Shipping the Discovery

Have you ever worked on a vehicle in your driveway when it was Ė 18 degrees Fahrenheit [thatís -28 degrees Celsius]? Well I hadnít until now! The lead up to shipping the Discovery Short Ass to Australia was a nightmare, what could go wrong was going wrong. We had to change over the front axle assembly; build a light rack for the roof; wire up a 24 volt winch assembly; install a kill switch; hard wire the GPS; change over the tires to our new double sided bead locks; obtain and fit a new starter motor; obtain and fit a new battery and probably a dozen other things I cannot think of at present. I had booked the shipping container to arrive in 7 days time. So when an artic blizzard blew down into Colorado you can imagine my reaction.

Luckily the shipping company I was using were happy to push out the shipping date by a week. I still had to contend with this blizzard? Work on was our only solution. Sitting in the snow changing front axle assemblies, lying on ice under the Discovery tightening everything up again, and I couldnít even stop for a beer, Bugger! Well we just made the deadline with me working up until the hour before it shipped.

With the Australian Outback Challenge being on the other side of the world one of my biggest costs and hassles was to ship the Discovery.

Having never done anything like this before I spoke with friends and contacts to find out the cheapest way to ship the Discovery. I found that I had to contact lots of different shipping companies in order to get a good price. The amount they wanted to charge varied by over 100%. Also the services they would provide varied significantly with many splitting costs and charges up minutely to try and confuse ones ability to compare one from another. In the end I opted for a 20Ē container arranged by Allison Shipping International out of California . On the day of shipping they bought a container to my front door for me to load the truck.

Most people taking a vehicle overseas intend to make it a two way trip. Given that I am an Australian and moving back home this year I opted to get customs approval to permanently import the vehicle. All others need what is called a Carnet de Passage which is in essence a temporary permit to import a vehicle and avoid customs duties. In particular to take a vehicle to Australia for the OBC you need a Carnet de Passage for motor sport or recreation purposes. Most places have these available through the local Automobile Association. When I contacted AAA here in the USA they could not help me. Apparently all Caret de Passages are issued out of Canada . In case you are interested AAA members can obtain carnets through the International Documents Department at the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) Headquarters in Ottawa , 1145 Hunt Club Road, Suite 200 , Ottawa , Ontario K1V 0Y3 Canada , (613) 247-0117, fax (613) 247-0118. Attn: Suzanne Danis.

Australian Quarantine can be difficult. Australia is one of the few countries in the world who do not have Rabies, Foot and Mouth, Mad Cow Disease and a number of other diseases. As a result they take entry requirements very seriously. I spent 2 full days cleaning the Discovery but am still concerned that it will not be good enough for them. If not then they will require the vehicle to be cleaned by one of their contractors at significant expense.

Loading the Truck was fun! The truck arrives with a container on the back, it is then my responsibility to load the truck some 4 foot above the ground. Now the Discovery can climb high ledges but not 4 foot high. I arranged for a local tow company to bring its flat bed with the view to drive onto the tow truck then back into the container. Even with this assistance the flat bed was still lower than the container requiring some gentle reversing to get up and into the container.

Now have you ever been in a 20 foot container? Have you ever measured the internal dimensions then compared it to the external dimensions of a Discovery. I had not. To my horror those containers are dam narrow. To get out of the driverís seat I had to climb out the window and drop down the side, even after we maneuvered the truck as far over to the passenger side as possible. Now I am not a thin person and when I dropped out the window I was almost stuck between Discovery and container wall. There is no way on earth I will be able to get back in the window to drive the car out and will need to enlist the assistance of a very skinny friend. Because of the narrowness how do I get to the back to affix the tie downs? Bugger! Yes you guessed it I had to crawl underneath the car on my stomach to the rear to attach to the tie downs, then crawl all the way back out again. Not a pretty sight. Luckily the truck driver and tow truck driver were having way to much fun laughing at my expense to pick up my camera and take any incriminating shots.

Once the container closed I relaxed, sort of. Now all I have to worry about is the container getting there in one piece [to those on thanks for the pictures of containers falling off ships, it really boosted my confidence] and getting the vehicle through Australia customs.

Next stop the event in may 2006.

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Driving Your Vehicle in Australia

In preparation for driving your car in Australia, here is some information:

Vic Roads will issue a TAC85 which is the Transport Accident Cover or 3rd party insurance. New South Wales accept this so you don't need a NSW Unregistered Vehicle Permit to travel Interstate. The cover can be for the duration of your stay, say 30 days and that will cost about $A80.00.

You need the following information for the forms:


bulletName and address of owner/driver
bulletVehicle registration number. The vehicle must have a current registration in the country of origin for the duration, so provide date of expiry
bulletVehicle engine number
bulletIf available the vehicle VIN number
bulletMake and colour
bulletBody Type: station wagon, utility, car
bulletStart and end dates of cover required.

On your arrival you take these prepared forms to the local office and sign up. The car is not required to have a road worthy certificate but must be roadworthy.

For more details go to the Australian Automobile Association website: