Shipping a Car Overseas

Shipping a car overseas is a common necessity for families and individuals making an international move. However, international car shipping can be expensive, and the process can be laborious. Therefore, shipping cars with a low appraised value is not necessarily a good idea, as shipping may cost more than they are worth.

International Car Shipping: A Lengthy Process

Shipping a car to or from the US from another country involves many regulations and requires filling out some paperwork. Though all countries have different requirements for accepting vehicle imports, many share common traits.

    • Expect to pay a tariff for importing the vehicle, which can cost anywhere from 20% to up to 90% or more of the value of the vehicle for used cars. Older vehicles, in particular, have higher tariffs assessed against them. In addition, countries may also assess other excessive fees for registration and licensing. This is one reason importing cars to certain countries can cost more than it is worth. There are exceptions, as the tariff for importing to the US is just 2.5%.
    • Many countries will not accept imported vehicles over a certain age. This usually applies to vehicles 20 years old or older. However, extreme examples also exist – China no longer accepts the importation of vehicles over a year old.
    • Most countries also require extensive inspections of imported vehicles. All cars, trucks, and SUVs must be in good working order, and strict emissions tests are often applied.
    • The vehicle must be owned by the shipper, or the shipper must have written permission to transport the vehicle out of the country by the owner. In many cases, people will not be allowed to transport a car out of the country if they are still making payments on it.
    • Various countries, such as the United Kingdom, drive on the left-hand side of road. They almost always ban vehicles with the steering wheel on the left side of the car.
  • Usually, an official agency will be required to spray vehicles with pesticides to eliminate any insects on board at the cost of the shipper.

Because of the complexity of shipping a car overseas, and each country’s individual requirements differing so drastically, many people choose to hire international car shipping companies to handle the process for them.

International Shipping Methods

For people that do decide to ship a car overseas, there are a variety of methods to accomplish this take. Before shipping can commence, the vehicle will need to be driven or shipped to the port of the call. From there, most customers need only to choose from one of two main car shipping option: Roll-On/Roll-Off shipping and container shipping.

Roll-On/Roll-Off shipping is the most common method used to ship cars internationally. Its popularity is due to it being both simple to arrange and inexpensive. Roll-On/Roll-Off shipping involves driving a car up a loading ramp and parking it in a parking lot on board the ship. Vehicles are driven off at their destination in a similar manner.

Container shipping is a more expensive way to ship cars internationally. Shipped cars are placed into large storage containers and loaded on-board a cargo ship, frequently with the use of a crane. Damage is slightly less likely to occur to vehicles using this method of shipping.

Large semi trucks and other commercial trucking equipment may need to be placed on board via a crane, as they most likely won’t fit inside a container.

Once a shipping method has been chosen and all the preparations have been accounted for, cars and other vehicles can safely ship to another country.

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