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When things don’t quite go according to plan!

December 1, 2019

Adam Smith on the road in Uganda when borders were open

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, carnet holders were told to return to their home countries before borders closed.  This created panic and not enough time to have vehicles shipped back to their home countries.  Many carnet holders were told to leave on the next flight and their vehicles were stored in the most convenient places that could be located.

Local customs authorities have had to exercise some leniency in these unprecedented times, however at some point, vehicles will need to be shipped back to avoid a customs claim*

Adam Smith’s plan was ‘13 countries in 12 months’ until the pandemic hit.

Adam was somewhere in Uganda when the official advice from the Australian Government came to  ‘leave immediately’.  With no time to organise the shipping of his Kawasaki motorbike back to Australia, Adam asked a colleague to store it until he could return and hopefully continue his journey across Africa.  We asked Adam a few questions about his trip.

Did you use your CPD in your travels?

“Yes, my carnet took me from Australia to Uganda, via South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Rwanda.  Without it, crossing these borders would have been very expensive as you would need a Temporary Import Permit for each country.  Most border patrols stamped the counterfoils and were familiar with the document.  For those who were not familiar, you could usually guide them through what was needed.” 

Any mishaps on the way?

“I strongly recommend ensuring the CPD document is secure. My carnet was travelling in the container with my vehicle, but it fell out on the tarmac in Australia.  When I got to Johannesburg, there were desperate call to have the document flown out to me so I could leave the country and start my journey!”

Where is your vehicle now?

I had to leave it in Uganda, where I plan to go back when the pandemic eases.  The AAA in Australia issued an extension until April 2021, so here’s hoping.  I met a number of other travellers with carnets from around the globe, we are all in the same situation, just waiting till we can return to our vehicles.”

Adam’s vehicle awaiting his return.

*Customs claim—when a vehicle is left in a country beyond the carnet date, the local customs authorities will issue a claim to the guarantor club.  The cost of this claim will depend on the age and value of the vehicleIt is important to have your carnet extended or a replacement carnet organised with approval of the local motoring club.