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  • The Basics of Overseas Car Shipping
  • The Basics of Overseas Car Shipping

    Transporting a vehicle within a country does not always require the use of a vehicle relocation service. After all, if worse comes to worse, you could always drive the car yourself. But when you are shipping your car overseas, you have no choice but to use a relocation company.

    There are many advantages to shipping your vehicle overseas. For one, you save the often exorbitant costs involved with buying or renting a car in a foreign country. For another, you get to keep a vehicle you feel comfortable with, rather than adjusting your lifestyle to unfamiliar cars found in foreign countries.

    Most vehicle relocation companies offer two types of overseas shipping: RO/RO or containerized. RO/RO means “roll on, roll off.” With this method, the vehicle is safely driven onto the transport vessel by an insured and authorized employee. Vehicles sit side by side on RO/RO transport vehicles, and sometimes are located above deck. With containerized shipping, vehicles are driven into individual containers and securely fastened within the container. Containers can even be safely stacked one atop the other within the hull or above deck on the ship.

    Shipping a car overseas differs from land-based truck or train shipping in several key respects. First of all, truck-based and even rail shipping offer a more flexible schedule because of the sheer volume of trucks and trains going out all the time. In contrast, ships depart less frequently—approximately once per week, or even as infrequently as every three weeks. It all depends on whether you are located near a major shipping port (i.e., most of the U.S. Mid Atlantic Region, South Florida, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, etc.) and where you happen to be shipping to.

    Secondly, terminals for overseas car shipping tend to be remote and hard to get reach. In most cases, you may want to consider negotiating with your vehicle relocation company for truck-based transport of your car from your home to the shipping terminal (and the reverse process at your end point). Never assume that this segment of the relocation process is included in the overseas shipping quote; always inquire as to this cost separately from other costs.

    One other consideration is insurance. While all vehicle relocation requires insurance—whether around the block or across the country—overseas shipping presents some additional insurance issues. For instance, a vehicle being transported by train or truck might experience damage, but rarely is the damage so great that the entire vehicle cannot be repaired. But with overseas auto transport, there is always the possibility that the ship sinks or vehicles are lost from the deck of the ship during a storm. While this rarely happens, it can happen—and catastrophic insurance should be part of your thinking when shipping across bodies of water.

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