Its ok, I’ve adapted

Customs inspection went well on Wednesday. I arrived at DB Schenker office and Mr Farried who is handling my case and who happens to be a bike enthusiast took me out to the bike on his 150cc Kawasaki. It sounded horrifically tinny but it looked good.

DB Schenker, Tanjung Priok, Jakarta
When we arrived literally just around the corner (Easy walking distance) I realised that the location on my Delivery Order document of APW actually stood for Agung Public Warehouse, and that was as specific as it needed to be – because when we walked in and asked for “Motor” they all got excited and took us straight to it. No need for bay numbers or anything fancy when your goods stand out so much.

If I had of known this, I would have gone straight to customs and told them the bike was ready for inspection and not bothered waiting around nearly an hour for the Schenker people, because besides doing some translating and taking me for lunch and actually being really nice people, they didn’t really help much! Instead, because we were at APW already I had to persuade Mr Farried and the APW people to let me go back to customs, because I wanted to make sure the customs inspector knew that I knew Mr Sofwan (his boss) and that Mr Sofwan knew that particular customs inspector was dealing with my shipment.

As it was the Schenker people, including the normal customs clearing agent (who I met on Friday and still don’t trust) warned me that I might be looking at about a 2 million IRP ($200 AUD) ‘Inspection fee’. I was left with no doubt that this fee was a bribe for the inspection officer. I indicated that if it ever came up it was to be referred to me immediately. My couple of hours in Mr Sofwan’s office had demonstrated to me that there was typically a list of charges attached to the documents in each customs folder (copies of all my documents had gone into a similar folder). These charges were reviewed and signed off by Mr Sofwan. My feeling is that if the charges were written down and available on an invoice or receipt of some form signed of by Mr Sofwan, then I would have no real way of arguing with them. If anything was asked for that wasn’t on paper signed by Mr Sofwan, then it was a bribe and I wouldn’t be paying it – i’d simply play the dumb Bule card and ask for it to be included on the paperwork to be paid later.

So, due to the messing around it was Lunch and of course nothing was going to happen for an hour. All you ppl who work 9-5 in the developed world should thank capitalism that banks and post offices and government buildings don’t just shut down during lunch hour – when would you ever get anything done?

After lunch we headed back to APW with our customs inspector. With much excitement and a crowd we headed to the bike, which seems to be in about the same condition as when I left her nearly 2 months ago (April 7th!). They then spent a lot of time taking photos and trying to scrath the engine numbers onto making tape for their files. Eventually they were happy. I made sure to mention a number of times when they took copies of my documents (again) that a folder of documetns already existed, that Mr Sofwan was my friend and he had already approved them. Seemed to go down a treat and not a single mention of ‘inspection fee’ arose. Happy with that, even if it means it just shows up later on paper! I figure if official documentation of such fees doesn’t scare them no level of protesting from me is going to get them to change anyway.

Unfortuantely, Mr Sofwan was not in the port office on Wednesday – he was out at the head office. So, it meant that due to my name dropping it appears now that nobody is prepared to stamp the Carnet and that I’ll have to get Mr Sofwan to do it himself! Not sure how that will go, but if it has helped me avoid a $200 bribe then I’m happy to wait an extra 2 days.

So, still no bike but its ok – I’ve adapted to local time now and really, another couple of days when i’ve been waiting 25 days already and my visa is about to expire is really not going to matter.

201 Posts, Still no bike…

The bike is definitely maybe available tomorrow. I have had this confirmed from other independent sources now, which helps keep my head above water.

These are the events that have been confirmed by multiple sources as having occurred to delay my bike:

  • There was a strike in the Port over the week-end
  • There has been 2 public holidays with a 3rd this week if it is not out tomorrow
  • One of the shipping manifests for goods that were shipped in the same container as mine were incorrect, so the whole container was way-laid until the over-all manifest could be adjusted.
  • Singapore shipping wouldn’t release the cargo because they don’t know what a carnet visa is and thought that (temporary) imports of motor vehicles to Indonesia was prohibited.

And I haven’t even ridden it in a single country other than Australia yet!

Post number 199!

Been a good, productive few days.

Decided to visit the Jakarta Customs today despoite not having the notification from Schenker that the bike had been ‘Stripped’ yet. (First the container gets un-loaded, then it gets stripped).

I have nothing but good things to say about Jakarta customs at this stage, they were impressive.

I arrived about 10am, was informed I couldn’t enter because I didn’t have a collared shirt. Hotel is about an hour and $5 one way (thats a lot) taxi ride away, so shot off to the nearest market and got a shirt for $6. Its nice too.

Back to customs, its 12 noon, Friday. Everybody is at lunch and prayers. The Client Co-ordinators sit behind floor to ceiling glass panels and I could easily see when my contact – Mr Kurniawan arrived. Once he did (about 1pm, much better than the 2hrs I had to wait for Schenker) I reported to the conceirge and was taken straight to him, skipping the que (bonus!).

He was shocked that Schenker was taking that long. Because I had all the paper work he proceeded to take me up stairs and introduced me to the head of teh division that would clear the Carnet. We sat and talked with his boss intemittently over teh next 2 hrs while the whole department seemed to work on the paperwork required for my bike. 2 hrs later, everything complete except the physical inspection they give Schenker a call to see why they take so long and to arrange the physical inspection. Monday is agreed and I’m out the door with everything but one last hurdle to jump.

Thank you Indonesia Customs!

Bike update

So, apparently it takes about 2.5 days for a bike to be loaded in Singapore, shipped to Jakarta and unloaded in Jakarta. Then in takes about 2.5 days for the shipping paper work to be arranged here in Jakarta. End of story is that I cannot even commence the customs paper-work until tomorrow, 5 days after the bike was shipped from Singapore.

The Db Schenker contact here in Jakarta, Mr Dody, has been very friendly, but i can’t help but get teh feeling he is deliberately delaying me for some reason, and my sinister mind draws up images of him arranging with his cronies a paperwork maze that will enable them to extract a variewty of bribes from me.

Combine this with the fact i’ve had the first dreams i’ve had for about 2 years, that i’m reading C.G.Jung’s memoirs on the unconscious, that the place i’m staying in is maze for the conscience, that I’ve not had a feeling of being ‘In motion’ (see comments on Buckminster Fuller here) and you might begin to understand that describing my mental state as ‘agitated’ is a bit of an understatement.

Jakarta – Customs

I take back all the bad things I said or insinuated about the Indonesian customs. It seems a lot has changed in 8 years.

I visited the Australian embassy and Aus-Trade on Monday to try to get some information and tips for the meeting with the Director General of Customs and Excise. They were worse than useless and could provide no relevant information. In fact I provided them with a lot of information and they did a lot to try to disuade me from even bothering to try to get the bike into Indonesia.

Today, I trotted off to the DG of customs and excise nice and early. Taxis are cheap, mostly in very good condition and well air-conditioned. Plus the drivers are good fun to talk to in the traffic and have been a significant contributor to improvements in my Bahasa Indonesia.

Arrived about 9:30am and was directed upstairs to the DG office without a problem. Offices are organised similar to my image of Australian political offices, with specific staff for each ‘Director’ sitting in one large open plan office off a main corridor directly outside the directors office – which is only accessible through the staff office.

The staff listened to me, asked politely if I would wait 1 minute (not a minute, always 1 minute) conferred and quickly (about 1 minute) came to the conclusion that this was actually the responsibility of the Director of Customs and Excise Facilities. Thought it was too good to be true. They walked me down to Facilities office which was very similar and introduced me to a chap their. He was very friendly, also listened carefully, had a closer look at my documents, particularly the carnet and said it should not be a problem, but that we had to check with the Technical department. Stating to get worried by this point. The Technical department seemed much more like the engine room. He took me straight to the man in charge which was nice and he promptly pointed out that they had actually walked me into the staff only area, so I was ushered outside to the waiting room and I was asked to wait 1 minute. All very friendly and the Facilities guy actually waited around and asked me the usual questions (How long you been in Jakarta? Where from in Australia? How old you? You single? Why you single?) until the Technic boss showed up about 3 minutes later. The Technic bosses biggest problem was trying to understand why Singapore wouldn’t send the cargo. He new what the Carnet was, said it should be all good as long as you have Carnet. Thank you very much. I asked for a letter to send to Singapore customs and he said he would need to put me in touch with a Customer Co-ordinator in Tanjung Priok, and that I would need to speak to one anyway for when the bike arrived. Starting to think this might be where the sting came in later, but was happy just to be told it was all ok. He rang his friend and confirmed that it was all good but I would need to see him in order to get the letter. Whole thing took about as long as it has taken me to write this blog post! About an Hour. Amazing!

I grabbed breakfast at the street warung outside customs and kept the locals entertained with my terrible bahasa Indonesian (at least I have the menus pretty much memorised!) Then jumped in a cab over to Tanjubng Priok. The Customer Co-ordinator centre is very much like an RTA with ticketing system, but my man back at Customs h/o had written down his ‘friends’ name and that meant I got to jump the que. Sweet, waited aboiut 5 minutes for him to finish dealing with his current customer then I was in – he looked over the documents, asked a few questions and again couldn’t understand what was wrong with the Singaporeans. He gave someone else a call about the letter and explained that nothing formal could be provided because it would be like a law (think of a personal tax judgement) so it would be easiest if he just email me the standard process and confirmed in an email that it was ok and I could pass that onto the Singaporeans. So that was what we did. My ‘Work’ with Customs was all wrapped up, including breakfast by 11am. Amazing.

No taxis in port, so I braved the motorbike ride back to the hotel. The guy didn’t know where he was going, so we drove around the national monument about 5 times, went past some big flash building which I assumed was the US embassy since the big placards being waved had a picture of Obama on them and the words ‘Antic American’. My security measures consisted of looking the other way so they couldn’t see I was a Bule. There was only about 50 of them anyway and they had that – its too hot to bother look. The Police were there but were looking pretty disinterested as well.