The van and the camper are now securely in Port Everglades. Mark and Ryan are in Miami, taking cabs and trains and staying at the Rodeway Inn. In case anyone was wondering, here is how you ship your 56′ vehicle to Colombia:
- Get as many quotes as you can from all the different places you can think of. We started with Colon – Cartagena and got quotes from Jacksonville, Miami, Houston, Costa Rica, Mexico and Los Angeles to Quito, Lima, Santiago and Cartagena. There is no pattern here. Shortest distances = most expensive prices. Sometimes. Most expensive one way quote was $23,000, Houston to Colombia. Cheapest quote: $5800 Miami to Colombia.
- Get a Freight Expediter. Or when you grow up, you can be a Freight Expediter – this was never a job I even knew existed. Have your freight company suggest one. Ours is Arturo Vallejo, President of Import Express (http://importexpress.us). For $100, he does all the customs paperwork and some mysterious computer entries that laypeople cannot do,
- Make sure you have all your original documents (title, registration, etc) or you may find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you need to have your teenager forge a really good copy. That didn’t happen. Just saying.
- Make copies of all documents
- Take them to the port and spend hours clearing security.
- Get official measurements (shipping is by the cubic meter — in our case, it is $60 a cubic meter).
- Wait! Fill out the IMO form because there are propane tanks
- Find nice hotel in Miami near Freight Expediter’s office (hardest task of the day!)
- Meet the next morning with your Freight Expediter and complete paperwork.
- Decide the propane tanks cannot go — too much paperwork
- Drive with Shipping Company staff back to vehicle to remove propane tanks
Have we paid? No. Do we know how much it will be? No. Do we know how to pay? Possibly. Do we know that some corrupt customs agent won’t steal the Holiday Barbie we bought Sylvia for Christmas and stashed in the bathtub? No. Do we know if the Colombian customs people will let us take in the 4 pounds of vegan textured vegetable protein? No.
What do we know? The kids and I are in Florida for 9 more days without a car.
Mark and the &%^$#@*&) dogs still do not have a ticket. The dogs, they are a pain. Oh I wish we had never gotten pets. They cause so many problems when you are trying to drive to Chile. They need to depart from Miami, requiring another trip to Miami by Mark (and the dogs). That is a whole other story.