Friday, December 18, 2009


1. Happy to be home in Singapore, Day 65 of the trip, 17 December. Woke up at 3.45 am to catch the China Airline flight at 6 am from Surabaya. It must be the last remaining flight that still had seats going to Singapore from Surabaya; possibly because it was the least popular due to its ungodly departure time. But, it was impossible to get a seat on the other flights; so we had no alternative if we want to get back to Singapore soon. It is holiday season and the seat situation is not likely to get better.

2. Unfortunately we left without resolving the shipment of the Pajero back to Singapore. It is now parked in Calvin Siddon's house in Surabaya waiting for Surabaya Customs to clear the re-export of the car back to Singapore. Calvin is the GM of PT Freight Express, the company handling the shipment of my car in Surabaya.

3. Basically, we are still stuck with the customs paperwork at Surabaya on the re-export of the car. The day before, 16 Dec, Glenn and I went to the Port Customs office as we had an appointment to see the Director General. We were told that he had to give his special approval as they had yet to receive the document from the Customs in Entikong, my port of entry. This was news to us as we were under the impression that only a new IMI letter was needed and this was promptly sent by IMI last Friday. According to the customs procedure, a document is needed to be sent by the port of entry to the port of exit before the exit port grants the re-export. And this is needed despite the Carnet properly endorsed by Entikong Customs. With modern communication, one would expect that this could be done fairly quickly through email, fax or telephone. But, we had waited a week and are still waiting. At any rate, we left very disappointed. We left the Director General's office without seeing him, as he told his staff that no meeting was necessary as the procedure had to be followed and we just had to wait for the document from Entikong Customs before the car could be stuffed into the container and shipped. Period.

4. I repeatedly told Mr Yudi of Surabaya Customs that as I entered Indonesia legally through Entikong, as shown by the Carnet endorsed by Entikong Customs, and I had documents to prove that I am the owner of the car, I had every right to bring my car back to Singapore. Even if Entikong Customs did not follow the procedure fully, this was an internal matter for the Indonesian Customs to handle. Since the Indonesian Customs was not about to confiscate my car for the reasons above, it should deal with the internal matter separately and should not delay the shipment of my car back to Singapore. I received no response each time I explained this. It could be that Glenn's interpretation was not good enough; but I doubt it.

5. I decided that I had enough of the waiting; first it was the IMI letter, then the document from Entikong Customs. And I had no commitment from the Customs there how many more days I would have to wait for the re-export approval. I reckon I am not going to sit around and wait for the Indonesian Customs to sort out its internal procedural requirements.

6. I am now leaving my car in the good hands of Toll Global Logistics and PT Freight Express to find the most expedient way to ship the car back to Singapore for me.

7. It was an unproductive week in Surabaya. The time could have been better spent seeing more of Java. But, out of necessity, we had to eat and we found ourselves going back to these 3 places as they serve great local dishes at great value: Bon Amis, Bu Kris and Indo Laut Seafood. We have a simple rule - go where the locals go if you want good food at great value; and we were not disappointed.