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White Paper: Shipping Considerations

By Mike Richards Updated: 06/29/2022 Posted: 10/27/2015

Shipping costs and logistical considerations take a significant bite out of a seller’s profit margin and create more work for an exporter. Therefore, it is important to realize that selecting the right location to ship from, finding the best method of shipping (container or RORO), and finding the most competitive price can go a long way toward helping an auto exporter leverage the most profit from a vehicle.


Consider Every Contingency

Before shipping, there are several factors that can occupy a great deal of an exporter’s budget and time. Most importantly, if they are not handled properly it can result in a shipment being rejected by the auto shipper, which can result in costly delays. Therefore, best practices dictate that before shipping every possible contingency should be considered. The following list provides an overview of some of the main shipping considerations.



Contrary to popular belief there is no “one size fits all” answer regarding the average price to ship a vehicle overseas. According to, “the price to ship a vehicle overseas can range from $750 to $4000 depending on the distance required for the ocean as well as truck transport for those whose cars are located inland, the size of the car, and shipping insurance rates. Compare quotes from various auto shippers who specialize in overseas travel. Expect to pay per mile to have a company transport your car from its location inland to a seaport.” (1)


The RORO/Container Debate

Auto transportation companies typically use two methods to ship cars overseas: shipping containers or onboard Roll-on Roll-off (Ro/Ro) vessels. Deciding which option is better depends on personal preferences and other factors that include budget, type of car, and the amount of time available to transport the vehicle.

Further, not all ports in the United States or abroad can accommodate both types of shipping methods. Therefore, it is important to research which ports are closest to your purchase point in the United States and if your export destination has adequate facilities. For example, purchasing a car in the United States that is not located near a RORO shipping port would make container shipping the obvious choice. However, if your destination market cannot accommodate container shipping, one’s buying strategy may have to be altered to suit available shipping.



Besides price considerations, several logistical issues must be addressed when shipping a vehicle. Shipping a vehicle internationally requires paperwork and preparation that can take up precious time and money.

  • Paperwork: Submit all necessary paperwork requested by the auto shipper. Often shippers require two copies of a notarized title, a letter from the lien holder if it exists, and a Shipper Export Declaration form.
  • Obtain Shipping Insurance: Check with your car insurance company to see if your policy covers overseas transport. The cost of this is anywhere from 1.5 and 2.5 percent of your car’s estimated value, and can be obtained through the auto transport company you choose to ship your car overseas.
  • Vehicle Preparation: A vehicle should be thoroughly cleaned inside and out before shipping.  Preparations also include checking fluids, battery charge, and tire air pressure. Also, remove items like roof racks, spoilers, or anything that excessively protrudes from your car and can be easily damaged.  Also, the vehicle is no more than ¼ full.

Lastly, given the risk presented by spreading pathogens or invasive pests from one country to another, it is important to clean the vehicle thoroughly to meet customs and quarantine requirements overseas. The is important to pass inspections and avoid expensive cleaning fees at the destination end.

Although we cannot guarantee your vehicle will pass through without requiring further cleaning, it is still best practice to clean before shipment. Cleaning should include vacuuming the interior thoroughly, scrubbing the exterior with warm soapy water, and steam cleaning the engine bay and the underbody.



Thoroughly inspect your car before its departure so that you recognize any damage that may occur in transit.

Having been apprised of the main considerations of shipping the next step one should consider is finding an appropriate shipping company to get your cargo abroad. The following list provides a sampling of some of the major shipping company’s who provide vehicle shipping services.


Online Resources

The following list provides some online resources that can assist exporters to find a shipping company to get their vehicle to a foreign market.

  1. Ship Overseas

Ship Overseas, as the name suggests, will ship vehicles from all over the world to you. All you need to do is provide them with three pieces of information which are:

(i) The location of your vehicle

(ii) Details of your vehicle: model, make, year of manufacture

(iii) The destination country

The website will use this information to calculate the shipping costs for you. They ship cars to Africa, Latin America, Australia, and many other countries.


  1. American Auto Transport

American Auto Transport can boast a long line of experience in car shipping by ensuring that they offer a top-quality service at the cheapest rates and by the safest methods. To get their help, you must provide them with a list of details about you, your shipment, and your location, and they will give you the amount that you need to pay.


  1. Ship My Vehicle

Whether the location is within your state or outside of your state or overseas in another country, Ship My Vehicle will be able to get you your car in no time at all. All you need to do is fill up a form giving them your details. And you will get an estimated delivery time and charge well within reason and affordable costs.


  1. TransGlobal Auto Logistics

TransGlobal Auto Logistics is a licensed company with 30+ years of experience. They ship boats, cars, bikes, etc.


  1. AutoCar Shippers

AutoCar Shippers ship from the UK and the USA to other countries overseas. As long as your vehicle has wheels, you will get it from the UK, the USA to any other country.

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