Calculating International Car Shipping Rates
One of the challenges of accurately estimating the cost of international vehicle transport is that it typically involves two parts: domestic and international auto transport. For example, if you’re shipping a car from Chicago to Italy, you’ll first need to have the car delivered to a shipping port in the U.S. This is the domestic side of the transport process and applies to the country importing the vehicle as well if it needs to be delivered on the back end. The other portion of the cost and typically the largest part of it is the international shipping, which we’ll address in the second section.
Shipping a vehicle domestically to a coastal port for international car shipping will cost around 50 cents per mile, though you can get a price break if you use the same company for both the domestic and international part of the transport process. If the vehicle you need to be transported is near an international shipping terminal, driving it there yourself is also an option and can save you money on the total cost.
Get a FREE overseas auto shipping quote in minutes by using our international car shipping rates calculator to the right! All cost estimates are given in real time by a certified international auto shipper! Call us at the number at the top of the page to learn more!
The Cost Of Shipping A Car To Different Countries.
The are two main methods of transporting vehicles internationally and they do affect the cost. The first, and most common, is “RORO” transport, which stands for roll on, roll off. Essentially, the vehicle is driven onto a ship, where it is then secured for transport, then driven off upon arrival. The other method is transporting the vehicle in a large shipping container (also aboard a ship). Container shipping is generally cheaper and it also allows for other items to be delivered along with the car. There is a third option, air freight, which is a premium service and costs two to four times more than standard methods.
Here are some price estimates for shipping a car to different countries from the U.S. Remember, these are only ballpark figures: they assume the cheapest method of transport from shipping port to shipping port and do not include the cost of domestic or overland auto transport, or the import fees of specific countries.
- U.S. to Australia - $2,500
- U.S. to United Kingdom - $1,700
- U.S. to Europe - $2,000
- U.S. to China - $3,200
- U.S. to South America - $1,550
- U.S. to Africa - $2,200
- U.S. to Japan - $2,200
- U.S. to Canada - $1,350
- U.S. to Mexico - $1,100
Other Cost Considerations When Shipping A Car Between Countries
In addition to the cost of shipping, there are some other financial considerations you should take into account when shipping a vehicle to another country.
- Insurance - International automobile shippers must maintain current licensing and insurance to legally move cars between countries. Part of the insurance requirement covers damages to vehicles during shipping, which is usually included in the price quote. In some cases mainly high value cars or classic autos additional insurance is recommended and can be purchased.
- Vehicle Standards - Some countries have very specific vehicle specifications that must be met, though there is some consistency thanks to World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations. For some countries, a vehicle may have to be under a certain engine displacement level or be a right-side driving vehicle.
- Parts - If you plan on staying in the country you’re having a vehicle shipped to, it’s a good idea to consider the possibility of having to find replacement parts. More common cars are not a problem to find parts for usually, but classic cars, electric vehicles and high-end models may be trickier in some locations.
- Import Taxes - This is the cost that can really vary from one country to another. The U.S. has agreements with some countries that allow for duty-free vehicle imports, but there is often a value added tax or another type of import fee. Make sure you speak with the auto carrier about this before signing anything so you get an accurate estimation of the cost of vehicle transport.
- Is your car operational? If your car is not operational, it will not be as cost-effective to ship. This is because of the extra work required on the part of the automobile shipping company to transport your vehicle. Remember, the more work a shipping company has to do to get your vehicle loaded and unloaded, the more it will cost. Non-operational vehicles also tend to be more expensive because you will be unable to use the “roll on, roll off” shipping method. This is one of the most common methods for loading and unloading vehicles because it requires the least effort.
- How remote is your destination? The less accessible your car’s destination is, the more expensive shipping a car there will be. For instance, if you need a car shipped to a town that is near a major freeway, a car shipping company can ship your car there fairly easily. However, not all shipping companies can ship a vehicle to, for example, a small town in the Canadian Rockies.
- How far is your destination? Shipping a car internationally can result in a wide range of quotes, depending on distance. Shipping a car from California to Mexico can absolutely be cheaper than shipping a car from California to Quebec.
- What are the dimensions of your car? When it comes to shipping cars, the size dimensions of your vehicle are important. While some transportation methods provide exclusivity, like exclusive shipping containers for overseas travel, in most cases you will be sharing space with other clients.
- How quickly do you need your car to arrive at its destination? Like most services, the quicker you need something done, the more expensive it will be. The same is true for car shipping, both by land and overseas. There is a ton that needs to be done in order to get a car ready for shipping. One thing to consider, especially for land shipments, is that cars are shipped by truck. These trucks are wider than your car, and longer as well. You may be using a trailer or open-air transport, for example.
Things you’ll need to consider
- Preparing the vehicle for shipping
- Obtaining and filling out the documentation
- Planning a route
- Getting your car shipped according to your schedule
If you need your vehicle to be shipped fast, or you approach a shipping company at the last minute, expect to pay more. Some automobile shipping companies have set base rates based on the amount of advance notice they receive from clients, much like sending mail at the post office (within 1-2 days/weeks/months, etc.).
If you want a more attractive quote, consider providing the shipping company with a larger time frame to ship your car.
Lowering Your Rates
These are just some of the factors that go into how automobile shipping and logistics companies determine your rates. With the information gained in this article, you now know how to lower your rates, or why they are higher as well.
Here’s another option
Save yourself the hassle and call us. We don’t beat around the bush when it comes to shipping your vehicles. We’re going to find you the best rate we can because we don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
If you want a no hassle shipping experience, give us a call today.
International Auto Transport Resources.
- Foreign Motor Vehicle Import Requirements (PDF) - A comprehensive listing of the vehicle requirements for importing a car to different countries around the world.
- International Driving Permit FAQ – Frequently asked questions about the international driving permit from the National Automobile Club. Find out about the benefits, costs, where to apply for one, and which countries recognize the permit.
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.