Originally Posted by Vleis
Like many others I have been following the Alex Ferry/Egypt Shipping/Customs issues very closely over the last 6 months. If I remember correct the last thread of somebody actually clearing customs after shipping their 4x4 in a container was more than 6 months ago. I need to ship my Landy in 6 weeks and was wondering if anybody on the HUBB actually cleared customs in the past 6 months? Is it still possible with all the changes in Egypt recently or are you looking for trouble (unless you have a limitless budget for bribes and all the time in the world). A lot of the news talk about lawlessness slowly but sure taking over in Egypt during this transition period.
I shipped my LC from Mersin to Alexandria at the beginning of this month.
It takes a lot of time and money in Mersin to find a decent agency, vessel and container (we needed an open-top; a RoRo would save some time and money, but is very, very risky). All together, Mersin costed us about EUR 1650 (including everything (also a small sum which ensured that our car would not be inspected)) and more than a week.
When we arrived in Alexandria, our vessel turned out to be delayed 2 days. On Marinetraffic (Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions
) I subsequently found out that our vessel did arrive in Alexandria, but was not allowed to access the port for 5 days (no priority).
When it was allowed into the port, we needed 4 days for the custom clearance (1: make sure in Turkey that the car is registered in your passport and subsequently deregistered at the customs, 2: make sure you have an original bill of lading, or, if this could not be provided to you in Turkey, a certified copy from the agency, 3: get another stamp from the automobile club for EP 500, which is absolutely rubbish, but very necessary according to the Egyptians, 4: make sure your custom broker (timely) arranges an id-card to get access to the port (mine took almost a day, while it originally was only valid for one day...), 5: enter the magical world of the Egyptian custom clearance, police and traffic).
Like in Turkey, the customs in Egypt were extremely slow, ineffecient, non-professional, etc. You need to have lots of patience, you should make sure you have no alcohol/explosives/etc. in your car and need to make sure that every single detail on all forms filled in before are correct.
Our costs in Egypt were about EUR 1000, including everything (among which a 6 kg (!!!) fire estinguisher, while we already have a smaller one in our car). Please note that our open-top container added quite an amount to this bill and that our agency charged us about EUR 500 for non-distinct things (copy bill of lading, the actual transport of the container from the vessel, etc.).
So we were ready for about EUR 3000 (including 2 tickets from Istanbul to Cairo...) and in more than 2 weeks. I never, ever, again want to be confronted with the Turkish and Egyptian custom clearance. No lawlessness, though.
Did I already mention that our container was opened without my presence in Alexandria, and that we had a few scratches on our LC, that our roofrack was damaged and that a tube of our extra fuel tank was slightly damaged?
Personally, and I don't want to be rude to some of the friendly Egyptians, I think the Egyptians give you a very unwelcome feeling and are very annoying and do not care about much (at least in Cairo and Alexandria; the Sinaï seems to differ). And by now, I get irritated by the words "insha'Allah" and "baksheesh". Still, we were expecting all this hassle, but if you don't, you will have a though time.
A very important final mark: never give anyone the keys of your car. We had more than one tough discussion because we were ordered to hand over our keys several times, but we never did (and yes, paid extra). If you do, they WILL enter your car and they WILL get stuff out of your car and they WILL find things which are considered to be illegal.
Still, I think this is the best option for an overlander, considering that our feeling at the Syrian border was far from good, a RoRo may ruin your car and no attractive alternatives overland are available (the only one possible now is via Turkey/Iraq/Iran/SA).