Saturday 10 March 2012

My bike goes to Nepal!

I've been dealing with Trans Air Cargo to air-freight my bike into Nepal. I had been dealing with Kittima which is who everyone else mentions on Horizons Unlimited. I started the process just before I entered Thailand. I crossed the border on the 1st, had the required documentation to her by the 3rd, and by the 9th it was all crated up and booked on a flight for the 12th. The only delay after I had all the documentation together was the dangerous goods certificate, but that only took a couple of days and then I got notice from Kittima that I should be at Trans Air Cargo on the 8th at 10am with the bike.

So on the morning of the 8th, I realised I didn't know where to go exactly. So I checked their website to see if I could figure out where, and spotted the head office address in the middle of Bangkok, a main warehouse and a customs warehouse near the airport, and two other office addresses. I tried calling Kittima a number of times that morning to verify where exactly I should go but she would not answer. I called Trans Air Cargo but no one wanted to commit to an address without Kittima being there. I thought this may delay my shipment because it would be a dangerous goods inspection like in Australia when they must be present to check the bike over before shipping. If I missed this appointment I figured I may have to hang around for a week for another appointment to be booked. 

As it as getting closer to 10am I just decided I should just get to the warehouse address, that's the most reasonable destination to go to, but I miss-underestimated how hard it would be to set my GPS to navigate me there. After trying to find the location via eyeing similar locations in Google maps, and then matching the streets in the GPS I eventually found the warehouse location. 

Just as it hit 10am Kittima arrived at work and responded to an email and gave me the head office address in the center of Bangkok. I called back quickly and asked what happens if I miss 10am, which I already had, and she said it's OK, just come in at 3pm. I thought that was curious... But I asked where exactly where I was going, and she said she would send a map. The phone coverage at the hotel here is terrible too so it was hard to understand what she was saying, she probably couldn't understand my broken Australian English either. Through the conversation I'm trying to verify if i'm going to the warehouse, and she said yes. So I get my gear together and got ready to head out towards the airport. 

After a few minutes I get the email on my phone and I decided to check it, just in case. I find a map and directions to the head office address in the middle of the city. Now this made me wonder, I called Kittima back and asked why she sent a map to the office. Well it turns out they have a packing facility there and that's where I should be going...

Right. I headed there, an hour through Bangkok traffic. It's not to bad, it's like driving in Melbourne, maybe like it was before the police started cracking down on all the lane-splitting by motorbikes. It has been nine months since I was there though, I could have forgotten entirely!

Finally I get to the office location...
Taking the freight elevator up to the second floor.
After I get to the packing floor they ask if I want to start disassembling the bike now or tomorrow. I said now is OK and get to it. I took the panniers off, the front wheel, front mudguard, the mirrors, my extra PVC tubes, and loosened the bark busters. Fairly minimal disassembly.

Here is Mr Ano measuring for the crate, and his assistant draining their free fuel.
After the battery was taped up and the fuel gone it was all done.

This is everything.
There was still some space left in one of the panniers after the yellow tool box was out. I had some other gear back at the hotel that I was going to put in there. I knew I'd be paying the volume rate as the bike is quite light compared to the space it takes up. I went back the hotel and packed up anything I wouldn't need in Nepal for a few days so I could ship that for "free" too.

Once I got back to Trans Air Cargo the next day (right near one of the BTS stations too) this is how I found my bike:

Well... I won't be putting anything else in that pannier.
I had my blue bag filled with riding gear and other items so I just jammed that in the corner of the crate to go with it. It was dark in the box too, so who knows if they actually packed everything. I guess I'll find out in Nepal.

Here is my crate! If they knew how expensive they were they wouldn't fill games with them.
So all that was left was to pick up my Carnet that had been sent to customs and to pay!

The crate is 100x200x114 but the bike could have been packed down a lot less. If I'd taken the rear wheel off and handlebars too, and then put everything that's not a bike into a second crate I wouldn't be shipping so much air. But there's only so many things that are convenient to take apart and then put back together.

The actual shipping weight should have been somewhere around 200kg, but they charged by volume weight because it was higher and that worked out to 372.5kg

Costs were:
Thai Airways Freight charge = 29800
Handling = 3500
Transport = 1000 (truck to the airport)
Dangerous goods certificate = 700
Wooden case = 9000
Fork lift fee = 500

So that works out to just over $1300. Plus my $400something airfare to Nepal. I read up on some forums before doing this and the only charge I could have really bargained for was the crate cost but that was all done over the phone and I didn't know until I had the final cost in front of me. That might have only saved $150 though. 

And then there's the airfare. Nepal air have a cheaper flight on Mondays and Fridays but I'm going on Tuesday, and for $100 less than the Thai Air flight you can get 1 or 2 stop flight through India with Jet Airways but it takes about 12 hours and I'd possibly need a transit visa. 

But anyway. For similar costs to the Darwin-Singapore freight I'm doing the same Bangkok to Nepal! I think the next shipment will have to be sea-freight though (India to Turkey perhaps?). Just depends on how much "Phase 3: South Asia" costs.


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  2. For me, an adventure with no motorbike is no adventure at all. It may be pricey to bring your bike along with you, especially when it comes to far-off destinations, but it’s really something to drive your own motorbike. =)

    Claudio Mccarty

  3. Shipping a motorcycle by air is definitely expensive. For me, though, it’s not the money that counts, but the unique experience you will get out of it. Riding a motorcycle in a different country, particularly in Nepal, is a great experience. Tip: it would be cool if you study their road signs and traffic regulations to avoid problems along the road. Keep riding!

    *Hannah Parkin

  4. ^ have to agree with this comment. It's expensive to get your bike shipped but worth it if you have a bike you can't live without. My only recommendation is to use a shipping company, I've used A1AutoTransport a few times.

  5. Hello!
    I am just about to ship my bike from BKK to KTM. And I have some questions. You wrote the prices of shipping. And how is it with custom clearance? Does the agency charge for this? Or you can do it by yourself? Is it a lot of papers? The agency I've found asked $300 for custom clearance in Nepal. My bike is Thai registered so maybe that's why I need to do it... What documents do you need to drive trough Nepal, India, Pakistan to Europe??

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