Getting Your BMW Back to the United States
Drop Off for Re-Delivery at Your BMW Dealer
Basic Introduction to Drop-off and the Redelivery Process
We are in the process of reoganizing this entire section to (hopefully) make it both more readable and more useful. Use the outline above to see where the various sections are now located.
To quote from Jonathan Spira's article on the Port of Bremerhaven and BLG Logistics, the company that is responsible for shipping virtually all BMWs to the U.S., drop-off is the "inevitable epilogue of every European Delivery trip..." This section will provide guidance in preparing for drop-off, getting to and from the drop-off location, and the steps that follow until you are reunited with your new car.
Drop Off Details
The material in this section provides an overview of the drop-off process. Please look at the detailed information at the official BMW European Delivery "Come Home" web page. It has information on special considerations and limitations, including the following: "If you requested 3, 4 or 5 months of insurance because you are planning to keep your vehicle for that extended time in Europe, you are required to drop off your vehicle in Germany at any of the German drop off locations. New European Customs regulations mandate that the exportation process must start in the country of vehicle delivery, in your case Germany."
When you are done driving your car around Europe, BMW offers 11 different drop-off locations in 6 different countries including Austria, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland. (England and Spain are no longer drop-off options as of August 2009). You will be dropping your car off with the designated shipping company, BLG Logistics, for transport to the United States. All costs involved with the transport including customs clearance and duty and marine insurance are included in the purchase price of all BMWs sold under the European Delivery Program. NOTE EXCEPTION: There is a charge for dropping off in Italy. You should review the official BMW USA information on the web.
- Except for Munich, all drop off locations require 4 days advance notice to schedule a drop off appointment by either by phone or email. All drop off locations are open Monday to Friday only, except for Munich which has limited Saturday hours. All locations are closed on Sundays, German holidays and scheduled holidays.
All cars are shipping from Antwerp, Belgium or Bremerhaven, Germany. It will take approximately 6-8 weeks to the East coast and 8-10 weeks to the West Coast from drop off date for a car to arrive at your BMW center for final delivery. Be advised that if you drop off your car at any other location than Germany that arrival time will be longer. From BMWUSA.com
The hierarchy for drop-off/redelivery speed is the following:
- Other German locations
- Locations outside of Germany
Be sure to remove all personal objects and belongings from the car including the first aid kit and hazard warning triangle, as these items cannot be legally imported with the car. As of late 2011 people have reported the warning triangle mounting brackets have been removed from their car at the VDC while others have reported that they were not removed. If you want to ensure that your brackets make it home you can remove the brackets yourself and pack them in your luggage before drop-off. Depending on the model and body style, some brackets snap in, some are secured with a Philips head screw, and other brackets are secured with either a T10 or T20 screw which requires a Torx screwdriver.
Both license plates must remain on the car. Prior to July 2009, BMW encouraged owners to take the front plate as a souvenir. Due to new German regulations about licensing and insurance, both plates must stay on the car until the car has been exported. This is the case regardless of the country in which you drop the car off.
Drop Off Locations
Information for drop-offs in the Munich area on or after December 1, 2010
LOG IN OUT GmbH - Airport Munich (representing BLG Logistics)
Terminalstrasse Mitte 20
(50 meters before Hotel Kempinski at the right side.)
Monday-Friday between 8:30am and 4:00pm
Saturday between 10:00am and 2:00pm
Closed on Sundays and all legal German holidays.
Please bring all documents provided to you by BMW and your passport.
The drop off procedure will take about 30 minutes.
Contact information as of Jan. 2012 (thanks to gmblack3):
Phone number from within Germany: 089-416-114-600
- If you need to make an off-hours drop-off in Munich, read the information at John Lance's EDwintertires web site. His staff may be able to help you.
Rolf Raffelsieper's VIP Pickup Service
You can have Rolf Raffelsieper's VIP Pickup Service meet you at the Log In Out office and take you either back to your hotel or to another Munich-area destination. His price is still a bargain compared to the taxis. There is a long thread full of information and experiences.
- Phone: +49 (0)89 3543636
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public transit info
If you wish to take public transit, there is an S-Bahn stop at the airport opposite the terminals. TICKETS: You need a four zone ticket to get from the airport (11,20 Euros for an all day ticket (Airport-City Day Ticket), 10,40 Euros adult or 11,60 Euros for up to 5 human units (adult=2, child=1) -- a Partner-Tageskarte ticket) back to downtown Munich. (2013 prices) For Marienplatz take either an S-1 or an S-8 train, whichever is departing first. If the S-1 is taken, rather than go to downtown, it is quicker to get off at the Moosach station and change to the U3 where it is a short ride to Olympiazentrum station, next to the BMW Welt.
Phone: 040-75 27 97-157
Hours: M-Th 9:00AM to 3:30PM; F 9:00AM to 3:00PM
(This location may be difficult to find, even with a GPS. Read this thread from Oct. 2011.)
BLG CarShipping Gmbh & Co KG
Phone: 49-471-48295-671 or 676 (from the States)
Alternate Email: K.email@example.com
Hours: 8:00AM to 4:00PM, MONDAY-FRIDAY Only
New details as of March 2011 (provided by Katrin Behnke, she's as helpful as ever)
Office address where you drop off your vehicle:
BLG CarShipping GmbH & Co. KG
From Motorway A27:
- Use the exit No. 6 “Bremerhaven – Überseehafen”
- Branch off right
- Now you are on the “Cherbourger Straße”
- Drive straight on and follow the road in direction port for approximately 5,5 km
- The street name of “Cherbourger Straße” will change to streetname “Wurster Straße”
- Then please branch off right in the street “Grauwallring”
A virtual tour of the Bremerhaven port was included on the second page of Jonathan Spira's article on BLG and Bremerhaven
If you run into any problems, call Kathrin Behnke, Customer Service Export at BLG Logistics, at +49 471 48295 671. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. She handles almost all of the BMW Euro Delivery paperwork for BLG at Bremerhaven and has been a huge help to several 'Festers.
If you think that you are lost, just call the numbers listed above and ask for specific directions. Note: In Germany, the phone number would be 0471-48295 and either 671 or 676. The staff is very friendly. They are located on the second (really the third) floor. The process should take about an hour, depending upon the number of clients who are there. The earlier that you get there, the better. They can arrange for a taxi to the Bremerhaven Hauptbahnhof (about 20Euros).
Hugo Junkers Str. 7
Tel.: +49 (0) 69 / 426908126
Fax: +49 (0) 69 / 426908130
Hours: 8:30AM to 4:00PM, MONDAY-FRIDAY only
The navigation system should take you right to the drop-off point in an industrial area in Frankfurt. Once you get to the gate, turn off your car. You will be asked to go inside the gate house and sign in, after which the guard will give you a badge, and open the gate.
Park to the lot immediately to your left. Look for the BLG Logistics office -- it's not obvious. Look for the door with the orange light above it. For a picture of the drop-off location, click here: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7545254&postcount=28
The folks at BLG are happy to call a cab for you and the cab will arrive by the time your paperwork has been finalized.
agency for BLG Logistics
Am Hirnach 6
phone: +49(0)7031 - 866 161-17
fax: +49(0)7031- 87 50 81
Hours: 9:00AM to 4:00PM, MONDAY-FRIDAY only
Typically the trucks that transport the cars to Bremerhaven stop by S.C.S. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you drop your car off on Friday, it will sit in Sindelfingen for about half a week waiting for the next truck.
Taxi ride to the Boeblingen Bahnhof takes less than 10 minutes and costs around 8 euros. From there you can catch the S-Bahn (S1) to Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof or Stuttgart Flughafen (transfer to S2 or S3 @ Rohr).
Use of an Autobahn or select Schnellstrasse segments in Austria requires payment of a road tax through purchase of a windshield sticker called a vignette, which are available at gas stations near border crossings and at ADAC offices in Germany, and within Austria at ÖAMTC or ARBÖ offices and at many gas stations located near entrances to the toll roadways. Specific vendor locations can be found on the web.
Austria requires a security vest for each driver, which can be purchased where vignettes are sold.
Auto Service Wien GmbH
Seitenhafenstrasse 15/Zollfreie Zone
Phone: 43-1-72 66 11 561
Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:00AM to 3:30PM*
Friday 9:00AM to 2:00PM
The Nav system will send you to the right of the correct building (true as of June 2008); when you are about 1000 feet from the end of your journey you want to go thru the gateway with the guard and gate (into the Free Trade Zone - "Zollfreie Zone") not to the right.
(2009) Public Transport: The new 80b bus stops near the entrance to the Free Trade Zone about every half hour between 5:47am and 8:17pm. Additional information is available on the web.
If you are going to the airport you can take a taxi to the railway station at Wien Mitte (about 15-20 Euro), where you can take the City Airport train for 9 Euro to the airport. The S7 line from the station also runs to the airport from that station.
(2009) To save a few Euros (and likely some time) when taking a taxi non-stop to the airport, ask your driver to take the "back way" through Mannswörth instead of using the Autobahn - it's only 14km / 20 minutes and should be 30-35 Euros that way. Note that taxi fares from Vienna to VIE can vary pretty dramatically - the folks at ASW called me a reasonable one.
- Note: There are reports that ASW opens at 8:00am, but e-mail or call to confirm beforehand - BMW's 2011 literature states 9:00am. The closing times reported here are from the BMW ED website.
Use of autobahns in Switzerland requires payment of an annual road tax through purchase of a vignette
Entry no. 1, Office E21
Case postale 1061
1211 Geneve 5 Aeroport
Phone: 0041-22-79 87 700
Hours: M-Th 8:30AM to 11:30AM and 2:00PM to 5:00PM; F 8:30AM to 12 noon
This drop-off location is hard to find on the map. The easiest way to find it is to follow the signs at the Geneva airport that says "Fret". When you've reached the parking lot, Ritschard is in location 1 (shown in a large number at the top of the building). Go inside and look on the building directory to find their office as the building is shared with several businesses. Here is the Google maps link to the approximate location.
AG Gondrand Reisen
Hours: 8:30AM to 11:30AM and 1:30PM to 4:00PM, MONDAY - FRIDAY only
Be sure to contact with them a few days before. They like to you provide purchase order, German registration and insurance prior to your arrival. If you are heading back to the airport afterward, you turn right after existing the building toward a small street between 2 buildings. It is less than 5 minutes walk to the station where you can catch either train or tram to airport. If you choose tram, it is No. 10 and use the platform across the street. No more than 10 minutes ride. (Per Mason)
TT Car Transit
Airport Roissy / CDG (in front of terminal 3)
95 716 Roissy CDG 2
Phone: +33-1-48 62 37 53
Hours: 8:00AM to 5:00PM, MONDAY - FRIDAY only
Google map here
Be sure to call and make an appointment at least 4 days prior to drop off. They will give you instructions on where to go, what to bring, and to wash your car beforehand. They said there are two car washes nearby, but those were not visible on the direct route into the airport from Paris. There is a self-service car wash on the left past the entrance to the TT Car Transit (just go around the corner, less than a minute away). They handle Europe by Car (Peugeot), several other makes of cars and also rental drop-off, so just park where they tell you and go into their trailer office. TT Car Transit has vans that will shuttle you to the airport terminal. If you're going back to Paris, ask for the shuttle to take you to the RER train station at the airport.
TT CAR TRANSIT
61 Route de Grenoble
06 200 NICE
Toll free number from inside the airport : 0 800 803 583
Hours: 8:00AM to 5:00PM, MONDAY - FRIDAY only
(The following is information from the web and googlemaps: Route de Grenoble is the N99 at this point, just off the A8/E80 Autoroute.)
bmrfam provides the following additional detail: "That is the correct location although that address is just the entrance. The parking location and office are about 300m down from there. Once you enter the front off Rue de Grenoble, you need to bear to the right and follow the lane all the way down in front of the long warehouse until you see some trees in front of you. You turn in to the right there and there is a very small building housing the TT Transit office. At least this is what it was 3 years ago and Google Earth appears to confirm. I will be there again in 3 weeks [in mid-June 2010] and can confirm again in person. This is the lat/long for the office itself: 43°40'11.85"N and 7°12'14.58"E."
I believe the Route de Grenoble office dropoff was probably the old one. I had a dropoff on 7/8/13 and their was a Reunalt place with a TT sign outside and a closed gate with no one in. After much calling and asking for help, eventually figured out that you must head to the airport Terminal 1 and after you pass the bus station on terminal one to your right, bear left and you will find a parking off a traffic circle. Park there, is free for 30 mins, then head into the terminal to start the doc processing. They give you a code to then take the car out of the free temporary parking and into the TT parking. A guy met me there, checked the vehicle for scratches, got my key, and I then went into the desk in the terminal again to sign paperwork. It is very confusing if you do not know these details and just plug in the Route de Grenoble address.
This location is not listed in the bmwusa web site but is listed on the sheet given during the delivery.
Rhenus Logistics N.V.
phone: +32 3 224 56 18
fax: +32 3 224 59 61
mobile: +32 473 54 14 47
Hours: 9:AM to 4PM Monday - Friday
USA - United Stevedores Amsterdam
1047 HM Amsterdam
Phone: +31 (0) 20-611 66 88
Hours: 7:00AM to 11:30AM and 12:30PM to 3:00PM, MONDAY - FRIDAY only
The USA office for drop-offs has moved to a new building on Ruijgoordweg. To get there, head North on Ruijgoordweg from Westpoortweg. Past the Latexweg intersection, you will see signboards with business names on them. Look for the board with USA's name on it and turn into the parking lot for that building on the right. Park in the lot then walk around to the back of the building following signs for the Trucker's Reception. When you get to the reception, find an open window and get in line. There is no first come, first served system. This facility is used by cargo trucks to drop off shipping containers so the truck drivers will simply walk up and proceed with their business regardless if there are other people waiting around. If you need a taxi, ask the representative helping you to call one the moment you start the paperwork as it takes a while for taxis to get there. Make sure you get a copy of each document that you sign including the Condition Report. For people using the European Nav disk, please be aware that the Nav system will tell you that you have arrived at your destination when you reach the Kopraweg and Westpoortweg intersection. Keep driving to the next street which is Ruijgoordweg.
Google map: here
In October 2011, Peel added this useful information: "First off, the iDrive navigation that had proved flawless for me on my travel through 8 countries located the drop-off by the address (Ruijgoordweg 80, Amsterdam). On the way there I encountered a closed road and was rerouted along a series of dike roads. When it said " you have reached your destination" I was in the middle of no-where. A bunch of modern wind-turbines and storage tanks were in the distance, but no building in site. Luckily for me I had looked up the address in Google Maps on my iPad that morning when I had wifi in the hotel, so the maps were all in my iPad's memory, and the iPad's GPS showed a blue dot where I was, so I was able to navigate that way the remaining 3km to the drop-off location. Talking with them it turns out that the entire port facility is relatively new, and a road of the same name (Ruijgoordweg) used to exist where the iDrive had sent me. The Blue marker on the accompanying map (see thread ) is where the iDrive sent me, whereas the Red marker is where I really needed to be, so I would recommend taking along printed google maps, or other means of locating your destination."
If you wish to use public transportation to get to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, walk to the nearest bus stop on Westpoortweg (either bus stop 'Ruigoord Dorp' or 'Oceaangroep'). Take the bus 'Regioliner 82' towards Amsterdam and get off at bus stop 'Station Sloterdijk.' Purchase a train ticket and walk to platform 11 to catch the train to Schiphol Airport. To find the current schedule use: journeyplanner.9292.nl
For a fee, E.H. Harms will send a driver to return your car from a location in Italy to Munich for drop-off. The charges, as of August 2009, are:
- Rome €725
- Milan €520
- Florence €520
- Venice €490
- Verona €490
- Genoa €460
- Bologna €490
- Naples €735
Need a minimum of 3 valid days of vehicle registration and insurance. Also need to make a reservation a minimum of 5 days prior to drop-off. There is now a form that has to be filled out for Italian drop-off.
If you don't want to return all the way to Munich, and prefer that your car not be driven by others, or want to save the driver fee, many 'festers have chosen to drop-off in Nice, France.
Car Wash Information
If you have been doing a fair amount of driving, you may want to stop by a local car wash to get all the bugs and dirt off your car since it will be sitting on a ship for 6-8 weeks. If you have done ANY driving on dirt roads, you MUST clean the wheel wells and undercarriage, otherwise customs will not clear your vehicle!
It should be noted that because of some strict "laws" regarding working on Sunday in Germany, that you will likely not be able to wash your car that day, drive-thru OR self-serve. If you plan on dropping your car off on a Sunday, you may want to consider washing it another day if you want it clean for the ride home.
(Away from the airport)
- Shell station at:
Münchner Ring 17
The self-serve bays at the Shell station offer a choice of five programs, including a cold water wash, a hot wash with shampoo, as well as a wash with filtered water. The amount of Euros you put into the machine - either 50 cents, 1 Euro or 2 Euros - varies the amount of time given for your chosen program. Deposit the money and select the program. A display on the machine tells you how much time you have left.
- APZ (Auto-Pflege-Zentrum) at:
Schleissheimer Strasse 89
The phone is 089/32 18 6611.
- There's a new car wash directly opposite the Winter Tires depot in Ismaning.
(At or near Munich Airport)
- Agip Station in the airport entrance also offers car wash service. The address:
Flughafen Nordallee 45
85356 Muenchen, Deutschland.
It's north of the main road and there are plenty of signs to get you to it. It is also in the BMW Nav's European data base. It has multiple self-serve washbays available Monday through Friday from 0700 to 1900 and Saturday from 0800 to 1700. No car washing is available on Sundays.
- Shell station with a carwash 10km away at:
Münchner Str. 11A
Open 6am - midnight: Mon-Sat and 7am to midnight: Sunday. (Map here.) To use the car wash machine, go inside the store and purchase your car wash package. The cashier will hand you a receipt which has a 6 digit code. Drive around the back and into the car wash station itself. All passengers must exit the car and once you have exited, you can then enter in your 6 digit code on the number pad at the car wash entrance. Once you've entered the code, the car wash garage door will close and your car wash will begin.
There are three reported options:
Right before you turn into the Frankfurt Harms Drop-off, there is an Aral gas station and car wash (Okrifteler Strasse 18-20, 64546 Mörfelden-Walldorf). First, walk in the convenience store and pay for the program you desire (there is at least one attendant who speaks English and can translate the options for you). Prices range from €6,- to €12. Program #4 does a fine job for €7.95 (soap wash and wheel scrub). Once you get a ticket with a 6-digit code on it, drive behind the store to the car wash. (Be careful - the turning radius into the car wash bay is VERY tight, especially for 5 series cars or larger.) In winter, you'll need to press the circled blue button to open the car wash up. Park the car inside, walk back to the control panel, and punch in the code you received at the counter to start the wash. Does a really good job, including the front wheels.
When you get off the A5 you will probably be on 486 (Langener Strasse). When you take a right onto Industriestrasse there is an ARAL gas station with a car wash immediately on your right. The cashier inside of the store will sell you a Classic Wash for 6.50 Euros and give you a plastic key. Drive behind the station and around to the side and you will see the car wash. Drive inside, staying in the center of the rails on the floor. Creep forward until the red lights go on. Shut off the car and go to the control box at the right side of the entrance. Insert the plastic key in the slot, let it drop inside, and push the green button. The machine will soap, scrub, rinse, and dry your baby. It even does a fair job of cleaning the wheels.
Carwash "Superblank" is a self-serve wash at the nearby ESSO station. The exact address is:
Aschaffenburger Straße 3a
64546 Mörfelden-Walldorf , and they have a website.
There is also a car wash at the at the Total gas station just a few feet past the ARAL gas station.
There is a new car wash opened between Total and Aral, called Autowaschpark Meixner. This is not a self service car wash but a full service one.
Also, before the drop off @ Hugo Junker, there are 2 car washes - The Best, where is closer to drop off but some members reported scratches, and Mr. Wash, a bit further out. They are both on Hanauer Landstrasser.
CarGlanz, Bohmsiel 10, 27572 Bremerhaven, Germany
Located between Aldi and Lidl.
About 10 to 15 minutes south of the dropoff location. As of June 2014, the basic exterior wash was 6.90 Euro. Stay in your car and drive into the garage. One of the guys will start spraying down the front end (with insect remover) and the wheels while the other will come to your door to collect payment. They hand wash the wheels and then rinse the car with pressure washers. You then proceed into an automated wash.
As you head towards CDG airport, follow signs for Terminal 3. Then, follow signs for TT Transit, which is where you will be dropping off your car. As you continue following the signs, just after one of the roundabouts you will see a banner of an Elephant. This is the car wash. It is brushless, and uses high pressure water and soap.
There is a self-wash after the last roundabout before you get to TT car transit. Just keep following the signs to TT car transit, and it will be on your right.
One car wash is located right at the airport just before you arrive at Terminal 2. There is a gas station there in the middle that serves the airport and they have a automatic wash and also two stalls for your own manual wash. The manual wash is 2 euro for every 3 minutes. Just go inside and ask for as many codes as you may need (say 5) and then head back out to wash it up. It is similar to a US version with a high pressure wand and a brush.
jsleemd has provided information on a second, drive-thru, American-style car wash that is called the "American Car Wash" and charges EUR 10. It is on the RN7 just W of the airport and has a website here. The exact street address is RN7, 520, route de la Gare, 06700 Saint Laurent du Var.
There is a decent automatic brush (not touch-free) car wash about 2km west of (and on the way to) ASW at the Esso station at Handelskai 388a. After you get off the A23 from either direction and turn right onto the Handelskai, the Esso station will be on your right (on the ground floor underneath an office building) - you can't miss it if you're looking. If you just get the basic wash, there's an up-charge for cleaning the underside of your car, but it seems to be included in the higher-end washes. Go to the cashier first to pay and get your coded wash card.
Kanuck (who seems to know every useful carwash in Western Europe) recommends Autop, with several locations.
Waiting, Tracking and Taking Re-Delivery
The toughest part about doing European Delivery has got to be the 6-8 week period (East Coast) or the 8-10 week period (West Coast) from when you drop off your car at one of the drop-off locations until it arrives at your dealer to pick up. Luckily, there are a great number of sites that you can use to keep track of where your car is and what progress it is making on its way to your dealer. In addition, a detailed article in the January 2010 issue of The Diesel Driver documents the shipping process and tells you what your car will expect on its voyage.
East coast deliveries are handled by Wallenius Wilhelmsen and can be tracked by logging on here, entering your VIN (make sure all letters are in CAPS) in the Cargo ID box. Click on the Voyage ID for the port arrival/departure schedule. Ports already departed are listed in red. You can also see upcoming departures at the WW Search by Ports page.
Many west coast bound cars are shipped by Wallenius Wilhemsen but some are handled by N Y K line and can be tracked at the NYK website.
Edit 12/30/2011 - For west coast, your vehicle can be tracked by going to Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics - WWL and then entering you VIN number in the "Cargo ID" space and hit enter. It can take up to a week to show up after you drop off the car as it depends on when the paperwork is completed by the dropp-off location. The website will show you step by step tracking of when you car (cargo) was booked, received at terminal and loaded on vessel and the ETA at Port Hueneme (or Tacoma for cars bound for Western Canada).
Once you know your ship's name, you can attempt to track it using SailWX.com or MarineTraffic.com. You may not see reports until the ship is in open ocean. Not all ships participate in this voluntary reporting, but it does not hurt to try. You may also try to track it using VesselTracker.com. This site provides limited use for free and also appears to rely upon voluntary reporting.
Another option to track your ship after you have found the name or call sign is Digital Seas. This is a free open ship information archive that also includes realtime AIS position data. You need to register with the site, but it costs nothing and has a bunch of information. A more robust integrated Google map can also be plotted ( just enter the ship name where it says "Track Callsign" ) via the APRS site.
For a much more detailed list of links including port schedules and web cams, read this thread.
You can contact the shipping lines directly at:
Contact information for WWL for West Coast / Port Hueneme:
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Americas LLC 279 Hueneme Road, Port Hueneme CA 93041 Switchboard: +1 805 488 4000
Pacific Ro/Ro Stevedoring LLC (Does WWL processing at the terminal) North Terminal, Berth 5 Port Hueneme Road, Port Hueneme CA 93044 Alt phone: +1 805 986 8400 Terminal
Pacific Vehicle Processors Inc (The Vehicle Processor Offices) 5601 Edison Drive , Oxnard CA 93033 Switchboard: +1 805 488 3050
This section has disputed content. Some people report actually obtaining useful information from CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) while others report being unable to get any useful information, especially from Port Hueneme.
Once your car has arrived at the port, it must then move through the customs process. Ships can contain as many as 1,500 cars and it can take a great deal of time to offload and process that many vehicles; however, non-ED vehicles are typically electronically cleared while enroute. ED vehicles will be inspected, but this typically only takes ~3 days. However, there are reports of "customs intensive audits" extending this by several days or even weeks. See this thread for an example.
You can contact US Customs directly to verify clearance at:
Pickup by BMW for Transport to VDC
After customs clearance customs broker (this used to be E.H. Harms, which has gone out of business) will be informed and will thus inform BMW to pickup your car from the customs lot, and BMW will transport your vehicle to the BMW Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) for processing. The VDCs at each port receive the cars and prepare them for domestic delivery. A very comprehensive article documenting how your car will go through the VDC is in the February 2010 issue of The Diesel Driver. The story follows one car from the pier where it is offloaded, through the VDC, and onto the truck for delivery to the dealer. It is worth a read while you are waiting for re-delivery.
To ensure this process occurs in a reasonable timeframe, you can contact all parties directly at:
BMW ED Department
Trucking to Dealer
Following VDC acceptance, any repairs will be completed and your vehicle will be updated with the latest software campaigns. Once this is complete (1-2 days) your vehicle will be released to trucking for final transport to your dealer! Cars bound for Hawaii are reloaded on another ship after VDC processing.
To find the status of your vehicle and its estimated delivery date at your dealership, you can contact the trucking company directly at:
Waggoners Brunswick Terminal: 800-968-8107
Precision Motor Transport Group - some East Coast Deliveries
Main Office: (517) 349-3011
New Jersey Office: (201) 413-9420 - ask for Al Oscar