Posted by: Jerry Garrett | May 17, 2017

Driving My Mercedes To Italy – Day 5


The Duesseldorf Express in the port of Los Angeles (Wikipedia Commons)


The Duesseldorf Express container ship arrived here in port at 4:00 a.m. today, about 13 hours behind schedule.

This information, which came from the ship’s owner, Hapag-Lloyd, is the most credible that I have received since the ship left port in Los Angeles several days ago. Various apps and websites haven’t been of much use in tracking the ship since it went “missing” from radar about 200 miles south of Ensenada, Mexico, a couple of days ago. (An area of sparse radar coverage.)

I’m following the ship because its carrying my 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL in a container that was scheduled to arrive in Genoa, Italy on June 13. That’s when I was hoping to pick it up, so I could drive it around the Riviera for a few months. I haven’t seen the car since early April when a flatbed truck came to my house in Las Vegas and took it to a cargo loading facility in Gardena, California

Hapag-Lloyd tracks its ships – the Duesseldorf Express is one of hundreds it operates worldwide – carefully and has them scheduled down to the minute for weeks and months in advance. Its latest schedule for the Duesseldorf Express, however, has it arriving in Genoa’s Voltri docks at minute past midnight on June 14. We will see.

So the Duesseldorf Express is now a bit behind schedule – 13 hours seems like a lot, actually – and I don’t know how that lost time might be made up. It’s due in Panama at 15:00 UTC on May 23, and due back out by 05:00 the next day, en route to Cartagena, Colombia. No doubt, by tomorrow, I will have an update on its progress, vis a vis its scheduled itinerary.

The Duesseldorf Express’ itinerary is sort of interesting (to me), and I’ll sketch it out here for anyone else who might be interested:

Ports/Dates & Times In & Out

Cartagena, Colombia 5-25 05:00/5-25 18:00

Caucedo, Dominican Republic 5-27 22:00/5-28 13:00

Lisbon, Portugal 6-6 09:00/6-6 23:00

Tangiers, Morocco 6-7 19:00/6-8 05:00

Valencia, Spain 6-9 08:00/6-9 22:00

Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy 6-11 02:00/6-11 19:00

Livorno, Tuscany, Italy 6-12 19:30/6-13 14:00

Genoa, Liguria, Italy 6-14 00:01/6-14 18:00

From there, the ship goes on to circle the western Mediterranean Sea for awhile: Marseilles, Barcelona, Cagliari again, Livorno, Genoa, Marseilles (FOS), etc, etc. Eventually it heads back to the West Coast of the United States again; it will be in Los Angeles again on July 14.

The Duesseldorf Express really gets around. Last month it went from the Mediterranean all the way to Seattle (that took a month); then it started back on a return journey to the Mediterranean, which is where my Mercedes joined the itinerary.

I must confess a teensy bit of disappointment around my discovery of the route it is taking to Genoa right now. By crossing from Valencia to Cagliari and then on to Livorno, the Duesseldorf Express will pass too far south to be within view of my apartment on the coast. (It will also be moving around in the middle of the night.) I was hoping I could see it pass by with my binoculars; I have a pretty good vantage point from which to keep an eye on a lot of ship traffic off the coast of the French and Italian Rivieras.

On a clear day, I can see all the way to Corsica – 100 miles away.

Jerry Garrett

May 17, 2017





  1. Good luck and in my book this takes a lot of hutzpah to pull this off and it must cost more than renting a car over there but have a blast!

    • Thanks Bud. I ran the numbers on relative cost, and I will put together a more complete post on that in a day or two. But basically, it costs me at least $11 a day to rent a car over here. And that is doing some real shopping around to find the cheapest rates, on the cheapest econoboxes. I can’t rent for long periods of time, either. So every couple of weeks, I am dropping off or picking up another car. After about four months, I calculated it would become cheaper to have the Mercedes here. So I have a plan. Kinda sorta!

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