Shipping a Porsche 911 from California to UK

I’m currently shipping my third Porsche 911 to the UK from the USA (West Coast/California). The first leg of the Porsche’s voyage is aboard the container ship Valencia Express, which is taking it from LA to Caucedo in the Dominican Republic. After unloading the Porsche 911’s shipping container and who knows what else, Valencia Express will then head across the Atlantic and down towards Spain, while another ship, the Sormiou, currently en route from Valparaiso, will pick up the UK shipping freight, including my classic Porsche 911 SC. Once loaded, it will set sail for London, via Rotterdam.

Valencia Express

Shipping a Porsche 911 from California to UK: Vessel Tracking

Knowing the ships that are bringing Varmint home is pretty cool. You can track them using Hapag Lloyd’s site, which I had been doing in the evenings since it left LA.

According to the Hapag site, Valencia Express was due in Manzanillo, Panama yesterday, which Google Maps told me was on the Pacific, like Manzanillo in Mexico. Finding out that the ship was late, I had a little search and learned that Manzanillo port is actually on the Atlantic: it is the port just by the mouth of the canal. Google Maps is properly sketchy about Panama but this seems a bit of an obvious mistake.

Anyway, as it hadn’t arrived, I surmised that it might still be in the canal. I googled for some real-time Panama Canal update sites and found the live webcams at the Canal Authority’s website late this afternoon.

There are two cameras at Gatun Locks: the locks where the canal meets the Atlantic. I couldn’t see much from the seaward one, as it was covered in rainwater, which eventually knocked it off line. Judging by the other camera, facing back up towards the lakes, there didn’t seem to be much going on in any case, so I gave up and got back to work. After dinner, I logged in again and immediately spotted a Hapag Lloyd vessel queuing up to get into the locks behind something else. Turns out it was the Valencia Express – what a fluke!

Shipping Panama Canal 1

Shipping Panama Canal 2

Shipping Panama Canal 3

Shipping Panama Canal 4

Shipping Panama Canal 5

Shipping Panama Canal 6

If I need to tell you how toe-curlingly geekish and outrageously brilliant this is, then you’re not one of us! Very cool to be watching the ship carrying your little sweetheart 911 back from the USA live via the Internet – especially as it was so totally random.

Keeping my inner nerd in motion, I’m considering getting in touch with Hapag and Tilbury docks, to see if I can blag my way in to the harbour and watch the thing arrive in London. I’ve taken all that week off, so I have the time. You never know, they might just let me do it.

As for those who wonder “where is she now?”, the Valencia got to Manzanillo at 6.30 their time on Wednesday: a day late!

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1 Comment

  1. says: Shoestring7

    Nice post, and yes, it does appeal to my inner nerd! I remember feeling the same when I first discovered you could track your TNT parcels and use the Nurburgring webcams!


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