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Shipping Montevideo to Antwerp: Part 1 – Montevideo

August 20, 2013

A few weeks before we wanted to head home we had contacted a shipping agent in Montevideo. We knew that we wanted to send the Beast back to Europe via Grimaldi Shipping Lines and their agent in Montevideo is MHSA Ltda. We tried to contact Grimaldi directly but didn’t have any luck with this. It took a little while to get through to MHSA (problems with their spam filter deleting our emails) but once we were in communication they were very responsive and helpful.

Alejandra Barreto
1498 Colon ST., Suites 501, 502 & 503
11001 Montevideo

PH ++ 598 2 917 0056 ext 101
FX  ++ 598 2 917 0038

Alejandra was very helpful and after giving us a choice of dates and ports we chose one and were booked in. Her English was excellent. We were not able to ship back to the UK and the ports we had available were in Belgium (Antwerp) and Germany (Hamburg). We decided on Antwerp due to is proximity to Calais and cheap channel ferries.

We were given a quote for costs:

POL: Montevideo

POD: Hamburg/Antwerp

7.5m long, 2.4m wide and 3.5m h

5 tons


US$ 6426



Terms: LT

Validity: 30/06/2013
Subject to space availability.

Rates are valid for self propelled units only.

We decided to ignore the weight that they had assumed (and this proved fine in the end). The quote was definitely more expensive than we would have liked but there isn’t much choice in the cross Atlantic market.  There were to be no charges at the European end.

We had to provide Alejandra with some documents a couple of weeks before departure:

  • Copy of Owners Passport
  • Registration Document for Truck (V5)
  • Customs Form from Uruguay Border 

She was very happy to receive scans of these documents.  We had scans of the V5 and my passport which we sent straight away but we had to wait until crossing into Uruguay before sending the customs form (obviously). This was quickly and easily scanned using a digital camera. We emailed the file on our first night in Uruguay.

As a result of providing all the documentation up front we wouldn’t need to visit MHSA’s office until the day that we would take the truck to the port.

One concern that we had was payment and we learnt that the local payment was required in cash and in USD on the day that we were shipping however the bulk of the payment could be made by international transfer once we were back home.

The good thing about Uruguay, unlike its large southern neighbour, is that US Dollars are readily available and in fact dispensed by most cashpoints. Our experience in Uruguay was that only the more modern cash machines accepted our foreign cards and the more basic and older machines just wouldn’t give us any money. These modern machines also gave out US Dollars – most of the time. In Montevideo all the machines are new but in the the more rural parts of the country the older machines are more common.

Alejandra had asked us to come into their offices in central Montevideo on any of three days before our shipping date. We decided to leave it as late as possible and deliver our truck the day before the ship was due to leave (a Uruguayan bank holiday did push us down this route somewhat though).

We spent the night before parked at the beach a few miles short of Montevideo and then drove in to the city the next morning to get to the offices fairly early.

MHSA Offices

MHSA Offices

MHSA’s offices are in the old town of Montevideo with fairly narrow streets and no easy parking. For smaller vehicles there would be no problem parking on the street or even in a couple of parking garages nearby. We decided to park on the “Rambla” which is the big road running around the sea front and port. There was technically no parking but we didn’t have any problems.

On visiting the office we paid over the local fee in US Dollars and then were told to come back in the afternoon in order to take the truck to the port.

Given that we had a few hours to kill we drove up to Punta Carretas, a small headland park surrounded by water. We parked up by the water and proceeded to wash the truck.  We’d been trying for almost a week to find somewhere to get the truck washed for us and completely failed so we thought we might as well do it ourselves. (For those smaller than us there is actually an indoor car park about 50m from the MHSA office which will wash your vehicle – we debated whether we would fit and in the end decided we were just too big).

Washing the Beast in Montevideo

Washing the Beast in Montevideo

We were back on the Rambla ready to go at the appropriate time. After popping back into the office we were back in the truck following our fixer in a car towards the port.

Security at Montevideo Port

Security at Montevideo Port

Once at the port we had to have our photos taken and get a security pass for the port.

Truck Scales

Truck Scales

After having the Beast weighed we had a customs inspection. This involved our fixer talking to the customs official for a couple of minutes and persuading him that he didn’t actually need to take a look to which he eventually agreed.

Driving through the Port

We then drove through the port to a muddy lot which was the holding area for all the vehicles going on RORO. Here we had to leave our lovely home and wave goodbye, crossing our fingers that in 4 weeks time we would be picking the Beast up undamaged thousands of km’s away in Europe.

Our Last view of The Beast in South America

Our Last view of The Beast in South America

The fixer dropped us back at the MHSA office where it was easy enough to get a taxi to the hotel we had booked for the night.

Alejandra gave us some contact details for Grimaldi in Antwerp who we needed to talk to before our ship arrived in order to arrange payment and pickup.

Grimaldi Belgium NV (Antwerp)
Brouwersvliet 37
+32 3545 9430
+32 3541 4275
3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2013 9:27 pm

    hi guys,

    we live in antwerp, well at least untill we leave on our worldtrip!!! when did the vessel leave montevideo??
    when are you guys arriving in antwerp?? if we can help you with anything, we’ll be glad to!!
    give us a buzz if you need any info or wanna meet up on

    greetz steven and sita aka team izzie

  2. August 30, 2013 1:05 am

    Hello, Just discovered your blog a few days ago, but I found it so interesting that I’ve pretty much read it all now! Thanks for sharing your trip!

    I’m not sure if you are planning to do so yet since you only recently finished your trip, but I would definitely be interested to hear some of your summary thoughts on your trip. I can imagine it sort of takes some time to process, though.
    For example, it sounds like you were already pretty well traveled–how did this extended trip compare to your other foreign vacations. What were the overall highlights/lowlights; lessons learned, etc. …

    Fortunately, it seems that you did not have any serious crime/safety problems apart from the broken window, but I would be curious to hear your thoughts on safety in the places you visited in general. You discussed this a little with regards to Mexico and with a few brief mentions of places seeming safe or not, but I wonder how you would describe the different places overall. For example, you mentioned that you felt the negative press on safety in Mexico was overhyped, but then you also described driving through a road blockade with masked gunmen so I wonder on the balance how you feel. Being from the USA I definitely have the impression that some of the places you traveled are not very safe but I can also believe that is partly media hype and partly that this crime can be very localized.

    Also, I thought your photography was great. I would be curious to know what was in your kit and any advice you have for travelers about taking photos. A few specific questions I have are: how did you do the underwater photos; for the waterfall photos what kind of exposure time did you use for the long exposure shots; for some of the shots in the jungle around Manu it sounds like they were taken at night–did you just use the on-camera flash?–the lighting looked pretty good so I am curious; finally, did you use a polarizer, HDR?.

    Thanks a lot. I really enjoyed your blog.

  3. September 12, 2013 1:32 pm

    let’s hope this isn’t what happens to your vessel 🙂

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