With help from the UK’s leading car shippers, AutoShippers, we’ve put together a guide to help you if you want to ship your car anywhere in the world.
Many people moving abroad, especially those moving to countries which drive on the left – like Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or Cyprus – often consider whether it is worthwhile to take their car with them. What can initially look like an expensive and daunting challenge may be easier than you think.
Even post Brexit, if you are taking your car to mainland Europe then the obvious solution is still to simply drive it yourself. The other options are to have the vehicle loaded to an open car carrier and arrange for the carrier to deliver at a suitable time. If you are lucky enough to own a prestige, classic or vintage car then you should also consider a sole use covered car carrier. This is more expensive but gives you a greater piece of mind that your car is not open to the elements and will be delivered exactly when you want it.
If you are moving outside of Europe then you will have 4 different options to consider, each with their own pros and cons. Let’s start with the cheapest shared container services currently available.
Utilising a unique car racking system known as R-Rak you can now share a 40 ft. container with 3 other vehicles. Loading 4 cars into a single 40ft container means that costs are kept lower than utilising your own 20ft container, shipping times are frequent, and the process has been tried and tested and used by some of the world’s leading car manufacturers including Tesla.
The downside with this is that the costs in returning these “Raks” back to the UK means that this service is only available on the most popular destinations where return container services are frequent, and cars are being imported into the UK. USA, Australia, New Zealand and Cyprus are the only countries currently on offer for the R-Rak service.
Shipping your car in your own 20ft container
Your car will be loaded either at the port of exit or at one of 3 loading depots in London, Bristol or Southampton. Your vehicle is driven into the container on a car ramp, then the wheels are chocked and braced to ensure no movement whilst at sea. The is a very safe way to ship those high value and prestige cars.
Having your own container means you will catch the next available ship and these container services mostly cover the globe. Another advantage of this service is you will be able to load personal effects or spares into the container provided they are palletised and shrink-wrapped to avoid moving in transit. You should be able to load 2 large pallets or around 8.00 cubic metres of goods inside your sole use container.
Roll on Roll Off
As the name suggests these are purpose-built carriers similar to large ferries that your car is simply driven on at the port and driven off at the destination point. All vehicles are shipped inside the vessel, not on deck, and are safely chained to floor in their own bay. A simple, safe and economic way to ship cars overseas and the main method for bringing in those lovely new Japanese models into the UK. Please note that your vehicle needs to be running and you cannot load any personal effects or spares in the car or boot. (This gets you into trouble with customs on arrival!)
How much does it cost?
The costs for shipping your car vary depending on several factors. These include; distance travelled, destination duties and taxes, the type of service required and the make and model of your vehicle. As a guide, shipping from the UK to Cyprus costs £459, whereas shipping a car to Australia costs from around £743.
Shipping your car to the USA can costs as little as £603.00 These are the Port to Port costs only, you will have some additional expenses depending on where you are shipping to and you need to take these costs into consideration.
If you are unable to drive your car to the port or depot then car collection services are available and the costs and will vary depending on how far you are from the export point. As a guide a standard saloon car from say Birmingham to Southampton is around £150.00 for an insured professional driver or £ 240.00 for a transporter.
Duty and Taxes
Every country has different rules and regulations and you need to check that your car is allowed into the country and what duties and taxes and are applicable on arrival. You will also have to pay the destination agents for handling the customs paperwork and arranging offload and handling before you can to collect your vehicle. Australia for instance requires your car have an Import Approval certificate which you need to apply for before considering shipping your car from the UK Always check these customs formalities and charges before you ship.
Shipping insurance comes in 3 standardised types. Total loss is very cheap, but as the name suggest will only pay out should your vehicle be lost or stolen, or the ship sinks! Which is extremely unlikely.
Standard cover insurance rates are usually around 0.8% of the vehicle value and will cover you for most cases of damage or theft.
These standard policies usually come with an excess of around 1% of the vehicle value, so if you are shipping a motor valued at £20,000.00 you would not be able to claim anything up to £ 200.00. A little extra will get you Supercover which avoids that excess.
How long does it take
Container services are fast and frequent, usually running every week to most destinations.
Port to port transit times vary depending of distances, Cyprus is usually around 15 days transit time with a guaranteed weekly R-Rak service. Surprisingly the USA east coast ports like New York or Baltimore can we reached within 8 to 15 days from leaving the UK. R-Rak services have the same transit time but you may get delays in for Australia and New Zealand as the carriers need to get at least 4 cars before they will ship out. As a rule of thumb give yourself at least 8 to 10 weeks forward planning before you would like to see your car arrive safely overseas.