add your own experiences to this HUBB and similar targeted word-of-mouth/ online sources.
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Old 24 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CourtFisher View Post

The worldwide freight transportation infrastructure is so variable that almost every situation-routing-market is different, in terms of the actual transport options, and who, specifically, to contact at what level of what provider/ organization.

And, if there is any "regularity," it is that the system is NOT set up to respond to individuals wanting to transport single personal vehicles. There is little margin/ incentive for aircargo or seafreight companies, or freight forwarder-agents, to deal with you/ us, because this type of service is labor-attention-detail-cost intensive compared to the types & scale of cargo customers that generate the most revenue for carriers and agents.
Totally agree. Sending one single motorcycle somewhere, once, is really like charity work for them. Another good point is that the system is built to move large volumes of cargo efficiently. When you have only 1 single item, that you want to transport, the system may not be so effective from your point of view. This especially comes up clearly with seafreight.
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