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  #1  
Old 1 Apr 2009
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Question Shipping agent in Kobe, Japan?

Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting here. I'm 35 years old, from the Netherlands. Always loved offroad bikes but in Holland it isn't really possible to ride that much except on tracks or organised events which I never got into. Ever since watching Mondo Enduro on TV a long time ago I was fascinated with the idea of long distance riding like that.

After working in an office job for 9 years me and my wife made the big decision and quit our jobs and sold our house and everything to go on "the big trip". It wasn't going to be on bikes but we settled on a 4x4, 80 series landcruiser. We have now been travelling around northern, western and southern Africa for around 16 months and we've been having the best time of our lives basically. Seen and done a lot of amazing things, met hunderds of wonderful people and just feeling really privileged and happy to be able to do this.. Well, most of the time anyway haha.

We originally planned to go back north via the east coast, but a brief encounter with an exhausted belgian couple on the long sandy stretches in Congo (Radio Baobab, hi Fred & Josephine! ) got us thinking about shipping the car to Japan and then back through Siberia, Mongolia and the Stans. We hadn't realized that was even possible before, but it sounded real interesting to see a few totally different countries. So after thinking about it for a while we decided to follow in their footsteps more or less.
After a big loop through southern Africa we came back to Durban and from there shipped the car to Kobe, Japan. The car is now underway, scheduled to arrive in about two weeks.

Our problem now is finding a good and affordable shipping agent in Kobe. We would like to arrange things before we get to Japan ourselves while we're still in Durban. We've been looking all over the internet and have been sending lots of emails but so far we have received only one price quote. They are asking around 100.000 yen including customs fees, but this is about the same as the total amount we paid for freight and everything else combined in Durban.

So, I was hoping that someone here might know of a good shipping agent in Kobe (or maybe Osaka) who can assist?

Thanks a lot!
Onno


Last edited by Onno; 14 Sep 2011 at 18:07.
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Old 2 Apr 2009
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One company that has been very helpful to travelers is Air Sea Express
I think 100,000 yen (US$1,000) is a reasonable cost for a CAR.
It will cost almost that much for a motorcycle if you include crating costs!

Air Sea Express Contact info:
3-7-6 Kyobashi Chuo-Ku, Tokyo 104-0031, JAPAN
81-3-3538- 6660
izuru_takahashi {A*T} asej {D*O*T} co {D*O*T} jp
(Mr. Izuru Takahashi)

Please add your shipping information for to and from Japan (when the system is fixed )
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tri...t/shipping.php
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Old 2 Apr 2009
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I just re-read your post.
Are you are looking for someone to do only customs procedures for you??
I thought you were looking for a shipping company.

You don't need an agent for customs!
Do it yourself. Just have your carnet validated by the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) at their office in Osaka.
JAF For Visitors Bringing Vehicles with Carnet de Passages en Douane
Then go to customs to have them stamp your carnet.
Then go to the warehouse and pick up your car and drive away to the ferry to Vladivostok.
Your real adventure will be customs in Vladivostok. That can be a nightmare....
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Old 2 Apr 2009
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Hi Chris,
Thanks for the quick replies!
We're shippng the car from Durban to Kobe, so we only need a shipping agent who can arrange for the container to be transported from the ship to a warehouse where we can unload the car ourselves (hopefully they will allow that).
We've already arranged for the Carnet to be verified in Osaka and we're handling the customs procedure ourselves. Very friendly people there at the JAF by the way.
We probably need a shipping agent to arrange the transport of the container right?
Regards,
Onno
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Old 2 Apr 2009
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Just to clarify my last post: we are not looking for a customs agent, but a logistics / shipping company who can arrange the transport of the container and who can pay the terminal handling fees to the carrier etc.

We read all about the difficult customs in Vladivostok, doesn't sound very inviting haha. So now we're planning to take the Kampu Ferry to Busan, drive around South Korea for a week or two and then take the Dong Chun Ferry to Zarubino. Hopefully makes for an easier trip and as a bonus we'll get to see another interesting country.

Thanks again!
Onno
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Old 3 Apr 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onno View Post
Hi Chris,
We're shippng the car from Durban to Kobe, so we only need a shipping agent who can arrange for the container to be transported from the ship to a warehouse where we can unload the car ourselves (hopefully they will allow that).
Hmm....
I don't think I can help you with that then. Sorry.
I have never heard of the need for a different agent for getting a container from the ship to the warehouse. I have only helped with individual motorcycles, not entire containers.
The company that shipped the container from Durban should have told you their local warehouse in Kobe to pick up your car from. I think container ships unload all of the cargo right away.
Maybe you should talk with the shipping company in Durban again and get more information on where to pick up the car. At least ask them to recommend an agent in Kobe.
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Old 3 Apr 2009
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No problem Chris.
I talked to our shipping agent in Durban before about this and he told me that all the containers are loaded / offloaded from a place in the port called 'stacks'. This is basically a huge pile of all the containers that go on the one ship I think. To pack or unpack the container it has to be transported to a warehouse.
I have two price quotes now and the prices are about the same sadly. More than twice what we paid in Durban for the same services..
It seems that union regulations don't allow non-union workers to touch the cargo in the port area, which includes all warehouses. A lump sum of around 40.000 yen is charged per container for unloading, which is incredibly steep since in this case the unloading would take a single person about half an hour. I'm going to try and negotiate this down to actual cost. We'll see what happens!
Thanks again,
Onno
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