How to Ship Trucks Overseas
Are you looking to ship your truck overseas? Take a deep breath. We’re going to help you get through this as quickly as possible.
The process you will use to ship your truck overseas will primarily depend on the size and dimensions of the truck you are hoping to ship.
As a rule, larger, heavier trucks will be more difficult and more expensive to ship. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that small and medium-sized trucks share similar dimensions and weight to most passenger cars. Because of this, they are usually a little cheaper to ship overseas.
Think about it like this
Transporting a Ford F150 or a Ford Ranger is no big deal. The process is more or less the same as shipping a larger car. You can use the same shipping process that car shipping companies use for compact vehicles like Smart Cars and Toyota Corollas.
However, shipping a larger vehicle like a tractor or a bus will take more effort, and a slightly different shipping process.
We want to help you make sense of this. We’re going to provide an overview of the shipping process and how it is influenced by the size of your truck.
The first part will outline the process of shipping a small or medium truck overseas. The second part will outline the process of shipping a larger truck overseas. By the end of this article, you will have the requisite knowledge to get the best rates, and the best deals, from shipping companies to apply to your own vehicle.
Shipping a Small or Medium Truck Overseas
There are three primary options when it comes to shipping a small or medium truck overseas. By and large, your options will depend on the operational status of your vehicle.
- If your vehicle is operational, you will most likely use “roll-on, roll-off” shipping.
- If your vehicle is not operational, you will need to use container shipping.
- If using container shipping, you will have the choice of sharing a container with the shipping company’s other clients’ trucks, or you can opt for an exclusive container that will only house your vehicle.
“Rol- On, Roll-Off” Shipping
Depending on the shipping company, “roll-on, roll-off” shipping is reserved for operational vehicles only. Your truck will need to be able to be driven onto the ship, secured, and then driven off the ship once the ship arrives in port.
This is one of the most common forms of international shipping because it is affordable and easy for all parties involved.
To qualify for “roll-on, roll-off” shipping, your truck will need to fit in the equivalent of a parking space. During transit, it will be latched and secured to the ship, alongside hundreds, if not thousands of other vehicles. This is the most economical option and the option that many people choose for their operational vehicles.
Shared Container Shipping
With shared container shipping, the process of shipping a truck overseas takes longer. This is because a shared container will not be loaded onto a ship until it is full.
You will need to wait for the shipping company to load other clients’ trucks into your container before it can be loaded. However, shared container shipping is more cost-effective than exclusive container shipping. If time is a factor, you may be better off choosing exclusive container shipping.
Exclusive Container Shipping
Exclusive container shipping is faster than shared container shipping, but it is also more expensive. That is the trade-off that you will need to consider.
Your vehicle will be shipped in its own exclusive container, protecting it from potential damage and sea water.
If cost is a factor, it may be better to choose shared container shipping.
Shipping a Larger Truck Overseas
Although some options may be limited, like shared container shipping, other options are still available for larger trucks.
If your truck can fit into a shipping container in one piece, it can be shipped.
Another option is to load your truck onto a flat rack, and then have the flat rack transferred to the ship.
A third option is to disassemble your truck into smaller parts, transport those parts, and then have the truck reassembled at your intended destination.
If your truck can fit into a container, you can either take advantage of exclusive container shipping, or even shared container shipping.
This option is the most cost-effective, as using a flat rack will result in an added charge, and disassembly and assembly costs money too, even before the whole shipping process starts.
If your large truck cannot fit in a container, it can be loaded onto a flat rack.
Flat racks are very similar to flat beds that you see on low loader transport trucks. Flat racks, which can host over 80,000 lbs., are a great and easy option to ship your truck overseas.
While it is unlikely that your truck will weigh anything over 20-30,000 lbs., you may be able to share the flat rack with other clients from the shipping company. Of course, this will depend on the shipping company.
Using a flat rack is a great option for trucks that cannot fit in a container, and cannot be disassembled.
Disassembly and Assembly
If you can, it may be cost-effective to disassemble your truck, ship it to your intended destination, and then reassemble the truck once there. Being in a non-operational state, it will be easy to ship your truck components in shipping containers.
The containers can be secured and locked, ensuring that you are the first and last person to see the components during the time of its shipping.
But, this isn’t always a viable option for everyone. In the end, you need to choose the method that works best for you and your budget.
Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask us. We know that the shipping process can be stressful.
Shipping a Large Truck is Easy
You won’t believe how many clients have come to us flustered at the thought of shipping their truck. They believe that the process will be harder, more convoluted, and more expensive.
- Slow down, breathe: There are so many factors that go into determining overseas shipping rates for trucks that no one number can be placed on a shipment. Factors like the size and dimensions of the truck, available shipping options, and the option you choose all matter.
- The market is on your side: It’s true. You have a lot of leeway in price when it comes to shipping trucks overseas. To lower costs, you can delay the date of shipment, share a container with other clients, or even disassemble your truck first (if the costs of doing so are lower than shipping the truck in one piece).
Surviving the Customs Process
No one enjoys working with the government. Clearing U.S. Customs can be a major headache on its own.
When shipping trucks overseas, you need to consider how challenging the customs process will be and the various rules and regulations you need to follow.
Here’s what you need to consider:
- Are you exporting your truck to a country that is restricted for trade?
- Have you screen your shipment against denied party lists?
- Do you know what classification codes your shipment falls under?
- Is your shipment a civilian or military class (something as simple as ball bearings can turn your civilian truck into a military class shipment)?
- What special regulations does the destination country have on vehicle shipments?
- Do you have all the proper paperwork to facilitate the shipment?
- Are you ready to deal with this major process?
Unless you understand the export process, we always recommend that you work with an experienced auto shipping company.
There are too many risks associated with export laws and breaking even the smallest rules can lead to excessive fines and even jail time.
The government takes trade rules very seriously and you will need to familiarize yourself with those rules if you want to do it properly. But if you’re like most people, save yourself the time and stress and hire a shipping company to help you out.
A-1 Auto Transport is here
We don’t want you to feel stressed about shipping a truck overseas. Sure, it’s a long process and there is a lot of paper work. But that’s why we’re here. When you hire us, we do all the paperwork for you, all you have to worry about is who is going to receive your truck when it arrives.
Are you ready to get started? Great. Give us a call and we will get you the best price possible. We don’t overpromise, we just get your truck from point A to point B.
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.