International Car Shipping Cost
International auto shipping and transport costs change greatly according to the transport method you choose and how fast you want your automobile delivered. How much is international car shipping? If you’re not worried about time, shipping your vehicle using a container by sea can cost you less than $1000. If you skip the door to door option, choose a RoRo shipment, and pick up your car from the nearest port, the price lowers even more.
If you’re not transporting your automobile outside the continent, and the car is functional, a transporter can drive it for you. Most often, this is the more expensive option, with prices being as high as $2000, but the automobile arrives much faster, usually within days.
If your automobile is not operable, or you don’t want it driven throughout the country or continent, then shipping it using a truck or a trailer is the best solution. On the other hand, auto transport by air is the most expensive option. Although it is the fastest method, we don’t recommend it as the costs are usually not worth it.
Auto Transportation Options
How much is international car shipping by air, sea, or land? International auto transport is done at least partially by land, and sometimes we use the other 2 methods as well. Here is what you should know:
Auto Shipping on Land (Trains and Trucks)
- Trains: For long distance auto shipping inside a continent, rail auto transportation using a container can be an excellent option. In terms of speed, the automobile will normally arrive slower than when using a truck, though it does depend on its destination and origin. However, in some cases, the costs can be lower.
- Trucks: Most auto shipments need a truck. Both international and domestic transports inside a continent are normally done by a single company using a truck for the entire journey. Shipping your automobile overseas may be done by a couple or more companies, coordinating and switching the vehicle between trucks.
When choosing an auto shipping company, make sure they give you a clear and complete list of costs and of the allocation of responsibility during the shipment. The shipping speed will depend on road conditions and costs are unavoidable, though moderate.
Auto Transport by Sea
How much is international car shipping by sea? Taking into consideration the distance, it’s actually quite low. Shipping using a container or sea freight is recognized as the cheapest method of transporting goods across the globe. It’s usually your only choice when moving an automobile from one continent to another, though it is extremely slow. According to the route you send your vehicle through, it may arrive at its destination in a few weeks.
Auto Transport by Air
How much is international car shipping by air? Unfortunately, it can be 10 times more expensive than sea freight, making it a rarely used option.
If your automobile must arrive at its destination as soon as possible and regardless of costs, choose air freight. However, if you must respect a budget, shipping by sea is a much more reasonable approach.
Loading and Delivery Costs
How much is international car shipping affected by loading and delivery costs all depends on your choice. You have 2 options when shipping your automobile, and these are: port to port and door to door.
- Port to port. This is the most used auto transport option. The responsibility of bringing the automobile to the port falls on you, and after it arrives at the destination port, you will have to pick it up from there. Failure to do so in time may cost you extra storage charges.
- Door to door. The most convenient auto transport method is door to door. According to your choices, the shipping company will come to your home, pick up your car, and deliver it to the origin port. After it’s moved across the sea, the company or one of its partners will once again pick it up at the destination port, before delivering it to your new doorstep.
More International Auto Shipping Costs you Should Consider
Depending on where you’re moving your automobile, you should consider the following costs as well:
- Insurance costs: You may want to insure your automobile for the transport itself or in its destination state / country. Most auto transport companies will offer an insurance, so ask them for the details and make sure you are covered.
- Customs Charges / Duty / Taxes: Before shipping your vehicle overseas, it’s best you thoroughly research your new country’s laws. There may be additional taxes and restrictions put on automobiles of which you should know about.
- Storage: If you cannot pick up your automobile as soon as it arrives at its destination port, it will automatically be placed into storage. Inform yourself on how much this will cost you and prepare accordingly.
- Vehicle Size: It’s cheaper to ship a smaller automobile overseas, as it takes less room in a truck and costs less to transport via ship.
- Modifications: Country legislations often lead to raised costs for importing altered vehicles. Modifications often make it difficult to prove the automobile respects safety or emission standards.
- Automobile condition: If your automobile is not in running condition, transporting it requires additional equipment to place it in the truck. The use of this equipment will often raise the price of transportation.
- Enclosed vs. Open trailer: Because enclosed carriers have a lower carrying capacity, they’re usually more expensive. Though open trailers leave your automobile exposed to the elements, accidents rarely happen, so it is a viable cheaper option.
- International car shipping costs are greatly influenced by the distance your automobile must travel. The longer the distance, the higher the costs.
- Location: If you want the vehicle to be picked up or delivered to an area with few travel corridors, it may cost you more.
- Speed: Auto shipping companies offer various transport options. If you’ve planned ahead and have sufficient time, you can choose a cheaper delivery option which takes longer. Usually, the faster you need your automobile delivered, the more you will need to pay.
- Fuel costs: Verify the fuel costs in your new country, so you’re not caught off guard.
- Broker vs. Auto Transport Company: Brokers must extract their own fees on top of what they pay the auto transporter, so their price is generally higher. If they offer a lower price, it may be in hopes of finding a cheap auto transport company to haul your vehicle. However, if they cannot find such a company, they may ask you for more payment or leave you stranded.
- Season: During a year, the demand for auto transport may vary greatly. If you choose a busy period or a holiday for your auto transport, you may be charged extra.
- Single vehicle shipping vs. fleets: If you’re a company trying to ship a fleet of vehicles to a new location, you may be eligible for a discount from the auto transporter. This may not be advertised openly, so make sure to ask the shipping company directly.
- Payment method: Most auto transport companies accept payments with credit cards, checks and cash. However, some may charge you a 2-3% surcharge for using a credit card. Inform yourself of the payment methods accepted by your auto transporters and check if there is any surcharge for credit card payments. If the auto transport company asks for a deposit prior to the automobile pickup date, ask whether they’ll offer a refund if something goes wrong. Many brokers deny such refunds, though auto transport companies may accommodate them.
- Luxury and classic cars: These vehicles may require special attention, such as climate control if they contain heat sensitive adhesives, finishes or materials. If the automobile cannot be driven, you may need a trailer with a flat floor. Tall automobiles may also need an upper rack which can be moved as necessary.
Importing an Automobile from the U.S. to Europe
How much is international car shipping from the U.S. to Europe? Before clearing customs, the duty tax you will have to pay is as follows:
- 10% for a passenger car;
- 22% for a truck;
- 8% for a motorcycle with a 250 cc or lower engine capacity;
- 6% for a motorcycle with a 251 cc or higher engine capacity;
Additionally, you will also have to pay a 19-22% VAT (value added tax) according to the country you’re moving to.
Shipping a Vehicle from Another Country to the United States
The process of importing an automobile into the U.S. is similar to exporting one. You will need to prepare the necessary documents, hire an auto transport company and prepare your automobile for shipping.
As determined by the United States Border Protection and Customs, new and used foreign automobiles shipped into the U.S. are subject to a duty payment of:
- 5% for automobiles,
- Up to 2.4% for motorcycles;
- 25% for trucks.
However, you can avoid this task if you, as the owner of the vehicle, fall into one of the following categories:
- You are a citizen of the United States or an employee of the government who was living abroad and is now returning into the country on voluntary duty or TDY. If so, you may import a non U.S. vehicle and pay no duty if the visit you’re making in the U.S. is on a short term basis. You will have to ask for a nonresident status, and when you leave the country, you will have to export the automobile as well.
- If you are returning from an assignment abroad as an U.S. government or military employee. If you meet the qualifications determined by the United States Border Protection and Customs, you can import upon your return a conforming automobile free of duty.
- If you are a non-resident. If you are not a resident of the United States, you are exempt from paying duty fees when importing a non U.S. automobile, if you bring the automobile with you as part of your belongings.
Gas Guzzler Tax
If you’re importing a Gas Guzzler, with a fuel economy of no more than 22.5 m/gallons, into the U.S., you will have to pay a tax for it. This tax is determined by the EPA by taking into account highway and urban gas economy.
The EPA rating may be different from the one provided by your manufacturer. Make sure you verify with the EPA what your vehicle’s rating is according to their standards.
Finally, you will have to buy new license plates for your vehicle.
So, how much is international car shipping? When shipping an automobile, you may end up paying between $600-1000, according to the distance, type of automobile and other factors which add up to the total bill.
Written By:Joe Webster
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.