How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car Internationally?

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Whether you’re moving for work or leisure, transporting your car overseas takes a lot of planning. Shipping your car overseas can take anywhere between 30 to 40 days on average. The destination you’re moving to and the shipping method you choose are the primary factors to consider.

You can either book a shipping container solo for the transit or share a container with other vehicles traveling to the same destination. Both methods affect the timeline for an international move. This is because auto transport companies often wait for the containers to fill up first.

Additionally, car shipping requires you to put together essential documents, such as:

  • A copy of your passport to check your identity.
  • Your car’s ownership certificate and origin certificate
  • All bills and receipts related to the sale of the car
  • Specific declaration forms from the auto shipping company

Here’s everything you need to know about how auto transport companies provide international shipping. The following article will help you estimate how much time it takes to transport a car overseas.

car shipping by boat

International Car Shipping by Plane

Shipping your car via airplane is the fastest way to transport a vehicle. You can send your vehicle straight to its destination by shipping it on a cargo plane.

Car owners looking for convenience prefer air transit because it ensures their vehicles receive the highest level of care. But air cargo is also not the most eco-friendly option either, releasing carbon dioxide ten times more than ships or trucks. As a response to such environmental concerns, many aviation companies are looking for alternative, sustainable options for air travel. This plan includes using sustainable air-fuel and aircraft design to improve efficiency during travel.

When calculating the cost of air travel, moving your car from one state to the other in the U.S. is cheaper compared to international shipping. You can request the auto transport agency to send you a quote and a list of services they’re willing to offer. Once you know the cost, you can compare it with other auto shipping companies in your area.

International Car Shipping by Sea

Another option you can consider is shipping the car by sea. This method is cheaper but slower compared to air freight. This type of auto shipping depends on the selected route. For instance, if you were shipping your car from the U.S. to New Zealand, the approximate time would be around 45 to 60 days.

For the most accurate assessment, you should connect with the auto transport company. When opting for international sea freight, decide on the method of transportation.

Roll on Roll off Shipping

Referred to as “car carriers”, this form of shipping focuses on automobile transport. It is one of the cheapest ways to move your car overseas. The vessel contains ramps or inclined to cut cargo damage during loading and unloading. The design of the vessel is for carrying wheeled cargoes (from two to four-wheelers) of every weight and size.

Container Shipping

This form of shipping loads your vehicle into an enclosed container. Whether you’re shipping a single vehicle or many, container-carrying vessels are safe, reliable, and all the more convenient. This type of shipping allows you to pack your car with personal items and get those shipped alongside your vehicle.

For instance, a standard 20-foot container can accommodate one or two mid-sized vehicles. Shipping charges in this case are higher compared to roll-on and roll-off shipping. With the car secured in a container, it remains safe against debris, bad weather, and other logistical issues that can arise during a long haul.

Cost of Shipping Your Car Overseas-Factors to Consider

International vehicle transport requires you to plan and fix a budget first. Sometimes, the cost of transporting your vehicle can amount to the same as the cost of buying a new car. If not, the basic factors that affect the shipping price are:

  • Distance from your home to the nearest port: Depending on your location, your car will first need to reach the sea or air terminal. This can cost you a few hundred dollars or more, based on the vehicle’s size and model and your mode of shipping.
  • Destination charges for pickup and drop-Once your vehicle arrives at the destination port, it is navigated through customs. You’ll need professional help from an agent to get this done. You can expect to pay another $500 for this service.
  • Overseas taxes and other charges: Shipping your car overseas comes with its fair share of expenses, including customs fees. It is the total percentage of the item’s market value. Other charges that may apply are sales tax and processing fees, although it is best to consult your auto shipping agency for these charges.
  • International car insurance coverage: Consider buying auto coverage for an international haul. This type of insurance can protect your car from accidental damage when it’s shipped by air or on open water. You can also check whether your auto transport agency offers marine insurance as an add-on service or option.
  • The type of auto transport company you hire-The total expense for shipping your car overseas can be anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000 on average. This is the base amount you can estimate, but only the auto transport company can offer you a suitable quote.

Bottom Line

Depending on the destination, your auto transport agency will first map out the most convenient route for shipping. They will oversee the handling and crunching of the overheads of logistical processes.

In the end, choose the method that benefits your time and budget. As a recommendation, using container shipping is the best way to ship your vehicle overseas since it’s fast, safe, and completely reliable.

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Michael Glass

Michael is the founder of Backpacker Travel. He also runs walking tours in San Francisco and is a freelance travel writer. Michael is extremely passionate about travel and loves to explore festivals around the world.

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