Experience of shipping a car UK/USA and back?

Experience of shipping a car UK/USA and back?

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Discussion

tapkaJohnD

Original Poster:

1,533 posts

165 months

Thursday 15th August 2019
quotequote all
I've been invited to race my classic in the US. I'd like to ship it there, collect it at the port and drive it to the venue, for an added adventure.
The car is capable for this - it's UK road legal and I've driven it to Classic Le Mans, twice.

The possibilities seem to be:
Container, which I can do with others going to the same event, but they want to have the container shipped direct to the venue. Extracting my car at the port doesn't seem to be an option.
OR
RoRo, like a Channel ferry, but without me aboard. I turn up at the port, collect it and set off on my adventure.

I've heard horror stories of RoRo - anyone have experience of either option?
Thanks!
John

geeman237

895 posts

146 months

Thursday 15th August 2019
quotequote all
tapkaJohnD said:
I've been invited to race my classic in the US. I'd like to ship it there, collect it at the port and drive it to the venue, for an added adventure.
The car is capable for this - it's UK road legal and I've driven it to Classic Le Mans, twice.

The possibilities seem to be:
Container, which I can do with others going to the same event, but they want to have the container shipped direct to the venue. Extracting my car at the port doesn't seem to be an option.
OR
RoRo, like a Channel ferry, but without me aboard. I turn up at the port, collect it and set off on my adventure.

I've heard horror stories of RoRo - anyone have experience of either option?
Thanks!
John
First off, this may be useful...(apologies if you are already clued up on it) https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1664/...
I have imported two cars from the UK to the US, both personal imports and handled it nearly all myself.

RoRo - Did this in 2004 when I emigrated to the US with my Triumph Herald. Southampton to Charleston SC. Drove the car to Southampton docks and was told where to leave it after visiting the shipping company. Left me very nervous with the keys in it, about a week before the ship departed. Car arrived at a Charleston about 3 weeks later with a flat battery and a bit dirty. I am sure it will depend on the port for the logistics, but I was able to turn up with the paperwork and drive away after a jump start. Car must ship with less than a 1/4 of fuel and NO parts/spares are allowed. If I recall it was about 600 pounds then.

Container - Did this in 2017 with a 1992 TVR Griffith. Had it delivered to the shipping company in Southampton and they handled the rest. You can ship parts in the container with the car. They strapped everything down. Costs wise...285GBP for UK origin costs (whatever that is), actual shipping cost in a 20ft container, just the car, not shared etc was 1,222GBP. Paid marine insurance.

US arrival - You will probably need a US customs broker to get the car through customs. There may be additional port charges, but that may depend on the port. My broker fees were 150-200 USD. You shouldn't have to pay customs/import duty. I got stung for a random Customs X ray of the container and that was a few hundred too which p*ssed me off. Now, I thought I would be able to simply turn up and open the container and drive away. No.....there was a 370GBP warehouse unload fee whereby the container had to go to a bonded?/authorized warehouse to be unloaded. This, in my case was a 10 mile tops drive with the container on a lorry. Then we unloaded the car and it was mine to take away.

I know others who have used RoRo and its been fine. I would say double check you colleagues container to event details again. I would be very surprised the container would be unloaded from the ship and simply put on a lorry and driven to the event to be unloaded. What happens to the container then? My money would be on the cars being unloaded at that designated port or warehouse and then a vehicle transporter taking them to the event. This makes me think you could simply intercept the port unloading and take your car then.

As for insurance and such like, I don't know how you'd get on. You do not want Officer Bubba pulling you over with no permits/paperwork etc, it is beyond most of them to handle and the easiest thing would be for them to impound the car and throw you in jail or give you a big ticket.

Feel free to PM me for who I used or any other questions. Sounds like a great opportunity. Where is the race and what car if I may ask?


aaron_2000

4,218 posts

44 months

Sunday 27th October 2019
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I've shipped a car to Canada. I had to make sure the underneath was spotless, no dirt or anything. I shipped it via container for £800. The rest was handled by Bonsai Rides on the other side. This is a good blog for you, I plan on doing the same as you next year so keep us updated, and good luck.

https://usapuma.blogspot.com/