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Shipping a Car or Vehicle Overseas

car in shipping container


Shipping a car overseas in a container along with household goods is generally considered a better option than using the roll-on-roll-off (RORO) method for several reasons, including safety and security. Here’s why:


Safety and Security

Container Shipping: Shipping cars in containers is considered much safer than the RORO method. Containers are made of steel and provide a secure and enclosed environment for the vehicle during transport.


RORO Method: While the RORO method is less expensive, it may not offer the same level of protection for the vehicle. The car is driven onto the ship’s deck and exposed to the elements and potential damage during the voyage.


Expert Opinion

Industry Experts: Experts in the field of car shipping emphasize the safety and security advantages of shipping cars in containers. They highlight the protection offered by containers, making it the preferred method for transporting vehicles overseas.


Experts agree that shipping a car in a container is generally considered a safer and more secure option compared to the RORO method, making it the preferred choice for many individuals and experts in the industry.

SDC International Shipping loading crates

The Advantages of Shipping in a Container


Shipping a car in a container offers numerous advantages. One of the key benefits is the safety and security it provides. Containers, made of steel, create a secure and enclosed environment for the vehicle during transport. This effectively protects the vehicle from potential damage, extreme weather, road debris, and theft. Since the container is sealed and its contents are not visible from the outside, the vehicle remains secure.


Additionally, shipping a car in a container ensures complete protection for the vehicle. Once it is loaded into the container, it remains inside until delivery, safeguarding it from any potential damage during transportation or exposure to outside environmental factors.


Another advantage is the higher insurance coverage typically associated with shipping vehicles in containers. Compared to open-air carriers, container shipping offers increased insurance coverage, providing added financial protection.


Containers also offer flexibility and efficiency. Along with the vehicle, other items can be packed in the unused space, optimizing the shipping process.


Furthermore, private container transportation provides an extra level of security and privacy. When a private container is used, the vehicle is the only item being transported, minimizing the risk of theft or damage.


The other option is air freight, which is the most expensive option. Feel free to contact us about the details associated with air freight shipping and we’ll be happy to discuss those with you.


How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car in a Container?


The time it takes to ship a car in a container can vary based on several factors, including the specific shipment and the distance. 


Container Shipping Time: The time it takes to ship a car in a container can be influenced by factors such as the distance of the shipment, the specific route, etc. 


East Coast Shipping

Shipping in containers from the East Coast of the United States takes approximately 4-8 weeks on average. It would probably be safer, however, to give yourself a few extra weeks when planning this out. In other words, assume it will take between 4-10 weeks (allowing for problems outside of our control – weather, etc.)


West Coast Shipping

Shipping in containers from the West Coast of the United States, on the other hand, takes approximately 6-12 weeks on average.


Shipping Containers from Chicago

Chicago is another popular shipping destination. Shipping from the Chicago area will take approximately 5-11 weeks.


Preparing Your Vehicle for Shipping

To prepare your car for container shipping, you should take the following steps based on the information from the search results:


Thoroughly Clean Your Vehicle:

Wash your car inside and out to remove dirt and debris, as this can chip the paintwork and obscure minor damage during transit.


Remove Loose Items:

Any items that could become loose during transit should be removed or securely strapped down to prevent damage to the vehicle’s interior or windows.


Disable the Alarm and Remove Personal Items:

Disable the car alarm to prevent battery drainage due to vibrations during shipping. Additionally, remove personal items from the vehicle, as they are not covered by the carrier’s cargo insurance.


Document the Vehicle’s Condition:

Take photos of the car’s exterior and interior to document its condition before shipping. This will help in case any damage occurs during transit.


Fuel Level:

It’s recommended to keep the fuel tank at no more than a quarter full to reduce the load in the shipping container.


By following these steps, you can ensure that your car is properly prepared for container shipping, minimizing the risk of damage and ensuring a smooth transportation process.


Understanding the Pros and Cons of RORO Shipping: A Door-to-Port Perspective

Now, let’s take a look at Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) shipping. This method is widely used for transporting wheeled cargo, such as vehicles, between ports. While it offers several advantages, including efficiency in handling certain types of goods, RORO shipping comes with its own set of disadvantages. One notable distinction from container shipping is that RORO is typically door-to-port, raising concerns for businesses and shippers seeking an end-to-end solution.


Vulnerability to Weather Conditions

RORO vessels are more susceptible to adverse weather conditions, affecting schedules and safety. The open nature of RORO decks exposes cargo to the elements, making it crucial for shippers to consider weather-related risks.


Security Concerns

The exposed nature of RORO cargo on open decks makes it more vulnerable to theft and unauthorized access, highlighting security concerns that differ from containerized shipping.


Limited Cargo Types

RORO ships are tailored for wheeled cargo, excluding non-rollable items such as heavy machinery. This limitation may affect businesses dealing with diverse types of goods.


Space Utilization

Inefficiencies in space utilization can arise with irregularly shaped or oversized cargo, impacting the cost-effectiveness of RORO shipping compared to container shipping.


Handling Risks

Loading and unloading operations involve driving vehicles on and off the vessel, posing risks of accidents, vehicle damage, and delays. Proper handling protocols are essential to mitigate these risks.


Dependency on Port Infrastructure

Well-developed port infrastructure with suitable ramps is crucial for efficient RORO operations. Ports lacking such infrastructure may face challenges in accommodating RORO vessels.


Limited Geographical Coverage

RORO services are more commonly available on established shipping routes between major ports, limiting accessibility for certain regions with less developed maritime infrastructure.


Environmental Impact

Like other shipping methods, RORO vessels contribute to environmental concerns, including air and water pollution. Awareness of the environmental impact is essential for sustainable shipping practices.


Costs and Pricing

While RORO shipping is cost-effective for certain cargo types, factors like fuel costs, port fees, and handling charges can impact overall competitiveness. Shippers must carefully evaluate cost considerations.


Door-to-Port Limitations


Incomplete Supply Chain Solution:

The door-to-port nature of RORO shipping requires additional logistics for transporting cargo from the port to the final destination. Shippers may need to manage multiple logistics providers, adding complexity to the supply chain.


Increased Handling and Transshipment

After arrival at the destination port, RORO cargo may need to undergo additional handling and transshipment processes, potentially introducing delays and complexities in the transportation chain.


Limited Service Flexibility

RORO’s door-to-port limitation restricts service flexibility, especially for shippers with specific delivery requirements. Container shipping, offering a door-to-door solution, provides a more integrated and streamlined service.


Higher Logistics Coordination

Shippers using RORO shipping must coordinate cargo movement from their premises to the port and then arrange further transportation from the destination port to the final destination. This increased coordination may pose challenges in managing the entire logistics chain.


In conclusion, while RORO shipping serves as an efficient means of transporting wheeled cargo, businesses and shippers need to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages, especially considering the door-to-port limitation. 


In light of the considerations discussed, particularly the door-to-port limitation and the complexities associated with RORO shipping, SDC International Shipping recommends container shipping as the preferred method for international moves. As a household moving company, we understand the importance of a streamlined and hassle-free relocation process.


Our door-to-door service not only ensures the safe and efficient transportation of household goods but also addresses common challenges related to delays at customs, the port, and other potential issues. By offering a comprehensive solution, we aim to alleviate the burden normally associated with international moves, providing our clients with peace of mind and a smoother transition.


For more information on how SDC International Shipping can facilitate your household move, including the transportation of vehicles, please contact us today at 877-339-0267. Our experienced team is ready to assist you with personalized solutions tailored to meet your specific needs. Make your international move a seamless experience with SDC International Shipping.

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International Moving From USA to Any Destination

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