I was right!
When I got the quote for shipping it came to £542. I considered that a bargain ( compared to the abandonment and total loss I’d experience if the Ducati continues not to sell… ) and arranged with the motorcycle dealership to have the bike delivered to the port on my behalf.
During my trip around New Zealand the bike had obviously done thousands of kilometres in just one month. As you expect I didn’t spend those miles riding like a 60 year old in retirement… I was on a powerful 1000cc SuperSport bike and I used it as such. This meant the bike needed some maintenance and a few bits replaced that had started to misbehave. It also needs a new battery and two new tyres as the ones I had ridden on were totally destroyed. This is all part of the cost of biking so I didn’t really think about it but it came to £580. At least when the bike landed in the UK it would be ready to go.
Now it was roadworthy again and had been delivered to the port it was packed in a crate and then loaded into a container destined for the UK. It was expected to take about 2 months to arrive.
Document received : Export Declaration
What it means: The motorbike has been permanently and legally exported from the country and there is no tax due.
This was the point that the shipping company told me I needed to appoint a receiving agent in the UK. They would have to deal with all the paperwork for the UK port, offload and store the bike from the container. I had not understood that this wasn’t included in the shipping charge and so £285 was taken from me for my ignorance.
The 2 month crossing time should have been plenty to complete the paperwork needed to drive the motorcycle on the British roads. Unfortunately there was no way to do this paperwork without documents I could only get once the bike was in the UK. So I sat back and waited for 2 months…. The crossing went smoothly and when the container arrived I was furnished with another document.
Document received : Import Declaration
What it means : The product has been received at the destination port. It contains details of the exporter and importer and of the product itself.
Of course as soon as the bike landed in the UK this is when HMRC reared her ugly head and said I wasn’t allowed to take it out of the port until I paid them some tax. To find out how much tax I need to pay, I had to look up the commodity code under which my bike was classified. This code takes account of what product you’re bringing into the UK where it’s come from and which tax rates apply.
You have to input details to the “Nova system” using super sexy form number C384 and your import declaration. Even though my bike was bought second-hand, it turned out I had to pay VAT at 20% which left a hole in my bank balance to the tune of £813. OUCH!!
Not satisfied at that level of tax I also had to pay something called “3rd Country Duty”. This is an additional tax levied on products brought in from outside of the EU. A further £220 was liberated from my purse. This had to be the end of my costs!
Document received : HMRC Approval Number
What it means : All the Taxes due on the product have been paid and it may now enter the UK
My loose plan had been to take my bike gear down to the port when it landed and ride it home. That plan was dashed by all of the paperwork needed. Even if it had all been done I was told by the shipping agent the engine oil and battery had been removed from the bike to prevent contamination of the oceans if the ship sank. So I had to rent a trailer to go and collect the bike at a cost of £40 plus fuel in Mum and Dad’s car.
But at least the bike was in the UK and in my garage. So much for it being ready to ride on the road it needed another new battery, some oil and an MOT for £160.
Document Received: MOT Certificate
What it means : The bike is in acceptable condition to drive on the roads
Now all I should need is to register my bike, pay (yet more) tax and insurance and I’ll be ready to go.