What You Need to Know For Shipping Vehicles Overseas

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What You Need to Know When Shipping a Vehicle Overseas:

The following information should prove useful to all people who are shipping a vehicle overseas.    If you have already chosen International Cargo/Export Shipping Co. to do your shipment for you, please click on the following link before delivering your vehicles for shipment.

Types of Transport Available: Vehicles can be shipped in one of three ways - In ocean freight containers, via Roll On-Roll Off vessels, and as Air Freight.

  1. Containerized Shipping: This is the safest and most economical service available.   There are regular sailings around the world.   It is essential that cars be adequately blocked and braced in the container.   Up to six small cars can be safely loaded in a 40' container.   However, this should only be done by the most experienced packing professionals to ensure the safety of your vehicle.

  2. Roll-on/Roll-Off (RORO): Vehicles are driven onto specialized vessels and lashed down inside the ship.   From the West Coast of the USA, RORO is practical only from and to the Far East.   RORO shipping to Europe is not practical from the West Coast, as the shipments are done via the Far East, and take from eight to ten weeks to reach Europe.   RORO shipments from the East and Gulf coasts take about ten days to Europe, at very reasonable cost.   However, there is more possibility of damage and theft with RORO than with containerized shipping, and therefore not conducive to shipping high value vintage or collectible autos.

  3. Air Freight: While offering the fastest transit time, air freight is very expensive.   It should only be used for very high value vehicles, in the most time critical of situations.

US Customs: All vehicles require US Customs approval prior to exporting.   One of the following documents is required by US Customs for export clearance - Clean (no lien holder) Title ("pink slip" in California);   Manufacturers Statement of Origin (MSO);   Salvage Certificate.   With a vehicle bought at auction, US Customs requires the auction bill of sale, the auction Gate Release, and the DMV printout showing that the title is clear.

Please note that US Customs will not accept a Notarized Bill of Sale, even if it is accompanied with a DMV printout showing title is clear, unless it is accompanied by one of the above required documents.   They used to, a long time ago, but not anymore.

Shipper's Export Declaration: In order to do the shipper's export declaration, which is part of the overall export documentation process, we need the shipper to provide identification, such as the passport number, social security number, or federal tax id number.

Marine Cargo Ins: By maritime law, steamship companies and common carriers are only liable for $500.00 per vehicle or per container.   Because of this limitation of liability, shippers should be sure to ask for marine cargo ins. to cover the full value of their cargo.   Shippers are allowed to insure their cargo for the full value of their cargo, plus the cost of the freight, plus ten percent of the cost and freight.

There are two types of coverage: All-Risk and Total-Loss-Only.   All-Risk ins offers full coverage against any kind of damage, has a deductible and is usually more expensive than Total-Loss-Only.   In the event of a claim, the ins company may require proof of the value of your vehicles, so it is advisable to insure same only for actual real value plus cost of freight, plus ten percent of the cost and freight only.   Total-Loss-Only ins will cover your cargo only in the event of total loss, such as the container disappearing over-board, or vehicles or cargo being declared a total loss by surveying agent.   In other words, total-loss-only coverage does not cover any claims for damage.

Comparing Quotes - Choosing a Transport Company: We of course want you to use International Cargo/Export Shipping Co. to transport your vehicles and cargo overseas.    However, we realize we have to compete for your business, and therefore, we'd like to give you a few tips to help you decide which company to pick.

Any reputable company should be able to give you a couple of references for recent shipments.    In addition, any reputable company should provide you with a written price quote, itemizing all of the costs associated with the shipment, so that you may be able to compare the actual total costs involved between companies.   You should make sure that there are no hidden costs awaiting you at the time you go to pay for your shipment, or at destination.   In other words, your quote should include the ocean freight, the pick up of the freight from your shop or residence for delivery to the export terminal if less than container load, or the drayage of the container to your shop or residence, as well as an estimate of the loading charges, unless you are loading the container yourself.   If you are delivering your cargo to the designated export terminal, the quote should include the ocean freight from the export terminal to the import terminal at country of destination, as well as handling, documentation and US Customs clearance, if exporting a vehicle.   Your quote should be transparent and stipulate all of the charges that are included in the quote, otherwise you are open for extra charges beyond those quoted to you, at the time that you deliver your cargo for export.   In addition, the quote should state the cost for marine cargo insurance, in the event that you want to insure your cargo.

You should also keep in mind that the destination charges are usually not included in the shipping quotes.   However, when you are comparing costs between companies, you should know what the destinations costs will be due agent at port of destination.   These include agent handling charges, unloading charges, import customs clearance fees (import taxes and duties, as well as any customs ordered inspections are always for the account of the cargo), but you should get an estimate of these destination charges on your original quote.

Please keep in mind that verbal quotes are no more than hot air.   You should request all quotes in writing, to include all shipping and destination charges, as stated above.   If you get a quote for a global sum, the quote should state the cargo being shipped, from where to what destination (such as "from port of Los Angeles to port of Antwerp," or "from residence to door Berlin," for instance), as well as state what the quoted price includes, such as "includes ocean freight charges, container drayage, export documentation, customs clearance, express mailing of documents to agent, but does not include destination charges."

The important thing to keep in mind is to know what all the charges involved in the shipment are, so that the shipper may have a base of comparison between the quotes presented by different companies.

Please note that our experienced and expert pricing department at International Cargo/Export Shipping Co. will be glad to analyze any quotes you may have from any other competitors, in the STRICTEST CONFIDENCE, and will decipher same for you in simple easy to understand terms, as well as let you know if there are any missing charges or hidden charges, so that you may have an appropriate basis for comparison.

In addition, while we can and often do beat or at least match quotes from legitimate competitors, if we cannot match it for any reason, but we find that the quote is legitimate and transparent, we will also let you know.

In most cases, however, we should be able to match any legitimate quote that you provide to us, although the difference is usually very minimal, if any, as we've been in this business a long time (20 years in July 2007!), and like to quote our customers very competitively, and fairly, indeed.

Export Shipping Process, step-by-step, at International Cargo/Export Shipping Co.: You call us; we quote you, you send us your titles to be cleared through US Customs for export; we pick up your car (bike, boat or truck), or you deliver it to us; we do a condition report upon receipt, and take digital photos of the vehicle; we schedule your shipment on next available consolidation; we give the packing order to our packing crew; we take digital photos again, just before the vehicle is loaded into container, which shows no damage took place during our possession; vehicle is loaded into container, and blocked and braced for export; digital photos are taken inside the container to show that no damage took place during the loading process; container is drayed backed to harbor to be loaded on scheduled vessel; our documentation department prepares all required export documentation; all shipment paper work is sent by express mail to our agent at port of destination (titles, bills of lading, ins certificates, condition reports, packing lists, etc.), or, upon request, directly to the consignee; vessel arrives at destination; our agent clears consolidated container through foreign customs; agent takes container to his warehouse to unload and deconsolidate cargo; our agents are required to take photos of any damage not appearing on condition reports, before unloading vehicle from container, so as to prove that any damage not present on condition report, that may have taken place during the shipment, for ins purposes, did not actually take place during the unloading process; if any damage takes place during the unloading process, or during the time the vehicles are in agent's possession, agent is held liable and responsible for same, and will promptly settle any damage claims with customer (this rigorous procedure has made it possible for International Cargo/Export Shipping Co. to reduce damage claims to zero for over five years); consignee picks up his/her cargo at agent's warehouse, or agent arranges to have vehicles and cargo delivered to consignee at final destination.

And that, at a glance, is the whole export shipping process from the time we receive your vehicles or cargo, to the time you take delivery at destination.

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