Shipping cars from Greece to Egypt (and the other way round)
Long before even the beginning of our trip in July, I had tried several times to reach Grimaldi offices in Italy, Greece and Turkey. It was always the same procedure: whenever I sent an email, there was no answer, when I phoned them, they told me to send an email ... and then there again was no answer. A friend from Cairo called the Grimaldi office in Egypt (contact details: "Rasha" (export department), phone:+20 3 4863647, email: email@example.com), and suddenly, there were answers. Sometimes, Africa is not so bad after all!
In Greece, it was again the same situation: we sent emails and nobody replied. Luckily a Greek friend helped us and contacted Grimaldi via email and phone, and suddenly, it worked. So, I would highly recommend everybody who wants to ship their car to Egypt with Grimaldi, to find persons local to where the Grimaldi office is to help with the communication.
The procedure in Greece:
We had to first go to the customs office at the G2 car terminal in Keratsini. The address (G2 car terminal, Ichtioskala, Keratsini), though could not be found on our Garmin GPS (if you type it in in Greek letters in Google maps, though, you will find it). There the customs officials told us that we needed a customs broker and contacted one for us. We had hoped that we would not need one, but the recommendation from the customs officer was really a good one. The customs broker that helped us, actually only wanted 30€ per car for his services (we had another offer for 150€ per car, so it is really good to compare prices!).
Here are the contact details:
Georgios Kapelas, Akti Ionias 36, Keratsini 18755 (Garmin has this address!), phone: 210 4314886, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
They were very helpful and all we had to do was sign some papers and wait for about two hours.
The documents needed here were:
- car registration
- passports of the car's owner
- Carnet de Passages (they did not ask for it but we brought it and it was really important to have it there)
In addition to the 30€ per car for the customs broker, we paid another 6,47€ per car for the port storage of our cars for two days.
After that we brought the cars into the customs warehouse-part of the harbour which is just next doors to the custom's broker's office. There the VIN-numbers were checked and we could leave to go to the office of Minoan Lines SA in Pireus who act as Grimaldi agents in Pireus.
This is the address and the name of the lady who helped us there:
Grimaldi Car Carriers & RoRo Piraeus Agency
MINOAN LINES SA, As Agents only
Τel. 0030 – 210 – 4145720
Everybody there was very helpful and after another hour, we were free to leave. The costs were 116,85€ for the service at Minoan Lines and another 309,00€ for the shipping.
We did not need any other documents than stated above, but were asked to give our VAT number (i.e. our German tax number) ... as I did not have it they simply did not add it on the document.
The only other thing that is important is that during all procedures the owners of the car (i.e. us) had to be present.
Sea freight: Euro 307,00 per van
Stamp b/l : Euro 2,00 per shipment
Free in: Euro 95,00 +VAT per van (under 3to; over 3to the cost of driving the car up the ship is
Fixer in Alexandria:
We thought that it might be important to find a customs broker ("fixer") for Alexandria as well. As the prices here vary immensely from fixer to fixer (we even had an offer of 4450US$ per car!) it is good to compare the prices. The customs broker we chose is Nermien Mamish who was recommended to us by Argentinian friends and is highly recommended on the HUBB ("Horizons Unlimited"). She expects us to pay 870€ for her services (including all port & Traffic charges, Plates & receipts; Excluding only Carrier DTHC ( Discharging cost ) the customs broker has to pay at actual to carrier).
The expected duration of the clearance for the two cars will be 2-3 working days.
These are her contact details:
Managing Partner - MBA,
Consolidated Freight Service (CFS).
125, Hurreya Ave.
El Radwan Bldg.
Alexandria - Egypt.
Tel : 002 03 3914671 /2 / 4
Fax : 002 03 3914679
Mobile : 002 0122 240 4884
Website : www.cfsegypt.com
Needed documents for entry procedures in Alexandria (we sent them in in advance as scans)
- Carnet de Passages
- car license (i.e. the car registration documents)
- shipping line BL ("Bill of Loading")
Flying from Greece (Athens) to Egypt (Cairo)
As it is not possible to go on the same ship the car is on as a passenger, the only way to get to Egypt is by plane. Flying to Egypt (Cairo) is not that expensive ... we paid 179€ per adult and 168€ per child (i.e. 694€ for the family alltogether; 20kg luggage + hand luggage). This is the travel agency in Athens we did the booking with:
Joy Tours (Mairi Stathopoulou, email@example.com)
162 Patission Str.
Tel.: (+30)2108620103, 2130002250
The procedure in Egypt:
After having arrived in Egypt, we now had to start the procedures in Alexandria with our customs broker and, thus, had to go there in person.
The trip from Cairo to Alexandria can easily be done by train (also very cheap). Morning trains leave at 6:00 and 8:00 in Cairo and take about three hours (as there are more trains, it is even possible to go back and forth within one day to save extra hotel costs). The cost is about 45EL (back only 30 EL). Even the 2nd class is quite convenient. We were the only tourists on the train. It is always important to be in Alexandria as early in the morning as possible as offices open at 9 o'clock in the morning and close at one!
Finally in Alexandria, we took a taxi from the main station to the customs broker's ("fixer") office (Consolidated Freight Service (CFS), Nermien Mamish, firstname.lastname@example.org,125, Hurreya Ave., El Radwan Bldg., Bab-Sherk, Alexandria - Egypt., Tel : 002 03 3914671 /2 / 4, Fax : 002 03 3914679 , Mobile : 002 0122 240 4884, Web: www.cfsegypt.com, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cfsegypt).
We went off with Fathi El Said, one of Nermien's colleagues (mail: email@example.com, tel.: ...) and first
went to the Immigration Department in Alexandria. There our passports were stamped and signed by an official stating that we were really within Egypt as all private persons shipping cars to Egypt have to be present when the car is freed out of customs.
... and second, we had to go to the Document Verification Department to sign a statement to give the customs brokers power of attourney to be allowed to act on our behalf.
The following documents we had to leave with the customs brokers:
- Carnet de Passages
- national car registration
- bill of loading
All the rest of the clearance procedures after that is done by the customs brokers who contact you via mail or mobile phone to keep you updated or if they need you to be present in Alexandria. We went back to Cairo.
In our case, the ship did not arrive as expected (it took six days to reach Alexandria, the shipping agency stated three to six days). As the name of the ship is on the bill of loading, you can use "AIS" to track the ship (see http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ ).
Finally, we had to come back to Alexandria on the second working day after the ship had docked in Alexandria and had to present ourselves to customs. The team at CFS then started the customs procedures on that very day so that we could get the Land Rover back the following day, within three working days after docking as promised by Nermien Mamish. A bit problematic was the fact that we had to leave so much gear in the cars, because they have to officially be empty. One should definitely not leave any money, food or medication in the car. Money and medication can easily be taken on the plane. We blocked the rear door to make stealing more difficult ... and only one petrol lamp was stolen.
On the day we got out the car, the VIN and engine numbers were checked, we got the Egyptian registration and license plates, got two 6kg fire extinguishers (mandatory even if you have some already), had to pay for port storage (paid for by CFS), show up at customs and - after about three hours of going here and there, sitting and drinking tea - I was able to drive out of the port, fuel up (at 0,22€ per litre!) and do the first 200 and something kilometres of our Transafrica trip.
There is a new rule (October 2015) that all Landcruisers have to be checked not only by police, customs and traffic department, but also by the military who have the power to decide and even reject cars which then would mean that they would have to be shipped back to where they came from. This is due to the fact that recently a lot of Landcruisers have been car-jacked and used for terrorist purposes. In the best case, this means a delay of another three to ten days.
For the complete process it is absolutely necessary to have a mobile phone with an Egyptian number. We got local Sim cards at a vodafone shop for 41EL (500 min without data; 141EL for 500 min with 7,5GB data). Make sure that your phone is not Sim-locked before traveling to Egypt!
For going to all customs, police and other offices, I would advise everybody to dress properly (i.e. long trousers, proper shoes and shirt) and be able to greet and say thank you et cetera in Arabic. Mutual respect can speed up the process as well, I am sure!
We would highly recommend taking a "fixer" (i.e. customs broker or freight forwarder) unless you speak fluent Arabic and exactly know all the procedures. Nermien Mamish, Fathi El Said and their team did a great job and their speed (three working days) impressed even expats who have lived here in Egypt for decades! We highly recommend them!
|customs broker Greece||30,00 €|
|port storage Greece||6,47 €||i.e. 3,24 € per day|
|costs Minoan||116,85 €|
|shipping costs||309,00 €|
|customs broker Egypt||870,00 €|
|port costs (storage et cetera)||79,03 €||658,00 EL|
|costs shipping||1.411,35 €|
|train tickets||12,61 €||105,00 EL|
|costs including flights and trains||2.117,96 €|
The team at CSF in Alexandria of course also are happy to help everybody shipping cars in the opposite direction (i.e. from Egypt to Greece).