As promised and as I've been hounded by the South Africans.....hehe.
Shipping agent in Colombia, Cartagena. They don't speak ANY English at all so expect a strange experience. If you go to the office expect to be there a while. Take your Laptop and use their Wi-Fi for Google translate. They were OK although they loaded the car too early. They said the shipping company demanded this but I suggest you make sure they do it as late as possible. They also booked the boat incorrectly sending the container on a Door to Door which the agent in Panama corrected. The agent in Panama was superb !!!! As they do not speak English the flow of info is difficult and this is what caused most of the problems. Eventually everything sorted itself out. If you speak Spanish it would be so much easier. They also seemed to stall every time we were not in the office. When we were in the office things seem to happen.
We stayed in Boccagrande, Hotel Puerta del Oeste (N 10 23' 53" W 75 33' 33") which is a nice area during the negotiations the taxi to the office was 8,000col . The Hotel is good and OK price 70,000col. They have parking outside for a smallish overland truck or Land Rover or Cruiser. They did ask for 80,000 at first but we went back on got it for 70,000. The rooms at the front are noisy. Try second floor back. They have larger rooms we think but do not know the price if you are a family. Its near to the beach, bars and tourist stuff. Taxi to airport is 15,000 and Taxi to town is 6,000. If you have time to kill get them book you on a tour to Totumo Mud baths. Their rate is OK and the trip is worthwhile at 50,000 each and includes lunch. Photos are 3000 for them to keep your camera and they wash you off after in the lake for 3000 including your swimming costume.
Back to the shipping.
You need to get a letter notarized to give the agent some permission. This was easy and cheap. They took us to the notary. N 10 23.613 W 75 31.301 Door on left number 104. I advise Emailing Martha copies of all your documents, Passports, Vehicle Registration, Driving license as they need hundreds of copies !!!
Loading took ALL day. They only let the driver in the port. The narcotics inspection is a pain. They expect ALL stuff unloaded from the car. Take some water, take a lot or water. There is small restaurant on site but I would not advise waiting there unless you really want to. If the driver can do this on his own then only they should go to the port. Martha will be there. They will make you leave the car in the Ro-Ro area until they are ready for loading. They do have ramps and if you ask (which I would) get them to use wooden blocks under the wheels as well as strapping. There also seemed to be some issue entering the port which I never figured out. Maybe they didn't even want the driver in there. We were told you need travel insurance inc 3rd party liability to get in.
N 10 24.572
W 75 31.928
Ms. Martha Gonzalez Nadaff
RJ logistica & Operaciones
3ra. Avenida – Calle 28 Cra. 26 – 47 Of. 104 Cartagena
(To the Right of Citibank on the first floor, top of the stairs go right and it is on your right look for number 2628)
Receiving agent in Panama. They contacted us via Email. Martha in Colombia arranged the receiving agent. They arranged for the Hotel in Colon and the Taxi from the airport $80 (The Taxi Guy was waiting at gate in airport and we paid him directly). The hotel was not great and in a BAD area. It only has Wi-Fi in reception and TV isn't great. There is a McDonalds and Bank in walking distance and the 99 Supermarket is only $1.50 taxi ride where there is a small Subway/shops/local cafe.
Do not go to Panama until the car has left. You know my story on the return flights rule. The airline will not let you board and they won't let you use a bus ticket. The rule says you MUST have an Airline ticket. We got Kelly in the airport in Cartagena to do a dummy reservation which we arranged before the day we flew. we went to the airport 15,000col to set this up a couple of days before although they only did it on the day so we went 3 hours early. The Airport has Wi-Fi for free but is small.
Basically Ever Logistics did everything via Email and although Boris came to the hotel on the unloading day we never needed to go to meet them. He collected us on the unloading day and we paid him cash. He gave us a receipt. They had no ramp to unload the car from the container. We used our waffle boards. The EverGreen container depot is poorly equipped. Make sure you can get the car out. They do have bolt cutters and Boris sends a guy with you to do all the running round. We just stood around for ages waiting for the box. Unloading was difficult without a ramp. They let both myself and Julie in no problem. Took 4 hours in total.
Ever Logistics, INC
Boris G. Jaramillo
COSTS Colombia (Approx £495 or $750usd)
Handling charge for agent in Colombia
COSTS Panama (£735 or $1,147usd)
included 1 month compulsory insurance.
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