North- and South America are not connected by any roads, between Panama and Colombia is about a 150km stretch of jungle, the so called Darian Gap. Therefore, we have to ship our Landy to Colombia.
To keep costs low, we searched for shipping partners to share a container from the Panamanian port of Colon to Cartagena in Colombia. We decided to use the biggest container available (40′ HC) so that we can squeeze in two cars and one or two motorbikes. We quickly found a van and a motorbike for the journey and as an agent we used Boris from Ever Logistics (WhatsApp +507 6213-3485). Main reason we chose Boris over other agents is that with him, we can load the container outside the port, are present when it gets sealed and can keep the keys to our cars.
Useful resources to find shipping partners are the well known PanAmerican FB-Groups (PanAmerican Travelers Association, Overland the Americas and for motos Horizons Unlimited). Since a few weeks, there’s also an online app called container buddies (We didn’t use it).
Because Rachel and I wanted to sail via the San Blas islands to Cartagena we chose the Saturday shipping, so that we have enough time in Cartagena to get the cars out of the port without having to pay extra fees. You get three free days to unstuff the container, the clock starts ticking as soon as the ship’s in the port. Each extra day costs $41.
Total costs for two cars and one motorbike:
Colombia: $557 (payable in Colombian Pesos)
Total: $2357 ($978 for us)
The process to get the cars out of the container in Cartagena is actually quite easy but involves a lot of walking around, filling out forms, waiting and takes two days.
If you are shipping with Boris and Seaboard the first step to get your car back is to go to the Seaboard Compass office in El Bosque (location see iOverlander.com) with the draft Bill of Lading. There you will get a detailed step-by-step checklist and the original Bill of Lading.
If you have a motorbike and it’s Friday afternoon by the time you get out of the port, you are probably out of luck getting the mandatory SOAT insurance – the gas station SOAT selling places we found do not issue the insurance for motorbikes, you have to go to the Seguros SURA office that’s open Mon-Fri (8-12;1:30-5)