International Car Shipping By Sea: Methods & Preparation

Domestic USA & International Auto Shipping
Quote Calculator

International Car Shipping By Sea: Methods & Preparation

Before you shipping your car overseas, you must make some decisions as to the method of shipping.

In order to decide between containerized shipping and “RORO”, which is roll on, roll off transport; there are some basic differences that must be taken under consideration.

Containerized shipping is the most common method of shipping most things internationally. However, RORO is an excellent and cost effective alternative. One actionable difference between the two methods is that in order to ship personal effects alongside your car beyond spare tires and factory fitted accessories, you will have to choose containerized shipping.

Using RORO strictly requires personal items be removed prior to shipping. There are exclusive containers available for your car, which is perhaps the safer way to do it. Just because you can pack additional items in with your car in the storage container does not necessarily meant that you should. If you are not looking to utilize extra space in a shipping container, RORO is a fantastic option and you’ll be pleased at how easy and affordable it is.

Overall, you can reduce your effort and pay less for RORO. That is, of course, supposing that RORO ships to your designated country. One major perk of containerized shipping is its worldwide use and accessibility. If RORO will not cut it, you can count on containerized shipping to get you to even the furthest corners of the world.

A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-518-8708 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.

Customs Concerns & Preparing Your Vehicle For Shipping

Your destination will have specifics for customs. If the country you are transporting to only offers containerized shipping as an option, you will want to pay close attention to who your freight forwarder is, and even consider hiring your own customs broker. The reason is simple, hidden costs. Any hiccup in your customs clearance could cause your warehousing and storage fees could heap upon you at an alarming rate. 

In order to avoid this nightmare experience, it behooves you to carefully select your freight forwarder with care. The short run costs are minimal compared to the dollars you stand to save or lose if your freight forwarding company knows what they are doing. Check to see that they are licensed, insured and bonded.

You will want to purchase cargo insurance before shipping your vehicle abroad. Next, get your paperwork together. You will need the original title, a copy of the bill of sale and a copy of your US passport.

Now that you have ascertained the appropriate shipping method, you now must prep your car for its journey.

  • Clean out all your personal effects and wash the car.
  • Get your car’s engine looked at to make sure it is running well.
  • Remove the antenna and fold all the mirrors.
  • Turn off the alarm.
  • Remove anything that could come loose during the trip.
  • Secure your engine by checking fluids, battery, tires.
  • Make sure the gas tank is only a quarter full.
  • Take note of, photograph and note the date of any damage made to your car before shipping in case of damage during transport.
  • Relay this information to your shipping agent.

If you have question about shipping a vehicle by boat–either RORO or containerized–contact us today to learn more! We are happy to offer cost estimates for shipments anywhere in the world ABSOLUTELY FREE! No obligation required and no strings attached! Call us at the number at the top of the page or get in touch through our online contact form today!

Joe Webster

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.

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today

Get an Instant Free Quote Now

Or Call Us Today and Speak to Directly to Our Sales Team:


Inc. 500 Company
American Moving and Storage Association Member
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Secured by Verisign Inc.