Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shipping to Europe

Below you can read our experiences with Seatrade Costa Rica, or you can go straight to the Seatrade website by clicking on the Seatrade logo on the left

Shipping our bikes has been a stressful event in the past, to put it mildly. Getting the bikes into New Zealand had been a disaster. A quarantine inspector with a grudge against Australians, coupled with ridiculous quarantine demands and a shipping company that couldn't care less, made it the most expensive shipping ever. Getting the bikes released took forever too. 
Shipping from New Zealand to Canada went much better, until the bikes reached Canada that is. Suddenly they wanted all the inspections they could possibly ask for, including a soil sample test. At some stage they were talking about 6000 dollars to get them released... The ridiculous part is of course that you can ride across the border from the USA without any test. The agent in Vancouver, Gillespie, was totally unhelpful. So what was shipping from Costa Rica to Europe going to be like?

For starters we didn't ship them by a freight forwarder or general shipping company but via a company that has its own ships and handles its own paperwork on both ends. That made a huge difference Picking up the bikes was dead easy. I am not kidding, this has been the best shipment ever. The Costa Rica side had been perfect already and Seatrade Costa Rica kept their promise: they arrived perfectly on time. The boat was due to arrive on Tuesday, it did, and we could pick the bikes up the same day! Last year these guys had a 96% on-time score… They hadn't opened the container when we arrived so we could photograph and film it all, the guys at the harbour were very helpful and interested in what we were doing. It was literally just a matter of removing the straps and ride away… honestly. We rode to Customs who checked the paperwork, asked us about our trip and then we were on the road in Europe! I could hardly believe it. Seatrade has been unbelievable. They normally ship perishable goods like bananas and pineapples, no time for delays there. All the paperwork had already been processed before the ship was in the harbour by Seatrade's Rotterdam office so that when we arrived all was ok. They also use their own containers, which are to coffee standard and are in perfect condition. Below is a movie Mike made about the last ride in Costa Rica, the shipping and release and pickup in Europe.