After laying out the basics of international car shipping in our previous article, let’s take a look at some more terminology concerning international auto transport. Considered by many to be the best international car shipping company, Ship Overseas is happy to clarify each and every doubt you might have with a simple goal – to help you choose the best option for your needs and budget, and provide an outstanding shipping service.

Car carrier

A car carrier trailer, also known as a car hauler, can be a trailer or semi-trailer used for transporting cars via a truck. They can be open or enclosed, with built-in ramps for cars to be loaded and offloaded. It can haul between 2 and 10 cars at a time.

Open car carrier

During transport in an open carrier, the vehicles are outdoors and exposed to the elements. The number of cars transported is usually 5-10. Open car carriers are usually loaded to full capacity, so the car owners can divide the transportation cost among themselves. This means that transporting your vehicle in an open carrier is the most cost-efficient solution. Shippers usually choose it for transporting sedans and minivans.

Enclosed car carrier

As opposed to open car carriers, enclosed car carriers are typically used for transporting luxury and vintage cars. The cars are shipped in a closed container, protected from external elements. Typically, no more than three cars are shipped in an enclosed carrier. That is one of the reasons why enclosed carriers are a more expensive option than open car carriers.

RoRo shipping

RoRo stands for Roll-on/Roll-off shipping method. The name comes from the roll-on/roll-off ramp located on the RoRo vessel. To be shipped via RoRo, the cars need to be driven on and off the vessel on their own wheels using the ramp. This means that a non-operating vehicle cannot be shipped via RoRo. Once on the RoRo ship, the vehicles are placed on the car deck, where they are strapped and secured.

Shared container shipping

With the container shipping method, you can ship vehicles that are not in driving condition, which is not the case with RoRo. When shipping your car in a shared container, you are shipping it along with a number of other vehicles. The container has to be full of vehicles to be delivered to the port, which makes it very difficult to predict a departure date using this shipping method. However, since the shipping costs are divided among the vehicle owners (shippers), shared container is considered to be a very cost-efficient option. Still, RoRo shipping is typically even more affordable.

Exclusive container shipping

Exclusive container shipping means that your vehicle will be shipped in its own container. Therefore, it’s more expensive than both RoRo and shared container shipping. Just like enclosed car carriers, exclusive container shipping is used for shipping luxury, classic and vintage cars. The vehicles don’t have to be in running condition and shippers can also transport their personal belongings along with their vehicle. Some customers who want to ship multiple vehicles also choose exclusive shipping.

Ask the Best International Car Shipping Company

With almost 4 decades of providing world-class international shipping services, Ship Overseas is the go-to shipping company in California. We are a licensed NVOCC by the Federal Maritime Commission, license # 019334, meaning we can issue our own House Bill of Lading. We guarantee the safety of your vehicles by partnering with reliable carriers licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Contact us today if you want to ship your car from the USA to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa or Latin America, or ship it to the USA from overseas.

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Important info to Ship a Car Overseas:
  • No car can leave USA if it has a lien on it. What does this mean? Your car must be paid in full. The only people who can ship a car overseas and still carry a lien on the car are US Military and Government employees/contractors. For those people a letter of authorization from the lender will need to be issued to pass US Customs. Otherwise the car may be considered stolen.
  • A clear Title of Ownership with no Liens on the Title.
  • If you bought a car new, then your name must be listed on the front of the Title as the registered owner.
  • If the vehicle has been sold, then both the Seller and Buyer have to sign the back of the Title in the spaces as detailed on the back of the Title.
  • For safety reasons, the vehicle cannot have more than a ¼ tank of gas.
Import Duty for Destination Country:
  • Import duty is NOT collected by Ship Overseas. It must be paid at the arrival port by whoever is picking up the car. We wrote a blog post about vehicle import duty here. It talks about how to find out import duty for your country.
Travel & Living Abroad:
  • Most countries will allow a traveler to temporarily import their car for up to 6 months. After the 6 months is up, import duty will be charged. For many travelers going to Europe and taking their car, a deposit is paid up front. When the car goes back to it's destination country, the deposit is refunded. If a person has lived in USA for 1 or more years, most countries will allow that person to bring their car back duty free! The car must not have any liens on it. Please check with your Customs Department first.