Travel Route – Cape Town to Helsinki, Finland
Shipment date – 18 August 2019

Hi Marinda!

Thank you for everything! You guys were a serious lifesaver, and made transporting the dogs so much simpler and less stressful. I do not think we could have managed without all your help. All your staff have been extremely helpful and knowledgeable. From calming me down at the Somerset West office when I had a little freak out, to your animal handlers ensuring I had any and all info I wanted. And of course, yourself, thank you for all your help and answering all my questions. Dogs arrived safe and sound in Helsinki airport on 20 Aug and once released from their crates they were so relaxed they just said a quick hello and then wanted to explore.

We have taken some pictures of the pickup and travelling to our apartment – but no videos (we are actually not allowed to use cameras and phones in the loading bays). I did a mini write up on the collection process for the South Africans Emigrating with Pets Facebook group which I will put below.

Overall the collection process was easy, once we had found the correct places – which was unfortunately quite hard. However everyone who we asked were very nice and just pointed us in the right directions.

We travelled to the airport on the train, and therefore could not take the crates back with us. The Swissport cargo people said they would dispose of them for us. Dogs travelled quite happily to their new home on the train and bus. We bought a blanket for the train for the dogs to sit on, and we recommend anyone does this. It makes life so much easier.

We also forgot the water and water bowl for the dogs but were able to buy water from a shop and take a paper coffee cup to use as a bowl.

The customs process was a bit difficult as we were already stressed and just said “we’re here to fetch our dogs” – which resulted in a lot of misunderstanding and complete panic on our behalf – before the amazing customs official asked if the dogs had landed within the 5 day rule. I know you said this in our communication but in all the stress we completely forgot.

Overall the collection process took about 2 hours including walking from and to the airport and cargo area.

So far the dogs are settling in nicely. Durin has a bit of limber tail – common for beagles if they are stressed – and Chloe is a bit constipated. But overall they are perfectly fine.

We will be registering the dogs with the Helsinki municipality sometime this week, and you need all the documents from the customs officials in order to do so. I will send you a little thing on that as well if you would like? Not sure how many people will be going to Finland but if you would like the info I am happy to supply it!

“How to” Collection at Helsinki Airport;

  1. Go to the Swissport head office reception (located here – there is NOT a big sign over the door. There are multiple Swissport signs along the route from the airport but you need to go to the second one. Walk along a small path until you reach a small plaque that says “SWISSPORT reception >”
  2. Once in the reception state you are picking up your (number) dogs. Give them your airway bill number. They will confirm the dogs have arrived and they are ready for pickup.
  3. Pay your animal handling fee (EUR 65) and the handling and release charge (EUR 10). The receptionist will then tell you to go to the cargo building – dock 14-16 (located here to fetch your original documents
  4. Once you have collected the docs, go to the customs office at the end of the dock – there is a big sign saying TULLI (located here
  5. At Tulli – get a number and wait in the queue. At the front desk inform them you are here to pick up your dogs, you have the ANNEX 4 docs and you flew in on (date) (and add that it was however many days after your flight).
  6. Give them all your docs, and they will pop you into the system. This takes a while as they have to add you as a “company” and they don’t know all the codes offhand. However, they are EXTREMELY nice.
  7. Once this process has been completed you go back to the Swissport cargo dock (this one and collect your dogs. The customs official will come with you and scan your dogs microchips. The official will then stamp everything and you are ready to go.
  8. We left the crates at the airport – the Swissport cargo people said we can just leave them, they will dispose of them.
  9. We travelled back via train, and made sure to have a blanket ready for the dogs in order to seat them on the seats with us. The blanket is also useful when the dogs drink water as you dont mess. We forgot our water at home for them so we bought water and took a cup from a shop to allow them to drink.

Once again, thank you for everything!