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How much does international car shipping cost?

Published by Joe Webster.

How much does international car shipping cost?

Navigating the domain of international car shipping can often seem like a journey through a maze of choices and considerations. Whether you're a car enthusiast moving your prized possession, a family relocating overseas, or a business managing your fleet, understanding how much international car shipping costs is crucial. This process isn't just about moving a car from point A to point B; it's about ensuring your vehicle reaches its destination safely, efficiently, and without causing a dent in your wallet. With a myriad of factors influencing the cost, from the type of service you choose to the specific requirements of your vehicle, getting a clear picture of the expenses involved is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we'll navigate through the intricacies of international car shipping, providing you with the insights you need to make informed decisions and manage your budget effectively.


A Breakdown of International Car Shipping Costs

When it comes to understanding how much international car shipping costs, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The price can vary significantly based on a multitude of factors, making it a question with many layers. On average, you can expect the cost to range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. However, this is a broad estimate, and the actual international car shipping cost can fall outside of this range based on specific circumstances.

The final cost is influenced by the distance your car needs to travel, the type of shipping service you select, and the particular requirements of your vehicle. For instance, shipping a car overseas using a standard service like Roll-on/Roll-off might be on the lower end of the spectrum, while opting for container shipping or additional services like door-to-door delivery could increase the price. Moreover, factors such as the size and value of your vehicle, the time of year, and the destination country's regulations can also play a significant role in determining the overall cost. It's important to approach an international car shipping company with your specific needs to get a precise quote.

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Factors Influencing the Cost

Understanding the factors that influence international car shipping costs is key to budgeting effectively for your vehicle's journey. Here are the primary elements that determine how much you'll pay for international auto transport:

  • Distance and Destination: The geographical distance between the origin and the destination is a fundamental factor. Longer distances generally lead to higher costs. Additionally, the destination country's infrastructure, port accessibility, and customs regulations can impact the price. Shipping a car to a remote or less accessible location might incur additional charges.
  • Type of Shipping Service: The choice between different shipping options can significantly affect the cost. Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) services are often more economical, where vehicles are driven on and off the shipping vessels. Container shipping, while providing more protection and security for your vehicle, is typically more expensive. Some international car shipping companies also offer shared container services, allowing you to split the cost with other individuals shipping their cars in the same container.
  • Type of Vehicle: The make, model, size, and weight of your vehicle will influence the shipping cost. Larger vehicles take up more space and might require special accommodations, leading to higher charges. Additionally, luxury or vintage cars might need extra services, such as enclosed shipping containers, to ensure their protection, further increasing the cost.
  • Insurance and Additional Services: Opting for insurance is advisable to protect your vehicle during transit. While it adds to the cost, it provides peace of mind. Additional services, such as door-to-door delivery, vehicle tracking, or expedited shipping, can also increase the overall cost. These services offer convenience and security but come at a premium.

By considering these factors and discussing your specific needs with an international auto shipping company, you can get a clearer picture of the international car shipping costs. Remember, the cheapest option might not always be the best choice for your vehicle. Balancing cost with the quality of service, reliability, and your vehicle's safety is paramount in making the right decision.

Additional Costs and Considerations

When shipping a car internationally, it's crucial to be aware of the additional costs and considerations that can affect the overall expense. These often overlooked aspects can significantly impact the final price quoted by the shipping company.

  • Customs and Import Taxes: One of the most significant additional costs comes from the customs duties and taxes imposed by the destination country. These fees can vary greatly depending on the country's regulations and the value of your vehicle. It's essential to research or consult with an international auto transport company to understand these charges fully.
  • Preparation Costs: Preparing your car for international transport involves more than just a wash. You may need to service the vehicle, ensure that the gas tank is only a quarter full, and remove personal items and any custom accessories that can be lost or damaged. These preparations can incur costs, especially if professional services are required.
  • Storage Fees: Sometimes, there might be a delay in picking up your vehicle from the destination port. In such cases, the port may charge you storage fees. These fees can accumulate daily, so it's crucial to plan the pickup promptly to avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • Air Freight Shipping: While not common due to its high cost, air freight is the fastest way to ship a car internationally. If you choose air freight shipping, be prepared for significantly higher costs compared to container shipping or RoRo services.

Being aware of these additional costs and planning accordingly can help you manage your budget more effectively and avoid any unpleasant surprises when shipping your car internationally.


Cost-Saving Tips

Shipping a car internationally can be a costly affair, but there are ways to navigate the process economically. Here are some cost-saving tips to consider when working with shipping companies:

  • Choosing the Right Shipping Option: Container shipping offers great protection for your vehicle, but if you're looking to save money, consider Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) services. RoRo is often more affordable and is a good option if you're not shipping a luxury or antique car.
  • Timing and Flexibility: Shipping rates can vary depending on the season. Peak times can lead to higher costs due to increased demand. If you have flexibility in your schedule, consider shipping your car during off-peak seasons. Additionally, being flexible with your shipping dates can allow the shipping company to consolidate your shipment with others, potentially reducing the cost.
  • Comparing Quotes: Don't settle for the first quote you receive. Reach out to multiple international auto transport companies and compare their services and prices. Ensure you understand what's included in the quote to avoid hidden charges.
  • Crew Members and Destination Port Fees: Understand the fees charged by the crew members handling your vehicle and the destination port. These can vary and add to the overall cost. Getting clarity on these fees beforehand can help you budget more accurately.

By considering these tips and being proactive in your approach, you can significantly reduce the cost of shipping your car internationally without compromising on the quality of service.



Shipping a car internationally involves a complex interplay of factors, each contributing to the overall cost. From understanding the basic shipping charges to navigating the additional costs like customs duties, preparation fees, and potential storage charges at the destination port, it's a process that demands careful consideration and planning.

However, by being well-informed and strategic—choosing the right shipping method, being flexible with your timing, and diligently comparing quotes from various shipping companies—you can manage the costs effectively. Remember, the cheapest option might not always offer the security and reliability you need for your vehicle.

While the question of how much it costs to ship a car internationally doesn't have a straightforward answer, with the right approach and a clear understanding of the involved factors, you can make informed decisions that balance cost, convenience, and care for your vehicle.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
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
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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