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How to Ship a Minibus

What's in this article?
  1. Methods Of Shipping A Minibus As Cargo
  2. 1) Container Shipping
  3. 2) Roll-On-Roll-Off (Roro) Shipping
  4. 3) On-Deck Shipping
  5. Steps Involved In Shipping A Minibus
  6. 1) Check For Any Personal Items
  7. 2) Do Research
  8. 3) Pick A Reliable Transporter
  9. 4) Choose The Right Shipping Method
  10. 5) Obtain A Contract Or Quotation
  11. 6) Prepare Documentation
  12. How Much Would It Cost?
  13. 1) Providers
  14. 2) Size And Weight
  15. 3) Shipping Method
  16. To Sum Up
How to Ship a Minibus

Shipping a minibus requires careful consideration, from the type of shipping to be used to the transport provider that you would have to choose.

In this article, we'll explain how to ship a minibus.

Methods of Shipping a Minibus as Cargo

There is more than one way to transport a minibus. Here, we'll go over three kinds you're likely to encounter.

1) Container shipping

Container shipping is one of the most efficient ways to ship cargo from North America. It is used to move vehicles such as minibuses.

One thing to consider when picking a shipping process like this one is whether the minibus fits into the container. If a container is too small for the minibus, you'll likely have to pay more for a larger container.

2) Roll-on-roll-off (RORO) shipping

RORO shipping is for transporting large volumes of cargo, such as automobiles, heavy machinery, and the like. They are usually built to withstand harsh weather conditions and rough seas.

The minibus will be loaded into one end of the hold of the ship, while the other end is left empty. When it reaches the destination port, the vehicle is unloaded and then loaded onto another vessel.


3) On-deck shipping

When a shipping company provides on-deck shipping, this means that the cargo - in this case, the minibus - will be placed on the deck of the ship.

This is usually because the vehicle is unable to fit below the ship's deck. This will expose the minibus to the elements. You may want to request that the minibus be covered during the journey, but this could cost additional money.

Steps Involved in Shipping a Minibus

Now that you're familiar with the options on how to ship a minibus, you might be wondering whether it is a complicated process to actually ship it.

We've broken down the entire process into simply six steps.

1) Check for any personal items

Any personal effects that are left behind in the minibus, which end up missing after the minibus arrives at the destination, will usually not fall under the responsibility of the auto transport company.

You'll need to conduct a thorough check for any items that are in the minibus. These items should be taken out before the minibus is handed over to the shipping agent.

2) Do research

There are different kinds of companies that can assist in shipping the minibus. For example, there are auto transport brokers and auto transport carriers.

A broker is an indirect way of shipping a minibus. They contact various auto carriers and then provide you with an estimate of the quotation they get from these carriers.

A carrier is an actual company that will ship the minibus for you.

3) Pick a reliable transporter

After you've done your research, you will have a better sense of which companies seem reliable and which don't.

If you're still unsure, try looking for the following:

  • Reviews: See what other customers have said about the shipping company.
  • Referrals: Get information from other companies or people you trust on which shipping companies are reputable.
  • Suspicious activity: Most legitimate companies will require a small deposit, but not large ones, nor will they demand uncommon payment methods.
  • Registration: Check whether the shipping company has received a license, certification, or proof of registration under relevant administrations or organizations.

4) Choose the right shipping method

When picking a means of transporting a minibus, you can refer to the three shipping methods mentioned above.

Choosing the right option will not just depend on the size of the minibus but also on the distance it will be shipped, how you prefer it to be stored while in transport, as well as the cost.


5) Obtain a contract or quotation

A legitimate shipping company will provide a contract when you make a booking for their services.

You can expect the following examples of information to be included in the contract:

  • Quotation
  • Location of departure
  • Location of arrival
  • Estimated delivery date
  • Cancellation policies and fees
  • Claims procedures
  • Insurance information

6) Prepare documentation

This may depend on the shipping company, but you may be required to provide documents to confirm details on the minibus and yourself as the customer.

Examples of this are:

  • Vehicle registration information
  • Proof of ownership
  • Original vehicle title
  • Owner's identification, e.g., driver's license

How Much Would it Cost?

The cost of shipping a minibus varies according to several factors. We'll look into three of them.

1) Providers

Different providers offer different kinds of services. Some only offer basic transportation services. For example, some companies only handle large vehicles, like trucks or minibuses, while others only handle cars.

Depending on the service package you pick, you may get more benefits or less according to what the provider offers.

The provider may also have fees that they include in the quotation, such as service charges or administration costs, that other providers may not charge. The basis for calculating these fees also varies. Sometimes it is based on a percentage of the shipping cost, while, at other times, it is a flat rate.

Each provider may give different rates for the distance between the departure port and the destination port. Typically the farther away the two locations are, the more expensive the shipping process becomes.

2) Size and weight

The size and weight of your minibus are accounted for when an auto transport company calculates its quotation. This includes the dimensions and capacity of the minibus.

Usually, the bigger the vehicle, the more it will cost to ship. This is because the vehicle will take up a lot of space on the ship, which could be used for other shipments.

3) Shipping method

In terms of the three shipping methods mentioned before, RORO shipping tends to be the most affordable shipping method.

This is attributed to its simple nature. No warehouses are needed, nor crating or port delivery.

On the other hand, container shipping involves strapping and bracing your minibus inside a container. Although more expensive, it is a safer option for transporting a minibus overseas.


To Sum Up

There are many ways to ship a minibus, but the common ways are container shipping, RORO shipping, and on-deck shipping.

When you want to ship a minibus, you would need to perform research on the various shippers available on the market, select a few for consideration, select the shipping method that you think is most suitable, obtain a contract or quotation from the shipping company, and provide them with any documentation that may be needed.

If you found this article helpful, check out more articles like this one on our website!

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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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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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