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Home » Moving Tips » Cost of Shipping a Car Overseas; How Much You Can Expect to Pay

Cost of Shipping a Car Overseas; How Much You Can Expect to Pay

Published on Jul 22, 2021 by Kfir Cohen

Naturally, one of the first questions people ask is: “how much does it cost to ship a car overseas?” We know that the answer “depends on many factors” is as unsatisfactory an answer as accurate—those who require a number cost between $1000 and $5000 to ship cars by sea.


What’s on this page?

01 | What will affect the cost of shipping a car overseas?
02 | How can you reduce the cost of shipping a vehicle?
03 | Other Costs You Need to Consider


Factors that can affect the cost of shipping a car overseas?

Type of Vehicle

Cars are not the only vehicles that you are permitted to send overseas. Our clients commonly send motorcycles and other vehicles also. The rules for cars and motorcycles are usually identical, but some countries will allow you to send both a bike and a car. In addition, some countries will allow one licensed vehicle per family; others will allow one vehicle per adult. 

However, when you send your motorcycle in your shipping container, it can be crated and secured within your container for a small additional cost.

Read more: International Vehicle Shipping from USA

There are other types of vehicles that you can send. These include both licensed and unlicensed vehicles. For cars licensed in the destination country, they will need to meet their safety and licensing regulations. For instance, some countries permit light motorcycles (fewer than 50 CC ), and others don’t. In addition, ATVs, off-road motorbikes, snowmobiles, jet skis, motorized scooters, etc., require licensing in some countries.

If they are licensed or titled in your state, you

will need to clear their title before sending it overseas, regardless of the licensing policy in your destination country. While boats can usually be dispatched on the trailers, their registration is generally done via a different government ministry.

Shipping Method

Cars are shipped overseas in a variety of methods. 

Most cars, SUVs, and light pickup trucks can fit into a shipping container. If you are shopping for a new car, this measure is listed in the details of all new vehicles. If you are doing some advanced planning, you will find that buying a new car six months before your moving date will make the most sense.

Some SUVs, vans, and full-sized pickup trucks will not fit into sea shipment containers. These, along with RV’s, boats, and other oversized vehicles, get sent using the roll-on roll-off method, where the cars are delivered using special ships. Don’t let the name fool you; this method is safe, and the vehicles travel in a protected environment.

Occasionally we will also send our clients cars using specialized containers that have been outfitted with equipment to make automobile transport safe and secure.

When you get quotes for the international shipping of cars, be sure to include the exact method. Sometimes cheap methods, like open containers, are used. Unfortunately, these expose your vehicle to natural elements like water and wind.

The Origin

Where will you be picking your car? If you live close to a major port, then it will cost less. However, the cost will increase if we send a car carrier hundreds of miles to pick up your car. In some cases, you can bring your car directly to one of our warehouses or to the port, which can also reduce shipping costs.

The Destination

The cost of shipping a car will depend upon the destination. Usually, but not always, the further away, the costlier. However, there are specific destinations where the laws of supply and demand reduce the cost slightly.


How can you reduce the cost of shipping a vehicle?

The best way to reduce shipping costs is to send it as a part of the household items you are shipping. For example, when you send your car within your container, you eliminate many intermediate steps.

Many of our clients send a 20 ft container with their personal effects and household goods. The container is large enough to hold all furniture and personal interests in a typical three-bedroom house in the USA. However, the standard car requires about 15′ for its length. It means that sending a car in your container will take up most of its room, and there may not be enough room in it for the remainder of your items. Or you can opt for a 40 ft container with an additional 15% cargo space, with plenty of room for all your belongings and your car.


Popular International Car Shipping Destinations:


Other Costs You Need to Consider

While sending a car to most locations, especially to European countries, some additional costs will be associated with moving your car from one country to another.

We will also include the costs of legal fees for services that we must perform to prepare your car for export. In addition, you will need to send us your car’s original title and license, along with a copy of your driver’s license. We will return these to you before you depart, as you will request these documents an additional time when your car arrives at its destination. Finally, you will also include all labor costs associated with moving the vehicle.

High taxes for CO2 emitting vehicles

Recently many European countries have imposed taxes on high CO2 emitting automobiles, and you might want to consider a hybrid if moving to France or Germany, for instance. Safety equipment is usually not a problem, as we send newer cars. However, cars must be between six months and five years old to send them to most destinations.

Special permit

A handful of countries require that you obtain a specific permit for importing your car before sending it. Unfortunately, this is something that you have to do yourself.

Please review your shipping quote carefully. Depending upon the country, your car might be delivered directly to the facility. Even if you send your vehicle within a private shipping container, your container is often opened at the port, the vehicle removed for delivery to the licensing and inspection facility, and the remainder of the contents delivered to your door for delivery.

You may have to be present.

Most countries demand that the car owner be present when the car passes through customs and vehicle inspection. Many require the owner’s physical presence, at least at the review. We will try to notify you as soon as we know about your car’s customs clearance date. If you are moving somewhere far away from a port, you might have to arrange to travel to the dock when the vehicle arrives.

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By Kfir Cohen

Kfir Cohen is handling global operations, cargo shipping, negotiation, and management of different suppliers around the world. He has more than 15 years of experience in the avant-garde of relocation and the sea/air freight business.
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