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Old 28-12-16, 19:31
GuyP GuyP is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Lake District
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Default Shipping to USA and back

Has anyone any experience of shipping a van over to the States and back. We are looking at a several month trip over there and looking at cost of hiring there, I was wondering if it would be cheaper to ship our van over and back for the trip.
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Old 29-12-16, 20:38
xlray xlray is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Default Re: Shipping to USA and back


I do not have experience but I did once buy a CD called a "Cute Little RV" This detailed a trip made by from the UK with a Hymer. It was made in 2003 but their was a lot of detail on the logistics. How much of course is current today after 13 years is anybody's guess. I will have a look and see if I still have it. It has now been published as a book if you do a search.

Ray (xlray)
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Old 29-12-16, 23:19
landie landie is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Knaresborough
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Default Re: Shipping to USA and back

I shipped a Land Rover to Australia in 2014 for a 6 month adventure. There are some peculiarities specific to Australia but many still apply to all countries so if it helps...

The first thing you need to look at is the choice between sending the vehicle in a container or sending it on a "ferry". The latter is cheaper BUT you normally can't have any personal items on board and you are leaving yourself at a high risk of having your pride and joy trashed by dock workers, especially at the US end. We shipped a Trooper back from the US via a ferry and made the mistake of leaving the radio in it and a spare wheel/tyre on the back, both had disappeared by the time it got to the UK and, although we didn't know it at the time, we were told that this was "normal" unless you pay the extra "fees" to the right people at the docks.

Shipping a container is much more flexible and safer on the whole, you can also ship the vehicle with everything you need already in it so you can step off a plane and be ready to go. The problem is that decent shipping agents don't come cheap and in the last few years container prices have spiralled out of control. In 2008 we paid 4500 for a return shipment of a 40 ft container to Australia. In 2014 it cost us nearer 8000. In 2008 we used the cheapest agent we could find, he screwed up the paperwork and managed to get the container delayed in Rotterdam, missing the ongoing connection and resulting in a 3 week delay to the shipment - we arrived at the airport in Sydney expecting to collet our vehicles the same day, ended up waiting for nearly a week.

The cost of the Carnet de passage has also gone up considerably although some of it you get back once the vehicle returns to the UK. The initial layout used to be around 300 for a 12 month Carnet, in 2014 it was nearer 2500 thanks to the RAC screwing up the carnet system.

In 2014 we used a more expensive agent and the same people in Sydney that sorted out the mess in 2008. It all went smoothly and we were driving our Land Rover out of Botany Bay within 4 hours of landing at Sydney airport.

It would be worth talking to the people we used at the UK end, the company we used in Sydney don't have a US branch, just Australia and China. In the UK we used CARS, they don't come cheap but they'll be able to give you a starting point at least. They also now provide a Carnet service which might work out cheaper than getting it direct from the RAC.

If anyone ends up shipping to Australia or New Zealand, Gibson Freight are VERY good !
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Old 29-12-16, 23:20
landie landie is offline
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Default Re: Shipping to USA and back

Sorry the CARS url got eaten by my spill chucker and I can't edit the post. The URL is...
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Old 29-12-16, 23:23
landie landie is offline
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Default Re: Shipping to USA and back

OK, it's the forum software that is killing it, search Google for Cars Europe, Chedburgh, Suffolk, they also have branches in New York and Los Angeles.
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Old 30-12-16, 01:11
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alan.surry alan.surry is offline
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Default Re: Shipping to USA and back

I spent a good few years in the courier & freight industry. Firstly, it won't be cheap (But it might be cheaper than hiring) Secondly and more importantly, you need to look into the tax implications. If you get it wrong, US customs will charge import duty and UK customs will do the same on your return and your chances of claiming it back will be very slim.

Companies that do this stuff (Touring bands, conferences, trade shows, exhibitions etc) use a system called a "Carnet" which is a bit like a passport for your vehicle. As long as it ends up back where it came from, you don't pay any import duties or taxes. The number of countries needing this paperwork is dropping, but it still catches people out. I "Think" The USA is exempt at the moment, but do check.
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