Well it's the 1st February - have you got your bike back? You have always refrained from mentioning the shippers by name but I won't be so reticent. Would they be Wallenius Wilhelmsen Line based in Southampton by any chance? I say this as I used them in 2006 as did Keith last year and for me at least everything went pretty well. I dealt with Tony White and he was on the ball with everything, keeping me informed either by phone or email during the weeks before I had to drop the bike off at the docks. I flew out and a few days later collected the bike at Port Newark. The dock handlers at Port Newark are VERY union minded and won't work a minute passed their allotted time - 4pm. I got there at 3.30pm and was read the riot act so had to scurry around finding difficult-to-find people with big chips on their shoulders. Then the security man on the gate decided that the last digit on the frame numbre wa a '9' and not an '8' so I couldn't have the bike. More arguments ensued before I was able to ride off at 4pm.
Whilst it only took ten days to ship the bike to Port Newark, it took a MONTH for the bike to get back. This is because the ship had to visit about five ports all along the East Coast before crossing the Atlantic. When the bike arrived, the battery was flat and a handler had roughly pulled a side panel off to get his jump leads onto the battery terminals. But at least I had my bike bike.
The biggest problems we have is that most of us only do this once or twice ever and the collosal paperwork is mind blowing. Even the shippers/agents on both sides can't seem to agree with each other on procedures.
I was puzzled to read that the bike was getting shuffled about the country by road and that it was initially to be collected by you from the BMW dealers. How does that work out? Why didn't the bike get delivered to the docks and you collect it from their? What has the BMW dealer got to do with the price of onions? For your return trip, why didn't you take it to the docks and just hand it over? (as I did) I don't get that.
I hope it all works out for you though.