Motor Vehicle Shipping – How To Ship Your Car Overseas

Share Post:

Moving overseas? Considering shipping your Car, Boat, Motorcycle too? This can actually be more viable than you think, especially if moving to Australia from New Zealand. Space permitting sometimes these can even be shipped in the same container as your household goods. But what factors do you need to be aware of? And what can you expect from the process when shipping your motor vehicles overseas? Here we take a closer look for you.

Considering Shipping Your Motor Vehicle Overseas?

Well before you choose a company to do this for you, it’s important to educate yourself to the best of your ability. This includes finding out all the relevant costs involved, documentation needed and customs clearance formalities. You need to key in all these factors to make an informed decision whether or not shipping your motor vehicle will really be worth it for you.

We also always recommend you do your research on several different companies first, before deciding on which company to use. It’s very helpful if you can go by a reference from a friend or family member but that’s not always the case. Google search offers a multitude of freight companies who all offer vehicle shipping services but which one to choose? Firstly take a look at the company’s credentials and certifications and also whether they are fully insured and fully licenced. Many freight forwarders also offer their rates online too so make sure you compare a few companies’ rates. Once you’ve found a few companies you can trust and feel comfortable with, start requesting and comparing quotes, remember cheaper is not always better, always make sure you know exactly what their quote covers and includes.

Different types of Vessels Used

Next, let’s look at the different methods available for shipping your motor vehicle overseas. There are several different ways you can do this, including full container shipping, RORO (roll-on/roll-off) shipping, air freight, ocean freight and breakbulk which is usually only used for larger items such as trucks, yachts and machinery.


This is one of the most cost-effective and simple options available for shipping your car overseas, as it doesn’t involve any heavy machinery to pick it up. Your Vehicle is simply “Rolled on” (driven) onto the vessel at the port of loading just like you would drive your car into a parking lot and then it is secured to the cargo hold or deck of the boat. Then its simply “rolled off” again at the destination.


Whilst RORO is the simplest way of getting your vehicle onto a ship, it mightn’t be the most appealing. If you feel your vehicle is too delicate or valuable to be exposed to the weather elements then shipping overseas using a shipping container will be the right choice for you. The costs associated with this will be higher but it will be a lot safer for your vehicle. There are a few options to consider here including sharing a storage container with other vehicles or having your own storage container filled with other items from your household, which is great if you’re moving overseas.


For the majority of people shipping your vehicle by air is out of the question as the costs associated are just far too high. But, if you are shipping a very rare or exotic car then you may just find shipping by air freight worth it. Also, the speed of air freight shipping is incredible, whilst shipping by container or RORO can take weeks or even a few months to reach your destination, shipping by air means you will have your vehicle safe and sound within a few days.

What You Will Need To Ship Your Car Overseas

The next step is to gather up all of the paperwork and documentation needed for shipping your vehicle. Certain countries require different documentation and that Is usually where a good freight forwarding company can help you. Here is a list of a few things you may need on hand and to consider when shipping your car overseas.

  • The original title to the car
  • The year, make, model and measurements of the vehicle (L x W x H)
  • Your receipt of sale, with the value of the car clearly stated
  • No more than 1/8 tank of gas in the car
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good running condition
  • Make sure your vehicle is thoroughly cleaned inside and out
  • Insure you have removed all personal items from your car if shipping by RORO
  • You must provide a set of keys for the vehicle
  • Name, address and phone numbers of the overseas consignee
  • You may also be asked to fill out a POA (Power of Attorney) which allows your freight forwarder to file exportation documentation on your behalf
  • Insurance for shipping – this is always a good idea as sometimes the freight forwarder will not be legally responsible if your cargo is damaged in transit

How Sneddens Can Be Of Service

Out team at Sneddens would love to help! If you’re relocating your motor vehicle, home, or belongings overseas or have found the perfect car aboard and need it shipped back here to New Zealand please give us a call to discuss all the details – freephone us on 0800 76 33 33 now!