Car Shipping - Our Story
We learnt the hard way…shipping a car overseas is a challenging task which includes a fair amount of paperwork AND money. We have gathered some basic information, which we hope can be useful to others; about how we shipped our car and cabin from Hamburg Port in Germany to Cartagena de Indias in Colombia:
1. Have your papers in order – You will need a copy of the original title for your car as well as the Carnet de Passages. This will take up to 1 month (we got it through the ADAC). It will be also easier if you have the car insurance done from your country of origin. We got a full insurance against collision, theft and 3rd party liability through NOWAG Versicherungen. Check with customs or local legal agencies in your country of origin if you’re not sure what you need. To get the car out of Germany was pretty straight forward but to get the car out of the Port of Cartagena that’s another story….
2. Find a shipping agent- Take time to shop around to find a reliable company. Make sure that you know exactly what you need before you start looking for shipping services. It is very important that YOU remain the shipper and the consignee in ALL shipping documents and service contract. We did ours through INTRANS GmbH located in Dusseldorf. They sold the slot of our container to a 3rd party who was suddenly the shipper in the MBL. It took us 2 weeks of headache to get our car out of the Port in Cartagena. (See more info below.)
3. How your car will be shipped – Vehicles can be transported either by container shipment or Roll on / Roll off shipments (RORO vessels). The latter is the cheapest way to ship a car but is not available for every destination. As far as we know there is no RO/RO service available between Germany and Colombia. Also we felt the container freight would a safer way to transport our cabin as we could fill it up with our personal items. Therefore we booked a 40 ft. high cube container (approx. 12 m) which could hold our Nissan pick-up in addition to the Nordstar cabin. Always check the customs regulations to make sure the items you take inside the container are allowed to be exported /imported.
4. Loading the vehicle – Keep in mind that loading a car and a cabin inside a container is not easy. Ours was organized by CON-TRUCK Logistic GmbH in Hamburg to load our car and cabin in a secure manner.
Our advise is ALWAYS be present at the time of loading to make sure your vehicle is handled with care. The guy from the logistics company had a sudden claustrophobia attack while inside the container (ok there was not much room left around our cabin) and he was not able to properly fasten the cabin. Good that Axel is like McGyver and he managed to squeeze himself through 15cm left in between and could strap down our cabin tight and secured it to the floor of the container to keep it from moving during the transport of the boat.
5. Get a marine insurance –The guy who loaded our vehicle was not that careful and the air mattress he used to secure our cabin actually damaged one of the sides. Our vehicle and cabin were insured for the duration of the transport and the cost was approx. 1 % of the cars value. Normally it does not cover scratches, rust or oxidation damages. Always check with your insurance agent what kind of damages is covered to avoid misunderstandings.
6. Arrival in destination – Once the container is loaded; locked and sealed it will not be opened until it reaches its destination (hopefully!!!).
The best thing you can do is to contact (in advance already) a German guy called Manfred who has been living in Cartagena for more than 20 years. He knows exactly how to get a container / car out of the port and is having extensive experience with all local authorities. He is reliable and professional. Depending of the Container size the Port Fees are around 300-400US$. In our case the cost was much higher, because unfortunately we were not anymore the owner of our Container / Car in Cartagena. In case you require more details, please feel free to contact us through email. Be very patient and don’t think....why don’t they? You will encounter a lot of nice people who will help you in your way, but also a lot who will try to take advantage of you. Don’t take it personal they even do it with their own people.
Car Shipping - Our Story Photos