From Mark – Shipping adventures part 2

Ryan I and got up at 6:45 am for day two.  This was about an hour later than I wanted to.  We got some free coffee (a better start to this day than the day before) and headed back to Arturo’s office to drop off the dock receipts.  We took the metro to the station closest to the office.  This was the Miami airport.  Then we took a cab directly to the office.  This was over the objections of Mr. Public Transportation, Ryan.  It ended up costing us $32.00.  I should have listened.

We got to the officer about 8:30 and gave Arturo the receipts.  He then had to go to customs to do things that are still unknown to me.  He dropped Ryan and I off at a Starbucks near his office where we were going to wait until he was done.  Then we could get the titles to the van and trailer back.

While at Starbucks, SC Line called and said we needed to have Hazardous Material paperwork filled out for the two propane tanks we had on the trailer. After a little investigation, I again found that this was something I needed a customs broker to do, and it would cost about $150 to $200.  Arturo was already costing us $170 and I didn’t want to spend more money, especially to ship two tanks I could buy when we got to Cartagena for less money.  So SC said they would take the tanks off for us.  I hope someone gets to use them on their grill or something.

One more mysterious piece of paperwork we needed was called the Bill of Lading.  I am told this is something like your boarding pass to a plane.  Arturo wanted to know who was going to handle it for us.  He could not.  We ended up contacting Martha Gonzalez, a freight forwarder, who was suggested by SC and said she could help us.  This turned out to be a great thing.

Martha was also in Doral and picked Ryan and I up at the Starbucks and took us to her office.  It turns out the bill of lading isn’t supposed to be issued until the vehicles got on the boat.  She works with SC Line regularly and personally know the owners.  Since we were a special case (hey now, you all pipe down!) she was able to get them to issue the paperwork early.  Also, Martha is from Colombia, and handles freight shipments all over South America.  She spent some time setting up our arrival in Cartagena so everything will go smoothly once we get there.  She also got me the opportunity to travel ON THE BOAT with the van and trailer (it’s about who you know)!  Unfortunately, the dogs could not accompany me, so I had to let that one go.  More about that later.  It’s too bad…..they even have a pool!

After about two hours of hanging out with Martha, everything was done.  She did have to hang onto the titles for the vehicles until they are loaded onto the boat.  This was in case customs had to inspect them to determine if they were stolen or not.  Apparently this is the biggest concern US Customs has for shipping vehicle out of the country.  Martha drove us to the metro station and we began our journey home.  It was about 1:45 pm.

Ryan and I were taking a Greyhound from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa.  We took the train from Doral (or wherever it was Martha dropped us off at) to Fort Lauderdale.  This took about an hour.  We then walked to the Greyhound staion, which was about 2 1/2 miles away.  We got there around 5:15 pm.  The bus  left at 7:00, so we went to get some food, our first of the day.  At this point I was pretty beat.

Our bus stopped in Orlando where we had to switch to another bus.  We had an hour layover and then head out to Tampa.  We got in at about 1:15 am.  Michelle and Max picked us up in my parents car and we got back to the house about 2 am.   Finally, the adventure within an adventure was over.


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