International Car Shipping From Los Angeles

International Car Shipping From Los Angeles
Los Angeles is one of the major hot spots for auto transport services across the United States and internationally. A big reason for this has to do with the fact that Los Angeles is home to one of the largest and most active shipping ports in the world, the Port of Los Angeles. Nicknamed “America’s Port,” the Port of Los Angeles provides over $1 billion worth of cargo transports through the port every day.

As you can probably assume, it’s much easier to ship a car internationally from the U.S. if you live close to the Port of Los Angeles. In fact, even if you live in a state that is closer to the West Coast, you may still have to ship out of this port anyways. When it comes to international shipping, there are generally two legs to the transport. The first leg encompasses getting the vehicle to the specified shipping port. Here, your car is loaded and secured onto a boat where it begins the second leg of its journey: transportation to its final overseas destination.

There are shipping ports in Texas, but the majority of U.S. shipping ports are on either the west or east coast. If you live in Los Angeles and need to have your car shipped overseas, you’re in luck. Your close proximity to the Port of Los Angeles makes the process that much easier. Regardless, there are some important steps that you need to take in order to ensure a smooth international car shipping experience from Los Angeles.

Determining International Car Shipping Eligibility

The first step in any international auto shipment is to determine whether or not your vehicle is eligible to be imported into your destination country, or exported from the United States. Never rely on the advice from anyone in the opposite country, as they are likely unaware of the specific requirements. Instead, you should go straight to the source. Depending on the country you are going to be importing to, do plenty of research to ensure that you are fully aware of the rules and the costs associated with shipping your car internationally.

Make sure that you gain a complete understanding of all the costs you may incur. There will most likely be a number of taxes, duties, and other government agency fees associated with your international car shipment. In most cases, there will be both domestic and international freight fees, along with storage and wharf charges. Depending on the country, your vehicle may also need to be registered prior to being imported.

Largest International Ports

While you’ll most likely be shipping your car out of the Port of Los Angeles, you should be familiar with the various non-USA international ports to determine which one your car will arrive through. The following are some of the largest international ports, outside of the United States:

  • China: Ports in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Hong Kong, Guangzhou Harbor, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dalian, Xiamen, Yingkou, Suzhou, Lianyungang and Nanjing
  • Port of Singapore
  • South Korea: Port of Busan
  • United Arab Emirates: Port of Jebel Ali
  • Malaysia: Port Klang, Tanjung Pelepas
  • Netherlands: Port of Rodderdam
  • Taiwan: Port of Kaohsiung
  • Belgium: Port of Antwerp
  • Japan: Ports in Hanshin, Keihin
  • Germany: Ports in Hamburg, and Bremen/Bremerhaven
  • Thailand: Port of Laem Chabang
  • Vietnam: Ports in Ho Chi Minh City, and Haiphong
  • Sri Lanka: Port of Columbo
  • Indonesia: Ports in Tanjung Priok, and Tanjung Perak
  • India: Port of Mundra, Jawarharlal Nehru Port (Nhava Sheva)
  • Spain: Ports in Algeciras and Valencia
  • Philippines: Port of Manila
  • United Kingdom: Port of Felixstowe
  • Saudi Arabia: Port of Jeddah
  • Greece: Port of Piraeus
  • Brazil: Port of Santos
  • Oman: Port of Salalah
  • Panama: Port of Colon
  • Malta: Port of Marsaxlokk
  • Egypt: East Port Said

This is a just a very small list of the international car shipping ports. With hundreds across the world, a quick online search will most likely turn up the correct and most convenient international port for your shipping situation.

International Car Shipping Methods

When shipping a car internationally from Los Angeles, you have the following methods to choose from:

  • Roll-on/roll-off: Los Angeles is one of the top ports for roll-on roll-off (RoRo) shipping services. This the most popular and most affordable method for shipping a car internationally. It involves your vehicle being driven onto the ship and secured to the deck during transport.
  • Containers: With RoRo shipping, your car is completely exposed to the elements during its journey. If you desire more protection, you can opt for container service. The Port of Los Angeles is one of the most advanced ports in the nation, and you will have no trouble enjoying the benefits that come with this method. At a premium price, your car will be loaded into a container and then taken to the port of departure.
  • Air Freight: Shipping a car internationally by air freight is very expensive and also pretty rare. Regardless, it is often the ideal choice for classic, exotic, or show vehicles. Overseas transport from California via air means that the car will typically depart from LAX.

How to Prepare Your Car for International Shipping

One of the most important steps to international car shipping from Los Angeles, is to ensure that your vehicle is properly prepared prior to transport. The exact expectations will vary based on the carrier you choose; however, the tips below describe some helpful suggestions.

Clean the inside and outside of the vehicle.

This step is important for any type of auto shipment, domestic or international, to help verify the condition of the vehicle and check for damages. Though, it is especially important for international car shipping, as the undercarriage must be hosed down to remove any foreign soil. Your car will go through a detailed inspection upon arrival in your destination country to ensure that no invasive species are transported along with it. If the vehicle requires additional cleaning upon import, you may have to pay a fee.

Document the vehicle’s condition.

With the exterior of your vehicle properly cleaned, this step should be a breeze. Make a note of any pre-existing damage such as dents, dings, scratches, or any other cosmetic imperfections to the vehicle before it is shipped. Also, take plenty of photos of the exterior, with close-up images of any damage. You can use this information to compare the condition when the vehicle arrives at its final destination.

Remove any modifications to the vehicle.

Prior to shipping, all parts of the vehicle that are not stock components should be removed. These include bike racks, luggage racks, spoilers, or any other type of exterior add-on. Additionally, most shipping companies require that the car alarm be disabled during transport. That way, the carrier can easily load and unload the car without any potential issues.

Do not fill up the tank.

Regardless of whether it’s an international or domestic auto shipment, most carriers request that the tank be no more than ¼ full before shipping. Loading multiple vehicles with tanks full of gas can be a major safety concern and even a small leak during transport can cause serious problems. Also, extra gas adds to the overall weight of the vehicle, meaning a much more expensive shipment.


By following these tips and speaking with the dedicated shipping experts at Ship Vehicles, you will ensure a safe and secure international car shipping experience from Los Angeles. Fill out our online request form or contact us at (888) 231-0113 with any of your questions, and to receive your free, no-obligation international shipping quote.