As an international car shipping company, many people ask, “What’s the BEST way to ship a car overseas?” The answer will depend on what the objective is. There are two major ways to ship a car overseas from the United States.

RoRo ShippingRoRo Shipping – This form of car shipping requires the vehicle to “Roll on Roll off” the ramp. Use this car shipping method if only one car needs to be shipped. Nothing can be inside the car except for the jack and spare tire. Normally this is cheaper than shipping by container.

RoRo Shipping2Container Shipping – Use this car shipping method if sending additional items inside the trunk or the backseat of the car. A person can “share” a container with someone else to cut costs or get an “exclusive” container where the person can use the FULL container to ship items in addition to the car. Normally this is more expensive than RoRo.

The car shipping methods are normally the same for many countries. The departure ports for both RoRo and Container car shipping normally depart all major shipping ports across the United States. Shipping times will vary depending on where the car is being shipped, but sometimes it is cheaper to wait a little longer. For instance, if someone wants to ship a car to Germany, there is a departure port in Long Beach, California. The ship will take a longer time to get to Germany, but it is cheaper than having the car shipped across the US then catch the boat from the East Coast. The way to find the most suitable method is to fill out the Quote Form.

There is a third car shipping method called Air Shipping, but it is extremely rare for us to use it because it is cost prohibitive for nearly everyone.


  1. The Roll On Roll Off system is really helpful when it comes to shipment in our country. The Philippines is an archipelago, and the islands are separated by bodies of water. When the RORO system was implemented, it was a great sigh of relief from people, businessmen, and travelers alike who can’t afford expensive air shipment / travel or container shipment. But as you have pointed out, the the capacity of the ships are limited in RORO, so you just have to deal with that. At least its cheaper.

  2. Mohammed Arif says:

    Saudi Based shipping company is looking for marketing executives who arrnged container shipping line for saudi arabia


  3. David Quek says:

    Can anyone, please tell me if Ro/Ro shipping of car is safe? I mean will it be safe from scratches, knocked?

    • Francisco says:

      Yes it is a safe shipping method. While things can and do happen out at sea, the chances of scratches are very low. I think the only time I would prefer/recommend Container shipping over RoRo is if a vintage convertible car is being shipped. It’s not because of the RoRo method itself; that’s safe. It that the car has to sit on the pier over night and there is only one security guard in most places. But getting the insurance covers any type of loss or damage. At least in a container, the car is sheltered and a thief can’t spot it out.

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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.
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.
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.