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


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!