Companies providing international auto shipping deliver cars throughout the world, for individuals and other companies.
Shipping regulations for automobiles are quite stringent, requiring documentation of a wide variety of information including the vehicle identification number (VIN), details of the shipping and receiver, and dimensions of the vehicle.
The automobiles are required to only be filled with minimal amounts of gasoline and must be kept underneath the deck of the shipping vessel. Customs regulations for international auto shipping also require extensive documentation, such as the original titles and multiple copies of both sides of the titles.
When preparing a car for international auto shipping, all of the details the shipping company needs must be ready. A vehicle without proper paperwork may be placed in storage, with daily fees assessed until the paperwork is corrected and the vehicle claimed.
This includes written permission for the transportation of the vehicle from the lender, if the car is under a loan. Most international auto shipping companies offer up to $10,000 USD in insurance for each vehicle shipped. The car must be empty, with no other items inside.
The keys and original title must travel with the vehicle. The auto must be in working condition and care must be taken to ensure that there is not too much gasoline in the tank. After the vehicles paperwork is completed, including a bill of health assuring its condition, it is loaded onto a ship.
International auto shipping is usually done by sea, because ship transport is much more inexpensive than air shipping. Roll on, roll off (or RORO) ships are used. The type of RORO specially used for international auto shipping is called a Pure Car Carrier (or PCC). While docked, a portion of the hull on the bow or stern of the ship will lift up and a loading ramp will descend.
The vehicles are driven, or "rolled up", onto the vessel. They are placed in areas not unlike common parking spots. The loaders will make sure the automobile is secured for transport before moving onto the next car.
Once all of the vehicles are in place, the shipping crew will review the stored cars to double check their storage condition. The RORO end closes and then vessel departs to take the autos across the sea to their new home.
When arriving in the destination port, the ship and its content must clear customs and inspections. The paperwork and cars are reviewed to ensure everything meets the shipping regulations and import laws. After this bureaucratic hurdle is passed, the ship once again aligns with dock, raises the hull and lowers a shipping ramp.
The vehicles are then driven onto the loading dock ("rolled off"), where they are claimed by their owners, moved to a warehouse for storage or loaded onto a car shipping truck for delivery to retailers. The crew and ship will receive a new load of vehicles, or depart for their next scheduled port for another load of cargo.