Posted by: Jerry Garrett | June 15, 2017

Driving My Mercedes From LA To Italy – Day 32 Voltri Port, Genoa

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 11.47.53 AM

The Duesseldorf Express arrived this morning at Genoa’s Voltri docks. (VesselFinder)

GENOA, Italy

The Duesseldorf Express cargo ship arrived here at the Voltri docks, just west of downtown Genoa this morning, completing more than a month-long journey from Los Angeles with my 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL onboard.

But don’t break out the champagne just yet.

The ship was originally scheduled to arrive here late Tuesday night, which would have given port workers here plenty of time this week to unload the container with the car in it, unload the car from the container, and transport it to the pick up point for my retrieval of it. (Voltri is massive; it is where many cruise ships are built; including the Fincantieri models used by Costa, Carnival, etc.)

For 28 days, the ship kept admirably close to that schedule, set by the ship’s operator, Hapag-Lloyd. But then it hit Italian waters, and a slowdown started – I call it Italian Standard Time. Hence, its arrival here this morning, which was a good 36 hours behind that schedule. But don’t tell that to the local port authorities here.

“There is no delay in this case,” said the agent handling my shipment. There is no delay in their book, because they weren’t the ones who set that original schedule.

“We will receive customs documents from the shipping line Friday,” the agent continued. “The container will be collected on Monday the 19th and your car, if customs will not inspect it, will be ready for pickup on 20th.”

(Reminder: As mentioned in previous reports, nobody works in Italy from basically Friday afternoon to sometime on Monday. Certainly not Saturday or Sunday. And sometimes not on Wednesday afternoon either.)

I also have some hoops to jump through at my end. I must write a letter to customs, asking if I may please be allowed to bring my car into the country for tourism purposes. (If I would ask for any other purposes, such as selling it, I would have to pay import duties and probably register and plate the car. Not to mention, I would need to get an Italian driving license, which is a good six-week process.

I also need to provide a copy of my driving license. And to extend my insurance coverage for me to drive on Italian roads (about $250 more from my insurer, Hagerty, the classic car guys).

The agent is supposed to hand over to me my original title, which I had to provide to the shipper before it could be shipped.

And one more thing: I will cost me another $540 to get the car unloaded, unpacked, through the paperwork and released to me. On top of the $1,405 that I already paid the shipping agent, Schumacher, to pack it and send it – way back on April 12.

I thought that was a bit odd. Sort of like buying an airline ticket from somebody to fly you somewhere, and then when you arrive, having to buy another ticket from somebody else to let you off the plane. The shipper countered that it was not odd at all. End of discussion.

This has been a real learning experience.

Jerry Garrett

June 15, 2017




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