Thursday, March 08, 2018

Bike flight fright

Motorcycles do not fly. At least mine doesn't.

My speculative plans  to ship my GTR over to the USA for this summer's Great American Bucket List Road Trip have come to a resounding phutt. This is because I have received a grand total of two responses from my dozen or so enquiring emails to specialist "We ship motorbikes internationally" companies. Ten have failed to see fit to respond at all to my emails or follow-up emails, and one responded with "We don't ship from the middle east."

So that leaves one.

Twenty days after enquiring I got an email response to my reminder.

"We'll get back to you in a few hours."

Some 300 hours and several further reminders later, I got my quote. Eight Thousand Dollars. That's approaching what the bike's worth. And, lest we forget, the quote excludes the costs of a vast pile of known unknowns: Door delivery using a TSA vetted trucker; VAT; other unspecified tax; Customs duty; import duty; loading and offloading; crating; airport storage.

The fact that rather a lot of these listed charges should only apply in the case of permanent import rather suggests that the shipper hasn't thought this thing through.

Temporary import requires a Carnet de Passage. This is essentially a passport for the vehicle, and basically says that it is considered road legal in the country it's visiting, and it'll be taken out of the country again. So it is an utter nonsense that the UAE authorities would charge 5% of the value of the bike upon its return to the UAE as if it's a foreign bike being imported. It would be like driving to Muscat for the weekend and being charged 5% of the value by Oman authorites and then 5% by the UAE authorities on the way back. Nonsense. The shipping company has no knowledge of the Carnet de Passage.

Compare with testimonials on websites from which I never received a response.

"We arrived at the airport and rode away on our bikes an hour later..."

The bottom line, however, is this: $8000 is prohibitive. I could buy a decent used one out of the US small ads and throw it away a month later, still saving a great wad of cash. Always assuming I could get it registered; not necessarily a given, what with me being an alien and all that.

So it looks like I'll be solving the matter by throwing money at the problem. Bike rental is around $100-$120 a day, and I've always wondered what it'd be like to spend some time on a Gold Wing.


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