Vanlife

Ship a van across the Atlantic Ocean

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You have a van and you want to cross from Europe to Canada? I guess the process is kind of the same if you want to cross from US/Canada to Europe. Please, follow the guide!
 

No sponsoring… but we will talk a lot about Seabridge! Why?
Because we already did it with them and everything was great! We don’t want to speak about something we don’t know. If you want more information about other companies, we know you can do it with: Westcost Shipping / Ivssuk / …

From where to where?

As far as we are concerned, we chose to ship from Antwerp (Belgium) to Halifax (Canada).  We chose this itinerary as it’s one of the cheapest to do it: around $1800 all included (taxes/customs/boat).

A quick look at the map will give you an idea about all the possibilities.

Container or RoRo

Such a good question. You now have to choose between a Container or RoRo.
“RoRo? What are you talking about?”
Well, RoRo means Roll on – Roll off. Minimum paperwork and after a quick inspection, you leave your keys to the operator. They will decide when and where they will drive your vehicle on the cargo. As you can imagine, it could be a little bit risky but most of the time, it’s OK.
A container is about twice the price (depending on where you are going and the size of your vehicle) but also the safest way to ship your vehicle. Obviously, if you are driving a big truck… you have to forget about it.
And if the cargo sinks? …well, you can subscribe to an insurance. We didn’t but it cost around 1% of your shipping costs.

Administration and Paperwork

Easy Peasy!
All you have to do is to send an email to Seabridge 3 months before / up to 3 weeks before departure. They will send you back a basic form asking for the size and load of the vehicle. Just send it back with some copies of your vehicle papers and your own passport and you will get the GO!

Drop your vehicle

The company will provide you some kind of PDF guide to follow. Main points are:

  • Your vehicle should look like it’s empty… even if it’s not. The policy around this point may change but so far (october 2019) it’s true. Warning: No insurance cover stealing on the boat. So we highly recommend you to let the minimum inside and lock everything you can lock. If you RoRo, please remember your keys will be on the boat with the vehicle.
  • Of course, if you choose to let some stuff in your cabinets, avoid food / alcohol / tobacco…
  • Your fuel tank should be almost empty (1/4 max). If you carry gaz, you have to empty the bottle.
  • Your vehicle should be clean! Really important point if you ship to Canada. No mud, no dust… no nothing, just a shiny vehicle. If not, customs can reject your vehicle or make you pay a huge fine + fees to clean and fumigate the vehicle.
  • Last point if you go RoRo and have a “special” vehicle. I am not speaking about that beautiful sticker of the map of your travel you did on the side of the van. It’s more like, if your vehicle is vintage or has anything specific to start/drive it. Write it down on a post it and stick it on the dashboard. As an example, our old VW Combi needs few steps to start the engine, we described it as on the picture.

Once your vehicle is ready, please wear your most beautiful yellow jacket (mandatory to walk at the port) and follow the steps on the PDF. Everything really is easy. Go to your shipping company office (GPS location/map on the PDF, it was Grimaldi for us) with your reservation number, vehicle papers, passport and let the officer arrange everything for you.
Paperwork done, jump in your vehicle and drive it through the main entrance. It will be measured and weighted again. Then, you just have to park where they will tell you. Literally in the middle of hundreds of other vehicles.
Pro tip: Send an email to your shipping company to confirm you did park your vehicle at the port and all the paperwork is ok.
Extra pro tip: BIG WARNING, no Uber/bus/taxi from the port to Antwerp. We were lucky enough to meet another couple who came with another car but you might not have this luck. No idea if it’s cheaper to rent a car before to come or ask a taxi…

Money, money, money...

Your vehicle is on the cargo boat… and you didn’t pay anything? Nothing to worry.
During the shipping, the company will ask you to pay by bank transfer. Let us illustrate with our own quote/invoice (RoRo – april 2018 – VW Combi).

Do it!

You want to travel and the shipping of your vehicle is your last excuse… DO IT!
We highly recommend Seabridge as they did an amazing job with us and so many of our customers and friends.
Please, comment if you have any question or feedback on the subject!
Are you guys interested about “How to ship the Darien Gap?”? We are doing it in a week!

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