The Process and The Paperwork of International Vehicle Shipping
Shipping a vehicle domestically comes with its own amount of process, but sending a car across the ocean is an entirely different transport beast to tame. The process and the paperwork is different because international shipping means crossing borders into other countries and adhering to logistical nuances that don’t apply domestically. While it may seem prudent to work with a company already in the country of origin, this can be a riskier endeavor than necessary. Rather, it is easier and more sensible to work with an auto transport company domestically that specializes in international auto shipping.
Start the process by identifying your point of origin and what paperwork is required to enter the country. Your auto transport company of choice can help with the logistical paperwork necessary for your car to enter the country, but not for the personal paperwork (including passport and perhaps visa) that you may need to follow your vehicle.
The cost of international shipping will vary, so be prepared. This is highly dependent on the size of your vehicle as well as the method of shipping chosen and the destination. High volume destinations may be more affordable if the company has other vehicles already shipping there already; more remote destinations are likely to be costlier in terms of overall shipping costs. In fact, once a point of origin has been determined, it is best to ask the shipping company if they can ship to that locale. Some corners of the world are too remote and the shipping company may opt instead to ship to the nearest large city or more populated destination.
Paperwork for international vehicle shipping will also include a full inspection of the vehicle. This ensures that the vehicle meets all of the minimum standards for shipping. Additionally, it provides a written account of the state of the vehicle prior to shipping for both you – as the customer – and the company. Customs clearance forms as well as any other paperwork required by the destination will be required for the vehicle before it ever leaves the shipping company’s parking lot.
After getting some of the paperwork logistics out of the way, the next step to is iron out details associated with the shipping process. International vehicle shipping is not as quick as domestic; therefore, it is important to manage expectations in terms of timeframes. Most destinations offer arrival between 10 and 20 days, depending on the time of year, the rate of business for the auto transport company and the port of call. Be wary of any auto transport company that promises delivery in a timeframe that just doesn’t seem realistic given the destination.
Navigating the nuances of international auto shipping can seem overwhelming, but when working with an experienced transport company, the process can be as close to seamless as possible. From paperwork to execution, an experienced company has conducted the process enough times to make it easy for you as the customer. The end result should be a shipping process that gets your car to its international destination in the same condition in which it left and without an abundance of stress when it comes to the administrative logistics of the process.
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.