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How Long Does International Car Shipping Take?

International Car Shipping: How Long Does It Take?

Depending on a variety of factors, your automobile may arrive within a day or a month. The following article will help you estimate the delivery date, though you should keep in mind unforeseen circumstances may hasten or slow down the transport. One of the factors influencing the answer to this question is the method you use to ship your automobile.

How Long Does International Car Shipping Take

How Long Does International Car Shipping Take by Plane?

The biggest advantage of international car shipping using a plane is its speed. Air freight is considered by many as the fastest way to transport a vehicle. So, in case of an emergency, plane shipping may be the best option.

Other advantages:

If you’re transporting a sentimentally or a financially valuable vehicle, which needs the most care possible, then shipping it with a cargo plane is the safest method. Auto transportation by sea or road sometimes leads to scratches or dents due to the weather, bumps in the road, hitting other vehicles, etc. Your automobile will be safe from all these problems if you use air freight.

When shipping automobiles using air freight, it will usually be sent directly to its destination. Because there are no stops midway, the automobile won’t be at the mercy of a shipping crew member, or left alone when the truck driver takes a rest.

Disadvantages of air freight:

Unless it’s an expensive, classic, or exotic automobile, the cost of transporting it using air freight may very well be higher than what you paid to buy it. With the money you’d otherwise pay to have a car transported by air, you can often buy a new one.

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The final cost is dependent on the distance, make and weight of the vehicle. International auto transportation can cost as much as $100,000 while state to state shipping is significantly cheaper. To get an exact cost, ask the auto shipping company for a quote.

Precautions when Using Air Freight

To use air freight for auto transport, you must follow very strict guidelines. First of all, your automobile must be operable. Most airlines restrict extra parts or personal belongings from being transported along with the automobile. Transporting these separately may cost you more time.

Prepare your title documents and registration beforehand, so you may provide them to the crew. If your automobile is under a lease or financed, you will also have to give a lessor’s or creditor’s notarized statement. To retrieve your automobile from its destination point, you’ll have to provide an ID.

Note of caution: Though air freight is the fastest way to transport your automobile, you may have to wait a few days for your automobile to clear customs, before you can retrieve it.

How Long Does International Car Shipping Take

How Long Does International Car Shipping Take by Sea?

Shipping by sea, though much cheaper than air freight, is unfortunately much slower as well. Though it’s impossible to offer transport times for every route possible, here are a few approximations. Please note, the actual transportation time may vary depending on your particular circumstances.

From the USA to New Zealand or Australia, shipping an automobile takes around 50 days, while shipping one from Europe to Australia or New Zealand takes around 80 days. From New Zeeland to Australia, a vehicle may arrive in 30 days, while the trip from Australia to New Zealand takes around 10 days. There is no perfect way to measure each route’s time, so for the most accurate assessments, contact the auto transport company directly.

You have 2 options to choose from when opting for international sea freight auto shipping:

  1. RoRo Shipping (Roll on Roll off): This is the cheaper method where you drive the automobile onto the ship, where it is fixed in place, then drive it off at the destination. The disadvantage to this method is you cannot transport your personal items along with your vehicle. If need other items to be shipped besides your vehicle, it may take more time to get everything to its new destination.
  2. Container Shipping: Be it with a single vehicle container or with a container carrying multiple vehicles as well as yours, this method is safer for your car and allows you to carry your personal things along with it. Because the automobile is in a container for the duration of the sea freight, it is kept safe from climate change, bad weather or prying eyes. However, using a multiple car container may lead to complications when picking up the vehicle at the destination port, which may cost you more time.

How Long does International Car Shipping Take by Land?

The time it takes for your automobile to arrive at its destination point by land depends greatly on the distance, roads, budget, weather and several other factors. Because of all these factors, it is hard to accurately predict the time your automobile will arrive at your new home.

Thunderstorms, hail and snow will sometimes happen and delay the driver. Because of this, transporting an automobile during winter can take longer than in the summer.

The distance your automobile must cover is also an important factor. Transporting it to a nearby state can take as little as 2 days, while shipping it to another country or across the nation may take more than a month. For an international vehicle transport, scheduling the legal work for shipping your automobile is another source of delays.

More expensive transportation options will get your car delivered directly to its destination, while cheaper choices may lead to the hauler making multiple stops during the trip to drop off or pick up new vehicles. Paying extra, will speed up the shipping process, however the best way to get your automobile delivered on time is to plan ahead and to make preparation a couple months before the move.

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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