1st May 2015:
Well after cooling our heels for 3 days in KL 9on the basis that everything was organised and would go smoothly) we were told on Wednesday 3.00pm that there was very little chance that we would get our cars on the Thursday before the 4 day long weekend. Apparently insurance now takes 3 days to arrange and the Carnets (custom clearance doc for the cars) needs to be signed before the insurance and driving permit process can begin. Arrangements are being made to clear the cars through customs at 12.00pm on Thursday. Panic stations – WHAT!!!! this can’t be happening – first the ship is 2 days late and now a further one week delay. Frantic searching on the internet reveals the insurance is arranged via a pool of insurers via a major local insurer. Addresses found.
Thursday morning 8.30pm we are one of the first people to arrive at the insurer. A very nice lady assists us and spends the next 4 hours endeavouring to push through our paperwork only to have to advise us that no insurance can be issued until the ‘carnet’ has been signed and the cars released by customs. Frantic calls to the shipping agent to find out when our cars will be cleared (we naively think we can clear the cars then rush back to KL – about 100kms away to give the kind lady our cleared customs carnet). Shipping agent advises that car cannot be cleared until about 1.00pm. Into a taxi and off we go to Westports in Port Klang to clear our cars. Arrive only to be told we need to cool our heels as customs are in meetings and besides they are having lunch. Shipping agent advises he is now on the case of getting permits and insurance – nice.
Finally get onto the wharf at 3.30 and carnets have been stamped. Unfortunately shipping agent has brought the wrong papers and cars are not allowed off the wharf. More heel cooling. Agent returns around 5.00 with the correct papers; finally we drive out the gate. Shipping agent advises that has convinced insurer that carnet has been signed but due to timing not available before 5.00 in KL. Nice lady provides insurance certificates. Now just needs a permit which comes from the Automobile Association (they need the insurance certificate to issue before they can provide this). Shipping Agent convinces AA to stay open until 8.00pm (remember it is a long weekend so maybe they are aren’t too happy about this) so we can get our ICP (permit) – this needs to be put on windscreen.
Agree to meet shipping agent at our new hotel in Klang. Now the real fun begins. It is getting dark, our GPS cannot locate the hotel address; our maps are next to useless. Traffic is very heavy and it is dark. Only Peter has a GPS so Barry needs to follow closely. 6 lane highways going in all directions doesn’t help. We decide to head for Klang. Our GPS reading shows Klang somewhere other than where we think it is (using a high level area map). We decide to use our instincts and head for where WE think it is. After a couple of stops; references to the GPS, Google maps and hard maps (all showing something different) we head off in the direction where we think the hotel might be. Cars everywhere.
At this point Barry fails to keep up with the fast Peugeot and doesn’t make it onto the motorway again. Peter fails to notice – too many cars on the road.
Barry: I decide to find the first side street and stop. I call Peter and let him know that I am lost and will wait for a couple of hours for the traffic to clear before taking ay further action. My thoughts are to either find a taxi to follow or curl up for the night in Mollie and sort it out the next day. Low and behold an antique Morris Minor with 3 young Malays stop to chat and provide directions i.e. follow me!1. I arrive at the Hotel at around 10.00. Peter has found his way there as well and had only just arrived.
Peter: Having lost Barry I to ask for assistance. I finally find a guy in a local restaurant who I able to help. He knows where the Hotel is but says I’m a long way away. He provides a scratchy mud map but it contains a piece of crucial information; the name of a shopping centre close to the hotel. My untrusting GPS recognises the Shopping Centre (Klang Parade) and I am off again chasing around little suburban streets in the dark. Hippie!! I find the hotel and book Barry and myself in. 10 minutes later Barry arrives.
We ring the Shipping Agent who also got lost. With a few directions he also now manages to find the Hotel about 5 minutes later. Finally we have our cars, our insurance papers and driving permit plus an hotel to rest our weary heads with a restaurant across the road that sells beer. How good can it get 🙂
See; all it needed was a little effort, nerves of steel and lots and lots of follow up phone calls.
Special thanks to Joe Martin of Trinity Shipping; Rohana at Uni-Asia Insurance