Container Shipping

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Container Shipping

Shipping your car in a container provides a reliable, secure and cost effective service that meets your requirements. Container shipping offers you a wider choice of destinations and allows for secure transhipment.  If you have personal possessions that are to be shipped with your vehicle, container shipping may offer a more secure service.

Although generally RORO is cheaper than Container shipping, container shipping can add flexibility and can match or beat RORO prices where more than one vehicle is being shipped.

The downside of container shipping is the requirement to “stuff” the container and costs of haulage to and from the port.

Container shipping is not available for all vehicles, the maximum door height for a 20″ and 40″ HQ are 2.27m and 2.58m respectively, which quite often means that motor homes, expedition trucks and vehicles with large roof loads may not fit in standard containers.

Oversized vehicles do have the options of flat rack (LOLO) however generally this works out to be more costly than RORO and does not provide the same security as being sealed inside a container.

Standard containers come in two sizes; 20′ and 40′ in length. While a 20′ container is suitable for shipment of one car or 4x4, a 40′ container provides sufficient space for two average size vehicles so may be more cost effective if you have more than one vehicle to ship.

Loading a car for Container shipping

Great care is taken to safely load your car so that it remains well secured for the duration of shipment to destination and does not move within the container either while at sea or being loaded and unloaded from the ship.

At the loading facility your car is driven into the container and carefully positioned before all four wheels are safely chocked, ratchet straps are then used to lash the wheels to secure eyelets within the container to ensure that your car cannot move during transit.

Sometimes the vehicles front and rear towing eyelets can be used to lash your car securely in the container.

All car shipping containers must comply with strict safety regulations confirming both their structural integrity and that they are deemed wind and watertight. These stringent requirements ensure that when loaded into a container your car will remain safe and protected from the elements.

For a quotation to ship your car in a container please use this form

Container Shipping Process

Export

  • Stuffing – The container will normally be loaded at a warehouse outside of the port. Anything loaded into the container will lashed down and secured, whether it’s a car, 4x4, camper van or motorcycle.
  • Customs Clearance – Depending on the port and method of export (TIP, Carnet etc) the shipment will be cleared with customs during the process. This may require a physical inspection
  • Shunting – The container is shunted from the warehouse / loading facility to the port.
  • Loading on to the carrier  – Your container will be loaded on the ship and ready to travel to is destination.

Import

  • Disembarkment from carrier  – Your container will be unloaded from the ship and stored within the port.
  • Payment of Local port fees (THC) & charges – Local port fees will need to be paid – sometimes you may pay this direct or through your agent.
  • Customs Clearance – Depending on the port and method of export (TIP, Carnet etc) the shipment will be cleared with customs during the process. This may require a physical inspection.
  • Shunting – The container is shunted from the port to a warehouse or loading facility.
  • Unloading – The container will be fully unloaded and returned empty to the port. Your vehicle will be ready to drive.*Provided you meet local requirements to legally drive the vehicle.

*Notes

  1. It is important to agree when and how the Bill of lading (BL) is released, without the BL you may face unnecessary delays gaining access to your vehicle.
  2. For some countries it is advantageous to have the Carnet with your agent before the container arrives, so that they can start work on clearing your vehicle immediately.

Container Shipping

How is the Container shipping price calcuated?

The shipping price is based on a number of factors. Firstly the ocean freight, which is dependent on the route and size of container, i.e 20" or 40" HQ.

In addition to the ocean freight, you will also have to pay additional fees in relation to the sea freight Bunker Adjustment (BAF) and Low Sulphur Fuel Surcharge (LSF).

Other fees that may be charged for the export and import of the shipment are Security Fees, Gate fees, Document Fees, Terminal Handling Charges (THC), Stuffing and clearance charges.

Depending on where the container is loaded and unloaded you may also be charged haulage fees.

All fees vary depending on which carrier and port is used.

Can I be present whilst the container is being loaded?

It really depends on the port, the location of the loading activities and local rules and regulations. If the loading is carried out in a private yard or warehouse, then you will be able to be present during the loading.

If the loading is carried out in the port or at a secure location, this may not always be possible.

When you are completing a quotation request, please let us know that you would like to be present during the loading.

Security: Is my Vehicle safe?

Container shipping is the safest mode of sea transport as the goods will be sealed in the container prior to shipping.

Generally, most people have no problems with items being stolen or damage whilst container shipping.

However there is still a risk that the ship runs aground, the container falls off the ship, the container is dropped or knocked during loading etc.

There is a risk of theft, usually this is at the points of loading and unloading, you can reduce this risk by ensuring you are present during loading and unloading.

You can also purchase Marine Insurance to cover your goods during transit.

Can i self-clear a container?

Generally it is not always possible to self-clear a container as you may require the services of an agent to obtain and move the container to a suitable location for unpacking.

Some countries also require the use of authorised agents for clearing purposes.

Some countries however do allow containers to be accessed and unloaded at the dockside/port area, in addition to allowing individuals to clear their goods, for example Cartagena in Colombia.

Where the country a) allows self-clearing and b) the port allows access to the container, it may be possible.

What are the Container sizes & Dimensions?

The most frequently used container sizes are 20", 40" and 40" HQ

Below are the dimensions of the most used containers:

ContainerInterior DimensionsDoor Opening
Size / TypeWidthHeightWidthHeight
(m)(m)(m)(m)
20′ Dry Freight2.352.3852.342.274
40′ Dry Freight2.3472.3492.3432.278
40′ High Cube2.3472.6842.3432.584
Can I share a container and save on costs?

Yes, A lot of people share the containers to save on costs. More than 50% of the costs of container shipping are port fees, customs and haulage, these do not increase significantly when using a 40" container with two vehicles  vs a 20" container with one vehicle.

Therefore by sharing a container you significantly reduce the costs.

Where possible we will help you find other travellers to share a container.

Services Provided

Basic Shipping (RORO Only)

The Basic Shipping service provides you with a booking for RORO and options to include insurance.

The service is for those who are confident to either carry out their own clearing or who have appointed their own agent. 

Where available we will provide you with instructions on self clearing, which is at your own risk.

This Service includes:

  • Sea Freight Booking RORO
  • Costs for Outgoing THC
  • Option for Marine insurance
  • Self Clearing information (where available)

The service does not include:

  • Appointment of an Agent at the place of departure (sometimes paid locally)
  • Outgoing - Customs Clearance & Paperwork
  • Outgoing - Haulage, stuffing, crating and lashing where applicable
  • Option for Marine insurance
  • Instructions for export of your vehicle (where available)
  • Appointment of an Agent at your destination (Paid locally)
  • Incoming - Customs Clearance & Paperwork
  • Incoming - Haulage and unpacking where applicable
  • Instructions for import of your vehicle (where available)
  • Details of costs at your destination
  • Support throughout the process

*Note Self clearing is not always possible, it is dependent on the country and port. You are more likely to be able to self clear via RORO than container shipping.

Export - Shipping and outgoing Stuffing / Clearing

The Export service provides you with a booking for RORO or a container, Outgoing Customs clearance, stuffing, documentation and options to include insurance.

It is for those who want an all in rate and support for export of their vehicle, but who wish to appoint their own agent at their destination or who wish to self clear.

Where available we will provide you with instructions on self clearing, which is at your own risk.

This Service includes:

  • Sea Freight Booking (RORO & Container)
  • Costs for Outgoing THC
  • Appointment of an agent at the place of departure (sometimes paid locally)
  • Outgoing - Customs Clearance & Paperwork
  • Outgoing - Haulage, stuffing, crating and lashing where applicable
  • Option for Marine insurance
  • Instructions for export of your vehicle (where available)
  • Support for export of your vehicle 
  • Self Clearing information - Import (where available)

The service does not include:

  • Appointment of an Agent at your destination
  • Incoming - Customs Clearance & Paperwork
  • Incoming - Haulage and unpacking where applicable
  • Instructions for import of your vehicle (where available)
  • Details of costs at your destination (unless included in a self clearing guide)
  • Support for import of your vehicle

*Note Self clearing is not always possible, it is dependent on the country and port. You are more likely to be able to self clear via RORO than container shipping.

 

All in - Shipping outgoing / incoming Stuffing / Clearing

The All in service provides you with a booking for RORO or a container, Incoming and Outgoing Customs clearance, stuffing documentation and options to include insurance.

This service is for those who want the entire process handled for them and is supported throughout.

This Service includes:

  • Sea Freight Booking (RORO & Container)
  • Costs for Outgoing THC
  • Appointment of an agent the place of departure (sometimes paid locally)
  • Outgoing - Customs Clearance & Paperwork
  • Outgoing - Haulage, stuffing, crating and lashing where applicable
  • Option for Marine insurance
  • Instructions for export of your vehicle (where available)
  • Appointment of an Agent at your destination (Paid locally)
  • Incoming - Customs Clearance & Paperwork
  • Incoming - Haulage and unpacking where applicable
  • Instructions for import of your vehicle (where available)
  • Details of costs at your destination
  • Support throughout the process

 

Shipping Terms

When do I have to make payment?

We normally ask for payment of the outgoing shipping costs prior to shipping. (Ocean Freight, port fees, documents and any clearance fees). Sometimes local outgoing port fees are payable on departure, this will be dependent on the port and shipper.

Your import costs, THC, agent, customs clearance are normally paid locally.

Once your booking has been confirmed, we shall provide you with payment instructions.

*Note the Original BL will not be released until all fees are paid.

How do I make payment?

Payments of outgoing fees can be transferred to us in British Pounds (£), US Dollars ($) and Euros (€). We hold accounts in all three currencies to reduce the costs of dealing with multiple currencies.

In some instances, we may ask you to make payments locally.

Payments of Import fees are normally paid locally, they include THC, Customs fees and agents fees if applicable.

Detailed payment instructions will be provided with your booking confirmation.

Are the prices / rates fixed?

The shipping rates may vary up until the point of departure. Normally shippers will fix rates around 30 days prior to departure but it is dependent on the shipper. In addition to this, the shipping rate may be quoted or settled in a different currency to yours so there may be exchange rate fluctuations. 

Any fluctuations in exhange rates & currency charges will be borne by the client.

Vehicle Shipping Services

Container Vehicle Shipping

Container Vehicle Shipping Services from port to port. We offer FCL and shared container services. View our example container rates  for cars, 4x4's and motorcycles here.

Roll on Roll Off (RORO)

Roll on Roll off vehicle shipping services normally offer a more economical shipping than container shipping. View example RORO shipping rates for Cars, 4x4's, Motorhomes & Trucks. RORO Shipping ports

Vehicle Customs Clearance

We can provide customs clearing services directly in the UK and work with trusted agents in other regions to clear your vehicle.

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Container share

We want to help you save money and the best way to do that is to share a container with another car or several motorbikes. We will help you find a shipping partner.

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International Motor Vehicle Insurance

We can help you obtain motor insurance for your travels.

Europe (Green Card / Frontier), North America, South America (Mercosur) and other countires

Travel Insurance

We can help you obtain global travel insurance for backpackers, short and long term travellers. Including those who have already left their home country.

Why ship with us?

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Competitive Pricing

We offer fair and reasonable pricing for our services and negotiate rates with our partners to provide you the best possible price.

If you already have a quotation, we will do our best to match or beat any valid quotation.

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Unrivaled Expertise

We have the knowledge, information and the contacts to ensure your vehicle safely reaches its destination. We can advise on permanent & temporary Import requirements, Carnet Requirements, Local laws and customs, Insurance providers and Local agents & partners.

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Personal Service

We specialise in shipping vehicles, whether for touring purposes, expeditions or for business.

Every shipment is treated equally no matter the size.

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Trusted Agents

We only use known / trusted agents to clear your vehicle. This helps avoid unexpected costs and complications.

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Communication

We believe communication is of the utmost importance. During the shipping process we will keep you informed every step of the way.

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We understand your needs

We have shipped our own vehicle to many places around the world, and fully understand your needs and requirements as a customer.

Obtain a No Obligation Quote Today

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Where we ship

South America
The Darien Gap - Panama Colombia
North America
Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania)
Asia

Helpful information

Roll on Roll off Shipping Rates
Container Shipping Rates
Carnet Requirements Map 
Container share

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