If you know me, you know that I never make a decision without finding out all the options and figuring out the best option. So, of course, choosing a shipping agent was no different. However, this endeavor was not quite what I was expecting. I was expecting to be able to do a quick google search, submit requests for quotes, and get answers quickly. Most of that ended up not happening simply.
First of all, trying to find a place to request quotes for shipping to Australia was difficult. A lot of the recommended agents (K Line) or methods (uship) would not ship to Australia. To get companies that actually shipped to Australia, I had to query “ship a car to Australia” instead of the generic “ship a car (overseas)”.
Then, almost none of the websites offered instant quotes. Instead, you had to submit a form to them, and they would get back to you with a quote, eventually. In fact, they would often take as long as 10 days to provide me any sort of response (not even a we-receive-your-request email). This was just plain weird for me; since normally businesses are eager to receive my commerce. And, out of the 13 companies that I contacted, only 5 of them responded. Additionally, the company that we ended up going with (CFR Rinkens) wasn’t even on my list. They contacted me. I am not concerned; I have found that often these companies forward your request to a sister company to do the work that they don’t cover specifically.
Aussie Car Imports
West Coast Shipping (WCS)
Schumacher Cargo Logistics, Inc.
Shipping 2 Australia
Ever Global International
Auto Car Shippers
Able Auto Transport
Don't ship to AUS/NZ
Colless Young Pty Ltd
Alliance Intercontinental Pty Ltd.
Same as Colless
Then, navigating the quotes that they send you is a whole different world, which is why we received a wide range of prices, from $2460 to $8000. Some offered full service. Some offered just the container rental with no assistance getting the container on or off. We are getting a bit of a in-between. CFR is handling the shipping from the US to Australia portion, including US customs and container loading. We have to handle obtaining a carnet, an EIN, and getting the vehicle to the warehouse. CFR also won’t handle the Australian half of the unloading. Supposedly they have sister companies down there that we can work with in a similar set up. The agent will handle unloading the container, but we handle Australian customs and paperwork.
Since we won’t be on much of a time constraint and don’t mind doing the work associated with border crossings (having already completed ~21 of them, most of which were in Spanish), we figured we would save some money and do the work ourselves. If you don’t like dealing with paperwork, then a full-service option is better. We could have saved more money, possibly, by figuring out how to handle the shipping and the loading/unloading of the container ourselves, but it just wasn’t worth it.
It has been a unique experience so far. Maybe I will be an old pro by the next time we have to do it (Australia to New Zealand, yay!). Perhaps not. But, at least I will have some experience gained.