How to Ship Automobiles Overseas

Many people take their automobiles with them when they relocate overseas. Shipping a vehicle by land is rather easy, and most people have seen tractor trailers with cars loaded on them, but how is a vehicle shipped overseas?Vehicles can be transported on ships in two different ways: Roll on-Roll off (in the trade parlance often referred to as Ro-Ro), or inside a metal container, often called containerized.

With the Roll on-Roll off method, the vehicle is literally driven onto the ship. The ships used for transportation are similar in type to ferries, with several decks where vehicles can be carried. For this procedure, the owner of the vehicle, or an agent acting on his or her behalf, must drive the automobile to the port where the automobile is handed to the port authorities to load onto the ship. All necessary documentation for exportation of the vehicle must be handed over to the port authorities at the time the vehicle is left at the terminal; otherwise the port authorities will not allow the vehicle into the terminal.

The second method for shipping vehicles is to containerize them; that is, put the vehicle inside a metal container, which itself will be loaded on a transport ship. Shipping vehicles inside a container is sometimes more expensive than Roll on-Roll off, but it also provides more convenience, security and protection.

The advantages of using a container are several. Generally speaking, there are many more outbound container ships than there are Roll on-Roll off ships, which means it will be much easier to accommodate your schedule and destination. Additionally, the container can be taken to your residence, where the car is loaded and the container is sealed right in front of you. With this method the vehicle is more protected during the voyage, and the owner enjoys the extra security that comes from knowing that no stranger has touched the car while he/she was not present.

If a car is shipped by itself, or with very little cargo, it is placed inside a 20 foot long container. If the vehicle is shipped as part of a home relocation, a 40 foot container is used, to include the household goods and personal effects along with the vehicle inside the same container.

Maritime regulations require that a vehicle have no more than ΒΌ tank of fuel, and that the battery be disconnected. If the vehicle has more fuel in the tank than what is allowed we will siphon it out for our client.

Many companies use ramps to roll vehicles into containers. But these always have an inherent amount of risk. Ramps can dislodge and fall or a vehicle can possibly run off of it. Any mishap with a ramp will cause considerable damage to a car being loaded into a container. That is why when we receive a vehicle for shipping, we work with a towing company to raise the car to the same height as the container, and then just simply roll the car into it.

Once the car has been rolled into the container, it needs to be anchored and secured. To do this, each wheel is held with three stoppers made with 2X4 planks of wood: one in front, one behind, and one on the outside. Since all four wheels wheel are secured, the vehicle is unable to move in any direction.

Additionally, if the model allows for, we tie high strength cords around the axle or bumpers and connect them to hooks on each side of the container.

So there you have it. When you receive your vehicle at the port of destination, you will be glad you went with us. We have never had a vehicle that reached destination with any damage.

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