This is my experience shipping my US registered motorcycle into Los Angeles (LAX). I air freighted my 2007 BMW G650X Challenge from Buenos Aires on LAN Cargo. You can read about that process here.
My motorcycle arrived three days after I crated it in Buenos Aires. LAN Cargo called to notify me that it would take an additional day to clear customs.
Step 1: Go to Cargo Office and pay import fee
Step 2: Take paperwork to US Customs and Border Office
Step 3: Collect Motorcycle at Cargo Office
I landed at LAX and because taxis there have a $18 minimum charge I took the free Sheraton Hotel Shuttle to the hotel and then walked 1 block to the LAN Cargo office.
I had to provide my Airway bill, passport and pay the storage and import fees. They only accept cash. The import fee was $58. They prepared more paperwork and directed me to go to the US Customs and Border Protection office a few miles away. I took a taxi from the Sheraton. At the customs office they asked for the paperwork from the shipping company and my current motorcycle registration. Note: I had my moto registration up to date and paid for. I also had my California insurance policy re-instated to be active for the day I arrived and had a .PDF of the current policy on my phone should anyone require it. The agent stamped my paperwork clearing the motorcycle to be released. I was the only one in line at the office and was out within 15 minutes. Taxis are hard to find on that road so I suggest having your taxi wait unless you want to walk back to Century Blvd to find one.
I took a taxi back to the LAN Cargo office and gave them the stamped paperwork. They gave me my copies of everything then directed me to the warehouse where a fork lift operator took the paperwork and went to collect my motorcycle. They asked what dock my truck was in. I told them I would be riding my motorcycle from there so they brought it over to a dock that had a vehicle ramp. The motorcycle was already uncrated but still wrapped in the plastic and secured to the pallets. I used my pocket knife to cut away the plastic and the metal straps. I now had to get my moto back together. I reconnected the battery, attached the mirrors, windscreen, and luggage.
The next step was the most complicated. At the Buenos Aires LAN Cargo warehouse where I crated the moto, the workers there suggested I take off the front wheel to lower the bike, thus saving money as they charge by volume. They used a forklift and a strap to lift my bike to easily get my front wheel off then lowered the forks to the crate. At LAN Cargo LAX they said they were not able to help lift my motorcycle in anyway due to liability. I even spoke to the main supervisor. They wouldn’t help. Fortunately there were two truckers standing there waiting for cargo and they offered to help lift the bike while I put the front wheel on. I think having us do that in their warehouse posed for a safety risk than them using their forklift. One way we had it easier was we rolled the rear wheel off the pallet so it would be easier to get the front high enough. Without the help of those two strangers I would have not been able to leave. If you don’t have friends coming with you, I suggest leaving the front wheel attached when shipping.
A quick check over the bike and I was ready to ride the final 35 miles home, down California’s 405 freeway at rush hour. There is a gas station less than a mile from LAN Cargo so I was able to fill up.
Overall the shipping process was incredibly easy and straight forward. I did use the help of Dakar Motors in Buenos Aires, you can read about the process of shipping out of Argentina, here. When shipping to LAX the cargo company will provide you with all the information but here’s a summary of the information given to me by LAN Cargo.
LAN Cargo LAX Office:
6040 Avion Drive Los Angeles, California 90045 USA
Telephone: 310 – 258- 6100 ext 1186
Email: Constanza Gabella cgabella[at]lancargo.com
Import fee for my 2007 BMW G650x Challenge: $58
LAN Cargo gives two days of free storage at their warehouse, which is only 1 mile from LAX. After the 2 free days it was $.07/kilo per day with a minimum of 150 kilos or minimum $40/day fee. The total weight of the crate was 270 kilos. I paid for several additional days of storage which cost $19/day. There is a limit to the number of days you can store it before customs confiscates it and complicates the process.