I shipped my bike from Malaysia to Indonesia with Mr. Lim’s Onion Boat. Here’s the thread about his service on Horizons Unlimited.
Everything went fine, except the costs on the Indonesian side were higher than expected.
His office (N3.770236,E98.67989, 2nd floor) is in the tourist part of George Town on Penang, so there are a lot of accommodations nearby (I stayed in a hostel).
He is reachable by phone or WhatsApp (+60 124709717) and he said I should come to his office at 9:30am. I payed the 803 MYR (about 190 USD) and he wrote a receipt. Later I saw him hand over 600 MYR to the boat owner (Mr Lim is only an agent).
I followed him to the ferry (he was driving a scooter), which brought us to the Butterworth harbour. We went to the customs to stamp out the carnet (make sure you get the stamp when entering Malaysia!). After that we went to a restaurant nearby because we needed to wait for the boat to arrive. He payed me toast and tea 🙂
After about an hour we went into the harbour, where the boat just arrived and I left my bike there. It takes about half a day to unload the boat first, so I was not able to see how they loaded my bike. I guess it’s by crane, because there’s no ramp or something to push the bike on it.
Then Mr Lim drove me back to my hostel on the scooter, again with the ferry. I was back at about 1pm.
The day after he sent me the bill of lading per email.
This was on a Wednesday. After loading, the boat will stay in the Penang harbour, leaves on Saturday and arrives in Belawan/Sumatra on Sunday morning. You can get the bike on monday morning at 10am.
I took a plane from Penang to Medan on Sunday and stayed in a (shitty but cheap) hostel. The Belawan harbour is about one hour drive away from the airport and 45min from Medan. So you may also take an early flight on Monday morning instead of Sunday.
The office in Belawan is very hard to find, as it does not look like an office building! you have to go inside the middle garage, then left and through an unmarked door. I haven’t seen the company name anywhere there!
fortunately there’s a guy helping out: Mr Anwar +62 81370692310. Use WhatsApp, as he does not speak English, but he uses Google translate. He picked me up at the hostel in Medan, brought me to the office (N3.770236, E98.67989), then to the customs (N03.78548,E098.69131), then to the warehouse (with the customs officer to check the bike), back to the customs and back again to the warehouse again (N03.782008,E098.68152).
He knows the procedure as he already did this many times. his service costs 300’000 IDR (about 22 USD). unfortunately it seems to get more expensive. as of Mr Lim, the last customer paid only 250’000 IDR.
also at the office I had to pay 1512000 IDR (about 110 USD), instead of 950000 IDR as advertised.
the customs officer was really nice. he checked the chassis and motor numbers, made photos with the bike, asked if I have drugs in the bike and let me open the panniers. but he didn’t really look into them. just made photos to prove that he did his job. and he said they are good officers and don’t take bribes! and I also should not give bribe money to the warehouse security and other guys there!
when I finally got my bike and packed my stuff, they indeed approached me and asked for money! I just said that I already paid everything, finished packing and left.
so basically everything went pretty smooth. no damage on the bike or stolen stuff (I left two big bags on the bike without locks).
the boat is going weekly. but it will regularly be out of service for two weeks (in December?) because of maintenance!