Car shipping around the world

What are the different car shipping methods avaliable and what documentation do you need to provide?

Shipping a car overseas is a relatively straightforward process, but it can seem a little daunting for those shipping a car for the first time. Here’s a look at the two main car-shipping methods and the necessary documentation required.

To ship a car overseas you have two shipping methods to choose from: Container shipments or Roll On Roll Off (RORO). Most freight forwarding companies provide both services, so it is down to you to choose which method is best for you.

What is container shipping?

For container shipment, you will deliver your car to the shipping company warehouse where it will be stored until ready to load. If you cannot deliver the car yourself you can organise your forwarding company to collect it from you via road freight. Your vehicle will either be loaded into a single-use 20ft shipping container, reserved just for your cargo, or loaded into a 40ft standard container with other vehicles or cargo headed towards the same destination.

Household effects are allowed to be shipped inside the car and container. Most forwarding companies also offer a full unpacking and delivery service at most destinations if required. The car does not have to be in working condition in order to be shipped via container.

What is RORO (Roll on Roll Off)?

RORO shipping is carried out using vessels specifically designed to carry cars under deck. Your car is stored in the departure port terminal until it is ready to ship, then the cars are securely loaded into the vessel where it is wind and watertight. All vehicles are secured and lashed to the floor of the ship to prevent any movement during transit. To ship the car with RoRo, the car needs to be in running condition because it has to be driven on and off the ship.

Comparing RORO to container shipment

Overseas RORO shipping is popular with exporters and importers mainly for 2 reasons: cost and efficiency. The cargo is simply “rolled on” the vessel at the port of loading and “rolled off” the vessel once it has reached its overseas destination, which often makes it the least expensive shipping method. This is because the port fees, customs, ocean freight and other such costs will effectively be dispersed between other vehicle shippers.

In terms of shipment times, you will need to decide whether you would rather know exactly when your vehicle is expected to arrive at its destination, or whether you would rather prioritise getting it there sooner.

When shipping by container, your vehicle may take longer to arrive if you use a consolidated container option since the company will need to fill the rest of the space of the container. However, you know that your vehicle is safe and protected during this time. With RORO shipping, you deliver your car shortly prior to its departure, and it is unloaded as soon as the ship arrives. This makes transport time shorter from start to finish, but it must work in accordance with your own travel time.

Documentation required to ship a car overseas

When shipping a car overseas you will need to keep any documentation easily accessible, as you may need to show it at the destination port. Documents you will need are :

  • The vehicle log book (V5C) –
  • Certificate of Permanent Export (V561) if you have been issued one.
  • Proof of ownership – This can be in the form of the bill of sale, you will need to give a copy of this document to the shipping company.
  • A valid drivers license
  • Photo ID  –  You will need to give a copy of this document to your shipping company, so that they can forward it onto the receiving agent and consignee (the person to whom the vehicle is shipped to)
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)   –   You will need to give a copy of this document to the shipping company in order to complete the customs entry for export.

For more information on shipping your car overseas, please get in touch. Our knowledgeable team at KG Logistics will be happy to help.

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