New Ferry or Here We Go Again

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Vin, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. Vin

    Vin Hopeless Addict

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    Nash - you are correct that it could not haul large cargo. But, I believe there is already infrastructure in place for that. Ferry express wasn't doing truck or cargo; they didn't even have a dock. I also doubt Ferry Express did a lot of passenger business since their cost was not significantly less than a flight (Correction/edit: Copa wants $600 Pamana City to Cartegena) . The service would need to cater to overlanders, car, bikes and cheapskates.

    How much "adventurer" traffic is there across the Darian Gap? There is more than the Stahlratte can keep up with - every crossing is booked months in advance. I see a lot of RRs here and on other sites, but there must be many more of which we're unaware. I'm neither a businessman nor a boat captain, but I can't help to think a right-sized ferry could be a profitable business opportunity.
  2. Silverfin

    Silverfin Been here awhile

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    That tub will not pass SOLAS (Safety at Sea) requirements so it cannot carry passengers internationally...forget about it. Ferry operations require massive capital up front and are often government subsidized. You would have better luck with the Darien Gap...or you could build your own boat as our friend did. Oh well...it was good while it lasted...saved us about $800 over the other alternatives...nice.
  3. Gabeslaw

    Gabeslaw Take the Challenge Ignore the Assholes! Supporter

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    I am not allowed to say because he donated his profits toward the children's run. His number is 904-343-4830. He lives in S. FL so give him the dimensions and he will give you the quote. The other riders I met here told me he was reasonable. Call him up....info is free :-)
  4. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Thanks for all the comments, questions, suggestions, etc. :clap:clap:clap Maybe someone is reading this Thread that can not only make himself money, but also save us time and money. :deal
  5. westnash

    westnash Long timer

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    Thanks and if the only market is Adventure Traffic, I don't think there will ever be any reliable scheduled service. Maybe word of mouth individual service. The Baja to mainland Mexico ferries are also a model of regular scheduled service.

    What do you think the distance is in miles from the Panama to Colombia points that the ferry serves?
  6. Vin

    Vin Hopeless Addict

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    My thumb width measurement on Google Maps says its around 300 miles - Colon to Cartegena.

    Since I can't get anyone knowledgable to run the numbers, let me give it a shot:

    The "tub" I posted on the last page costs $600,000. Put it on a 10 year loan = $6000/month
    It does 12 knots - that would make the 300 mile trip in 22 hours. At 30 gallons/hour that's 660 gallons - at $4/gal that's $2700 for fuel.
    Say it does 8 crossing/month (4 each way), the monthly fuel bill would be $22,000. That tallies to $28,000 including the loan payment.
    A crew, insurance, licenses, port fees, bribes, maintenance... I have no idea. Just for grins let's go with another $28,000. At this point I'm probably howling at the moon.

    Said ferry capacity is 350 souls and 30 cars. Since we're really interested in motorcycles, lets convert 10 of those cars to bikes (20 cars 20 bikes).
    I'm really just grabbing numbers now... $100 is what Ferry Express was charging for the crossing. I'll SWAG a car at $600 and a bike at $300.
    If it were to run at 70% capacity that would all tally to $37,000 per trip - or $296,000/month.

    So my back of envelope the calculations give us $56K in costs and $296K income. I've got a 5:1 margin to cover the stupidity of my assumptions.

    It definitely seems like a viable business opportunity - just not for ferry the size of an aircraft carrier.
  7. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

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    Yeah Fritz had the ideal set up with his former Canadian ferry, but was unable to make the right connections with the port authorities in Colombia and Panama to have success so it seems. And I still don't believe he was going to save a person that much money compared to the normal gringo sailboats. Just a small niche market.
  8. o*o

    o*o Cutting fruit for campers at 30mph."

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    Can anyone post coordinates in Cartagena where the ferry north docks? This thread indicates northbound paperwork is easier but where to start and what time on Tuesdays?

    I'm in Medellin so I'll miss the 7th with three I rode with from Scotland. :( Looks like I can be early for the 'second to last' ferry on April 14. =:-o

    Are any readers looking to go north on the last ferry? I may spend a week in Panama if there are riders I can 'share' central American borders with. ;)

    Thank you in advance and for the map of Panama,
    Jay

  9. tsimmons

    tsimmons Long timer

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    Put yourself right about here...... (10.405694, -75.528839) and that's where I got off the ferry at. I'll be in SA past the last sailing north so I have to find an alternative route back north.


    travis
  10. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Gaston of www.samericaexplorer.net will charge around $600 per bike plus fee. About $900 when all is done and said.. Mike of CaribbeanShipper will charge about $450 per bike plus fee. These prices are for sea shipping.

    It pays to shop around.. I'm trying to see if TampaCargo (a Colombia based company) is cheaper or not.. Heard many bad things about Girag so...

    But at this rate, I'm gonna just f- it and sail with Stahlratte. If shipping cost about as much as Stahlratte then might as well enjoy a decent lobster meal(s) and do some island hopping & snorkeling for similar price..
  11. Gabeslaw

    Gabeslaw Take the Challenge Ignore the Assholes! Supporter

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    Who is Mike of CaribbeanShipper? Does he have a web site??? I dont think I ever heard of him but then again I have never rode a trip like what i am doing down there.
  12. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Anyone know anything about this?

    Quote:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset"> Originally Posted by Gabeslaw [​IMG]
    I just received a quote from Lynn Cargo for shipping bikes from Bogota, Colombia to Panama. She was extremely knowledgeable and knows her way around the massive red tape. Pretty high for me. If I had the excess cash to spend I would feel comfortable shipping with her.

    I was told its a flat fee for all bikes..... $1,600.00, but if you want to fly to Miami, FL its $900.00 so go figure. Looking into commercial ships that RoRo but that takes 3-4 days plus the cost of an air flight.

    Girag at various offices have stated they no longer fly bikes into Colombia and for over ten days no one answers their Panama office. One person in Medellin stated that their website has NOT been updated.

    The sailboats scare the crap out of me since I have a bike 1,000 LBS. I have been reading all the threads, but I am wondering if anyone found anything new since the Ferry Express went belly up????

    </td> </tr> </tbody></table>


    Wow! That was my alternative to Ferry Express!
  13. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Ludwig of Stahlratte is not considering a direct sailing from Panama to Colombia (& vice versa) for several reasons.. details I prefer not to go into detail since it is not my position to say.. best you talk with Stahlratte in here or with Ludwig by his email.

    Since Ferry went belly up and too pricey to ship by bike/fly, etc.. I'll just stick with riding on Stahlratte.. my harley won't weight more than 450lbs so I'll be OK. I wish good luck to these who is now looking for other option..
  14. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    Yeah... You notice how almost no one does direct sailings? It's almost as if there was a reason they couldn't... I wonder if offering direct sailings would be considered a ferry service and different laws/regulations/policies might apply? Whereas a simple sightseeing charter might have far less hoops to jump through?

    I'm a little curious about the Stahlratte's policy about having to join their organization for a year as well. I mean, I know it's a boat and all, but something smells a little fishy...

    MV
  15. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    Unless you get off on destroying useful services--valued highly by hundreds of your fellow travelers--best leave that line of inquiry alone. In fact, even if you do get off on undermining other travelers and those who serve their needs, probably best you think about how pissed everyone's going to be if you succeed.

    Looking at it from a different perspective, we're not talking California or North Carolina here. This is about Panama, Colombia, and the long stretch of semi-autonomous indigenous land which connects them. People go to places like that because everything operates differently from the way it does in, say, Seven Springs N.C. Let's leave it that way for as long as we can.

    IMHO, as always.

    Mark
  16. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    Yeah, that's kinda what I figured. I mean, it's not like I was going to go running off to the Panamanian or Columbian authorities and asking them about it, but it is something that would cause me pause, and likely be enough to dissuade me from using their services. I know plenty of folks do, but it's sure going to suck to be the travelers who get their bikes confiscated and end up in a Central American jail on the one day that the authorities do take notice.

    But I bet it'll make a great ride report!

    MV
  17. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    I haven't really noticed that no one offer direct sailing.. and be assure that law and regulation really have no affect over why Stahlratte isn't offering a direct sailing. I can't say how long it has been unlawful to transport the person and his motorcycle on same ship/plane in Colombia but that law has been around long enough. It is just that port usually look another way for sailboat making it possible for travelers to bring motorcycle over on sailboat. Notice that wasn't the case with air shipping? I'm not sure what you mean by joining their organization but you don't need to do that if you just want to sail over to Colombia.


    Mark,

    I don't know what your problem is.. how can I be destroying the business of Stahlratte if I said I am going to sail with them? In case you haven't read the last few pages, there has been comments and request about the possibilities of direct sailing at reduce price by Stahlratte.. I have discussed that with Stahlratte's crew privately and they gave me their reasons and being that the conversation was private, I am leaving it at that.. and if I said I am sailing with Stahlratte then how is that damaging?? Next time, I suggest you read the whole thread before accusing someone of something.. Thanks!
  18. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    I think Mark was talking to me...

    MV
  19. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    If he was, I apology.. I thought he was speaking at me since he brought up my hometown.
  20. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    As far as the becoming a member of their organization thing goes, I got that info from their website, and the linked PDF:

    Panama to Cartagena

    Seems they state it fairly openly.

    MV