International Vehicle Shipments


Thinking of sending your car, truck or tractor overseas? International vehicle shipments can be a daunting process if you don't have the help of an expert. This helpful guide aims to illuminate the process.

8 things to know before shipping a vehicle abroad


This guide is designed to help future importers and exporters better understand the end-to-end process of international shipping, while avoiding potential transport delays and additional costs. Whether it's a car for personal use, or a tractor for commercial purposes, each point can be applied to a variety of vehicle types, applications, origins and international destinations.


1. Transport


The method used to ship vehicles is commonly determined by the sea freight services available from origin to destination and overall associated costs.

Pickup and delivery considerations (i.e. door to door or port to port delivery) are an additional transport and budget consideration. Where the hire of a shipping container is required, shippers commonly opt to drop-off the vehicle at an agreed packing location for onward delivery to port. Similar considerations are required at destination.

Transport timeframes can vary from just a few days (between New Zealand and Australia) to a month (New Zealand to Europe) depending on origin and destination, service availability and transshipment requirements (transfer cargo from one ship to another at port for onward sailing).


2. Overall Costs


Costs vary depending on a variety of factors, such as carrier expenses from origin to destination, taxes and tariffs, regulatory expenses (i.e. Customs Clearances), documentation processing, etc. We recommend transport overheads are weighed against the value of the vehicle, keeping in mind the loss on selling locally and buying at destination if you forgo shipping.


3. Insurance


A variety of optional insurance packages are available, providing additional peace of mind. Costs are typically based on the price of the vehicle (either agreed or valued) and the level of insurance required (restricted or full). We recommend you take detailed photos of the vehicle prior to shipping in order to document any pre-existing scratches and dents which can be used (if required) to make an insurance claim.


4. Taxes


Government taxes, duties and tariffs are country/state specific, with consideration to the following (amongst other factors)...

Some tax exemptions are available depending on the country. For example, in New Zealand non-commercial vehicle importers may be asked to sign a deed agreeing not to sell the vehicle for at least two years to avoid Goods and Services Tax (GST).


5. Customs


All vehicle imports and exports must be cleared by local customs and other regulatory agencies (i.e. Ministry of Primary Industries) before delivery can be permitted. Applicable local forms and permits are required in order to facilitate clearance in addition to successful inspection (if carried out). Regulatory expenses are a further cost consideration.


6. Documentation


The satisfactory completion and supply of transport documentation is required by carriers and regulatory agencies (amongst possible others) at various points of the shipping process. Submission errors or delays can result in fines and delivery suspension.


7. Left Or Right-Hand Drive?


Depending on the destination country, restrictions can apply to the import of left-hand drive cars and trucks where right-hand drive vehicles are permitted (or vice versa). In some instances (typically depending on the age and classification of the vehicle), it may need to be converted at the owner’s expense before it can be driven on local roads. In most cases this is either too costly or impractical, especially if the vehicle has modern airbags and crumble zone protection installed.


8. Prepare The Vehicle For Transport


Ensure your vehicle is physically ready and safe for transport.

Where to from here?

Why use a freight forwarder? details ways you can save money, time and stress throughout the shipping process.

Champion Freight offers shipping reliability and expert knowledge, ensuring prompt international transport of your vehicle without the stress. Packages can be customised to match your needs and budgets. Please contact us if you have any questions relating to the import or export of vehicles, or complete our free no-obligation quote request for details on price.

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