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Ship Vehicles Overseas

By July 8, 2024No Comments
Ship Car Overseas

Ship Vehicles Overseas from the US

Ship Vehicles Overseas

Everything You Need to Know if You’re Planning to Ship Your Vehicle Overseas

Planning an international move? Here’s a word of advice: if you’re planning on bringing your vehicle with you—or even a couple of vehicles—start planning early! Far too many people leave this part of their move to the last minute and pay the price.

Others make a completely different mistake: they assume that shipping their vehicle is impractical and outrageously expensive and make moves to sell it, not realizing that while hiring an auto transport company and shipping a vehicle across international borders can be a bit pricey, it’s nowhere near the cost of buying a brand new vehicle.

Read Here: Car Shipping Costs Guide

Is Shipping a Vehicle Difficult?

The reality is, that car shipping companies transport millions of vehicles across international borders every year (a mix of new, used, private, and collector vehicles). Very reliable car transport services are in place to handle these kinds of moves, and pricing reflects the fact that auto transport is a pretty common activity—not something that only wealthy people or professional auto dealers do. So, is shipping a vehicle difficult? With the exception of a bit of annoying paperwork (see below), not at all!

Know More Here: Tips for Relocating Your Car

Below we offer some valuable tips to help you explore car shipping options that take account of both your needs and your budget. We give you everything you need to know to pick the right shipping company and get your vehicle where it needs to be; this allows you to focus more on all the other parts of your move—which, let’s face it, are stressful enough!

The Basics of How to Ship Vehicles Overseas

Ship Vehicles Overseas

The first thing to understand is how vehicles are shipped internationally. There are three main approaches:

  • Van or trailer, in the case of a land border.
  • Ocean freight is the most common—and least expensive—method of getting a vehicle to an overseas destination.
  • Air freight, which—while it can be more expensive than ocean freight—is another proven method of getting a cherished vehicle, especially a high-end vehicle, from one spot on planet Earth to another in record time.

Trucks, Vans, and Trailers to Ship Vehicles Overseas

There are multiple options to ship your car overseas. Read On!

1. Open Trailer to ship Vehicles Overseas

Ship Vehicles Overseas

Open Trailer

When it comes to crossing a land border—like the one between the US and Mexico or the US and Canada—trucks, vans, and trailers are the “go-to” method of transporting vehicles from Point A to Point B.

While it’s true that some owners prefer the simplest approach of all—that is, driving their own vehicle to wherever they’re going, others don’t have time for that and (wisely) choose to leave the task of moving their vehicle to a professional auto shipping company.

Now we get to the two main types of truck- or van-based vehicle transport: open trailer or enclosed trailer.

Almost all of us have encountered an open vehicle trailer at some point in our lives (see photo above), even if we’ve probably never thought about it much. Remember seeing those giant double-decker flatbeds on the highway, carrying a half-dozen or more vehicles? That’s an open trailer.

Read Here: All about auto shipping quotes

The largest versions of these things can move up to 10 cars or trucks at a time, and while most are used to move vehicles to and between dealerships, moving companies also rely on them to get their customers’ vehicles from one place to another.

Interestingly, open trailers are not that expensive and the cost generally ranges between $300 and $1500—depending, of course, on how far you’re going and the difficulty of getting there.

Open trailers are (surprise surprise!) open to the elements, which means your vehicle may encounter some dirt or, if it’s positioned on the bottom of the double-decker, vehicle fluids. Even so, open trailers are the most affordable way of transporting vehicles from one location to another if an ocean isn’t involved.

2. Enclosed Transport to ship Vehicles Overseas

Ship Vehicles Overseas

Enclosed Trailer

An enclosed trailer is for those with a bit more cash to spare. As the name suggests, the vehicles being transported are fully enclosed by the trailer itself. This is what you want if you’re moving a high-end vehicle—maybe the 1964 Mustang your Dad gave you, or your new model Tesla—or maybe your time-traveling DeLorean.

The level of protection from the elements is obviously much better, but you also pay a little more, typically somewhere between $800 and $2500 depending on the type of vehicle and the distance it has to go. That’s a chunk, for sure, but then, it’s indisputably less than the cost of buying another vehicle.

Overall, an enclosed trailer is a very affordable way to ship a car, and it gives a confident feel that it will get to where it’s going in perfect condition.

Ocean Freight for International Shipping

The most common way of transporting goods across the world.

1. Single Container for Auto Shipping Overseas

Single container vehicle shipping

Single Container

The quickest way to ship your car overseas—using ocean transport—is via a single shipping container (above). No muss, no fuss. A car shipment method that’s simple and reliable.

2. Consolidated Shipping

However, if you want to cut costs a bit, you can go with consolidated vehicle shipping (below)—which just means your vehicle avoids a lonely sea voyage by itself and shares a container with a bunch of other vehicles headed to the same (or a similar) destination point.

Ship Vehicles Overseas

Consolidated Vehicle Shipping Container

But this latter option, while cheaper than a single container, has an inevitable downside: the shipper almost always waits until the container is full, or mostly full, before booking its passage on a ship. Sometimes it fills up pretty quickly (if you’re headed to someplace like Shanghai or Sydney or Rome), but it could take weeks or even months to fill up if you’re headed somewhere less populated. Getting firm shipping dates is sometimes difficult.

All of that said, ocean freight—whether by single container or shared container—is still a very affordable way to transport cars given the amount of space between where your vehicle starts its journey and where it ends up.

The cost, using either of the two methods outlined above, ranges from $1500 to $5000, depending on a variety of variables (see “How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Vehicle Overseas?” below).

3. Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO) Shipping

Ship Vehicles Overseas with RORO Shipping

RORO Shipping

And then there’s the extremely popular roll-on/roll-off (RORO) shipping method, which is exactly what it sounds like your vehicle is driven onto the transport vessel and then locked in place on the vehicle deck. More often than not, this is the cheapest method of shipping a vehicle overseas.

Once your car gets to where it’s going, it’s driven off and it’s all yours. It’s a ferry system, in short, minus passengers and covering entire oceans most of the time. The best thing about RORO shipping is the price: between $500 and $2000 per vehicle.

Know More Here: All About Cross Country Car Shipping

The downside, this time, isn’t about waiting to fill up a shipping container; it’s about the wait to get to the destination port! This can take between three and 12 weeks, depending on how many ports the vessel is scheduled to visit before it gets to your destination. Also – many such vessels only dock near your destination, not at it, which means you’ll probably have to go through a bit of hassle before you can collect your vehicle and bring it home. Lastly, remaining on a freighter deck for weeks or even months at a time exposes the vehicle to elements that simply never reach a vehicle protected by a shipping container.

Read Here: A comprehensive guide to Roll on Roll Off Service

Air Freight

Ship Vehicles Overseas

Vehicle about to be loaded onto a cargo plane.

Air freight–that is, shipping your car by plane, is generally the priciest method of moving a vehicle across international borders. This is a deluxe car transport service! But then, that makes sense. A plane obviously can’t carry as many vehicles as a freighter, it’s moving a lot faster and burning a ton of fuel, and you’re also paying for the convenience of having your vehicle delivered to a major airport relatively close to you within in a matter of days–not weeks or months.

Know More Here: Air Freight Services from IVL

Air freight can cost as little as $2000-4000, but often it costs more (much more!). Nevertheless, it is a very viable option in many cases, and preparation is very similar to the prep work, and paperwork, required for ocean transport from a US Port of Entry (see below). You can find info here, and don’t hesitate to call your embassy in your destination country to pick up additional information about when and where your vehicle will arrive and all of the various charges and bureaucratic hurdles that need to be cleared in order to collect it.

As noted, air freight is often the perfect choice for high-end modern vehicles as well as vintage automobiles. The downside is the price, which can escalate quickly, but the speed and convenience simply can’t be beat.

How long does it take to transport a vehicle internationally?

international cargo Ship

Three-to-12 weeks is a good rule of thumb for anything crossing the ocean, with exact ETA depending on a multitude of factors such as distance and the type of service you’re paying for (economy vs. expedited). Trailers and vans can arrive in a matter of days if they’re headed into Canada or Mexico—and sometimes faster if they don’t have to go too far (think Seattle to Vancouver, for example, or San Diego to Tijuana). Air freight, too, can be completed in a matter of days, only in this case it’s possible to get halfway around the world in no time at all! That’s why air freight is more expensive. You pay for the privilege of not having to take an Uber, or the bus, as you wait for your vehicle to be delivered to your new address.

Read Here: Air Freight vs Truck Freight – A Comparative Guide

Your shipping company should be able to provide you with a very good estimate of your vehicle’s ETA—as long as no customs issues arise. Often, electronic customer tracking is available as well.

Screen Potential Car Transport Companies Carefully

Ask questions!

Make sure that the shipping company you hire meets the following basic criteria:

  • It should offer service from your current location to a port at least near your destination location.
  • It should be fully licensed, bonded, and insured, and if it works with third-party movers – especially in countries overseas – it should be able to provide evidence that those movers are also fully licensed, bonded, and insured.

Always ask questions – and never make assumptions or take anything at face value. Your vehicle is your baby, right? Make sure that you’re entrusting your baby to international movers who care!

Also, remember to check ratings at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and read verified online reviews to help you decide which shipper to choose.

What documents do I need if I’m transporting a vehicle overseas?

documents needed to ship vehicles overseas

This is the stuff that’s the biggest pain in the rumpus for anyone planning to ship their vehicle overseas: personal paperwork. There’s no escaping it, so don’t even try.

Transporting a vehicle overseas is relatively affordable these days, as we’ve seen, but it still requires the preparation and submission of a number of key documents.

You’ll have to deliver export documents to the US Port of Entry your vehicle will be departing from at least 72 hours prior to departure. Every vehicle owner’s situation is slightly different, of course, but in most cases, you need to do the following:

  • Complete a US Customs and Border Protection Vehicle Export Cover Sheet.
  • Provide an original certificate of title for the vehicle—or a copy of the original certificate (certified)—in addition to two extra copies of whichever of these documents you choose to go with.
  • Provide two copies of government-issued photo identification.
  • Provide the vehicle’s registration (including foreign).
  • Submit the bill of lading (sample below) and a notarized bill of sale.
  • Sample bill of lading
      Sample bill of lading

    Fill in, and have notarized, an Export Power Of Attorney (POA), which permits another individual to make legal decisions on behalf of the individual who’s granting the POA.

  • Submit completed EPA forms to prove full emissions compliance. It’s also your responsibility that your vehicle complies with the standards of the destination country.
  • Fill out DOT forms that show safety compliance, depending on the rules and regulations in your destination country.
  • Take steps if there’s a lien on the vehicle. You’ll require a formal letter from the lienholder granting you permission to ship the vehicle overseas. The letter should include the vehicle’s make, model, year, and VIN.

And give yourself sufficient time to get all this stuff together – a few weeks at least!

Is there anything else about the car shipping process?
What should we keep in mind?

You may need to turn in your license to your local DMV, so be prepared. And, obviously, take whatever steps you need to arrange insurance coverage. Some people don’t have a problem keeping their vehicle off the road for a bit until they’re organized enough to purchase local insurance, but for those who need their vehicle right away, check out Geico and Clements Worldwide, both of which offer international auto insurance.

Getting your car prepped for its international move

car water wash

Make sure your vehicle is completely empty–and as clean as a whistle–and have it serviced prior to shipping. It’s OK to leave the spare tire and jumper cables in place, but remember: it’s going to be poked and prodded by a large number of people, including customs officials. Make sure it’s not carrying anything that could cause you problems–and that includes any and all living organisms that could be banned by your destination country. Also make a couple of copies of your car keys, as your shipper–and potentially others–must be able to access, and potentially move, your vehicle at different points of its international move. And don’t fill your gas tank. Leave it one-quarter full — no more.

How much does it cost to ship a vehicle overseas?

cost of shipping a car

In addition to the info provided above, a good rule of thumb is anywhere between $1000 and $5000 if your vehicle is headed overseas. (Domestic auto shipping is usually less). Other fees will almost certainly apply as well. The size and make of your vehicle, the distance it needs to travel, the transportation method, the season, and the use of economy vs. expedited shipping will all influence total car shipping cost.

Read Here: The Cheapest Way to Ship Your Car Abroad

And as hard as it may be to resist it, you’ll also likely end up paying for some type of marine insurance, as well as customs duties, destination charges (including a $500-800 fee for a port agent tasked with getting your vehicle off the ship and through customs), sales tax and processing fees.

International Van Lines:

The World’s Premier International Moving Company

IVL Truck

International Van Lines (IVL) is the world’s No. 1 moving company—for automobiles, of course, but for all of your other personal possessions as well.

No other shipping company even comes close. (And let’s be honest, no one’s been close for quite some time). Whether IVL is moving your vehicle and/or your personal belongings across town, across the state, from one coast to another, or from one continent to another, we’ll get it where it needs to be—fast.

Based in Coral Springs, Florida, but now serving more than 180 countries worldwide, IVL’s reputation for professionalism—and for unrivaled excellence—continues to grow. Over the past 25 years, we’ve mastered every aspect of full-service point-to-point vehicle relocation.

Know Here: 7 Reasans to Choose IVL for your next move

Check out our rankings in publications like Forbes, USA Today, US News, and  Consumer Affairs to get a sense of how IVL operates and what IVL can do for you. These are rankings we’re incredibly proud of and that we work tirelessly to maintain. Even more importantly, customer reviews of IVL at Trustpilot average 4.8/5 stars, a remarkably high figure in an incredibly competitive industry.

Remember, we treat your vehicle as if it were our own. Wherever it’s headed, and however quickly you need it to be there–IVL stands ready to help.

Click here for your free vehicle shipping or moving quote today!

Why Choose IVL to Ship Vehicles Overseas?

Choosing the Best Time to Move

A simple question with a simple answer: IVL is the best domestic and international car shipping company on planet Earth—the best-equipped, the most adaptable, and the most experienced, with a tremendous team of car shipping professionals guiding operations from our HQ in Coral Springs, Florida. The inevitable result? Domestic or international vehicle relocation becomes a smooth, predictable, and worry-free process.

IVL also has a global reach that most car transport companies can only dream of. Wherever your automobile needs to go—we can get it there—in a way that ensures that every single inch of your car arrives in pristine condition. That’s a promise.

IVL’s Car Shipping Services

Whether we’re moving your vehicle around the block or between continents and across international borders, we typically rely on one—or all—of the following transport methods:

1) Our enormous and growing fleet of high-end moving trucks and vans,

2)  Air freight or

3) Ocean freight.

But whichever means of we select to get your vehicle and/or other personal items to their final destination, remember: we treat our cargo—i.e., your cargo—with enormous care at all times.

Remember too, as a full-service auto transport company—and moving company—with decades of experience, we know every potential obstacle en route to your destination. We know all the logistics. All the angles. All the tricks. We’ve done it all before.

How Much Will IVL Charge Me to Ship My Vehicle?

As noted, international car shipping prices obviously vary depending on your destination, fuel costs, vehicle make, vehicle size, and the shipping method, but based on the estimates provided above, a couple of thousand dollars is a safe rule of thumb, especially if you’re moving internationally.

Can I Get a Car Transport Quote?

Go ahead and check out our moving cost calculator to get a free car shipping quote. Moving costs inevitably ebb and flow, but whatever the total amount, IVL is always fully transparent with you—the customer—when it comes to all fees and charges. There are no hidden costs, and the final bill is never, ever a surprise. Car shipping quotes from other auto transport companies are rarely reliable. Ours are.

Choosing the Best Time to Move

IVL team members at company HQ in Coral Springs, FL.

What Moving Services – Including Auto Transport Services – Does IVL Offer?

IVL movers in action!

IVL’s moving services, international or domestic, are comprehensive. As noted, IVL is regarded as one of the best car shipping companies in the United States, but the reality is that IVL is one of the best moving companies in the United States, period. We can ship your vehicle, sure. But we can ship all of your personal items. We offer door-to-door service, and whatever we ship, it gets where it’s going in pristine condition. Here’s a brief overview of the services we offer:

  • Full-service packing services and unpacking services.
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly.
  • Personalized services for high-value and/or especially sensitive items (art, antiques, and of course collector vehicles!).
  • As noted above, comprehensive ocean and/or air freight services combined with the use of moving trucks and vans.
  • Rubbish removal.
  • Domestic or international vehicle transport.
  • Storage services (domestic or international; short-term, long-term, climate-controlled. This service is frequently used by customers who ship their vehicles a bit early and need a safe and secure place to store them before they arrive in person).
  • Full customs clearance management.
  • Limited liability insurance, with full value protection available for purchase.
  • Full corporate relocation and military relocation services.
  • Live chat and customer service 24/7.
  • Easy shipment tracking.

For your free vehicle shipping or moving quote, click here!

auto shipping quote

What Else I Should Know?

To promote the speed and efficiency of your move, IVL may partner with one or more local moving service providers at certain points of the moving process. There is also a 25 percent deposit required to reserve a moving date.

Is IVL Licensed?

Yes. IVL is licensed by DOT, FMC and AMSA (the latter having been recently absorbed by ATA).

Best Countries to Retire

Contact IVL Today. For Your Free Vehicle Transport Quote Click Here!

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