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Australia - UAE (continued)

United Arab Emirates

Ok. This may take some time. If you intend to stay the distance with me on this, go and get a large, black coffee, and recharge your persistance cells.

There is one major problem if entering Dubai with a vehicle which is travelling under a Carnet. Although the UAE is listed as a signatory to the Carnet de Passage system, the port's Customs Authority does not recognise or accept it. Using this as the starting point, there is only one way forward if you are to take your vehicle into the UAE: pay a deposit in lieu of customs duty.

A further complication is that, once cleared at customs, the vehicle has to be registered with the Traffic Police for it to be issued with new registration plates.

To taste Dubai's diesel, the following is the process I had to undergo.

Arriving by RoRo service at Port Rashid, the "Delivery Order" (the DO) was collected, and paid for, at the handling agent for the shipping line, Wallenius Wilhmelsen (Barwil). I was advised here that, although there would be a few thousand people willing to assist in processing all the paperwork for releasing the truck (for a not-insignificant charge), the same could be achieved without their assistance.

He was 100% correct. Furthermore, as very few vehicles enter the UAE on a transit basis, I doubt they would be able to obtain the release without eventually realising it was taking significantly longer, and therefore costing them more than the agreed price. If somebody is not making money out of any deal, they are going to change the rules somewhere, which will inevitably translate into grief for you. My advice - perform the clearance yourself.

Ensure that the DO lists the vehicle as "transit", with code T9999, and
NOT "personel effects". The former allows only a deposit against customs dues to be paid, whereas the latter requires a non-refundable customs payment.

With the DO, it was off to the Gate Pass Office at Port Rashid's main gate. This is where it all started - the collection of a paperwork tower, of which 90% required a payment ranging from a few Dirhams to a few hundred Dirhams.

With the Port Pass, it was then to the Vehicle Yard Office. This is a 10 minute walk from the main gate, located near the "Passenger Terminal".

There are two sections to the Vehicle Yard Office building. The one on the left keeps the vehicle keys, collects the port duties and issues the gate pass for your final exit from the port with the vehicle. The office on the right inspects the vehicle, assessed its value, issues temporary insurance docs and temporary registration plates. Firstly then, the lefthand office to receive my keys. Problem - my keys were in the truck (with the doors unlocked) at the unloading berth. I was requested to find the truck and bring it back for inspection. Two miles later, the truck emerged on the horizon. The battery was completely flat - it had not been disconnected as requested on the "driving instructions" attached to the steering wheel. Hardly surprising considering that most port labour still walks around trailing knuckles on the ground.

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