Anyone that witnessed the arrival of the Tundra and the Sequoia in Sydney can tell you that I was extremely excited but even more so, relieved. Planning for and shipping the Toyotas occupied a good deal of my attention before and after we left the States and in the process, may have also took a few years off my life. It is great to have them here in Australia and I feel that finally the World by Road has officially started, but no sooner than they arrived, I was already planning for their departure to Singapore.
We chose to ship the trucks to Singapore as opposed to shipping them to Indonesia mainly because of the complications involved in getting them from island to island in Indonesia and then onto the mainland of SE Asia. Additionally, Singapore has relatively straight forward procedures for temporarily importing a foreign registered vehicle and having carnets makes it even easier. However, there is still a fair amount of work and planning involved no matter what country you ship a vehicle to.
Getting the trucks into Singapore involves notifying and receiving approval from several agencies all done while we are on the move… me calling from Australia and Indonesia, the Toyotas somewhere in the Timor Sea, customs officers in Darwin, the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) in Singapore, etc. Wait a minute. The Automobile Association of Singapore? Why the AAS you ask? Well, the AAS has to issue us an invitation to enter the country (a formality) and endorse the carnets (for a fee). Additionally, the Land Transport Authority has to approve of the vehicles at the request of the AAS and when all of that is done, the Singapore Traffic Police have to be made aware that we are driving left-hand drive vehicles. Technically, left-hand drive vehicles are not let into Singapore that often, but for the right fee and with the placement of a caution sticker on the back, apparently it is not really a problem. I guess we will find out next month!
Singapore does represent the last time we will have to box up and ship the vehicles which will be a huge relief. True, there will still be a lot of work getting across the borders of many of the countries that we will be traveling through, but at least we will have the vehicles in sight and will be dealing directly with the people that control whether we get in or not.