The Cost to Ship a Car Overseas Explained by AFL

The cost to ship a car overseas can vary greatly, depending on several contributing factors. AFL strives to deliver personalized quotes at fair rates.

When determining the cost to ship a car overseas, several factors influence the final price. American Forwarding & Logistics aims to deliver an exemplary shipping experience through transparent quoting practices. Our agents work with you to identify your shipping needs to create a customized international car shipping quote. 

These factors affect the quote you’ll receive for your international automobile shipment.

Shipment Method

There are two available options when arranging for international car shipping. The one you choose will directly affect your cost to ship a car overseas. The first is the Roll on Roll off (RORO) method. This is a simple and affordable method that requires the vehicle to be driven directly onto the vessel. The vessel is wind and watertight. You can leave your spare tire and factory-fitted accessories on the vehicle. However, you cannot send personal items with this method. 

The other option is to ship the vehicle in a container. This method of vehicle shipping requires a special procedure. The vehicle gets delivered to the dock and then loaded into a shipping container. The wheels are then strapped to the container to prevent unwanted movement and potential damage.

Some international shipping companies can work with you to arrange for shared container shipping. This gives you the security of a container while sharing your overseas shipping cost with other vehicle owners who also need transport.  


The further away your chosen destination is, the more expensive your automobile shipping will be. The first distance that affects the cost to ship a car overseas is your distance from the marine terminal. This is called the port of origin by international shipping companies. 

You can reduce the cost of your shipment by bringing your vehicle to the port yourself. However, if this isn’t possible, your international freight shipping company can make arrangements for this transport. This additional service will increase the overall cost of your international automobile shipment. However, AFL offers a discounted price due to its long established relationship with an experience in door-to-port shipping partner group SAKAEM Logistics.

The second distance that factors into the cost to ship a car overseas is the between the port of origin and the destination. The greater the distance, the more fuel is used, and the more the carrier has to pay its team to run the ship during transport. These costs are passed onto the booked shipments on that particular cargo ship.


The larger and heavier your vehicle is, the more expensive the overseas vehicle shipping will be. Larger vehicles take up more room on the cargo ship, which reduces the total number of vehicles that can be loaded for overseas shipping. When there are fewer vehicles loaded, the carrier generates less profit. To account for this, larger vehicles are quoted at a higher rate. 

If you choose to ship your vehicle in a container, your cost to ship a car overseas will increase with the shipping container’s increasing size. While containers come in a wide variety of sizes, 20 and 40 foot lengths are the most popular. There are also 40-foot high cubes that are taller than the standard container size. 

The heavier your vehicle is, the more effort and time it takes to move that weight. This means more fuel gets used. International shipping companies account for this by increasing the shipment quote.


Each country has its own regulations and fees that you’ll need to follow when arranging for automobile shipping. There are import duties, taxes, and inspection costs that you have to factor into the cost of shipping a car overseas. You may have to arrange for emissions tests and work to bring the vehicle into compliance with local laws. 

International shipping companies are well-versed in the varying fees imposed by different countries and can explain how they will factor into your overseas vehicle shipping cost.


You should always have insurance for your international freight shipping. This includes overseas vehicle shipping. The company you hire to transport your vehicle can factor this into the cost to ship a car overseas. 

There are two types of insurance that your coverage should include. Total loss insurance will cover fire, theft, or a complete loss of your vehicle during overseas shipping. All risk insurance provides coverage from the moment loading begins, throughout transit, and ends when the vehicle gets unloaded at the destination. If customers decide to use the AFL inland door-to-port service with SAKAEM their vehicle will be covered by AFL, until the vehicle is dropped off at the port of origin.

Fluctuating fuel costs change the cost to ship a car overseas. International freight carriers consider their fluctuating operational costs due to changing fuel prices. These changing costs are then transferred to those booking shipments with the carrier.

There are seasonal trends with international freight shipping. If you need to ship your vehicle during the height of the season, your cost to ship a car overseas will be higher. Automobile shipping costs during the off-season will be lower when demand is also lower. 

Generally, summer shipping is more affordable than winter shipments. You can also secure lower rates if you need to ship in the opposite direction of the high demand. These are called return shipments that the carrier has to make anyway. You can use this to your advantage by timing your shipments carefully.

If there’s a high demand for overseas shipping to your chosen destination, then the cost to ship a car overseas increases. This is slightly different from the overall shipping volumes of international freight shipping. 

Demand for other locations could be low, meaning that other automobile shipping rates are also low. However, if your chosen port of destination is experiencing a high demand. This might mean that the location’s overseas vehicle shipping costs will be elevated to account for the localized demand. 

Another factor to consider when choosing your destination is its physical location. The cost to ship a car overseas will be higher if you choose a remote or rural destination port. These most distant locations typically have a lower demand, which requires the carrier to make a special trip for your vehicle. It’s more affordable to choose an urban port that is active for your international car shipping. The carrier will be delivering several shipments to a single port, which consolidates the carrier’s costs and reduces your cost to ship a car overseas.

Interested in shipping with us?

Our experienced and knowledgeable agents will guide you through the process. Get a quote today and start your shipment.
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