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International Car Shipping

Posted Overseas Vehicle Shipping / January 16, 2019

The day of your international relocation has almost come, all belongings are packed and ready. It seems like all moving tasks are over with, except one – organizing international car shipping. But how much do you really know about transporting vehicles across borders?

You may be wondering about the logistics of this process, or perhaps how much does it cost to ship cars overseas. You’ll find answers to these and many more questions in our brief guide to international auto transport. Let’s start with the most popular methods.

Find out What International Car Shipping Method Is the Most Convenient

Moving across the world is overall one rollercoaster of emotions. Significant changes are in store for you, but you have to be focused on the moment and think about every little detail. The more you know about transporting cars overseas, the easier it will be to pick the most suitable option for you and avoid unnecessary costs.

We’ve listed the three most common solutions, but which is best for you will depend on a variety of factors such as your budget, the urgency of the move, and the make and model of your car.

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Three Different Methods to Ship Your Vehicle Overseas

Auto shipping companies typically offer several ways to ship your vehicle at different prices, and the most popular ones are airfreight, roll on-roll off (RoRo), and container shipping.

  • Airfreight is the best method if you want your car parked in front of your new home as soon as possible. It is by far the fastest method, but it is also the most expensive. Airfreight is commonly used for some special occasions like races, or the shipment of luxury or unique vehicles.
  • Roll on-roll off is a service commonly used for oversized vehicles such as buses and RVs, or regular cars transported to some unusual destinations. Cars are rolled onto a boat in the US and rolled off at the port of the desired destination. This is the most affordable option, albeit not the fastest one. Just remember that your machine has to be in an operable condition.
  • Container shipping can be consolidated or solo-use. The former is a popular and affordable way of shipping cars because the costs are divided between several clients whose cars travel in the same container. Unlike the RoRO method, your car doesn’t have to be in an operable condition to be transported this way. On the other hand, solo-use or exclusive container car shipment is more expensive than consolidated, but it gives more space to each client, meaning that a single car will be loaded into a 20 or 40-foot container.

Cost of International Car Shipment

When it comes to the price, overseas vehicle shipping is a service for which the fee is calculated by taking into consideration a couple of factors – mainly the distance between the point of origin and the destination, as well as the chosen method of transport.

Besides the three above mentioned transport methods, some shippers offer extra services such as door-to-door transport instead of the standard “pickup at port” option. Door-to-door service requires more elaborate logistics and will increase the overall cost.

The final price of the service is usually somewhere in the range of $1,000-$5,000 per car for standard ocean freight, and between $5,000 and $40,000 for airfreight. But the most reliable way is to contact your auto shipping service provider and ask for a free estimate.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Vehicle Overseas

The average time needed to ship a car overseas is between 30 and 40 days. Also called “on the water” time, this 30 to 40 days period does not include the preparation period spent on consolidating cars, loading, and preparing for shipment with clients.

What Do Shipping Companies Need for Overseas Auto Transport

While thinking about what to pack when moving abroad or documents needed to travel abroad, make a list of the paperwork and other things required for car shipment, including a photo ID, information about the title and registration, a notarized lessor’s statement, and so on.

The Company Will Ask for a Photo ID

You will need some sort of identification when you start the process of car shipping. Also, it will be required of you when the car arrives at its final destination – naturally, you need to have your identification to pick it up. You can use your passport or driver’s license for this purpose. If someone else will do the dropoff or pickup for you, you’ll need to authorize them, and they will need to provide an ID, too.

You Will Have to Hand Over the Car Keys

To ship your car, the moving company will need your car keys. They are necessary for operating the car during the loading and unloading phase. When the car arrives at the destination, the company will give the keys back. Also, if you have an alarm system, make sure you disable it.

International Car Shipping Is Impossible Without a Notarized Lessor’s Statement

If your car is on a lease, a notarized lessor’s statement is a confirmation that the creditor knows about and agrees with the shipment. The statement is crucial because some ports will not let you export the car if you don’t have the creditor’s written permission.

Specific Import Requirements for Cars in Certain Countries

Some countries have specific requirements and don’t allow the import of used cars or cars of a certain age. If that is the case with the country you are moving to, make sure to find a company that will help you negotiate about your options.

Information About the Title and Registration of Your Four-Wheeler

To get your car out of one and into another port, you will need to give the original title of your vehicle. On the other hand, registration is not required for overseas shipment. It is only needed if the car is driven to and from the port.

Make Sure That You Can Load Other Stuff as Well

When organizing car relocation, see if you can put some goods inside of the vehicle. Putting particular belongings in the car means less work for you or your international movers.

The Process of Moving Could Be Easier If Loading Goods Is an Option

Depending on the method, there is a possibility of loading your car with certain items. If you opt for container shipping, you will have the option of putting household belongings in there up to a certain volume. On the other hand, if you choose the roll on-roll off method, things like a jack and spare tire are all you’ll be allowed to put inside your four-wheeler.

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

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