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The Best Method For Shipping Your Car Overseas

The Best Method For Shipping Your Car Overseas

David Stone
Updated November 23, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

    shipping electric auto

    This guide is going to focus on several of the best methods that you can take advantage of when shipping your vehicle overseas. The method that you choose will likely depend on the type of vehicle that you are planning on shipping. 

    Other factors can also include the location of your vehicle and its planned destination. Some shipping methods are more affordable than others, so your budget could play a role in your decision as well. 

    The primary methods for having your vehicle transported overseas include shipping containers and air freight. If you are struggling to immediately understand which option is better for you, then you’ll want to keep on reading through this guide so that you can learn why each method is beneficial. 

    It can be extremely stressful to plan a vehicle shipment overseas. You should start planning in advance so that you are fully prepared for the important shipping day when it arrives. Your first goal should be to reach out to a professional overseas vehicle shipping provider so that you can start providing them with all of the details about your vehicle shipment. 

    Finding a Reliable International Car Shipping Company     

    You should quickly start comparing the many different international vehicle shipping companies that may be available to offer you the vehicle shipping services that you are looking for. You should compare customer feedback, pricing, insurance coverage, and the general shipping agreements that are offered to you.

    Once you spend a reasonable amount of time vetting vehicle shipping companies that offer overseas services, you will then be able to make a decision for your upcoming overseas vehicle shipment. 

    In most cases, you are going to want to select a well-balanced collection of benefits. You certainly want a high level of service quality and good insurance coverage for your vehicle throughout the shipping process. You also want cost-effective pricing that will save you as much money as possible. 

    When you add up all of these important factors to the equation, it’s quite clear that you end up with a stressful decision. The good news is that once you have established a relationship with an international vehicle shipping provider, you won’t ever have to worry about this process again. 

    Now that you understand how to find the best international vehicle shipping provider, it’s probably a good idea to discuss the pros and cons of each method of vehicle shipping that is generally offered. 

    The Most Popular Overseas Vehicle Shipping Methods

    shipping vehicle overseas

    This section of the guide is going to be focused on the most popular shipping methods that you can acquire from professional vehicle shipping companies. Each of these shipping methods has its own collection of positives and negatives.

    You should strongly weigh each of these pros and cons before making a final decision because it will certainly help you feel comfortable with the entire shipping process. 

    Some of the factors that impact these methods include your budget, your vehicle shipping provider, and the expected destination for your particular vehicle. 

    In most cases, you will provide a large collection of information to your vehicle shipping provider and they will help you to make the best overall decision for your situation. In some cases, multiple shipping methods may be feasible, and then generally customers will either choose the faster shipping option or the budget-friendly shipping option, depending on their circumstances. 

    International Air Freight Shipping for Vehicles

    Shipping your vehicle through an air freight service is generally very expensive, and it should only be used if you have a very unique circumstance. Some situations include specialty vehicles like race cars, military vehicles, or some other uncommon type of vehicle that may need special protection.

    Airfreight shipping for vehicles is also occasionally used to transport vehicles to locations that are difficult to reach from an oceanic perspective.

    People will generally request air freight shipping if they are trying to protect their vehicle from potential damage. Airfreight shipping is generally recognized as the safest method of vehicle transport but that benefit can only be reaped after spending a ton of money. 

    You should not choose air freight vehicle shipping if you are trying to ship your vehicle for a cost-effective price. Costs for this category of shipping can easily reach $20,000 and beyond.

    Vehicle Shipping Containers

    Many people like the idea of having their vehicle shipped inside of a vehicle shipping container. This is an extremely popular method of vehicle shipping, and it is also pretty safe. Your vehicle will be inserted into a specialized protective container for the voyage across the ocean to your eventual destination. 

    Intercontinental vehicle shipments through a specialized container can cost between $2,000 and $7,000 on average. The rates can vary significantly because there are so many different factors that come into play in these types of shipping situations.

    The good news is that most reputable international vehicle shipping providers will provide you with accurate pricing estimates in addition to an estimate of fees and expenses that could pop up as well. 

    Many different types of vehicles can be shipped with a traditional vehicle shipping container and you should weigh all of your options to see if it is the right choice for you. 

    RORO Oceanic Transport for Vehicles

    shipping car internationally

    RORO stands for Roll-On & Roll-Off in the world of international vehicle transport. This method is also fairly common but it certainly isn’t as safe as some of the other options that we have mentioned within this guide. 

    When using RORO Oceanic Transport, your vehicle will be rolled onto a cargo ship and secured without being placed into a shipping container. This method of transport is by far the cheapest and riskiest. Your vehicle will generally be exposed for the entire voyage across the ocean to your destination. 

    Once the vehicle finally arrives at its destination, it is simply rolled off of the cargo ship and transported by land to the nearest vehicle delivery terminal. In some cases, your vehicle may also be delivered directly to your home or to an acceptable location that was agreed upon. 

    Auto Transport Services After Your Vehicle Arrives Overseas

    Once you have managed to have your vehicle transported overseas and it finally arrives in its destination country, you may be required to consider hiring traditional land-based auto transport services to deliver your vehicle to its final destination. 

    Your vehicle will likely be removed from the cargo ship and it will be transported to a drop-off terminal nearby. You could then have a separate auto transport provider handle the actual land-based vehicle shipment to your desired location.

    In some cases, you may have the same provider for the overseas shipping and the land-based vehicle shipping after it arrives, but most of the time you will probably have to handle these instances separately. 

    Important Factors to Consider for International Car Shipping 

    You should definitely spend a little bit of time taking a look at each shipping method, in addition to considering all of the following factors in this section. By considering each of these factors, you will likely have all of the knowledge that you need to make an informed decision that will ultimately benefit you as you proceed through the process of shipping your vehicle to another continent.

    You are generally looking to strike a balance across all factors and categories that play a role in this process. You obviously are going to want to save money wherever possible, while also protecting your vehicle and having it shipped in a timely manner. 

    It is hard to get everything that you are looking for but the good news is that each of the shipping methods that we previously discussed can provide a specific focus towards each of these factors.  

    Overseas Car Shipping Costs and Additional Fees 

    Every single person that considers overseas vehicle shipping is going to have to go through the process of comparing the shipping costs between the various shipping methods. Most people are probably going to stay away from air freight shipping because it is so expensive compared to the other options. Roll-On shipping is the cheapest method, but it’s not quite as safe as a vehicle shipping container. 

    You should also plan to factor in the various fees that may pop up when importing your vehicle to a new country. You may have to pay customs fees, import fees, and other expenses that may be required by the destination country. In many cases, the vehicle shipping company will help you to understand the types of fees and expenses that might come up for your specific situation.

    International Auto Shipping Speed

    transporting car overseas

    There’s a fairly good chance that you are going to want your vehicle shipping relatively quickly once you place a shipping order with a reputable provider. If you have your vehicle shipped on a boat instead of air freight, you could expect it to take anywhere between 10 Days and 45 Days to have your vehicle arrive at its destination.

    The shipping speed will most likely depend on the destination and the time of year. For example, shipping may take longer around the holiday season because of the increased level of demand at that time of year.

    There is one other option that you could pursue if you are looking to bypass wait times and have your vehicle shipped as quickly as possible. Airfreight is much quicker in terms of shipping speed but it’s way more expensive. 

    If the pricing increase isn’t a problem for you, then you might be interested in selecting air freight as your method of vehicle shipping. In most cases, air freight vehicle shipping is under two weeks and sometimes it can even be much quicker than that. 

    Protecting Your Vehicle During Overseas Transport

    One of the final factors that you are going to have to consider when searching for the best method to ship your vehicle is the concept of protecting your vehicle. This means that you are probably in a situation where you want to make sure that the level of insurance coverage that is provided by the vehicle shipping company is sufficient for your specific car.

    In addition to the insurance coverage, you probably also want to make sure that your vehicle is transported as safely as possible. The three shipping methods that have been highlighted within this guide all vary in the safety category. 

    There’s no doubt that air freight shipping for vehicles is probably the safest and most expensive method of shipping that you can choose. Unfortunately, this method is not available for everyone because of the significant amount of money that it generally costs. 

    A cheaper option would be to acquire a vehicle shipping container that can be used to protect your vehicle when it is transported overseas. This is oftentimes a great compromise because it’s significantly more affordable than air freight shipping and it still provides an increased level of protection when compared to the traditional roll-on shipping method. 

    You may be interested in acquiring additional levels of insurance coverage prior to your vehicle shipment. Some agencies will provide this type of coverage if the initial coverage from your vehicle shipping agency is not sufficient. 

    Finding the Right Balance

    Now that you’ve had a chance to look at all of the important factors that will likely play a role in your final decision-making process, it’s imperative to discuss how important it is to find the right balance between all of these factors.

    You really need to make sure that you are selecting a vehicle shipping method that is within your price range, while still offering protective coverage for your vehicle. You probably also want to have your vehicle shipped in a timely manner, which is why it can be incredibly important to plan for this process way ahead of time.

    If you’re struggling to find the right balance between all three of these factors, then you should reach out to a trustworthy representative from your selected vehicle shipping agency. In most cases, a representative will be more than happy to sit down with you and help you make this tough decision. 

    Final Thoughts on How to Find the Best Overseas Vehicle Shipping Method

    transporting vehicle internationally

    There’s no doubt that finding the right vehicle shipping method for your situation can be incredibly stressful and challenging. With the right amount of research, you can take this stressful process and transform it into one of the easiest decisions that you’ll ever have to make. 

    Once you start to narrow down your options, it can become a lot easier to finalize your decision. All of the information that you generally need is available within this in-depth guide. Additional information may be provided by your preferred shipping provider. Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to ask questions if you are struggling to understand all of the details that are provided to you.


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    First, we post your vehicle through our network, including all National Dispatch Boards for Auto Transport. This is where all licensed auto transport carriers can see your vehicle is available for shipping.


    We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service and 100% bumper to bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.


    Not until you approve your carrier and final logistics is your deposit due. Your deposit is included in your quote and goes toward the total price. The remaining balance is due at time of delivery. Nothing gets done without your approval.


    Your driver will contact you prior to your pickup and delivery dates to schedule a time for loading and unloading. Once your vehicle reaches its destination, you do a final inspection of your vehicle and pay the driver the remaining balance. You and the driver both sign the Bill of Lading and each keep a copy.