Drama in the shipping quarter. As Jen mentioned in the last blog, the ship GH Maestro sailed on past Lome, to the Nigerian port of Tincan Island. The port for Lagos. Exasperation!
What we don’t know is, who is controlling shipping movements? Is it the individual ship owners, their agents, or a co-ordinated agency serving all shipping for the continent? We have tried contacting the German agents for the ship’s Maestro & Chopin. Without response.
We also don’t know how much other freight is going to Durban from Lome? It seems also that the shippers CGA CGM are the only company dealing with shipping vehicles?
Regardless, for the second time, ships scheduled to call into Lome, have sailed past for other destinations. I can tell you, there have been serious discussions in our apartment as to what our next move should be. Should we fly back to Togo and reclaim our vehicles and drive down to South Africa, as originally planned? This move would be fraught with additional unknown costs including re-importing the vehicles into Togo. Being able to reclaim our shipping charges. Not to mention the massive hassle to enter Nigeria and being in the middle of the rainy season in the following countries.
Could we have the container transported by truck to Cotonou, the port serving adjacent, Benin? This would eliminate the need for trans-shipping and possibly open up a more utilised route.
Should we have it shipped to Luanda in Angola and fly there to recover the vehicles and drive south from there. Missing the bogged parts of Africa?
Should we revert to Walvis Bay as the destination?
Stanley, our agent in Lome has been bombarded with questions from us and in the main, has responded in time, to our questions. In the end, we have decided to give the current plan another chance. Third time lucky? There is a ship, ‘Chopin’ scheduled to arrive in Lome on or around the 10th May. Again, the plan is for it to trans-ship the container to Cotonou where the ‘Lebu’ departing Cotonou on the 17th, will transport it to Durban, arriving on the 1st of June. It will be interesting to see if any of his comes about!!
Meanwhile we are very comfortable in our apartment. Bored, but comfortable. Should the pick-up date not be respected, Jen and I will consider flying back to the UK and await developments from there?
We have a 3 month visa for South Africa and will look to extend that next week, for a further maximum of 2 months. Any extended delays in receiving the container will seriously erode our wish and ability to see the rest of South and southern Africa, or eliminate it all together!
There is little sense in filing daily blogs unless there is something of interest to report. So, until such a time, we will be offline.
To John in the UK, thank you for your book suggestion, It’s My Turn to Eat. I’ve sourced it on-line and once I’ve finished reading my current book, will report on it.