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Trip Transport Shipping the vehicle and yourself.
Photo by Mark Newton, Mexican camping

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Mark Newton,
Camping in the Mexican desert



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  #1  
Old 3 Apr 2002
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clearance costs at destination

Aargh!! We're shipping 2 bikes (1 crate) from Australia (Sydney) to Canada (Vancouver) this month. I've been ringing around all the sea and air freight companies in Sydney, and while they can all give me freight quotes, none of them seem to have any idea what kind of charges we'll be getting stung with in Vancouver. One sea freight co. was suggesting that I should budget for a minimum clearance charge of US$400!! Can anyone shed some light on the issue?!
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  #2  
Old 4 Apr 2002
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The price doesn't surprise me a lot. Sea freight clearance charges are always much more expensive than air freight clearance charges. Often it's enough to make it worth shipping by air. And in fact we usually recommend air shipping, partly because of this, but mainly because of the difference in reliability. Sea freight can have massive delays, (up to months) whereas air delays are normally a matter of a few days at worst.

If you choose to use sea freight, (or air, it doesn't matter) because Canada is English speaking and procedures are straightforward, you can probably save most of the costs by doing the clearance work yourself. It will take a little longer, but it's not hard.

I talked to a well-known broker here in Vancouver: Pacific Customs Brokers at 1-604-538-1566, http://www.pcb.ca

They quoted: US$75 plus US$26 per bike for documentation, and US$93 for getting the bikes/crate out of customs to their warehouse - where they will hold the crate for you until you ship out. Shipping back out charges should be about US$30 each if you use their crateholding service.

Always remember that there is always something $$ they forget...

They also quoted CDN$1100 = US$693 per bike for shipping from Sydney and paperwork complete if the bikes are in two crates, less in one crate. CDN$2000 covers both bikes in one 6 cubic meter crate for everything except customs charges if any.

Hope that helps,

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Grant Johnson

One world, Two wheels.
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
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  #3  
Old 7 Apr 2002
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Gidget:

Many of the 'clearance charges' you refer to may well be optional, so far as importation into Canada is concerned.

Many companies use customs brokers to look after the paperwork that needs to be completed to satisfy the requirements of the Canadian Customs and Revenue Authority. However, there is no requirement whatsoever from the Government of Canada to use a customs broker, and in practice, the Customs Inspectors are usually very helpful to individuals who are making single, non-commercial imports, and they will go to great lengths to assist you in filling out the forms and guiding you through the process.

The only problem you will face if you don't use a broker is that you won't really know where to start. If time is not a big issue for you - meaning, if you don't mind spending half a day or a day running around - then you can plan on doing your own paperwork and import process, and you won't have to pay a cent for it. Once you connect with the first Canada Customs employee, they will tell you what you have to do to make the clearance. Sometimes it is a pain in the butt to run around and get all the papers, etc. but it is not a difficult process at all.

HOWEVER: - there may be other charges, such as port charges, storage charges, handling charges, etc. that have nothing to do with the government or the import process that you will need to pay. What I suggest you do is try and find out how much of the price you have been quoted is for actual disbursements to other agencies (the port authority, longshoremen, etc.) and how much is a service fee for walking the paperwork through. All the paperwork handling you can do yourself. The other disbursements you won't be able to duck at all.

So far as any charges from the Canadian Customs people are concerned, generally the entire inspection process is free, and I can't imagine that there would be any duties of any kind to pay as long as you are just making a temporary import for tourism purposes. The only fee you could possibly need to pay the government is CAD $25 or CAD $50 if you want an 'immediate' inspection of the goods for clearance, rather than waiting until the inspector makes his daily rounds to the different warehouses.

Hope this helps.
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Old 7 Apr 2002
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Thanks folks. All that info is a great help. That pcb website you mentioned, Grant, is an excellent source of information - it can supply online customs forms, which is GREAT. I think we'll try to do the customs clearance ourselves - we've got free accomodation in Vancouver, so we wont be in too much of a hurry...
Thanks once again, any info is ammunition in the bike freight war!!
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  #5  
Old 7 Apr 2002
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Gidday folks,

shipping to montreal in May, the Vancouver info you guys gave seem to fit to me too. There are still two open questions:

1. Anybody heard something about problems when arriving with a oneway ticket in Canada?

2. I am still looking for a cheap insurance (minimum requirements in Canada/USA) for my bike. The cheapest I got til now (US Company)is 70US$/month + 50US$ handling. Doing it in Germany costs 190 Euros/Month!!!!!

thanks in advance

sam
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Old 8 Apr 2002
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Sam, should be no problem - as long as you have evidence of sufficient funds. That usually means a credit card or preferably two!

Insurance will be expensive. If we go to Europe we have the same problem - insurance is very expensive! It's all related to not being resident, so there are very few companies who will do it at all, and those that do want to get well-paid for it. I suspect tourists accident rates are also higher given unfamiliarity with local driving styles and rules.

Pan-European (Canadian) has been struggling for a long time to get decent rates in Europe, so can commiserate.

Sorry, but that's the way it is! Note I wouldn't recommend minimum liability insurance - get AT LEAST US$1 million coverage, preferably more. Payouts are much higher here than Europe.

------------------
Grant Johnson

One world, Two wheels.
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
__________________
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Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------
Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
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  #7  
Old 9 Apr 2002
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Hi Sam:

Concerning the issue of you arriving with just a one-way ticket, the reception you get will depend a lot on what you 'look' like, and also what passport you are carrying.

If you have, for example, an EC passport, then the Canadian immigration folks would have no concerns that you would overstay your welcome and claim refugee status, therefore, from strictly an immigration point of view, they could not care less that you don't have a return ticket. If you needed to get a visa to come to Canada, in that case, I think you may well be challenged about how you plan to leave, and need to be prepared to show not only that you have funds to pay for leaving, but that you have an intent (reason) to leave - e.g. a job back home, owning property, etc. At one end of the scale would be a married Caucasian born and raised in Western Europe, with a job, professional qualifications, property and family back home - no worries about that person remaining in Canada. At the other end of the scale would be a young person, single, from an impoverished or otherwise undesirable (war-torn, repressive, etc.) country who clearly has no obvious motivation to return to from whence they came, and substantial motivation to better their life by staying in Canada. So play immigration inspector and classify yourself.

The other matter - having sufficient funds to support yourself during your tour of Canada - is a judgment call of the immigration officer, however, he or she is unlikely to raise the question unless you look like you might be in financial distress. If you have some cash or travelers cheques with you, and/or some credit cards, you should not have a problem at all.

Respecting insurance, if you got insurance for USD 70 a month, consider yourself lucky. The best I have been able to find going in the other direction (Canadian motorcycle to Europe) is about USD 250 a month. That is for full coverage, fire, theft, collision, as well as liability.

Regarding Grant's comment about the amount of liability coverage you should get, in principle, Grant is correct, the Americans do award higher payouts in the case of an accident, etc., however, the American lawyers operate on commission and will only go after someone if they think they have some money to grab. So, if you are a 25 year old and have a net worth of whatever is in your pocket plus your motorcycle, don't worry too much, you could get the legal minimum and that would be good enough. The sharks won't go after you if there is no meat on the bones.

On the other hand, if you own your own home, mortgage paid, have a nice stock portfolio and are expecting to inherit the family business in a few years, then you have more to lose if someone comes after you, therefore, buy more liability coverage.

[This message has been edited by PanEuropean (edited 09 April 2002).]
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