International Car Shipping: A Complete Guide [2024]

Moving your car to a new country sounds exciting, but the logistics say otherwise. You have to deal with customs, shipping options, and endless paperwork. Good thing RORO Freight Calculator For International Car Shipping is here to help you. We expedite the international car shipping process for individuals and businesses who want to transport vehicles across borders.

Whether you're relocating, expanding your business fleet, or moving a special vehicle, Freight Calculator has the experience to help your car arrive at its destination safely and on time.

International Car Shipping

Costs and Considerations in International Car Shipping

International car shipping inside a container inside a container costs have various factors that affect the overall cost and the success of the transportation process.   Take note of the following factors before shipping your car overseas.

Distance and Shipping Routes

The farther your car needs to travel, the more it will cost. Longer routes across vast oceans require more fuel and take more time for the shipping carrier, leading to higher fees. Furthermore, some shipping routes are busier than others, affecting the prices. Routes with a lot of traffic might offer more competitive rates, while less-frequented lanes might be slightly pricier.

Choose the Right Method

International car shipping offers three main options: Roll-on/Roll-off (RORO), Enclosed Container, and Air Freight. Each method suits different needs and has its price point. We'll explore each method in more detail later in the guide to help you choose the suitable option for your situation.

Origin and Destination

Some ports are naturally busier, experiencing high congestion, while others have specific local taxes that add to your overall cost. It's best to research these port-specific fees beforehand for accurate budgeting. Also, keep in mind that not every port offers all three shipping methods. If the availability of your preferred method is limited in a particular port, the price might be higher due to increased demand.

Seasonality and Expedited Shipping

Peak seasons in international shipping, such as holidays or summer months, often see higher prices due to increased demand for relocating. Likewise, if you need your car to arrive quickly, opting for expedited shipping will come with an additional cost for the faster service.

Marine Insurance

Marine insurance protects your car against damage like theft, fire, or accidents during shipping. The cost of this insurance depends on the value of your car and the level of coverage you choose.

Customs Duties and Taxes

Every country has its own rules about imported vehicles. When your car arrives at the destination country, you'll likely encounter customs duties and taxes set by the local government. These fees can vary widely and depend on factors like your car's value, its age, and specific trade agreements between countries. Research these costs beforehand so you're aware of unexpected expenses.

How To Prepare Your Vehicle for International Shipping

Prepare your car properly before international shipping so it arrives at its destination safely and without hassle.  This is the break down for preparation.

Thorough Inspection and Necessary Maintenance

Start with a complete inspection of your car. Have a mechanic you trust check for any potential issues that need fixing before shipping. This includes standard maintenance like oil changes and fluid top-offs, and addressing any mechanical problems.

Remove Personal Belongings

Most international car shipping companies have strict limits on personal belongings allowed inside the vehicle. Check with your shipping provider for their specific rules, including any items they may allow as exceptions. Sticking to the guidelines prevents delays at customs or unexpected fees.

Get Professional Interior & Exterior Cleaning

A clean car makes a good impression and gets through customs inspection without hassle. Hire a professional car detailing service to remove dirt and debris from the inside and outside of your vehicle.

Set the Fuel Levels

Shipping regulations often require the fuel tank to be at a certain level, usually at or below a quarter full. Following this rule is important for safety reasons and helps with a smooth customs inspection.

Secure Loose Items

Prevent damage during the journey by removing all loose items from the car's interior or fastening them securely. This includes things like floor mats, spare change, or removable entertainment consoles.

Document the Vehicle's Condition

Take photos and videos of the interior and exterior of your car before it's shipped. This documentation serves as a reference in case any damage occurs during the process.

Partner with Freight Calculator for Pre-Shipping Preparation

Preparing your car for international shipping is not easy, which is why working with Freight Calculator makes the process easier. We connect you with reliable mechanics who know the requirements for international shipments. They'll inspect your car and let you know if it needs any maintenance before shipping it.

Additionally, we’ll explain what you can and cannot transport inside your vehicle. Finally, we’ll guide you on how to safely remove items and pack your car correctly, so your car arrives at its destination on time.

Freight Calculator’s International Car Shipping Process

Once your car is prepped and ready for shipping, the next step is booking and tracking your shipment. We’ll walk you through each step of the shipment.

1. Booking and Coordination

Pick the Shipping Method and Dates

Freight Calculator helps you choose the best shipping method. We consider your budget, timeline, and the type of car you're shipping. We also schedule pick-up and estimate when your car will arrive at the destination port.

Choose a Pickup Option

Choose the most convenient pick-up option. We can collect your car from your home and transport it to the port (door-to-port), or you can drop off your car at the port yourself (port-to-port).

Logistics Management

Freight Calculator handles the complex logistics of international car shipping. Our team prepares all the necessary paperwork and coordinates your car's shipment.

Payment Terms and Deposit Policies

We provide clear explanations of payment terms and any required deposits before you book your shipment.

2. Track Your Car

US Port Handling & Customs Clearance

Freight Calculator works with port authorities to streamline the customs clearance process at the US departure port. This helps ensure your car is cleared for export.

Loading Procedures (RORO vs. Container)

The loading method depends on your chosen shipping option. RORO involves securing your car directly onto the ship. For enclosed container shipping, your car is carefully placed inside a designated container.

Securing the Vehicle During Transit

Shipping companies take precautions to secure your car during the voyage, preventing any potential damage.

Freight Calculator's Tracking and Updates

We provide regular updates on your car's location, so you can easily track its progress.

Destination Port Arrival, Customs Clearance

When your car arrives at the destination port, Freight Calculator or our partners assist with the customs clearance process, ensuring it meets the new country's regulations.

3. Reunite with Your Car

Final Inspection

Upon arrival, you'll have the opportunity to thoroughly inspect your car and check that it wasn't damaged during transport.

Fees and Taxes at Destination

Prepare to pay customs duties or taxes required by the destination country. These fees vary depending on factors like your car's value and age. Freight Calculator can help you estimate these costs beforehand.

Registration and Licensing in the New Country

Complete the necessary registration and licensing procedures to legally drive your car in your new location. Freight Calculator offers guidance on these requirements based on the destination country's regulations.

Adjusting To Your New Country After International Car Shipping

Each country sets its own vehicle emissions standards, and Freight Calculator can advise you on any modifications your car may need to meet the requirements of your new location.

If your car has a left-hand drive configuration and you're relocating to a country with right-hand drive traffic, there might be regulations to consider. Freight Calculator also provides information on these restrictions and assesses if your car requires adaptations.

Finally, Freight Calculator assists with the registration and licensing procedures needed for legally driving your car in your new home. We guide you through the steps and documentation required by the local authorities.

Insurance, Repairs, and Driving Culture

Freight Calculator can connect you with reputable insurance providers to secure your car insurance. If your car needs any maintenance or repairs, we can help locate reliable and experienced mechanics in your new location.

You also need to adapt to the local driving culture. Each country has different driving customs and road rules and we can help you familiarize local driving practices for a smooth driving experience.

Additional Considerations for International Car Shipping

Here's a thorough section explaining some important factors to consider when planning your international car shipment.

How Long Does International Car Shipping Take?

The total time it takes to ship your car internationally depends on various factors. For instance, longer shipping routes naturally take more time. Your chosen shipping method (RORO, enclosed container, or air freight) also influences the timeframe. RORO and container shipping can take between 30 to 60 days, while air freight is the fastest option but also the most expensive.

Finally, weather conditions or unexpected customs delays can potentially add time to your shipment. Fortunately, Freight Calculator can provide a more accurate estimate of your shipping route.

Questions to Ask Before Choosing An International Shipping Company

When choosing an international car shipping company, you need to make sure they’re trustworthy. You can do this by asking the following questions.

Cost-Saving Strategies

While international car shipping can be costly, strategies like booking early for potential discounts, opting for open-carrier shipping (if suitable for your vehicle), or exploring shared container services for flexible timelines can make it more affordable.

Is International Car Shipping Right for You?

International car shipping offers advantages and potential drawbacks. Consider these factors to determine if it's the best choice for your situation.



Weigh your individual needs, budget, and the car's value to make the best decision for your relocation.

Let Freight Calculator Handle Your International Car Shipping

Moving your car to a new country requires careful planning. Dealing with customs, shipping options, and paperwork can overwhelm you. That's why partnering with a company like Freight Calculator makes all the difference. We make sure your car arrives safely and on time.

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