When choosing a shipping company to ship your car overseas, there are quite a lot of factors to consider. From checking the company’s references and background to making sure they address all your concerns, it can be quite overwhelming. In addition to checking the basics, many shippers are asking a legitimate question:

Who regulates overseas shipping companies?

Knowing that there are a number of institutions holding the shipping companies accountable is quite reassuring. It gives the shippers peace of mind knowing that the company they chose to ship their car overseas abides by national and international standards.

Let’s take a look at some of the institutions and organizations that set the industry standard for the shipping companies to follow.

International Maritime Organization

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) devised a set of uniform standards for the overseas shipping companies to comply with. Without it, each country would have its own set of regulations, some of which may be conflicting. In essence, most of the shipping is international, hence the greater need for this kind of regulatory body.

IMO is mostly concerned with protecting the marine environment and ensuring the safety of ships. National governments are expected to enforce the rules imposed by IMO, making sure that all ships bearing their flag comply.

Federal Maritime Commission

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is an independent federal agency in charge of regulating oceanborne international transportation of the United States. Some of the specific responsibilities of FMC include the regulation of activities of international shipping lines, overseeing the financial aspect of shipping, or more specifically, monitoring the ability of ocean common carriers to pay compensation for injuries or non-performance.

Additionally, FMC monitors the conditions with which U.S. ships will be met in foreign countries and tries to mediate the best possible conditions. For example, some foreign governments may have an adverse impact on the U.S. shipping industry, and FMC administers bilateral trade sanctions as a means of improving the conditions.

It’s very important for customers to verify if the company they choose to hire for shipping their vehicle overseas is licensed by FMC. Companies who are not licensed freight forwarders cannot issue their own House Bill of Lading (HBL), and are not able to arrange for customs clearance.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a federal government agency that regulates and provides safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). FMCSA provides safety-related information about the companies licensed as motor carriers, so you can run a check of the company you are about to hire.

Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is a federal Cabinet department with a mission to ensure a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system. In other to offer their customers the highest level of service, overseas shipping companies have to be thoroughly familiar with various standards set by DOT, such as the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper and Theft Prevention Standards.

Ship Overseas: #1 among U.S. overseas shipping companies

Ship Overseas is a licensed and bonded ocean freight forwarder by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) under license # 019334. We boast 34 years of shipping motor vehicles overseas, from the USA to Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East and also from various European countries to the USA. Our longevity is owed to the transparency of our services, our business ethics and compliance with the regulations imposed by federal and international agencies.

By knowing the procedures inside out and following them diligently, we manage not only to ship our customers’ vehicles safely but also to offer assistance in matters such as terminal handling and customs clearance from the point of origin, as well as other services, upon request. We contract only FMSCA licensed and bonded motor carriers to transport customer vehicles to the port. Call us today at 1 858-547-0840 and get a free quote!

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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.
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