Export cars from the U.S.

All You Need to Know About Shipping a Vehicle From the U.S

By Daisy Emah-Emah Updated: 08/17/2023 Posted: 09/02/2022

Are you considering buying your next vehicle from a car auction and wondering what shipping vehicle to your location?

We’ve got you covered!

Shipping a  used vehicle is usually a cause of headaches for many car buyers. But it doesn’t have to be. You can hire a shipping company yourself or you can make use of a broker to help you book your shipping. Many auction platforms offer shipping services or assist their clients with making shipping arrangements. 

Cars Waiting To Be Shipped

You do not need to concern yourself with the process but with this guide, you’ll have a basic understanding of how shipping works. 

The guide covers the entire process from purchase to shipping your vehicle. We also cover how to track your vehicle while it’s on the sea till it gets to your country port. 

Buying a Vehicle to Ship with Auto Auction Mall

When buying through an auction broker like Auto Auction Mall there is usually a process all buyers must follow to successfully purchase a vehicle. 

The first step is to sign up on the Auto Auction Mall Platform. Next, you have to make a security deposit which gives you the buying power to bid on any vehicle of your choice. This deposit is $600 for cars less than $6000 or 10% of the purchase price for cars more than $6000. Your deposit is fully refundable, as long as you have not won any auction or initiated a buy now, or have any outstanding bids.

Once you make your deposit an auction specialist will assist you in searching and estimating for the car of your choice. The estimates will include the shipping cost or if you want Auto Auction Mall to assist you with shipping. You can also search for options and share them with the auction specialist assigned to you. 

After locking in on the vehicle you want to bid on, you will share your max bid with Auto Auction Mall, authorize them to bid/buy now and we attend the auction or execute a Buy Now. An invoice would be sent to you if you win the auction with the amount you need to pay for the vehicle. 

You are required to make the full payment for the car excluding your deposit via wire transfer within two business days from the day of purchase. Once full payment is received and confirmation made, shipping arrangements will be made on your behalf if you wish. If you want to arrange your transportation, Auto Auction Mall will release all documents to you and you can book your transport yourself. 

We recommend you run a vehicle inspection or request a vehicle history report before making your purchase. 

Shipping Vehicle – Container vs RORO

When shipping a vehicle overseas, the most common shipping methods are RORO (Roll-on/Roll-off) and container shipping. Both methods are commonly used by many shipping lines but they have their differences and perks.

RORO shipping method is when your vehicle rolls onto the ship and rolls off once arriving at its destination. Vehicles shipped with RORO have to be in good running condition to roll on and off the ship. Personal belongings are not allowed when shipping with RORO. RORO vehicles always arrive faster and cost less than vehicles shipped via container.

salvage shipping

Non-runner RORO, is when a vehicle with operational tires that you roll on and off the ship but is not running. This damage may be a faulty battery, excessive front damage, etc. Forklift vehicles cannot be rolled onto the vessel because of damage that may have affected the tires and require a forklift onto the vessel. Forklifting a vehicle onto the ship requires an extra 675 – 700 depending on the shipping line. A towable RORO is when a vehicle is towed onto the ship and may cost an extra 275 – 300 in shipping fees. 

The container shipping method on the other hand allows you to store the vehicle in an open or closed container and have it shipped to your location. Unlike RORO shipping, the vehicle doesn’t have to be in good running condition to be shipped. You can also stash away some personal items in your vehicle when shipping. Container shipping is a more secure option but it costs more and takes more time to arrive at its destination. 

Choosing the Right Shipping Method for You

When choosing a shipping method, consider these questions and answer them:

  • Do you want your vehicle to arrive faster?
  • Is your vehicle in good running condition?
  • Do you plan to have personal items shipped in your vehicle
  • What is your shipping budget and how much do you intend to spend

Once you are able to answer these questions, it’ll be easier for you to choose a shipping method you can use. 

Shipping  Vehicle With Auto Auction Mall

Auto Auction Mall majorly recommends RORO shipping for clients because of the cost and fast arrival rate. This doesn’t mean that Auto Auction Mall doesn’t assist with container shipping – if a client requests it, they can assist with that. It is important to note that Auto Auction Mall is not a shipping company, but works with shipping partners who handle the entire shipping process. 

Also note that Shipping is made up of ground shipping, ocean freight, and OBL or Telex fees. By default, Auto Auction Mall does Telex/Sea Waybill.

Ground trucking depends on the distance of the vehicle from the auction house to the port. Shipping estimates will be given based on the location of the vehicle you’re bidding on. 

Ocean shipping fees for RORO going to West Africa can be as low as $1280 for sedans or small-sized SUVs. Ocean freight fees increase for bigger SUVs, pickup trucks, etc. The larger the vehicle, the higher the ocean freight rate. 

If for any reason they cannot load (drive) the vehicle onto the ship, for instance, it has a dead battery, flat tire, bad suspension, axle, no keys, etc. Or if it doesn’t meet the shipping line’s receiving policy, they may have to tow or forklift. This is at an extra cost which is added to your shipping invoice.

Telex/OBL is the documentation you need to clear your vehicle when it arrives in your country. The fees for the telex/OBL are anywhere between $25 – $75.

How to Track Your Shipped Vehicles

Tracking your vehicle allows you to see when your car is arriving at your country’s port. Thanks to GPS technology, you can track the vessel your vehicle is in and know where it is around the world. You are also able to get port details as well as estimated time of arrival (ETA) in your country. All you require is Internet access, the container number, the bill of lading, or the name of the vessel

Tracking with the Container Number

A container number is a reference number that the shipping company assigns to the container for commercial purposes. If you’re shipping a vehicle via container, you will receive a container reference number for the container your vehicle is in. You can track the shipment by going to the shipping line’s website and inputting the reference number. 

Tracking with Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a standard document you will receive from the shipping line to acknowledge receipt of your shipment. You can track your shipment by visiting the shipping line’s website tracking page and inputting the bill of lading number. Some will require you to also input your VIN number or the last six digits of your VIN.

Tracking with Vessel Name

You can do this by using a GPS tracking site to input the name of the vessel carrying your vehicle. You can find the name of the vessel on the bill of lading you receive from the shipping company. 

Always request for estimates before you buy/bid or auction specialists will help you manage your budget. Also, feel free to contact us for further clarification on exports as there are different costs and requirements for different destinations.

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