Posted by: Jerry Garrett | May 14, 2017

Driving My Mercedes To Italy – Day 2

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 1.09.39 PM

The red box highlights the location of the Duesseldorf Express today.

ENSENADA, Mexico

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, about 50 miles west of here, my 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL is loaded into the bowels of the Duesseldorf Express cargo ship, bound from Los Angeles to Genoa, Italy.

The journey is supposed to take about a month. It started late last night when the Duesseldorf Express finished loading its cargo at the L.A. port – including the container with my Mercedes – and chugged out of the harbor on a southward course. By 10:39 UTC today (May 14) it had traveled about 300 miles – into Mexican waters off Ensenada.

The latest info from the VesselFinder website says the Duesseldorf Express will arrive at the port of Manzanillo two days from now at 15:00.

So far, I’m impressed with the clockwork precision of the ship’s progress. I followed it for a couple of days down the Pacific Coast from Oregon before it arrived in the port at L.A. It made the progress it was scheduled to make each day, arrived in ports as planned, loaded its cargo in a timely fashion, and left port on time for the next destination. Cargo ships always impressed me as rather leisurely travelers, especially when I have seen them over the years sitting out in the channel between Catalina and Long Beach for days, waiting out loading and unloading delays in the port.

The only real delays I’ve experienced so far have been in getting the Mercedes onto a ship in the first place.

This process started for me back in January, when I was first researching the possibility of shipping my car to Europe. A lot of documentation was required and it took me a long time to rustle up the title and various other information needed by the company that I’m shipping with, Schumacher Cargo Logistics. They are charging $1,800 for their services; I’ve heard there are cheaper options, but I only found more expensive ones.

The Mercedes left my house April 11, on a flatbed truck bound for Schumacher’s loading and processing facility in Gardena, California. At some point it was loaded into a container (I don’t know exactly when), and then it sat around for nearly a month, before it finally was consigned to a ship. Maybe if I would have gotten my act together sooner, the Mercedes could have made it onto an earlier ship. I don’t know. I’m a rookie at this.

(It was due to be shipped a bit earlier, but it decided to stop running for a few days. At classic Mercedes does things like that. It only cost $250 to get it running again! Cheap this time.)

The Mercedes is being shipped in its container alone, with nothing in it except a quarter tank of gas; that’s the recommended amount (I guess any more than that can spill and/or create a fire hazard). I had heard from others who have shipped cars that the vehicle has to be empty – with not even a tool kit in it. I found out just before the car left that is not exactly true. “If you want to load your auto you can, its $150.00 additional,” said Schumacher’s rep Kevin Luccarelli. (Loading the rest of the container with household items such as furniture, however, is a whole different matter – costing thousands more.)

I declined the auto-loading options, because I drew a blank on what I might put in it, at that point. But I can sure think of things now that I wished I had filled the car with – a printer, a sewing machine,  a television, a stereo, our DeLonghi gelato maker, etc, etc. I’m spending a year in the Côte d’Azur area, and I sure could use a few of those things here!

Tomorrow, I promise a photo or two of the Mercedes.

Jerry Garrett

May 14, 2017

(Editor’s Note: The illustration above is from the interesting Vessel Finder website.)

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