Skip to content

The Mysterious World of International Shipping

May 26, 2011

Everything you read about trying to ship any type of vehicle anywhere in the world warns you that it is nightmare. There are apocryphal stories everywhere of theft, loss and delays (and more delays). It is with these warnings hanging over our heads that we began to research shipping for the Beast.

our trip will involve three separate shippings:

1) UK - Canada
2) Panama - Colombia
3) Argentina - UK

For the moment the only one that we are worrying about is the first. We reckon we can figure the other two as we go and they are a fair way in the future yet.

For the shipping between the UK and Canada we set about getting some quotes first of all. We contacted a number of shippers but two actually responded properly and seemed interested in doing business with us. Lots of shippers just aren’t interested in 1 vehicle as they deal in fleets of 100 cars at a time.

The two shippers that we got quotes from were:

Phoenix Aircargo    

Auto Shippers 

Both were pretty helpful but Phoenix undercut Auto Shippers by £1k and were exceptionally helpful. Not only that but Stephen Stewart had used them to ship his camper to mexico and praised them which was as good a recommendation as any. We haven’t regretted this decision – yet ! Terry Pittaway from Phoenix has been exceptionally helpful throughout the process. 

The Beast is currently booked on a RORO ship travelling from Southampton in England to Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. The ship is called Falstaff  and is 199m Swedish owned cargo ship.

It is leaving Southampton on 11th June and arrives in Halifax on 20th June (fingers seriously crossed) and we can deliver the Beast for loading anytime between the 6th and 9th June.

In the meantime we are also shipping what is called Static Cargo. Somewhere in the customs regulations between the UK and North America it says you can’t ship your camper with anything in it and that you have to give them all the keys. So even if you did put things in it there is a good chance that they’d get stolen.

So instead of putting stuff in the camper we are also shipping a 1m cube of stuff – mostly parts for the camper and also things like bed linen and towels. We delivered this to Phoenix’s warehouse near Heathrow this morning to be packed onto a pallet which will then go down to Southampton to be loaded onto Falstaff along with the camper.

We have also contacted a customs agent in Canada to help with process when we get there – we are using the one that Phoenix suggested.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2011 8:02 pm


    I really appreciate the detail your putting on your blog! you’re about 6 months ahead of us!

    We’re looking to ship a camper (Unimog based) from Ireland (probably have to ship from the UK) to either USA or Canada. Did you find either USA or Canada any easier from a paperwork point of view? We have heard that Halifax is a lot easier to ship to and get the truck from than the USA based ports.

    Could you leave nothing in the truck while shipping? Gas bottles? water hoses? Submersible pump?

    Keep up the blogging, it’s very much appreciated!

    Merv and Sarah.

    • July 3, 2011 8:34 pm

      Hi Merv,

      I think it’ll be pretty cold in Canada in six months time ! Although people in Nova Scotia told us it rarely snows just gets cold.

      I am jealous of the unimog. You will very much find yourselves the centre of attention out here. Enough people stop and ask if we have a unimog.

      We haven’t been into USA yet but the paperwork in Canada was very easy. Took about 10 minutes at the customs office and another 20 minutes or so at the port – but most of that was waiting. We chose halifax on the basis of price in that it was substantially cheaper than going anywhere else. Also since we wanted to visit Alaska it is nearer – sort of !

      We did leave a few things in the truck. We got away with gas bottles but no one asked and I have asked of people having them taken away. We also carried a few small spares, some cables, 2 spare starting batteries and jump leads. We were worried if the truck was not isolated for the 10 day shipping that it might not start but the shippers kindly arranged for the isolator to be switched off – and it was.

      If you have any other questions please ask and we will help if we can and I will keep blogging about what we do.



  2. Brendan permalink
    May 17, 2013 8:09 pm

    What were the costs?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: