When we decided that we would go to America, we began a great research to find the best option to take Kale, our motorhome of 7.23m long, 2.23m wide and 3.10m high, on the other side of the ocean.
Obviously sending Kale by boat was the only option, but there were many questions and doubts to be solved: from where, who could help us and give us recommendations, what companies provide this service, what do we had to do, how much was it going to cost, what paperwork would be needed … Where to start !?
In this article I tell you how we did it and how our experience turned out in detail.
WHERE SHOULD WE START?
The first thing we did was internet searching’s, looking for options, companies, ports and prices to guide us. We found several companies that could do the transport but it was essential to receive recommendations from other travelers who had already gone through this experience.
Our friends of “Autocaravana en Familia” were a great support and helped with thousands of recommendations they gave us, not only with this topic but with many others. THANKS FAMILY!
So after comparing companies, prices and services, we decided to work with the one that seemed the most complete in terms of services, facilities and in relation to the things we could carry inside. Some of the companies did not let us take anything inside the vehicle, but SEABRIDGE was the one that allowed us to send the Motorhome with our things and we also thought that it was the one that had more experience in this type of transfers.
Seabridge transports to different ports of South America, Central America and North America so we could use it in the one way transfer, but we could also have notions of prices to return from all these points.
HOW IS THE MOTORHOME TRANSPORTATION TO AMERICA?
There are two types of formats for transporting a vehicle; putting it in a container or RORO. In our case, due to the dimensions of Kale there was no doubt; It had to be RORO. This means that the Motorhome is transported as if it were a Ferry but on a cargo ship.
The price is calculated taking into account the total volume of the vehicle, so for us, having a large motorhome, it was not very cheap, but we were clear that we wanted to take Kale with us.
We also knew that the trip would start in South America, but we had to decide whether to send it to Montevideo, Uruguay or to Zarate, Argentina. Again the recommendations of different travelers clarified our doubts; Montevideo is the best option. The port of Montevideo is simple, gives a lot of onfidence and allows you to carry out the release procedures in a very agile way (5 hours in total).
To dispatch the Motorhome to South America, we would have to bring Kale to the port of Antwerp in Belgium, where Seabridge operates at a better price. So we planned a route that would take us through Europe with Anwerp as final destination, where we would leave Kale… “Bon voyage Kale!”.
Before leaving Kale at the port, we also received recommendations from Seabridge and other travelers, to block the entrance from the cockpit to the passenger compartment to prevent or make at least more difficult to get inside the AC.
We bought some wooden boards and we built a wooden wall between the two spaces.
PROCEDURES AND PAPERS
First of all, it is important to book the trip three months in advance, for which they do not charge you anything and give you the freedom to make dates changes at no additional cost.
To make the reservation, you have to complete a form, where you are mainly asked for all the data and dimensions of the vehicle and you will have additionally to submit a copy of the vehicle documents to be able to process the reservation.
Then, Seabridge informs you and confirms the most specific date, bearing in mind that this type of transport may suffer modifications of dates, both for departure and arrival, so you have to relax and follow the dates that are communicated.
In our case we left Kale 5 days before the ship departure, which was delayed one day at the port. Leaving Kale in the port of Antwerp was extremely simple, there they already had all the information of our reservation, so we filled in the travel documents, they took a copy of the passports and the vehicle documents and … that’s it! You can go to the port control.
The port control is very simple also because it is all automated. You pass the control area where you park the Motorhome on a scale that weighs and scans it. It take measures to confirm the declared dimensions and they put stickers on the windows with the vehicle data, as if it were a suitcase at the airport; o).
They will tell you where to park and you will bring the key (only the one to open it and turn on the engine) to the administration office, where it will be secured.
And finished this process, you can go … you leave your Motorhome there!!!! … it was a big moment!
A useful clarification, at least we did not know this, the port of Antwerp is quite far from the city, and from where you leave the vehicle there is no public transport (only if you walk for 30 minutes to a bus stop). You can ask for a taxi that costs approximately € 70/80 to the Antwerp central train station.
PAPERS AT DESTINATION AND DURING THE TRIP.
When the vehicle is already consolidated (term of the port world) and traveling, Seabridge sends you the invoice to pay the transport amount and insurance. Insurance is optional, in our case we bought it, the cost is 1% of the value you declare of the vehicle.
After that, we tracked Kale from time to time, as they give you a tracking code for the boat with which you can see where it is at all times.
A couple of weeks before the arrival of Kale to Montevideo, we contacted by phone with the company with which Seabridge works in Montevideo, KMA Uruguay. They inform you of the most exact dates of arrival and the tariffs that must be paid in Montevideo to free it.
In KMA you have to pay several tariffs: the local management price that entitles you 5 days of parking of the vehicle in Montevideo without additional cost, another tariff to obtain the release document of the original vehicle that KMA gives you and finally the transfer of the vehicle. All these fees are paid in cash and in US Dollars at the KMA offices when the vehicle has already arrived.
From there, the owner of the vehicle has to go to the Migration office to obtain an entry certificate in Uruguay that is needed at the port Customs. This procedure is quick and also has a low cost, and is paid in Uruguayan Pesos.
From there you have to go to the port, all the previous procedures and these that I am going to tell you now can be done walking, we are talking about maximum 6 blocks away.
The final destination is the port of Montevideo, where you have to do the last two procedures. In Customs you have to present all the papers collected above, plus the local insurance of the vehicle you have hired, plus a photocopy of the driver’s license, passport and car documents.
Before finishing the procedure in Customs, you must go to the port office where you have to pay the last rate paid for each ton that weighs your vehicle, this fee is also paid in cash and in US dollars.
Then you return to Customs with the document that justifies that you have paid the Port Fee and they will issue the document to withdraw your vehicle.
Now you can go to the warehouse where your vehicle is parked with the paper that you have been given at Customs to remove the vehicle.
¡¡¡¡THERE IT IS !!! A nice meeting… And everything is in perfect condition 😊
To finish everything, you have to go to the vehicle inspection where they look at it and inspect it (in our case very little, just a look inside) and there they give you the permission entrance document to the country that is like gold, you have to take care of it until you leave the country.
And ready … let’s discover America!
Detail of expenses