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Beginners Guide - Shipping Cars Overseas to Europe

Shipping Cars Internationally to Europe

If you are planning to ship cars to Europe, there are several things you can do to ensure a safe, reliable, international auto shipping experience. A top qualified shipper can facilitate a seamless transaction, providing everything from picking up your cars to delivering them to your doorstep. Choosing a company like WCS that has port facilities on both US coasts can greatly reduce the land portion of your total shipping cost and provide you many different shipping options.

View our shipping cars internationally to Europe section for more info on shipping to that region 

Shipping Cars Internationally to Rotterdam, Hamburg/Bremerhaven and the UK

Where to startThe first thing to consider is where you would like your car to land. What port best fits your objectives? Destinations may vary from one shipping company to another so you want to choose one that can provide you optimal service. West Coast Shipping concentrates on three locations – Rotterdam, Hamburg/Bremerhaven and the UK. If your options are flexible you may want to consider landing costs as a factor. For instance, for international auto transporters, Rotterdam typically charges the lowest import duties.  

Use our shipping to Europe calculator to find rates on shipping cars overseas

Numbers count - Next you will need to decide how many cars you will be shipping on this voyage. If you are sending only one you will have a choice of placing it alone in a 20 ft. container or consolidating it along with other cars. Please see our blog on cargo consolidation for further information on this option. If you are shipping 3-6 cars you can opt for your own 40/45 ft. container. If timing is critical to you, then cargo consolidation may not be your best solution.

No duty free – When traveling for pleasure you may be able to buy alcohol or makeup in a duty free shop, but when it comes to shipping cars to Europe, be prepared to pay VAT and duty. Levies vary by country and port and may be determined by the age and make of your cars. Your shipping company can refer you to qualified international shipping agents who know the rules and are skilled at facilitating cars through customs.

Download Classic Car Guide Handbook Shipping Rates Quote

Always be prepared – Upon landing, many countries require American cars to be retrofitted to European specifications. Many shippers have their own garages and can assist with the necessary modifications. Similar to here in the US, both the EU and individual countries may have registration and licensing requirements for your vehicles. Your shipper should be able to assist you in this process or refer you to the appropriate licensing agencies and experts.

Learn more about our classic car solutions at the classic car section of our website 

Don’t leave home without it – West Coast Shipping recommends that you obtain overseas shipping cargo damage protection. While cargo damage or loss is rare, rates on cargo damage protection are affordable and worth considering. Many underwriters only cover total loss. You may want to find a policy that covers damages as well. For more information, please see our blog.

Making it happen – When contacting potential shippers, discuss the logistics of getting your car(s) to the port of exit. Most companies can arrange to pick the cars up locally or can assist with rail or trucking delivery options. When filling out your Shipping Form, you will need to provide the shipper with the Original Title, a copy of the Bill of Sale, a signed Power of Attorney or other documentation. In addition, you may need to obtain an EIN number from the IRS. Information on this can be found here.  

View from the other side – It typically takes about 45 days for a car to make its entire journey from beginning to end. Arrival times can vary depending on the weather, ground transportation delays and marine schedules. This estimate includes allowances for unloading, delivering cars to a warehouse, getting complete documentation and clearing customs.

West Coast Shipping is always available to review your particular needs and provide you with an instant car shipping quote.