Blog. Shipping Vehicles

May 17, 2019

Shipping Rolling Stock & Titled Vehicles Internationally


The first thing you need to decide when shipping vehicles, rolling machinery or equipment is how you want to ship it.  There are a few choices.  The first and favorite for autos & motorcycles is in a full container.  Autos loaded in containers must have the gas drained to less than an 1/8 tank of fuel and the battery cables must be disconnected insulting the cables.  The vehicles must be loaded, blocked and braced properly in the container.  An important note when shipping vehicles is most destination countries will not allow cars over a certain age limit so please make sure you will be able to import.

Another option for cars but mainly for over sized rolling machinery & equipment, helicopters and large pumps on trailers is called Roll On-Roll Off (Ro’Ro’).  This is where you drive the cargo to the designated port and the port will drive or tow the cargo onto a special ship.  These vessels have a parking garage like feel inside with multi-levels. The vessels only call certain ports and do not service every country but is the most cost-effective method of shipping vehicles.

The final option is loading on a flat rack container.  Which is special equipment, it has a container platform with or without 2 ends.


This is the most expensive option, but this will allow your freight to be loaded on most container ships that service the most countries.

All rolling stock must have the title (or if no title – the Bill of Sale) validated through US Customs prior to sale. US Customs reserves the right to go inspect all exported cargo, so it is important to make sure that your paperwork is clean and your forwarding agent files everything timely. It is better to get an inspection prior to the cut off date so there will not be an accumulation of additional fees. Your forwarder will need the original title or bill of sale to present to US Customs who will perforate it so it will be released to load on the outgoing vessel. You will not be able to register your vehicle in your destination country without the perforated title from Us Customs.  All rolling stock must be clean and free of any dirt – if it is not you will have to pay for steam cleaning at the port (this is not cheap).

Last but not least let’s talk about Motorcycles! In order to ship Motorcycles in a consolidated container it must be drained of fuel, battery disconnected (cables insulated) and fully crated (solid wood crate).  Not all US ports will allow titled vehicles to be shipped in a consolidated container as it takes time to validate the title through US Customs – please confirm with your forwarder. You can ship them via airfreight or full container as options.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, please contact me. Our next Blog will be about Exporting from the USA, this will cover freight all kinds including commercial freight.

Sue Fitzgerald, GM, Dove Shipping International Inc. Houston, TX

[email protected], Tel: 281-328-4100


There is no comment.

Your Name
Enter the code