RightHandDrive.ca/blog Canadian Right Hand Drive News and Thoughts


Fun interesting history

I've talked in the past about magnets on Japanese cars, wakaba and koreisha marks... and that history is important when you see something like this:


So, we know that it was an old person that drove this in the past, since this is the same shape as the original, teardrop shaped koreisha mark. Super funny thing to notice.

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Helping with a container

My friend recently imported a container straight to Winnipeg. He was one of the people in the container I brought in... so I guess he's hooked.

Anyway, I took a day off work to help him out for the unloading and transportation of the trucks. He followed approximately the same process as last time (see that here), with a few changes.

He went through Brave Auto International, which works the best for container shipping because they offer free car storage in a fenced in lot. Shipped 'to the door' by Hanjin, and import documentation by Al Thompson.

BUT... Canada Border Inspection Agency threw a wrench in the works. They decided they needed to visually inspect the trucks while they were being unloaded. Last time we unloaded at Willm Craning.... but they're not bonded... meaning the container couldn't be unloaded there. So, the hunt was on. He (and I'm not certain how) found Locher Evers International (115 Paramount Rd, Winnipeg), who was willing to unload it into their warehouse. At Willm's we had to unload the container from the chassis, but Locher has a dock.


So... what was in the container? 5 kei trucks, and 1 kei van. I belive 4 of the trucks were hijets, 1 suzuki, and a MAZDA SCRUM!!!!!! And it was awesome.

I didn't get a picture of the trucks in the container (I wasn't there), but they were pushed up on each other, so they were given cardboard on the front to protect them.



The Scrum was hilarious. It was a 660 turbo 5 speed, and the turbo was LOUD. My favourite part was popping the hood. The van is a cab over, so the engine us under the front seats. The hood is just access for maintenance.


Anyway, it was fun day, and it's always exciting to see brand new imports!


Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 6

That's the end of my story.

Obvious questions:

Would I do it again? I'm not sure. I found the whole thing pretty tiring. It was literally my pastime activity for a few months.

Was it worth it? Depends on how you look at it. Raw dollars? About the same. I didn't need to take time off work to fetch my car, so less money there - assuming my time isn't worthless.

Could this work in my province? Yeah! For sure! Getting the destuffer was the most difficult piece of the puzzle.

What was the hardest part? Managing all the moving pieces. I ran point between Mark (exporter), Al (Canadian logistics), Willm Craning (destuffing), Hanjin (shipping) and my container buddies. It was a bit of a three ring circus for a while.

More questions? Ask away!

Bonus Images!




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Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 5

Finding destuffers in Winnipeg was a bit of a chore. We thought we had found someone, but after seeing pictures of how the container was loaded they NOPE'D right out of there. I sent emails to 10 or 15 places with the same response. One of the people I shared the container with mentioned a craning company that 'likes the weird stuff'. I sent them an email and they were in!

We ended up using Willm's craning. They were super awesome! One of the  guys doing the work actually had a Skyline GT-R! In fact, the president of the company - who usually doesn't do the manual labour - was running the show, because he was excited/interested about the whole thing.

The guys were super awesome - the container arrived on the 'chassis' (which is apparently what the trailer is called that holds containers), they put it on the ground with one of their cranes, and opened it up.

I got on-site as they were lowering the first Legacy - the 'freebie' Hijet was out of the way already.


The first thing I notice was how far over the 2nd Hijet the 1st Legacy actually was!

What the guys did was winch up the front end of the car a bit, remove the wood structure, and then winch it down so it was level with the ground.


Then use a forklift with really long prongs to pull the car out.

IMG_0218The wheels were in the hatches of the wagons, so those were put on... and TOUCHDOWN!



The next Hijet and the B4 were freebies. Then they did the same process with my Legacy. Here it is looking a little amputated


One strike against them - after they had unloaded the container they were markedly less friendly. It was a little frustrating, actually. I'd use them again, but, make sure I leave quicker. The problem we had was that no one knew who dropped of the container (I didn't even know the chassis/trailer was left with the container) - so it was a rookie mistake on all our parts.

I got there at about 9, and we were done before noon. Pretty cool stuff. From here, it was business like usual - get temp insurance to move it around, get it inspected, and get it registered.


Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 4

Next problem: Shipping. Turns out not a lot of people (read: non-businesses) do container shipping inland. We worked with Al Thompson @ Thompson Logistics.

We had to ask Mark (the exporter) to ask Hanjin (the steamship company) for a through-rate to Winnipeg. This meant that Hanjin did all of the logistics for the container. From Dock to Dock - this even included 'drayage', which is the container being transported by truck and trailer to the unloading facility.

The container cleared customs in Vancouver, with the paperwork done by Al. It got flagged for dockside inspection - we were all worried they'd take the cars out of the container (at our expense, of course) - but it ended up being no huge deal.

Once it cleared customs in Vancouver, it was moved to the CN yard to be moved to Winnipeg by train!

CN Rail map

CN Rail map

CN has 'package tracking' not unlike UPS/FedEx/etc, so we could watch it's progress.

In Edmonton, off to Calgary!

In Calgary, back to Edmonton!

Turns out that rail maybe isn't the most efficient system in the world. Our container was dragged from Edmonton to Calgary... waited a day... unloaded. then was dragged back to Edmonton. If UPS functioned like this, they wouldn't still be in business. Our guess is that the container was on a car that was stacked 2 high, on top of a container that was bound for Calgary. Our container would need to be unloaded to get the lower container.

Once it finally got to Winnipeg, it needed the final trip to the unloading/destuffing place.

Timeline breakdown

  • 13 days on the Ship
  • 15 days on the dock
    • waiting for customs
    • waiting for dockside
    • waiting to move to the rail yard
    • waiting to be put on the train
  • 10 days on the train
  • 2 days at the rail yard

So... it's slower.


Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 3

One post just to show the insanity of packing a container!

The map


The reality

The loading of the container!
03 04 05


Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 2

1998 Subaru Legacy GT-B - super clean! No surprise when you're importing through Mark!

My 1998 Legacy GT-B

The container ended up having 2 Legacy wagons, 1 Legacy B4 RSK and 2 mini trucks.
Super cool stuff.

The minitrucks are both some of the cleanest I've seen. A lot of Grade 1/2/R trucks get imported to Canada, so it's refreshing to see such nice ones.

One of the trucks had a dump bed (tipper model!)

The Tipper!

The Tipper!

Mark sends about 80 photos to you when he receives the car, focusing on any damage. It's for peace of mind and insurance purposes. And you know exactly what to expect when you finally get your car.


Next Week... what they look like in the container!


Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 1

These were up before my data loss. I'll try to recreate them as best I can.

So, around xmas 2013, I was considering getting a new car. I was dead-set on a Nissan Pao, but, like many things, preferences change. Really what I was looking for was a stylish commuter. I've desired a Suzuki Alto Works in the past, but I just don't want to be in a jam when it comes to parts.

The problem is, that my life has fundamentally changed in the last year. It's a lot harder for me to take off a 4-5 day weekend to fly out to Vancouver and drive back. The uncertainty of driving an untested car 2000km and the sheer amount of time needed just didn't work for me anymore.

Solution: Bring the car all the way to Winnipeg!

Two obvious ways to do this: RO/RO, or bring an entire container all the way to Winnipeg. I'm not excited about the idea of a people touching my stuff... so I wanted to go container. Also, because I have a screw loose and thought it might be an interesting experience.

Since I'm not independently wealthy, I can't really justify shipping a container from Japan with just one car. And, I can't justify getting two for myself, so I had to recruit some friends to go in with me.

Luckily, many of my friends suffer from the same fascinations as me... so this wasn't a huge hurdle.

I've imported 2 cars from Mark @ Brave Auto in the past, but was thinking about trying someone else... again, just for the experience. But, Mark offers free indefinite term storage... something no one else really offers. So, we chose to import through Mark. Otherwise, we'd get dinged with dockside storage fees for more than 2 or 4 weeks of storage. Buying 5 cars in 4 weeks is a tall order, so Mark became an obvious choice.

After some back-and-forth, we found out that containers can hold from 4-6 vehicles depending on the size of the vehicles. We decided that we could safely do 5, which ended up being a balance of cost and car safety.

Then, off to the auctions!

The bidding process took us some time. I had started looking for a Pao, but nothing in my range came up. It was either too rough, not a manual, or pristine and out of my price range. I ended up opening up what I wanted... and ended up with a .....

Stay tuned for next week!


My import story, version 2


Version 2, and 1 year later. Sorry about the wait... but it's not a super interesting story.

I imported my Pajero 2-door, 2.8L Turbo Diesel (XRII spec) from Mark at Brave Auto. Who is a champ. Crazy clean truck.

The only problem... it had bald summer tires, and it was February in Canada. It would literally be insane to try to cross the Rocky Mountains with bald summer tires. So, I recruited 'dah_hunter', aka Ben, to pick up some winter tires on rims and put them on my truck before I get there. That transaction was smooth as silk. Ben is literally the man. Though, his website is always in various states of disarray, he's definitely the man to talk to if you can't make it to the dock.

So, off I went on my journey... taking a selfie before I go.

But one problem. The truck was... sluggish. No matter. Got to the highway.

Ok. We can only do 80km/h. What the heck.

We make it to Merrit, BC, to find a mechanic, or any generic help. We get some pointers, but nothing too useful, and no mechanics would give us the time of day. This is a problem, since we were planning on getting to Calgary in 1 day.

We hit the road again, and sleep the night in Golden.

We had a lot of time to troubleshoot the problem. There was a power cut if we hit about 80km/h. The cut was pretty significant... so it wasn't the turbo, it would lose power more smoothly. So after 10 hours of 80km/h on the highway, we came to a solution. It must be fuel related. Let's replace the fuel filter.

So, we got to my friend's place in Calgary 1/2 a day late, and sourced a filter (amazingly). When we took off the old filter, some BLACK SLUDGE came out. Diesel fuel is a little darker than gasoline... but this is crazy.

photo (3)

In went the new filter, and it's been amazing ever since.

Work I've done to it since:

  1. new glow plugs
  2. new temperature sensor (was cheap, basically free since I threw it in the same shipment)
  3. 8 inch round headlights
  4. some wire and a relay for DRLs

And that's it. Total cost... $500ish. Not bad!

Overall... I love the little truck.

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So, the Scoob is gone! I'm currently a poser, without a right hand drive car... running a right hand drive car website.

That aside... this is the next dream!

2.8L Pajero SWB

So, that's a Mitsubishi Pajero... with the 2.8L turbo diesel engine, and ideally a spoiler. I want the SWB (short wheel base... 2 door not 4 door) because I think it's awesome! Nothing like this has ever been sold in Canada. If you want a diesel engine you either get a GIGANTIC mall crawler, or a VW. I have deep love for VWs, but don't want a car right now.

I've already bid on this one:
Jesus (hey zeus) - Mexican Jesus
I've named it Jesus (pronounced 'hey zeus')... Mexican Jesus. I didn't get it because of technical difficulties... my auction agent couldn't get on the server, and they wouldn't take bids any other way. Super lame. It didn't hit reserve, so it didn't sell... so it might be back (in 3 days?!?!?!), at which time, I'll bid on it again!

So... the auction and import fun start all over again. I'm excited!

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