Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Shipping Agent Search

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.

Date Requested
Date Received
Taurus Logistics
McCullough Limited

Aussie Car Imports

West Coast Shipping (WCS)
Schumacher Cargo Logistics, Inc.


Shipping 2 Australia

Ever Global International
Auto Car Shippers

Able Auto Transport

Kiwi Shipping
Exceeds Dimensions

Ship Overseas
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.

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