Arranging shipping from Europe to Egypt was not an easy task. The cargo companies seem to operate on a last minute time scale. We made contact with a few different shipping agents months in advance, but they always told us to call again closer to the time.
Having began planning our trip nearly 11 months ago, leaving such a crucial element to the very last minute didn’t help the level of stress leading up to our departure. We originally planned to ship Roll On Roll Off (RORO). So 2 weeks before our departure we called Grimaldi who operate the route we needed. Explaining our requirements, they told us there was a RORO service availible. It would leave Livorno on the 28th of October and arrive in Alexandria on the 3rd of November. We were now super excited and a little more relaxed that we were getting somewhere with the shipping. However there was something that was about to cause a problem….
“No personal effects.”
We found it written at the very end of one of the email exchanges. It basically means the car and trailer MUST be empty of anything that is not a fixture of the vehicle. We asked as an Overlander if there could be any exceptions. But after the Grande America ship caught fire and sank earlier in the year, they told us that there were no longer ANY exceptions. Everything had to be empty, even down to the fuel tank…
This was a bit of a blow so close to our departure. We asked what options were availabale and they gave us a choice of: make sure the car and trailer are empty or ship using a container. We asked for the details of a container and after no more than an hour we had a quote which actually came in cheaper than the RORO option.
So after a nail biting few days, we finally had our shipping arranged. 1st of November departure from Livorno, on the Mona Lisa.
We had a late night on the 27th to finish packing the trailer and the car, ready for an early departure on the 28th. There was about 400km to cover down to Livorno were we would be loading the container.
The limit when towing a trailer in Italy is 80kph, so the drive down took us 5 hours, with a little break in the middle to stretch our legs and have a coffee.
Arriving just after 14:00 at the Cosmos Logistics office we soon realised this was a very relaxed operation. After standing around for 10 minutes without knowing what was happening, the container arrived on the back of a lorry before being taken down to the loading bay. A quick inspection and it was time to get the Defender and the trailer into the container.
Once everything was in the correct position, the lashers came to do their thing. They strapped the Defender and the trailer down in every possible way. Chocks were nailed to the floor to make sure nothing would move, no matter what bumps and bashes the container might encounter on its journey to Alexandria.
After closing up the doors a tamperproof seal was attached to stop any unwelcomed guests gaining access to our container.
A quick wave goodbye to Zebra and then the long drive back to Milan. This time at 130kph in the VW Golf, it made the journey much faster.
The boat has a few different port calls on its way to Alexandria. We now have 10 days to wait before its expected to arrive.