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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Collecting an Item Delivered Airfreight to Cairo Airport

This dates back to retrieving my piano in December 2007 so may have altered since - I doubt it however!

I was contacted on the Tuesday afternoon following my arrival to say the goods had arrived.

I asked a couple of friends if they could come to the Airport with me so we went there on Thursday by car (you need to travel round the airport so a car makes it easier).

You will need your passport, you will need lots of money - take loads of 5LE notes for the tips, overestimate how much you need, I was caught VERY short at the end and couldn't pay any tip to the truck men unfortunately. If the customs manager had valued my piano more, then I would have been well and truly stuck.

The place you need to go to is near the Airmall building (NB this no longer exists - it was near Terminal 1 I think) - we had to go first to a cargo offices building which was blue and had eg British Airways World Cargo, Rock It (company which imported mine) etc etc to finish paperwork (220LE for this). Once you have got the papers you need to collect the goods and you will need Mr Fixit (these guys hang around outside and will approach you as soon as you get out of the car at the blue offices).

Things to note:

(1) You can hire pick up trucks at the airport to take your stuff home. The truck I hired was 120LE from Airport to 6th October with 2 men driving it. We didn't need a very big one for the piano.

(2) You can NOT be accompanied by a friend into the cargo area. You could try to do it on your own, but I paid a Mr Fixit - agreed price was 250LE and I ended up paying 350LE (there were two of them). I will put up the names and phone numbers of Mohamed and Ahmed the Mr Fixits I used later when I get them.

(3) You will need to buy:

permits for you and Mr Fixit - 7LE each.

tips for in the warehouse - going rate is 5LE - but for the two men who helped crate it all back up after customs had finished, 10LE each.

Warehousing fees, I had to pay 110LE because it was in the warehouse an extra day.

(3) WOOD IS A PROBLEM. You need to make sure that if you are sending wooden stuff, the box is marked with the IPCC mark - I have taken a photo and will upload another day. I still had to wait for the Agricultural Ministry person to OK my crate (20LE) even with that stamp. Some poor chap was standing in the warehouse looking like his time had come because he was bringing in a load of pictures in wooden frames.

(4) Your crate will be opened and stuff scattered everywhere by customs. If you have any vital screws, bolts etc (like I have with the piano) I advise you to take them separately (which I did! I bought them in my handluggage!) - you will never see them again otherwise!

(5) My piano was x-rayed which involved another truck, it nearly falling off, etc.

(6) There are about 100 signatures and stamps to be sought - this is why you need Mr Fixit.

(7) MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL the tax you pay is 40% of the value of the goods. Now, this is an art not a science. MAKE SURE that any paperwork you have giving the insurance value of your object is NOT available - it only serves to confuse. The manager of customs decided the value of my piano was about 2800LE so I had to pay 40% of that as the tax/customs fee. Mr Fixits will probably go through your box and make sure this is the case.

(8) The whole process from arrival at the airport to leaving took around 3 hours. I saw many people in the building in a bad state because their goods were packed in cardboard, the boxes were broken, the goods were damaged, etc etc. Get a decent freight company.

I used Allfreight -

(9) Your friends waiting for you - there is a cafe outside, exactly opposite the customs gate but it is apparently very smokey and lots of workmen. Its probably better to go to the cafe in the Airmall which is more comfortable (except it no longer exists!).

About the wood.

Freight companies use either wood crates or cardboard boxes to ship your items and the wood that these crates are built with have to be approved too. I heard that one crate was not even opened as it did not have the correct stamp on it from the country of origin stating it was free from termites etc. Apparently from a source certain European countries refused Egyptian wooden crates at theEeuropean destination so Egypt followed suit and now need an agriculture seal of approval to ensure entry to Egypt.

Then once they are happy you have the crate seal of approval they can then open the crate to examine contents. If the crate does not have the seal it is immediately returned to point of origin.

If you have wooden items IN the box then you have to have these separately checked and X rayed and tested by agriculture experts, like wooden frames, ornaments, wooden boxes, pencils etc..

Opposite the customs security gate there is a cafeteria, very smoky and dirty, and on either side 2 car parks. You should be able to find a space. The top car park is where the lorries and pick ups sit waiting on customers. It is just a 1 minute walk from the customs gate and opposite. Approach any of the drivers and negotiate a price. They have trucks and pick ups of all sizes available.

I would advise not to hire a truck from outside the airport until you are sure you have customs clearance.

The 'Mr Fixits' are vital. Dont think you can do it alone , you can't even if you speak arabic. They know exactly the routine and exactly which desks to go to.
They will approach you as you draw up outside the 'blue freight offices'.
They are worth every penny.

Number of the fix it guys Ahmed and Ahmed


Yes, the wood stamp was for the crates too, not just the contents. The certificate was 20LE. There wasn't any baksheesh for that bit, a very official looking woman in uniform from the Agricultural ministry came and prodded and poked everything before issuing the certificate.
I think my crate was actually opened and contents inspected before the crate was approved - its a bit of a blur - all I remember is tons of paper (packing materials etc) all over the warehouse!

Cargo agents in Cairo

If you want to contact an agent here in Cairo before you move, especially if you have no Egyptian person able or willing to assist you, it may be worth contacting these guys:

Quick Cargo
5 Tehran St. Dokki
P.O. Box 415 Dokki
Tel: 35390262/3/4/5
Fax: 35390383

I have NOT used them, and the only people I know who HAVE used them have used them for collecting pets at the airport which are normally shipped cargo. Those that have used them say they are worth the money because of the hassle they save you.

1 comment:

Cairo Airport said...

I just came to your post and reading above thing it is very impressive me and it is very nice blog. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

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