International car shipping can be an exhausting and expensive job if you don’t plan and research before transporting your vehicle. Overseas car shipping should be a hassle-free experience and one which does not upset your budget. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you should know about international car shipping so that you can move your vehicle overseas on a budget.
Understand the cost of international car shipping
If you want to save money on international car shipping, you should first understand the different factors involved in the shipping costs. The price you pay for international car shipping depends on these factors. We have explained some of the important factors affecting the total cost of international car shipping below.
The vehicle size is one of the many factors that affect the cost of overseas car shipping. If you own a vehicle that is bigger than a normal Sedan or SUV, then be ready to pay a higher shipping cost. Vehicle size is even more important in the case of container shipping wherein there is limited space in a container for vehicles shipment. If you own a large-sized vehicle, we recommend you opt for RoRo shipping. In RORO shipping, vehicle size has little to no effect on the shipping cost as space is not an issue in this mode of shipping. Opting for RoRo shipping will save you a lot of money if you intend to ship a large vehicle.
Mode of shipping
The mode of shipping also affects the overall cost of shipping a car overseas. Out of the available options, RoRo shipping is the cheapest mode of shipping a car overseas. As hundreds of vehicles are shipped simultaneously on a single vessel, RoRo ships cost way less than container shipping. Therefore, RoRo ships are the most budget-friendly option for shipping everyday use cars.
In LCL (less than container load) or shared container shipping, you pay a higher cost of shipping due to the extra layer of security this mode of shipping provides. When compared to RoRo shipping, the price of shared container shipping is greater as only 3-4 vehicles are shipped in a single container. FCL ( full container load) or private container shipping happens to be the most expensive mode of international car shipping wherein only your car is shipped in the container. The price is higher than other shipping options since you are the only one consuming space in the container. Therefore, you pay for the entire space in the container. We only recommend using private container shipping if you are transporting a luxury car overseas.
Door-to-port shipping charges
Some people prefer not to drive their cars to the origin port, especially if the distance is not small. In such a case, the overseas car shipping company provides door-to-port shipping service as well. This increases the overall cost of shipping a car overseas accordingly. This extra cost of shipping depends on the distance between the origin port and your house.
Moreover, these extra shipping charges also depend on the condition of your car. If you own an inoperable vehicle, then a special truck with equipment like a winch is needed to load your car onto the truck. The company follows the same procedure when unloading your vehicle as well. Ideally, you tell the shipping company about the situation of your car beforehand so that the company comes well-prepared.
Nonetheless, you can reduce the overall cost of international car shipping by driving the car to the nearby port. Driving the car is a budget-friendly option if the origin port is not far away from your home. However, if the distance is large, then relying on a shipping company is a more feasible option than driving the car yourself.
As you might have guessed, the shipping costs are not the same for every country. The cost of international car shipping starts somewhere around a thousand dollars. The actual cost of shipping depends on the distance between the origin and destination countries. For instance, shipping to the Middle East is costlier than shipping a vehicle to Europe due to the difference in shipping distances.
Marine Insurance Coverage
Marine insurance is an optional feature, but we do recommend that you get financial coverage for any untoward incident while your vehicle is in the ocean. This insurance coverage applies from the moment your car is loaded onto the ship to the moment it lands in the destination country. If your vehicle receives any damage during this period, the insurance company will compensate you for the damages. Adding marine insurance does increase the final cost for overseas car shipping. However, we highly recommend that you include this feature in your shipment to protect it against natural calamities like hurricanes.
Import charges and vehicle handling fees
Import charges and vehicle handling fees also add up to the total cost for international car shipping. The import charges vary from country to country and depend on the destination country’s import policies. Before you book an international car shipment, we recommend that you get in touch with the car shipping company to discuss these charges beforehand.
Once your vehicle lands in the destination port, you will need to pay the vehicle handling charges as well. Moreover, if you don’t pick the vehicle on the day it lands on the destination port, you should expect to pay the storage fees as well. In such a case, your car will remain at the port until you or your consignee come to pick the vehicle. Make sure that the person coming to pick the vehicle has enough money in pocket to pay for these extra costs.
Consider your options for international car shipping
To save money on international car shipping, you should determine the available options first. When it comes to overseas vehicle shipping, you have primarily three options. Choosing the right shipping method is key to saving money on international car shipping.
RoRo shipping is the cheapest option available for international car shipping. Roll-on-Roll-off ships are capable of transporting hundreds of vehicles in one go. In a roro ship, a car is driven on the board and then parked in a reserved spot. The car is then tied to the deck so that it does not receive any damage during the shipping process. In this way, the ship transports hundreds of vehicles to the destination country.
You can consider the RoRo ship like a huge parking lot where hundreds of vehicles are parked simultaneously. One of the benefits of using RoRo shipping is that you can ship any type of car whatever the size may be. The only requisite is that your car should be in working condition so that a driver from the shipping company can drive it onto the vessel.
Another benefit of using RoRo ships is that you can expect your car shipment to arrive on time. A RoRo ship transports hundreds of vehicles in one trip. Therefore, the departure and arrival dates of these ships are fixed like that of an airline. So, the departure and arrival times rarely change and you can expect your car to reach the destination country on time. While you ship a car overseas with RoRo ships, please make sure that you do not leave any expensive item in the car.
In short, RoRo ships are your most economical and reliable option for overseas vehicle shipping. You should only opt for other options if you intend to ship a lot of luggage along with your vehicle.
Container shipping adds an extra layer of security to your vehicle shipment. The company loads your car into a container and then ships it to the destination country. The container is sealed during the shipping process and is only opened upon arrival in the destination country. This extra layer of security is beneficial if you are moving a luxury or antique car which is susceptible to damage from harsh weather conditions. There are mainly two types of container shipping which we have discussed below.
LCL or shared container shipping
LCL (less than container load) or shared container shipping is the cheaper option when compared to private container shipping. In shared container shipping, the company ships only 3-4 vehicles in a single container. Therefore, the cost of shipping per vehicle is lower when compared with private container shipping. Shared container shipping is costlier than RoRo shipping and you should opt only in case of shipping luxury or antique cars.
You can also choose to keep some luggage in the car in this mode of shipping. However, we advise you to keep a list of things you leave in the car so that you can verify the luggage once it reaches the destination country.
A problem however that arises with this mode of shipping is that your car can reach its destination late due to the requirement of 4 cars in a single container. In other words, the company ships a container only when it is full of vehicles. So, you might have to wait for an extra week sometimes before the company ships your car in the container. To eliminate this extra wait, you can opt for a pricier option: private container shipping.
FCL or private container shipping
FCL (full container load) or private container shipping eliminates the drawback of shared container shipping as you are the only one utilizing container space in this method. In private container shipping, you can also keep as much luggage as you want in the container as you pay for all the space in the container. As a result, this option is costlier than shared container shipping. Therefore, we recommend this option only in certain cases where you intend to ship a luxury or antique car.
Order through the right shipping company
To save cost on international car shipping, you should look to work with the right company for your specific shipping needs. For instance, not every company will be able to provide you with door-to-port shipping services. Some companies are also not apt in dealing with the documentation required for overseas vehicle shipments. Moreover, not every company offers all the shipping methods we discussed above. Therefore, you must research before booking an overseas car shipment.
AFL feels proud to announce that we provide door-to-port shipping to our customers, thanks to our shipping partner, SAKAEM Logistics. If you book a shipment with us, our team picks the vehicle from your doorstep and delivers it to the origin port. Moreover, our experienced team of professionals takes care of all the documentation required for overseas vehicle shipments.
Choose the correct international car shipping company for your country and region
Different countries have different import requirements for overseas vehicle shipping. The customs department of your destination country has certain documentation requirements that you need to fulfil before shipping a vehicle. Therefore, different car shipping companies provide international car shipping services to different countries and regions. For instance, not every company in the US has the experience and the connections to ship a car to Africa. Therefore, it is ideal that you invest time in researching the shipping companies that transport vehicles to your destination country or region.
Consider an NVOCC service provider for international car shipping
NVOCC (Non-Vessel Owning Common Carrier) service providers can save you from paying high costs for international car shipping. For instance, AFL has direct contracts with shipping lines and we regularly book large spaces for overseas vehicle shipments. NVOCC service providers do not own the vessels. Instead, we ship the vehicle from your home to the port and book a vessel for your vehicle shipment. The Federal Maritime Commission, a federal agency that regulates ocean-based transport in the US, issues these NVOCC licenses.
Choosing an international carrier is not always easy, but it’s worth it
Choosing an international carrier for your overseas vehicle shipment is a task that requires some effort from you. However, we believe that once you invest some time into researching the best international carrier that suits your shipping needs, you will be amazed at the benefits. Along with saving costs on shipping, an international carrier can make your shipment faster as well. This is because these carriers have extensive documentation experience as per the requirements of the different destination countries.
International car shipping: takeaway
With the above tips and guidelines, we believe you can do international car shipping on a budget. You just need to invest enough time and effort into researching the right shipping company. If you work with AFL, overseas vehicle shipping will be a pleasant experience for you. With our industry experience, we make the process simple with personalized shipping solutions and competitive prices.