Shipping Skulls, Horns and Capes
I have been chatting on the internet with an Dipping agent and exporter of horns & hides and skulls from Africa. They said that i could use some of there notes to post on the forum.
You never know for sure what the final outcome would be until you get the ok from the client or Outfitter. Most of the times, "No news is good news"... but even if you send out a perfectly good crate from your premises, it might get stuck somewhere in a warehouse too long due to no payment of the client to the shipper, lack of paperwork, permits taking too long, and then finally gets shipped out months later to the US, stand in another warehouse over there again before it gets cleared. So by the time the client gets the crate, things might not be so well any more.
In other words, if there's something wrong with any shipment, one should trace the path it took to get from Point A to Point B, how long it took to be moved, and if the crate is actually the same crate from Point A.
I had a case where the client told me he didn't receive 3 of his 5 trophies' sets of horns... This sound ridiculous, as no Dipping Agent would ever send out a crate like that on purpose. On my packing-list everything was checked off, horns as well for every specie, and I made it very clear that the problem did NOT occur at Prodip or the Shipping Agent as they don't open up the crates as a rule, specially if there's no Cites involved. The client didn't believe me, so I tracked down the path his crate took, and was amazed to find that the crate he received, was not the crate that I have sent. From there I checked who delivered the crate to the client's doorstep, and found out that the UPS company that the clearing agent in the US used, repacked the trophies as the crate couldn't fit inside his truck, and "forgot" to add the horns... They even admitted it! Up until then, we still didn't get the horns, but at least the client knew it didn't happen in SA, and even more on our premises. Luckily there was insurance taken out on the trophies, so the client came back to do the same safari over again, and I did his dipping work for half-price, and everyone was happy.
I read that one of the guys is very unhappy with his trophies that got ruined, and blames the Outfitter, but just in case something like this could have happened to him as well, I would suggest he check the path like explained above. If you could "copy and paste" my story it might help the way some of the guys are thinking, isn't it? Would you do it for me please? I'm still a bit shy to go public, perhaps later I would voice myself, but for now I'm trying to find my feet on AH.
Anyway, I don't know you and I'm chatting away. Sorry, but this is me, Prodip, and my husband gets very cross sometimes as I take too long with the e-mails he asks me to send out. So you are going to hunt in Zimbabwe. Wow, Frans has moved just about our entire Safari Business (Sitatunga Safari's) over there it seems for now, as he has become an "Agent" for other SA Outfitters who have clients wanting to do the Big 5 in Zimbabwe. As we stopped to dish out hardly any Donation hunts this year due to the bad economy and the $-rate, our camp is very empty, but it gives me more time to spend on Prodip, as we have been running both since 2003. We also opened up PRO-DIP ZIMBABWE last year, and do all our own Dipping in Zimbabwe now too. The Shippng Agent we use is Maple Freight, and so far things are going well. What I did find is that there's a heck more paperwork over there that needs to be done than I ever thought, much more than in SA.
This was some good communication, as i like to have all the little things taken care of before i leave to go on Safari..