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Top Tips for Shipping Cars Overseas to Australia

Our friends down under love to drive American classic cars but shipping cars overseas can seem intimidating. That’s why we’ve listed these great tips to ease you through the process. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll find it’s really quite easy.

View our complete section on shipping cars internationally to Australia


Top Tips for Shipping Cars Overseas to Australia

1. First Things First – starting out. If you are new to the business of shipping American cars to Australia, take time to do some homework. Not surprisingly, it may pay to take advantage of websites and auctions such as classiccars.com, manheim.com, copart.com, iaai.com, and classics.autotrader.com when sourcing vehicles. Often, shippers can provide referrals and suggest reputable dealers close to your location or point of departure.

2. Timing is everything -– getting to the port on time. For starters, ask prospective shippers how they plan to deliver your car in time for departure. Services vary. Some will meet your car at a drop-off point. Others will offer door to door transit. Check schedules - will you need to store your vehicle before it leaves or after it arrives? Since the answers to these questions can affect your international shipping cost, you want to address them up front.

Try our shipping to Australia rates calculator

3. Be Class Conscious – protect your high value classic, collector’s vehicles. Not all ground transportation companies were created equal, so find out if a prospective shipper has its own in-house transport capabilities or if they contract with other companies. If they contract out, make certain the companies are reputable and reliable. If the shipper assumes responsibility, remember to inquire about their drivers and liability coverage. Take time to establish a level of comfort and trust before shipping your precious cargo.

4. Turn Up the Volume – when shipping overseas, numbers count. For instance, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney are high volume destinations for importing and exporting cars and are accustomed to efficiently handling this cargo category. In speaking with prospective shippers, ask about their experience loading and landing at destinations important to you. International Car Shipping

Shipping International Classic Car Handbook

5. Take a Geography Lesson – map out your best strategy for shipping cars internationally to Australia. Since time is money the shortest journey is preferable. Cars shipped out of New York, Oakland, Long Beach and Los Angeles usually arrive in Australia in the least amount of time, around 30 days. Find out if the option of shipping from these ports is a good fit for you.

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

6. Be Prepared – to prepare your car for shipping. Remember to ask your shipper what’s necessary in order for your car to be accepted at departure and delivery. For instance, can you pack the car with other goods? Is the vehicle required to be operable? What about seat belts and safety matters? Do emission levels meet Australian standards? These may appear incidental but better to inquire than be surprised.

7. Consolidate – and save. If you are shipping a single vehicle or a small number of cars, find out from your overseas international shipper if your cargo can share container space with that of other customers. Consolidating container space can result in great savings, in some instances fifty percent or more. Since consolidation may potentially affect scheduling, remember to inquire about any possible changes in delivery dates.  

8.   Is Left Right? – steer in the right direction. Like Brits, Aussies drive on the left side of the road and steer from the right. American cars made before 1989 are accepted but most cars manufactured at a later date need to be converted. Some states now allow entry to left steered, post 1989 cars, but they must be certified.

9. Sharpen Your Pencil – we’re not paperless yet. Don’t be put off by the paper work, just make sure your shipper is set up to assist you. The most important hurdle is obtaining “vehicle import approval” (VIA) which can take up to 21 days to complete. Forms and guidelines are conveniently found here.

10. Finally, When Shopping for the Best Sail, Ask These Key Questions.

  • Is the shipper a full service, all inclusive, overseas shipping company?
  • Are they registered with the Federal Maritime Commission?
  • Do they provide secure warehousing and adequate cargo damage protection?
  • How long have they been in the international auto transport business?
  • How often do they ship cars from the west coast to Australia?
  • Are their quotes for shipping cars internationally competitive?

Use these tips as your guide to shipping cars to Australia and you’ll be rewarded with a pleasing, problem free journey and please contact West Coast Shipping for an intstant international car shipping quote.

International Car Shipping Rates Quote