Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Picking up a car from Port of Cartagena

This is Mike...
I finally got the 4runner today after 18 hours of work, outside in the blaring sun and sub par air conditioning. For other travelers looking to save time and do it the correct way follow these steps to avoid wasting tons of time and lots of money in taxi rides. You should also make this a 2 day process to save stress and aggravation.
1. Before anything obtain a few copies of the bill of lading from Colon, Panama prior to going to Colombia.
2. The day before you wish to pick up the vehicle go directly to DIAN (Direccion Seccional de Aduanas de Cartagena) in Manga coordinates N10 24.555 W75 32.022 You will fill out paper work there for customs notifying them of intent to import. There are two DIAN buildings the office is located in the second building (furthest from street) in the left door. Just ask the security to direct you.
3. They will give you the DIAN form and follow their request for copies etc. Once you leave with the DIAN documents go by taxi to edificio Banco de Bogota just outside the historic walled city on the big boulevard. Go to the 7th floor in the elevator and walk the steps to the 8th floor (piso 8) to Seguro del Estado S.A. Here you will buy life insurance so you can walk into the port and automobile insurance for your vehicle. The process will take 2 to 3 hours at the minimum. Life insurance costs about 60,000 Pesos for a 5 day policy and automobile insurance costs about 120,000 pesos for a 60 day policy (both are their minimum policies). To purchase the automobile insurance you will need the DIAN document. If you don't have the DIAN document they will not sell you insurance at all. Also be prepared as nobody speaks English in the Seguro del Estado office. They will also need the cubic centimeters of your engine as well, just like in El Salvador.
Then the following day 
4. Go back to the port at Manga (Sociedad Portuaria) and go to the Servicio de Clientes after obtaining a security badge. Check in and pay the fees before 10:30 in the morning if you wish to see the vehicle that day.
5. Pay the bank fees or any other fees your shipping company may have. There is an ATM at the port but it only works some of the time. Save the stress and bring lots of PESOS as dollars and credit cards are worthless here.
6. They will schedule a time for you to return to open the container. Come back then and be prepared to  wait a long time in the hot sun or poring rain (for us we got toasted in the sun).
7. Go back to DIAN for the final release of vehicle from customs (A.C.T. form)
8. Go back to Servicio de Cliente and get final port release papers.
9. Meet up with same guy who opened your container.
10. Go to the white building and get final port departure paper work.
11. Drive out of port to freedom.
If you split this into two days the time needed for day one will be 4 hours and the time needed for day two will be 7 hours. There is no water or food in the port so be prepared.
We were there with other native Spanish speaking people and none of them moved any faster than this. My co-shipping partner and I were told so many different things that we lost a lot of time. Essentially be prepared both physically and mentally for this as it is very time consuming.
The main build in Sociedad Portuaria where Servicio de Cliente and where you obtain the security for this building.
Main exit from the port as you walk toward the access gate.
You need to stop in this office to get access in to the physical port. You need to present bill of lading/release of vehicle form (depending on the stage of the access) and passport for clearance.
They will give you a hard hat and vest at some point.
You will be directed to go to a white building to get the final release papers



  1. Excellent work Mike

    Thank you for the heads up

  2. Excellent work Mike

    Thank you for the heads up