Why It’s Taking So Long to Get Cars Shipped Across the Ocean


Relocating to a new place always entails undergoing significant adjustments, especially if you’re moving internationally. There are numerous factors to consider, especially in terms of what to bring and what to leave behind.

For example, many think purchasing a new car at your destination or renting one is more feasible than shipping it across the ocean. However, this is often less ideal for military personnel, some of whom are frequently assigned to different locations.

Therefore, it makes more sense to ship your car via a car shipping service. For example, if you’re moving to Hawaii, you can avail of military car shipping Hawaii

Still, shipping a vehicle across the ocean can take longer than usual, which is why it’s best to understand why before deciding. 

How Long Does Shipping a Car Usually Take?

Sometimes, shipping a car to your new location is a more feasible option than simply purchasing a new one once you get there. However, there are other factors you need to consider, such as just how long it will take to receive your car after shipping it out.

With that said, the duration it takes to receive your car after shipment largely depends on where you’re having it shipped to.

Generally, suppose you’re shipping locally, like shipping car from Hawaii to mainland military or vice-versa. In that case, it will only take around 5 to 7 days. However, sometimes, it can take as long as two weeks. On the other hand, if you’re shipping a vehicle overseas, it can take longer.

For some destinations, it’s possible to receive your vehicle around a week after it ships out, but for some areas, it will take around a month or more.

To get a more accurate estimate of how long it will take, it’s best to ask your chosen car shipping service. They can inform you about the factors that can affect the duration as well, such as the local regulations and laws in the new location.

So, Why Does It Take Longer to Ship Cars Across the Ocean?

Regardless of whether it’s a sedan or an SUV, a car is a large object to move, especially across international waters. Therefore, there are many factors to consider before you can ship it out as well as after you receive it.

With that said, here are some of the factors that can affect how long it takes to ship cars across the ocean.

  • Distance

As mentioned, it typically takes longer for shipping companies to move your car across the ocean compared to simply doing so across the country. This is especially true if your destination is extremely far from your original location.

For nearer locations, you can expect to receive your car after a week or two. However, it can take longer, around a month or more, if it’s farther or has to cross numerous borders before reaching its final destination. An example of this would be shipping your vehicle from the US to Australia.

For this, the typical timeframe is around 50 days, sometimes taking up to 80 days before you can receive your car.

  • Shipping Method

Your chosen shipping method is also another factor that can affect the duration. For example, choosing to ship your car with others using consolidated shipping will take longer because the shipping company would generally wait to fill up the container before sending everything overseas.

This is to maximize the fuel and costs involved with overseas car shipping. If you want to get it more quickly, you can choose to book a sole container for your vehicle. However, this will cost more as they will be moving only your car, so they’ll need to make up for the costs.

Another option would be the RORO (roll-on, roll-off) shipping, although this involves securing your car to a vessel without a container. This means your vehicle is less protected against the elements. Additionally, this takes longer as well, similar to consolidated shipping.

  • Laws and Regulations

Another factor that can affect how long it takes is the laws and regulations in both the country of origin and destination. For example, suppose you’re shipping a car overseas from the US. In that case, you will need to procure the necessary documentation before you can do so.

You will need to send all export documents to the US Port of Entry, where you’ll ship out your car. This should be done at least around 72 hours before your vehicle is scheduled to ship out. You will also need to comply with local regulations.

This means submitting the necessary paperwork and paying the included fees, such as customs duty, taxes, and destination charges. In addition, if the shipping company has to transport your car on land to get it to its final destination, it takes additional time before you can receive it.

Typically, it can take as short as a couple of days or as long as a couple of weeks.

Final Thoughts

Having your car shipped to your new location can be an excellent way to save on costs and minimize the adjustments you’ll need to make when relocating. However, sending a car across the ocean can take significantly longer than doing so locally, so you will need to be patient.

Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea to understand what factors affect the duration, so you can better gauge whether having your car shipped overseas is better than simply purchasing a new car in your new location.