We arrived yesterday at the Northland Services terminal right behind the Alaska Railroad Depot in Fairbanks. After paperwork and several signatures for the Bill of Lading and vehicle inspection documents I turned the keys over to Steve - our Northland rep, and said a fond farewell to Troopy for at least 2 months. We also did the same with Troopy’s little brother, our 2008 FJ Cruiser.
Steve promptly drove Troopy into a 20’ “Hi-Cube” container and carefully blocked both front and rear tires, then strapped down the axles. I had measured the height of Troopy including his mounted rack and tent several times and checked online for standard Hi-Cube dimensions. Troopy came in at just a little over 8’2”, the standard door height is 8’5” - so plenty of room... Whew! just made it!. I used this website to check dimensions: http://www.foreign-trade.com/reference/ocean.cfm . The inside height at 8’10” was not a problem. Of course, the FJ’s height wasn’t an issue.
Let’s back up a bit and I’ll describe the process of booking. I researched shipping companies (there are many) by asking questions through my normal sites including Expedition Portal and located a small shipper in L.A. named Export Shipping Company. See their website here: www.exship.com. My main points of contact have been Elizabeth Ann and Christine, who have provided initial information concerning routes and Customs procedures, documents needed and of course, pricing. For such a long voyage I specified closed containers for the vehicles and asked that they be shipped together in the same container for ease of tracking. Even though it is less expensive to ship vehicles to Europe via Roll-on, Roll-off (RO-RO) ship, I chose the container method because I didn’t want the vehicles exposed to the salt air environment for weeks. For the FJ it probably isn’t a big deal, but for Troopy, who has quite a bit of surface corrosion here and there, it would exacerbate the problem. Also, containers are much more secure than RO-ROs.
The routing goes like this: Troopy and FJ’s container will be loaded onto an Alaska Railroad flatbed for the trip to Anchorage. It will be off-loaded from the train and then loaded onto a barge for a sea voyage to Port of Seattle. The Fairbanks - Seattle leg takes a couple of weeks. Then the container is emptied, the vehicles cleared through U.S. Customs for export, and then re-loaded into a 40‘ Hi-Cube, sealed, and loaded onto a container ship. Normally this process takes a week or so. The sea voyage gets underway and the ship makes its way around the world, eventually off-loading Troopy’s container in Palermo, Sicily in a couple of months. At least that’s the plan!
I’m awaiting more specific voyage routing information from ExShip so that we can track the shipment via the website. I think I’ll put up a map so that everyone can follow along.
More to follow...