|BfW shipment to Wheels of Africa, Kenya|
One of the reasons we choose our international partners carefully is to ensure our shipments arrive safely. One of our main criteria is that they have a proven track record of getting shipments successfully into the country. A hang up could be the port authority or government, and that could create insurmountable issues clearing customs.
If the government were to impose an import duty on these donated shipments, those costs could soar upwards of $15,000, for a container of 500 used bikes! This could impact our relationship with Uganda. And this is where we are now.
|Courtesy Prisoners Support Organisation|
In fact, our latest shipment to Uganda suffered an even worse scenario. This was our 27th shipment to the Prisoner's Support Organisation (PSO) in Uganda. When it arrived at the port of Mombasa, it was pulled aside by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). Up until recently, we had no major issues clearing the port and moving inland, via truck, to the Ugandan capital of Kampala. This time, however, the PSO's shipping agent was told that the KRA had determined that our shipment was mischaracterized on the bill of lading-the critical shipping document-and that we would be fined, held responsible for the costs of unloading and verifying contents, and charged for storage. The alleged issue was that the KRA considered the bikes to be 'assembled', and not 'semi-disassembled', as we have consistently stated on our shipping documents.
|May shipment of BfW bikes in Ghana|
|BfW shipment of bikes arriving in Colombia|
After 150 shipments, going back to 2005, we have never yet 'lost' a container (and its contents) to abandonment and confiscation.
In large part, this is due to the commitment and competence of our receiving partners, who research import requirements, hire a freight agent, and move quickly to clear the container from port before storage costs begin to mount up. Another reason is that Bikes for the World commonly requires that its receiving partners pay a portion of direct costs ahead of time, making them 'invested' in the shipment and motivating follow up.
|May BfW shipment to Village Bicycle Project, Ghana|