Shipping Car Containers

Shipping Car Container becomes hassle-free with AFL

Shipping car container overseas is not as easy as it may sound. Everything needs proper planning, from choosing the right container size for vehicles and goods delivery to checking for its availability. You’ll also have to collect information and prepare documentation for customs clearance.  But if you choose to work with an experienced international shipping […]

Shipping car container overseas is not as easy as it may sound. Everything needs proper planning, from choosing the right container size for vehicles and goods delivery to checking for its availability. You’ll also have to collect information and prepare documentation for customs clearance. 

But if you choose to work with an experienced international shipping company like AFL, we’ll provide you with a personalized, comprehensive, and affordable shipping plan. You’ll also save time arranging for transport as we provide both door-to-port and port-to-door services.

Why is choosing the right car shipping container important?

Shipping containers are the most secure method of transport for moving your vehicles overseas. The best part about container shipping is that you can also ship household goods or other items alongside your car. 

Your items are safe inside the container as the steel box prevents the outer elements from damaging them. 

However, there are various sizes of containers, so choosing the most suitable one is crucial for shipping overseas. So, ensure you have all the information regarding a container’s interior and exterior measurements before shipping. 

Usually, there are three standard sizes of containers that the shipping company offers. They are standard 20ft, 40ft, and high cube 40ft. The interior measurements are the most essential part to look for in a shipping container. It shows how many goods it can accommodate. The cargo volume is also a determining factor in selecting the container size. 

What are the different types of car shipping containers?

Other than the size, another essential variable to consider is the type of container you require for your goods. Here are some of the container types you can choose for shipping vehicles overseas:

Private container

For international shipping, a private container is a good choice for luxury cars and fragile goods. Although this type of container is expensive, you won’t have to worry about sharing it with anyone. 

The entire container will be for your exclusive use from the beginning till the end of shipping. You can ship as many items or vehicles as the container can accommodate.

Shared container

A shared container will require you to share the space with other people’s goods. But if you are on a budget, this is a cheaper option for shipping cars and goods overseas. You’ll only pay for the space your goods will occupy in the container. 

However, there is one downside to a shared container. You can expect a late delivery as the carrier will only embark once the container fills. 

What things to look for while choosing a shipping container for a car?

For shipping a car in a container, there are certain factors you should consider. They will simplify your search for a suitable container. These factors include:


The dimensions of your container and cargo volume play a vital role in choosing a suitable container. So, you should determine if the selected container has enough space to accommodate your goods. 

However, there shouldn’t be too much space to risk your cargo rolling around during shipping, nor should it be too little to risk damage to container walls. You must match the exact dimensions of your shipment with the container’s dimensions.

For instance, a 20ft standardized container is convenient for private shipping. It can fit one to two regular-sized cars or the contents of an 80 sqm apartment. A standardized 40ft container can hold three to four regular-sized vehicles or the contents of a 100 sqm apartment. 

It’s also a good choice for shared container shipping. Another 40ft high cube container offers an additional 40cm height for moving large vehicles such as SUVs. 


Another essential factor to consider while car container shipping is the loading and unloading of vehicles and goods. Partly this factor also relates to the dimensions of a container. Depending on the type of container, it is necessary to determine if the goods can pass in and out of the door quickly. 

Some containers have double doors, meaning they have openings at both ends. Hence, it won’t matter how the container stands because the doors will be accessible from both sides. This also saves loading and unloading time. 

If the container has a hard top, it is ideal for loading and unloading heavier and larger vehicles. The entire 450kg rooftop opens up to allow the crane to load the vehicles inside the container. Once the cars are inside the container, the roof can remain open if the vehicles are larger. 

Several doors in a container can also save time as they are accessible from different sides and provide easy loading and unloading of goods.

Cargo requirements

The last but not the least factor to consider is your cargo type. If you are shipping larger vehicles, irregular-shaped items, or heavy equipment, a standard 20ft container won’t work for you. 

In that case, a 40ft standard or a high cube 40ft container will be a perfect choice. But remember, information about container dimensions plus expert advice is necessary for efficient and safe shipping.

What facilities do car shipping containers provide?

Shipping car containers provides a myriad of facilities for a variety of cargo. The all-steel corrugated walls prevent the vehicles from outer elements and keep them safe from theft and pilferage. Moreover, heavy-duty wide doors allow easy access for loading and unloading cargo. 

Several containers come with floor lashing points for securing goods and forklift pockets for mobility and handling. A crane or forklift will load the vehicles and goods inside the container, which will be secured with ratchets for the entire journey. 

You can choose a shared container if you are shipping a regular vehicle or a private container if transporting a luxury vehicle. The shipping company will strap the luxury vehicle securely and block its wheels with wooden chocks. 

What are the ways to track and maintain proper communication for vehicle delivery?

Once you book a shipment with a shipping company, you can track its whereabouts on the company’s website. The shipping company will provide you with a tracking number which you can enter to monitor bookings and the progress of your shipment. 

You can also use the container number or the number given on your Bill of Lading to track your shipment. In the meanwhile, it’s crucial to maintain proper communication with your shipping company. 

A professional company will provide only one expert to guide you during the whole shipment process rather than changing your agent often. This will simplify communication and keep you stress-free regarding your shipment.

What is the cost of shipping car containers overseas?

Several factors determine the cost of shipping car containers overseas. Hence the final shipping price is subject to change due to these factors. If you exclude these factors, the estimated shipping charges can fall between $1500 and $6000 for shipping a container overseas. 

Factors affecting the cost of shipping car container overseas

Here is the list of variables that can affect the final shipping cost:

Container shipping method

Different container shipping methods will cost you differently in terms of international shipping. If you choose Full Container Load shipping, you won’t have to share the container with other shippers, but it will cost you more than LCL. 

In Less than Container Load, you share the shipping cost with other consumers; hence the shipping cost is less. 

Vehicle type and size

The type and size of vehicle you are moving through container shipping will impact the shipping charges. It will cost you more if you are shipping a heavier vehicle, such as an SUV, as larger cars require an oversized container, such as a 40ft high cube.

Shipping luxury cars also require cargo insurance so expect to pay higher shipping charges. Lighter and regular vehicles will be less expensive to ship overseas.

Peak season

During peak seasons, there is an increased demand for shipping. Therefore there is less availability of containers and carriers to ship them. If you book a shipment during peak season, delivery can take longer than expected. You’ll also have to pay for the mileage accrued during transport.


While shipping car containers overseas, the location matters a lot. Non-popular or challenging sea routes will increase the shipping price. Carriers will have to take a longer course to reach the destination port. 

Also, if you schedule a pickup or delivery of your car in a rural area, auto haulers will have difficulty reaching your desired location. So, it can also cause a hike in shipping charges. 


Choosing a suitable container depends on various factors, such as its availability, size, and cargo volume. Despite the points we have discussed above regarding choosing a suitable container, there may be certain uncertainties. There are so many container types and sizes available for shipping overseas that it can be confusing to choose the right one. 

That’s why it’s crucial to take the help of a credible shipping company like AFL. Other than choosing a suitable container, we will help you prepare documentation and clear customs in both the origin and destination countries.

We are an NVOCC licensed company with vast industry knowledge of filing proper documentation and booking large quantities of cargo. Our knowledgeable agents can clear your cargo customs without unnecessary delay. We offer a comprehensive shipping plan that covers finding a suitable carrier at affordable rates to deliver your cargo securely to your doorstep. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How is a car loaded in a shipping container?

The shipping company will load your vehicle in the container by rolling it down from a flatbed truck through a ramp. Further, a forklift will push your car to the back of the container. Next, the shipping company will secure it with ratchets.

What documents would I need to clear customs for shipping car containers?

You’ll need to prepare documentation to clear customs in both origin and destination countries. The customs at port won’t allow your car to leave or enter another country if your filing is incorrect. 

It may also result in double taxes or penalties. The standard document required includes ID & Passport, Bill of Lading, Original Invoice, Vehicle VIN, and Chassis No.

What can fit inside a 40ft high cube container?

40ft high cube containers are particularly suitable for shipping voluminous or oversized items. They can hold the same weight as a standard 40ft container, but the additional height can support a maximum of 2.70m. 

A 40ft high cube shipping car container is also a good alternative for open-top containers as it avoids the risk of damage from exposure.

Do shipping car containers need insulation?

Vehicles are durable and can survive the outer elements. However, if you are shipping them through the ocean, you may worry about exposure to salt air. 

But shipping car containers are robust and made from durable steel that protects the vehicles and goods from exposure and other damage during shipping.


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