5th April 2017: The real start to our North American adventure in our RS Elysian Motorhome. A reasonably uneventful couple of days travelling down from Yorkshire, staying over at Cite Europe and then on to Antwerp this morning. The motorhome ships from Antwerp to Baltimore on a Ro Ro Ferry taking around 12 days to make the crossing.
The signage for the quay we needed was good and we found it first time. After that, a little more complex given language and unfamiliarity. Never seen so many hairy arsed lorry drivers in one place 😊.
So, if you ever do this, this is the procedure…
You need your pen and your passport and your vehcle chassis number plus your reference number supplied by the shipping company earlier. There is a machine to scan your passport to give you a pass to access the port – it didn’t work for me so I ignored it. There are several glass counters and screens – they seem to indicate that you should join the queue with the screen that shows your shipping line – in my case,, Atlantic Courier.
Very friendly person when I got to the front of my queue with reasonable English and she gave me a form to fill out which only took a couple of minutes after which you return to the same queue. A few minutes later I was handed a day pass to the port and told to drive through the gate across the weigh bridge.
Again, very friendly but was politely told only ONE person can enter the port with the vehicle so my grandson had to go and wait where we had checked in. The nice man stuck a Baltimore sticker on the front of the vehicle and guided me to a parking place where the vehicle would remain, unlocked, until it was boarded on the ship. I was given some fluorescent string to attach my keys and to leave them in an obvious place hanging near the steering wheel. There were several motorhomes including a big Hymer right next to me. And that was that, probably less than an hour in total.
The unlocked key situation is a bit of a worry for me. We have a digital lock on our door i.e. not key entry. All vehicles are left unlocked with the keys inside – that is not the issue. The issue is that if my leisure battery runs flat the ‘battery guard’ will kick in and the digital lock will no longer work effectively locking the ignition keys in the vehicle. I had intended to activate the ‘battery guard’ thinking the keys would be left OUTSIDE the vehicle as the door can be opened with the remote key fob when the digital lock is not in use. The net of all that is that I have emailed the shippers and explained the situation and they will have to plug the vehicle in for a few minutes to activate the lock if they need to get in and the battery guard has kicked in.
Also, they only have the ignition key which means they have no access to the rear of the motorhome which has a locked door and none of the garage or locker space. This didn’t seem to concern them but at the US end they must want to check the vehicle before allowing entry so not sure what happens there either.
Hey ho – it’s an adventure!
Update April 6th: Seabridge got back to me. Having all the rest of the keys is not a problem, that is usual and any check will be at US customs
As for starting the camper if the door is locked, basically they said they would sort it using the instructions I have provided