Across the USA 2013 #11 (Shipping Surprise)
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!!! We’re not shipping to Germany after all. Just two days before we were scheduled to deliver The Turtle V to the port in Baltimore, we received the following email from a member of The Silk Road Caravan Club:
A couple of years ago, a couple shipped their RV to Germany and were required to deposit $19,000, refundable when leaving Germany. I assume to prevent someone from selling their RV. They did get their money back.
We really couldn’t believe that, so we contacted the agent in Germany who was scheduled to handle our paperwork. She replied:
The costs I gave you on 10 April, 2013 are for 1 passenger car resp. Jeep/Minivan
What is an “RV” ????
Will you travel in Germany and Europe and ship the vehicle back to America ???
If you intend to import the “RV” as a tourist into Germany you will have to pay to Bremerhaven customs a customs-bond. It will amount to approx. 29 % of the vehicle’ s value and it needs to be paid in cash. Customs will reimburse you with the money as soon as you can show them a proof that the vehicle left the European Union.
Best Regards, ASI-Auto Shipment GmbH Bremerhaven
“Hallo Mission Control—I think we have a problem, over”. Even at our suggested greatly reduced value of The Turtle V “RV”, ($25,000), we would need to come up with about $7,250 CASH which we would supposedly get back when we exited the EU six months later in Greece. (Good luck!) If German Customs decided that The Turtle V had a more realistic value of $150,000, a 29% CASH bond, (Put your shoes back on. I have a calculator), would be about $43,500, or just a small briefcase of $20s. We carry that with us all the time, right?
Oh!, and by the way, the ship we were supposed to load our truck on came into port a day early so the cutoff date for delivery was moved back a day and the ship was already full. Are we having fun yet?
Thanks to Larry Space for the “heads-up” on German Customs. He recently shipped his Sprinter to Amsterdam. Obviously, some quick research was needed. We contacted Mike Albi at Seabridge, our shipping agent. He suggested some alternative ports including Amsterdam, Holland and Zeebrugge, Belgium. (www.portofzeebrugge.be). Turns out our new ship, the Figaro Voy UF313, will actually arrive at Zeebrugge before going to Bremerhaven.
We logged onto Skype and called Rita Boussemaere at Wijngaard Natie Logistics – Atlantic nv in Antwerp, Belgium, http://www.wijngaardnatie.com/index.php?id=83 and explained our situation. She laughed. She said that was crazy. Belgium did not require any such deposit of any kind. We were tourists just traveling through and she would simply register our vehicle as transit. We breathed a sigh of relief and drove to the dusty parking lot of A1 Escort Service (www.a1escortllc.com) in the morning. The Port of Baltimore opens at 8:00 AM, stops for a two-hour lunch, and closes at 4:00 PM. We waited. At least there were a couple of wobbly porta-toilets next to the office.