What are the Different Car Shipping Services?

Ken Black

Car shipping services include those that ship a vehicle overseas or over land. It is also possible to ship a car by air, but this is seldom done due to the enormous expense. In most cases, the cheapest ways to ship a car will be the most used, including those involving shipping by truck or even towing. Towing is a service usually only done for short-term transports.

Cars are transported overseas on cargo ships.
Cars are transported overseas on cargo ships.

Those using car shipping services to ship a car over land usually may choose a service that uses a semi-tractor for such purposes. In this case, a car will be driven onto a ramp and then secured onto the trailer. Often, the structure of the trailer is open to the air. This is the way many commercial vehicles are shipped, but may not be a very practical way to ship a vehicle unless there are multiple vehicles that need to shipped.

Some dealerships will pay to have someone drive a purchased car to a customer.
Some dealerships will pay to have someone drive a purchased car to a customer.

Other overland car shipping services may involve using a container, such as a traditional semi-trailer, or even a freight train. These methods may be a little better for single-car shipping. Car shipping services that involve a single car will be more expensive, per unit, than shipping multiple cars. Choosing between a rail or road car shipping service may be a decision based both on cost and timeliness. A car shipping company may offer both methods.

The method for car shipping services to an overseas location will be by ship's container. The car will be loaded into a container, and then transferred to a sea port, usually by land. The container will then be loaded on a large cargo ship and transported to the appropriate location. Transfers may also be made along the way if there is no direct route offered. This is one of the slowest methods of shipping a car, and can often take months.

The other form of car shipping services, and perhaps the cheapest, are those services that will use employees to personally drive a vehicle from one location to another. This may not be considered a true car shipping service, simply because the car's own power is being applied for the move. Still, for those who simply need to move a car from one location to the other, and cannot drive it themselves, this is another option to consider. This method will, of course, put added wear and tear on the vehicle.

Choosing a car shipping service will likely depend on the circumstances of the shipping. For example, if no rail service, or roads, exist at the destination, the choice is relatively simple to make. In most cases, the decision will not be as simple. It will depend on cost, convenience, urgency, and other minor factors, such as personal preference of car shipping companies.

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