My fabulous freight story begins the same way as a classic Warner Bros. film of the 1940s: four old pals meet at a café on the left bank of the Seine in Paris, France contemplating on shipping and driving their vintage cars to America.

This group of friends have worked hard throughout their lives, and now that they’re retired they want to play hard whenever they can… Though, playing hard in your early seventies among a group of competitive friends can be its own kind of challenge. For Etienne, the leader of the group, the idea of shipping a collection of vintage cars such as classic Jaguars and a Chevrolet Belair for an American road trip adventure came naturally. It took Francois, Patrice, and Emanuel a bit longer to warm up to the project.

Plotting the adventure…

Four good fellows with four restored vintage cars: a 1960 Jaguar MK2, a 1965 Jaguar MK2, 1960 Jaguar MK2, and a 1957 Chevrolet Belair, needed their shipment to depart port Le Havre, France destined for New York. From there, the four gentlemen will drive their cars west to Seattle then south to Los Angeles. Then, they will move northeast towards the East Coast where they will then ship their vehicles back to France. Their stay in America will take six months with scheduled stops. Don’t worry, their health insurance covers them fully during their visit. Patrice keeps up with the politics and social networks of the United States. He knows of our troubles with our health care system and does not want to be sick here uninsured, left on a sidewalk. His opinions are his own…

Etienne’s Magic…

Etienne took the reins and galloped to his freight connection, yes, you guessed it, the one and only… me! Reid Malinbaum, the former owner of ETC International Freight System. I met Etienne when traveling back to France. We struck up a grand conversation, sharing a little red wine too, last February of this year and we’ve kept in contact ever since. Etienne is sharp & dynamic, he knows what he wants. While abroad, he was able to secure insurance for his buddies. He also added a few car accessories that might be of need while crossing the USA. Beyond my involvement with the customs, shipping, cargo insurance, loading & unloading & documents, I shared my love of the USA and gave him tips of places to see. I also worked out a complete shipping proposal, pointing out any potential pitfalls to keep those guys on the saddle and in control.

Step #1:

    • We involved our French agent in Le Havre and introduced Etienne to the idea that communication is king. Since our intrepid adventurers would return to France after 6-months, we had to get them an ATA Carnets. For our readers importing or exporting with the intent to return the merchandise, the ATA Carnet is like a passport with a Visa to allow you to enter the country duty-free. Contact us at to know the list of countries allowing ATA Carnet. Moreover, when you return the cargo, Customs won’t charge you duties (Clearance & ATA Carnet fees are applicable).
Step #2: 
    • We pulled out 2 X 40’ containers / 2 cars, per 40’ container, braced and blocked them, securing any loose items. Anecdotally, they wanted to bring a collection of fine wine with them for the trip, fair enough! But, no, no, no… That is asking for troubles with our gentle U.S. Customs Office. Wine is imported under license distributors and is a business in itself. I promised our protagonists that they would not die of thirst and French wines can be found almost everywhere. The trip was saved.
Step #3:  
    • I explained that U.S. Customs conducts random inspections, I told them it can either be a quick X-ray or an intense exam. Once cleared, containers are removed from the terminal and trucked to a nearby warehouse, where we arrange to have their vintage cars unloaded with expert care. By the way, pictures and condition reports are made at origin and destination. Marine insurance is categorized for vehicles and rated accordingly. For more information on cargo insurance, contact us at

Working with ETC ensures that everything you need in order to ship your items is in good hands. We will manage all of your documents including ATA Carnet and Entry Summary as they will be needed when re-exporting as well as re-entering your destination.

So, to Etienne and the clan, we wish you great adventures and please check out our delicious California Wines – in America, you are allowed to ship and drink!

If you speak English, French, German or Italian – I am here to assist with your next adventure. Let the good time roll!




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