Although it's created a new chapter in the Sergio drama, I'm glad we found out just how difficult it is to send anything out of the Karachi Port in Pakistan. Similar to picking something up at the Lahore airport and getting customs clearance, in Karachi you also need to hire an agent to guide your belongings through customs. For a large container, the process takes about 5 working days. Depending on your trust in the agent, you may or may not need to be present during this tedious process. To load Sergio's 1980 Fiat Van onto the boat, hire an agent, and pay customs duties, it is estimated to be about 90,000 rupees (900 euros, $1,136). Since Sergio was due to fly back to Italy on Thursday, now he needs to change his flight date and hang out in Karachi until the van is through customs and securely loaded on the boat. Talk about a nightmare!
When the Fiat van broke down in the first place, we encouraged him to fly back to Italy and buy a new vehicle. So far, shipping the Fiat to India, repairing it with Toyota Landcruiser parts, getting it sent to Karachi, and the process in the port have cost about twice the value of the van! Lesson learned here? If a car is worth so much to you, and you depend on it for your livelihood, don't ship it all over the world! Visas, customs and shipping in developing countries are processes best avoided if you want to remain sane.