“Row, row, row your van gently down the stream…” No we did not forget the w in the title. RoRo stands for roll on, roll off. One of the ways to transport a vehicle by ship. Our main plan was always to travel Latin America (= mid and South America). Due to Covid we had to postpone it. At the moment the situation in South America is still not good. But mid America has far less problems with Covid and has opened it’s (land) borders for tourists, a while ago and the situation seems stable. For the past 15 months we’ve travelled Europe, the Balkan and a small part of Asia. Beautiful but we are now a bit at the point of “ seen it, been there, done that”. So time to ship the van.
Since we were going back to Turkey, which has many big harbours, we figured we’d ship the van from Istanbul or Izmir in a container to Mexico. Well trying to get that organized nearly drove our sanity overboard (yes lame joke, but couldn’t resist). Finding a company online was difficult. Finding a company that would transport a private vehicle was even more difficult. Getting the companies to respond was like getting water from a rock. We spend many evenings searching online and sending messages. We finally got one quote from an American company to ship from Istanbul. About $4500 to ship the van in a container to Veracruz. But we would have to arrange for all the paperwork in the Turkish harbour ourselves which would be difficult and very expensive. We received warnings from other overlanders and Turkish people that we would pay a lot extra because we don’t know the rules and don’t speak Turkish… So we abandoned the plan to do this ourselves. Somebody we knew and trusted offered help, but for some reason after a week we didn’t hear anything more. By now we had been trying to arrange shipment for over a month, without any results! Talk about getting frustrated! So we decided to to change our plan, again. In order to organize it without help, we would ship the van from Antwerp. Even though that means driving back 2700kms. A bit crazy yes, but by now we would almost consider buying a small boat and row, row, row the van to Mexico ourselves….
So we started our online search again and we contacted companies that ship containers from Antwerp. There are several and they do respond. But they all told us the only available option at the moment is RoRo. Not the safest way to ship your camper. As it is out in the open in both harbours and on the ship it is an easy target for thieves. It also means giving the key to some unknown person to do the roll on and roll off. But because of Covid and all the online shopping, containers are now in very high demand and thus expensive. And the harbours can’t handle the huge amount of containers. Causing weeks (up to 6! )of the container being stuck in the harbour and ships have to wait for days on sea before the can unload. And Veracruz isn’t known for it’s well organized customs anyway… So after careful consideration we are now shipping the van with RoRo to Mexico. We have thought up some extra safety measurements and for the rest we will just keep our fingers crossed. The van will be shipped mid January, so we could avoid Christmas holidays.
On the 20th of January we will be flying to Cancun. Yes Cancun and not Veracruz. Why? Because arranging to fly with a cat for an affordable price was pretty stressful as well, as you can read here.
Before we fly to Mexico we’ll be spending some time with friends and family in the Netherlands.