How to transport a yacht from Europe to Russia during a pandemic...
Theory and practice

How to transport a yacht from Europe to Russia during a pandemic...

Real experience of delivery of Bavaria S45 Coupe from the shipyard to the Russian owner in conditions of closed borders.
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In October 2019 our partners asked us to calculate the cost of transporting a motor yacht Bavaria S45 coupe from the shipyard to Samara. One of the conditions of delivery was the necessity to bring the yacht to Russia through the border crossing Torfyanovka on the border with Finland. This was due to the optimal conditions of customs clearance at the local customs checkpoint. We formed a commercial offer and after a short tender we received a transport confirmation. Delivery was planned for February to show the boat at the Moscow Boat Show.

We have worked on the next route for delivery: loading at the shipyard in Gibelstadt by car of German partners, delivery of the yacht to the port of Lübeck, transshipment at the port by Russian car, ferry delivery to the port of Lübeck.Finnish Kotka, further crossing the border through Torfyanovka, customs clearance, arrival to Moscow for the exhibition and further delivery to Samara.

The pandemic is forcing a complete route change

In December, the first cases of coronavirus were recorded in China. No one had ever imagined how events would develop.

In January, the customer reported that the delivery of the yacht to the exhibition is cancelled and the boat goes directly to Samara, and the start of transportation is postponed to March 2020. We thought there was plenty of time to prepare the shipment.

At the beginning of March a transport contract was signed and the preparation of special permits for the transportation of the yacht started.

The loading date was scheduled for March 26th, 2020. And in mid-March, WHO declared a pandemic...

Various restrictions started to be imposed everywhere in Europe. Organizers - to cancel mass events, enterprises - to transfer employees to remote work mode. Then movement within the European Union was restricted. On March 13, ferry lines of the Baltic Sea introduced restrictions on transportation of drivers.

So a week before loading, we had to change the delivery scheme.

It was decided to send the yacht from Germany directly to St. Petersburg at the factory kilblock, with two transhipment. And to a customs post to the border with Finland already to take by car. This eliminated the new risks associated with possible restrictions on movement across the Finnish border. Initially, this scheme was not considered, as it was more expensive and included additional congestion. Therefore, additional costs were agreed with the client, changes to the route were made to the insurance policy and a new special permit for the new route was urgently ordered. There was no point in storing the paid yacht in Europe in conditions of pandemic and growing euro rate. On March 26th we picked her up from the shipyard.

The deadline for paperwork has been delayed by a month.

Since the end of March and for the whole April the state institutions in Russia were switched to the remote working mode. Including road services and traffic police. Thus, the process of obtaining a special permit for transportation of large-size cargo was delayed. The organizations agreeing the route adapted to the new regime for some time and did not actually work. And the traffic police allocated 2 days a week for signing special permits.

In fact, the paper could have lasted two calendar weeks instead of four working days on signing.

Therefore, after delivery to the port of St. Petersburg, the yacht was stored in port. The special permission was received only on 20 April. At the same time the port and ferry line met and did not expose additional expenses on yacht storage.

Finally, in May the yacht was safely delivered to the place of customs clearance in Leningrad region and then to Samara, to the place of unloading. By that time there was a regime of self-isolation and fines for its violation in Samara. Therefore, the unloading and acceptance process was planned very carefully and organized at a high level.

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