There are enough discussions on the Internet about the pros and cons of various methods of transportation including air, sea, container, RoRo, LoLo, cost, time, … and I don’t want to start a new one. Since this is the first time that I have my bike transported, I can not rely on personal experience. I’ve read through many opinions and discussions of others. At motorradkarawane.de there is a detailed view on the different types of motorcycle transports (only in german).

There are a lot of factors of influence:

  • How far is the distance to the departure port or airport?
  • What does it cost to have your vehicle transported to the departure port or airport?
  • How much does a box cost?
  • Is it possible to store the box at the destination port?
  • Do I travel back from the same port? If not, how much does it cost to dispose the box?
  • Do I need a new box for the return trip (again costs)?
  • Which activities can I do on my own?
  • How much does it cost and how long does it last to get to the arrival-port (plane, train, bus, taxi)?
  • What fees do you have to pay on the arrival port (customs, airport taxes, harbor taxes, storage costs, …)?
  • How much time do you have?
  • and and and

If you live close to a (cargo) airport it might be cheaper to have the motorcycle transported by air, than transporting it hundreds of miles to a harbor and having it shipped.

You can find some companies in a folder in my bookmark collection.

As I mentioned before, I did not have any idea and no experience about transporting a motorbike to another country. I was looking on the Internet for companies that specialised on motorcycle transports. I was thinking a lot of how should I transport my bike, how much would it cost, and and and. It is very difficult to find information about the process. Many people have their bikes transported to another country, but only a few tell about, what company the used, contact data, and so on.
You could say: Put it in the box and give it to a freight company. But where do you get a box? Build it yourself? Ask motorcycle traders in your area? For me, that was not a good option. I would have needed a bus to transport the box from the motorcycle trader to my home. As I mentioned in my blog, I’m working with computers, so I wanted to prevent to dismantle my bike to get it space-saving into a box. I also do not know from wich port I will ship back. So, why spending money and effort on a box just for one-way?
I live in Burgenland in Austria, far away from a haven or a freight airport. That would have meant, I needed to organize the transport there too. These are only a few reasons and factors why I did not want to ship my motorcycle in a box. Because of my lacking experience I could not estimate the effort on organizing things my myself.
When looking in the Internet I found, beside a lot of other companies, In Time Forwarding & Courier e.K.. There were positive feedbacks from other travelers too. The company offers transports to destinations in the whole world. Compared to other companies, you can find detailed information on the shipping process, possible danger and recommendations where not to ship and they have also estimated costs on their page. For people who have no idea, they get a good overview. They also offer RoRo shipping to Halifax, Canada. I read on different pages that customs is unproblematic there.
I’m sure there are cheaper ways to get your bike from A to B, but I wanted it simple and to know that handling was in good hands. Therefore I decided to ship my bike via RoRo from Bremerhaven to Halifax by “In Time”. As for today (23.06.2013) I’m very satisfied with this decision. Usually you get an answer from them within a few hours. And it was no problem at all, when I had to postpone my journey for two months, after hurting my knee. Mr. Kleinknecht was very patient with all the questions I had.

Europe to Canada

(detailed information about the transport process will follow when I’m in Canada)

* Vienna – Hamburg by motorail train

I went from Wien Westbahnhof to Hamburg Altona by motorail train. The transport was simple and without problems. The motorbike was lashed on the lower deck of the waggon, where it is not exposed that much to head wind. The ticket for the bike was EUR 50.50. The cheapest ticket for my person was EUR 69 in a 6 person cabin. I went to Hamburg on Wed. 19.06, before school holidays. There were not many people on the train. For a couple of hours I was alone in the cabin. Another person was coming in at a stop late at night.

* Hamburg – Bremerhaven

About 120km through idyllic landscape.

I had to drop off the bike at Eurogate, Senator-Borttscheller-Straße 1, Bremerhaven. Everything was without a problem. The reception sent me to a close building. My data were in the computer. They gave me a chip card, a green drop off paper and the information, where to wait in the port area for staff. The chip card was for passing the security door. After a few minutes I got picked up by a port employee and was told to follow him to a warehouse. You need to leave the keys on your bike. You also have to empty the panniers and leave them unlocked. At least leave the keys for the panniers on the bike as customs has a look on the bike too. Port staff did a quick check for existing damage for insurance reason. After that they brought me back to the port entry. The whole process did not take longer than 30 minutes.
I took the taxi, which was called by reception, to the train station in Bremerhaven (18 EUR). The ticket to Hamburg was 29 EUR. The train back to Vienna was 118 EUR in a 6 bed sleeping car.

Net sum for transportation to Bremerhaven was 284.5 EUR. I asked two companies before how much it would cost to have my bike picked up at my home. They told me it would not be possible under 400 EUR from where I live.

 

* RoRo Bremerhaven – Halifax

Estimated departure from Bremerhaven was 25.06.2013. You can see the name and ID of the ship on which your vehicle will be transported on the shipping papers. It’s easy to find detailed ship information on the internet. You can track “your” ship for example on this page: marinetraffic.com.

 

* Halifax

I will describe the “optimized” process here. I was in the office of Wallenius Willhemsen first, where I was told that I can not pay in cash, but in a different form. So I needed to go to a post office first. Therefore, step 1 is recommended to do first.

Step 1: Read The Bill of Lading, in wich forms the fees can be paid. Among other possibilities, on my bill of lading was “money order”. I think that is the simplest form.
Go to a post office, where you tell you want to make a money order. You pay the amount in cash and a service fee of  7 CAD. They issue a peace of paper. With this piece of paper I went to Wallenius Willhemlsen, 1959 Upper Water Street, Suite 1700 (17th floor =). The Bill of Lading was signed as paid.

Step 2: Go to the customs office at 1583, Hollis Street, about 700m from the office of Wallenius Wilhelmsen. There you need the Bill of Lading, your passport and ownership papers of your vehicle. Everything is copied. I was asked a couple of questions about the import and my plans and that was it.

Step 3: “Autoport”, 1180 Main Road, about 13km on road.
Take one of the two ferries either to Dartmouth or Woodside. The Woodside ferry does not run between 9:30 and 15:00. But it’s the same. You have to take the bus number 60 to the Autoport. With the Woodside Ferry, the bus station will be up right at the front road. If you take the ferry to Dartmouth, you have to walk a few meters to Portland Street. The bus station is opposite the white St. James United Church. Just google it.

Step 4: Get off at the stop Autportport. You can see the blue building with a sign “Autoport” on the opposite side of the road. There is the office. At the reception, the paperwork is done. My vehicle was brought to the front door within minutes. Check if everything is OK and you can drive off.

Resumé: I left my hotel at 8:00, at 12:00 o’clock, I had the bike in my hands. And I “wasted” an hour to get the money order. The whole process can easily be done by public transport. There is no need to waste money on taxis.

I had none idea with the shipment. InTime Hamburg did a great job on organizing the transport. I could really recommend the company.
InTime is “just” the agent who organizes the transport. The transport itself was done by Wallenius Wilhelmsen. I read some bad news on some blogs and online forums about RoRo (to be honest, I do not know which company). For example, that on arrival parts were missing on the motorcycle, or the motorcycle had minor damage. With me there was nothing. I received the bike in the same condition as I delivered it. It was slightly dirty, but that were signs of staying outside in bad weather.
Also, the process for getting the bike in Halifax was absolutely no problem.
I now got an insight into the whole process of shipment. For the return journey I might try to take organize more things myself, instead of taking an agent, to save some money.

 

Panama  – Columbia

* dropping of the bike

I refer to the blog of Mathias: http://panamericana2012.wordpress.com/darien-gap-von-panama-nach-kolumbien/ (it’s only in German, but you can translate it via google translate)

A few days before I wanted to ship my bike I wrote an e-mail to Girag (in spanish, translated with google translate)  info.pty@girag.com.

The answer was short with all the necessary information.

Bring your bike on 27.09. to the cargo area.

We ship it on 28.09. or 29.09 to Bogota.

You can pick up your bike on Monday 30.09. around 1 pm in Bogota.

Costs 902 USD, paperwork and customs included.

Approximate coordinates of the Girag office at the cargo area: N09 05.173 W079 22.374

You have to go directly to the cargo area. The office is easy to find. There are signs showing where to go.

Everything took around 2h. Most time I spent waiting until paperwork was done.

* Picking up the bike in Bogota

Bring all the documents of Panama and the passport and especially one thing A LOT OF PATIENCE.

The cargo terminal at the airport consists of several areas. The Girag terminal is located at the “Terminal Carga Aéreara“. But when you leave the airport by taxi and you drive on Calle 26 towards downtown, just keep your eyes right, you can’t miss it. There is a large Girag logo on the building.

First you have to go to the reception. Upon presentation of an ID, you get a visitor permission and you can enter the cargo terminal.

There, walk to the Girag building, to the last floor, to office 510. They do some paperwork.

With the paperwork you go back to the building where the reception is. Go up to the 3 level to DIAN (customs authority). They do some paperwork as well.

Walk back to  the cargo area. Ring the bell on the door in the first floor. It leads directly into the cargo area. There is an office where they will do some paperwork again.

Then you get the bike. No further police check required. All you have to do is to drop off your visitor paper on the reception.

Everything sounds pretty simple, but it takes incredibly long. Sometimes I just wanted to scream.

Arrival at the reception: 13:45, departure by motorcycle: 17:30