Shipping a classic car

Submitted by Angele Abi yaghi
on 03/10/18

Classic cars are one of the most appreciated and valuable types of cars worldwide, not only by its monetary worth but also by what it represents in history, evolution, and origin of nowadays car models. Who has a classic car is because this person sees in it a special whim of luxury and historical interest. Due to classic cars’ notable exclusiveness, they could be placed in exhibitions, auctions, museums or simply be owned by private collectors.

There are several companies, which its main activity consist of shipping cars, particularly with special features that are easily found in classic cars. Car event organizers expect that the vehicles for exhibitions are delivered as scheduled, so punctuality in the delivery service is an aspect that costumers normally value. Classic car events can gather crowds of potential buyers and visitors and have a complex logistic dynamic that involves collecting classic cars from different distant locations, so for this reason, delivery timing is determinant in the level of satisfaction that the customer has with the shipping service.
Usually, classic cars have additional requirements because of the special care that their old parts and components need. The particular needs of each classic car and specific requirements are taken into consideration by shipping car companies. Transporting a high-value product as a classic car could be challenging because of the size and care that it needs, so many incidents can occur on the way to the delivery. Inspecting the car for scratches and damage before shipping is a basic step that all car owners should do before taking the shipping service. A formal examination by the shipping company is reported and is recommended to have an insurance in case some eventuality happens before arriving at its destination. While classic cars are transported, it is important that is protected from external factors such as dust, hail, snow, and wind that can damage the paint and outer parts. In order to attempt a safe ship, there should be special security measures to protect classic cars during the shipping process.
Modes of transportation There are four basic modes of transport that could be used as multimodal transport for international shipping and that can be used for cars shipping, not only locally, but also worldwide:

– Airfreight: Airfreight is the fastest and most expensive mode of transport. As it reduces transit
times, is perfect for events and classic car auctions. The process includes the supervision of the
secure loading and the strapping of the vehicle onto aircraft pallets using fabric straps around
wheels (Straight Eight Logistics, n.d.). There is also a minimal risk of delay. It is required that cars travel with less than a quarter of fuel in tank and alarm system must be turned off. Old vehicles like classic cars tend to leaks oil when this happens; they have to be repair with soaking pads before packing. (Shippio, 2016). Shipping companies offer door-to-door or airport-to-airport delivering service.

– Sea freight: Sea freight is the most common mode of international shipping and is one of the
most cost effective methods of shipping. There is direct sailing to many destinations around the
world; so many shipping companies have port-to-port service as well as door-to-door service.
Cars are transported single or multiple in containers, where the secure loading and strapping of
vehicle into a container is crucial. It is usual that classic cars are covered with fabric to avoid dust
on top of the paint. For security, cars cannot have fuel in tank and batteries must be disconnected.
(Straight Eight Logistics, n.d.). To reduce risks of corrosion, moisture packs are used inside
shipping containers. According to international shipping laws, fumigation of non-manufactured wood packing materials is mandatory for ocean freight. The objective is to prevent the spread of plants and animal pests as well as diseases around the world. (AMID Logistics, 2018). For this reason is easier to pack in cardboard, plastic shipping supplies or similar materials.

– Rail Shipping: Shipping by train is the less appealing way for classic car transportation mainly
because it is limited geographically. A train travels to fixed locations with specific routes that in
many cases cannot be modified. Besides, train is not the fastest way of shipping a car because
the frequency of arrivals is lower since there are fewer trains than airplanes, ships or shipping
vehicles. In addition, train shipping could take extra time to load and unload cars from wagons,
but is safer than land transportation because it avoids highway dangers and prevents an
increase in accidents rates. For the reasons mentioned above, the few shipping companies
that offer this service just do it from train station to train station, not door-to-door service.
(National Express Auto Transport, 2017)

– Land transportation: Land shipping require trailers to move cars from one place to another. Cars can be ship in enclosed or open trucks depending on the type of car. Is important to keep in mind that is not convenient for classic cars to be exposed to open transports, as external factors could damage the paint and outer parts of the vehicle. In some cases, when classic cars have an oil leak, is not recommended using stacking trailers, because the oil from the cars in the upper deck can damage the cars below. It is common that shipping companies provide a door-to-door delivery service.
Loading systems
– Trailers: There is a friendly loading system, which makes loading and unloading easier. Features in trailers and containers loading like using air-cushioned suspension lowering deck and low loading ramps can save time and avoid risks that can damage a classic car’s delicate parts.

– Traditional method: Wooden ramps with low angles to load cars into containers and wooden
racking inside containers is the most usual system that had been used for decades. Wooden
racks require fumigation for sea freight and specifications for international shipping must be
followed in order to avoid classic car damages.

– R-Rak racking system: It is actually used in North America, Europe, and Asia and by leading car companies due to its multiple benefits in comparison to the traditional system. Loading is faster and is a more efficient way of shipping, reducing transit time and delays. It is eco-friendly, as its pulling structure does not contain wood in the racks, ramps, and nails, making R-Rak a reusable system. It is a safer form of loading classic cars in a container as it metal structure is stronger, is easier to load wide vehicles and does not need the use of forklifts, hammers and crowbars, which reduce the damage probability (Coleman M., Grant R., Pye A., Sharpe D. & Wellbeloved D., 2015). Steven Hobbs, Design Engineer at Trans-Rak said: “This led to us focusing on the further development of a prototype method which could solve both issues by pushing and lifting the front of the car with a fork-lift rather than the current drive-in-and-lift-with-chain-hoists process.” With R-Rak system, more cars, parts or accessories can fit into a container and reduce shipping costs, which is ideal for classic and luxury cars’ shipment and more attractive for its owners and shipping companies. With the R-Rak system, there can fit up to six cars in a container and it had already been tested for 7,800 Kg horizontal load and 6,000 Kg vertical load, which proves its space capacity and its stronger structure. (CFR Rinkens, 2018). As wooden racks require fumigation, R-Rak studies had proven that wooden structures reduces the human health of workers that Some additional services

– GPS real-time tracking service: Is available for the customers that want to follow the reallocation of their vehicle. It works in all possible modes (airfreight, ocean freight, rail transportation and land transportation) making it a complete service informing customers the status.

– Curtains: For additional protection, there are custom designed curtains inside containers. The
cars are secured with high strength ratchet straps and there is wheel frame security with high-performance bolts for a major security.

– Additional road and transport insurance cover the damages or misfortune situations that can
occur while transporting a car. It is more usual for classic cars costumers to take this service
because antique cars are more susceptible to damages than other cars and parts could be
difficult to replace.

Shipping Costs
Many factors determine the cost of transportation of a classic car. Costs involved depends on the traveling distance, the type of transportation that the owner chooses, if it is chosen a single or multicar transporter, among others. Supply (shipping companies) and demand (classic cars that need to be shipped) are also factors that determine costs as well as international shipping restrictions that can limit the shipping service. Apart from distance, delivery times are also determined by the weather in the region, in some cases making winter the most difficult season to deliver a car in North America and Europe and the riskier season to cause delays, which can increase transport costs in certain areas around the world.

In conclusion, there are efforts that had been made to make classic cars shipping more efficient and profitable. A viability in the modes of transport, lower costs and additional services that make classic cars shipping easier are always part of the improvements that companies and costumers are looking for. Faster, safer, cheaper and more eco-friendly loading systems are what this industry is trying to achieve in the present, but there are still improvements that can be done in the near future. Lighter structures and more efficient ways that exceed the R-Rak system’s performance is a goal that is pending for the next years to come.

Submitted by Angele Abi yaghi
on 03/10/18

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today

Get an Instant Free Quote Now

Or call us today at 1-800-452-2880 and speak to directly to our sales team!