Shipping Home

Getting to Montevideo was the end of my trip with Nelson so it was time to pack up for the long sea voyage home, normally with the roof rack and the box on the roof Nelson is quite tall, around 256 cm (which is very good to print out and put on the inside of the windscreen) without the box it is around 226 cm tall.  This is an important number as the door of a standard shipping container is 228cm and the truck can bounce a bit getting in and out of the container so its a perfect fit.  Many of my friends have put a 2 inch lift on their Land Rovers as it looks better and they think the extra clearance is helpful, in my opinion there are three things to think about with that,

  1. Actually the low point of the Land Rover is the diff on the axel, which does not move up with the lift.
  2. Raising the centre of gravity, with a roof conversion and a roof rack makes the truck more unstable in corners
  3. It would then not fit into a normal shipping container

So to get Nelson organised for shipping Tony and I had to spend a few hours sorting it out.  First task was to find all of Tonys stuff, which after six weeks was all spread out around the truck in boxes, nets and shelves and put it together for him to pack.  Next all the things that might go mouldy, rot or not survive storage had to be cleared out, bleached and aired.  Then the roof box and all its contents were dismantled and repacked into the rear of the truck (its necessary to get the sequencing right here as once the box is in then none of the cupboards can be opened)

Here we are in the middle of sorting out the roof box and our stuff in a nice quiet campsite, thankfully the sun is shining so we can get everything washed and dried before the packing, and they have a nice big waste big for all the bits of food etc that would grow legs in the container !

Everything fits in quite neatly with room for Tonys luggage on top of the boxes, its important to ensure everything that is needed from the cupboards is out before the main roof box goes into the back, its heavy so I am counting on not needed an inspection at the port at least outbound.


When I designed the box I made it so that it just fits into the back of the truck, as you can see, however I forgot about the door handle inside the rear door and the box over the winder motor, so these both have to come off in order to be able to shut the back door, thankfully with them off it just shuts.

Once the truck is packed up then I cannot use the truck as my accommodation any more, so the last two days in the city I spend in a nice local hotel, surprisingly cheap given all the cancelled travel due to the Corona Virus, at this stage there are no reported cases in Uruguay but international travel has dropped by more than 50% and the tourists are disappearing.

This hotel is idea as it is two blocks from the shipping office, four blocks from the port, and has a nice secure car park for the two days Nelson will be there while we process paperwork and arrange shipping.

The shipping costs about £4000 including all insurance, port fees at both ends and the shipping itself, one thing people don’t realise in advance is that the actually shipping on the boat is only about half the cost of shipping.  The rest is port fees, getting the container on and off the boat, loading and unloading the container and lots of Customs clearance time and agent fees.  Some folks do this themselves to save money but with my limited Spanish this is not wise and my agent does a great job to navigate all the formalities and helps me get the truck loaded with only a photographic inspection by customs.  This is the polite term for my agent photographing the truck and the customs person, who probably should check the truck in person, taking a photo of the agents photo on the agents phone….ask no questions and smile moment !

So after a day of office processing and half a day driving around the port collecting stamps and getting X-rayed we are ready to load Nelson into a container, no nice easy ramps here just low ratio and just the right amount of power to get up the lip of the container without bouncing into the roof.


Here my agent and the loader chat as Nelson is tied down in the container, he is insured against damage so we had to take photos of his already battered exterior just before loading.  He is lashed down front and back and the wheels fixed in place with big wooden wedges nailed into the floor of the container.

Finally I am happy that he is secure, batteries have been disconnected for the trip so he can start when I get him home and I am happy to give him a last pat before the four week journey.  The little rucksack is all I take out of the truck to get me through four days and contains all my critical ipad/laptops and chargers, wearing my running shoes so I can keep up my 5k training runs to keep up the ramp towards running with my friends back in Edinburgh


So I will be tracking this container for the next few weeks, hopefully we will be reunited at the London Gateway port around the 14th of April…little did I know what would happen in between this day and the day I am writing this blog in Edinburgh two weeks later !  The shipping was organised by my friend Martin McGowan at IVSSUK I can strongly recommend their services

Keep safe people


About Gerry Mulligan

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