When we made the decision to ship our car from the UK to Australia I couldn’t find anything helpful online that would make our shipping experience any easier.
With that in mind I thought I should list out all the details of our shipping journey so that it could help you have an easier process than ours.
We bought our car August of 2018. It is UK registered and in good condition.
Fast forward to July 2019, we are now looking to ship the car over to Australia.
We get a few quotes for shipping from the UK. The company we ended up using is Auto shippers. They are really helpful and the whole process is pretty easy. We opt for a R-Rak container meaning you share the container with others. As the defender is such a large car and we have a roof rack and tent, the cost is more expensive as we are going to take up two out of four spaces in the container.
You can book in a date to ship but if you are only taking the car over temporarily you will also require a Carnet de Passage (car passport). If you are shipping it permanently you will need import approval. The Carnet can take around a month to process so make sure you order it early enough. When applying for a carnet we were not told that you also had to declare any contents you were shipping with the car on this document. Make sure to do this to avoid the extra costs in Australia that we acquired (anything in or on the car that they inspect needs to be listed). If you lose this document you will have to pay £315 to replace it.
In our case shipping boats are leaving weekly on a Sunday so it is required that you drop the car off at the port by the Thursday at the latest. Unfortunately we have a car crash just before we are due to ship and so we arrange Auto shippers to pick up our car from the mechanic once fixed. They took it to their docks where it sat in a locked carpark for a couple of days. We organise them to do a clean of the car right before it got put on the ship.
We spend a couple of days cleaning the interior of the car the best we could, wiping out any dust, sand, food or plant matter. We scrubbed floors and mats, doors and seats but hardly attended to any of the exterior. Due to our car crash our car was picked up when it wasn’t super clean but we just prepared ourselves to be charged cleaning fees once it arrived in Australia. Cleaning at the port though thorough means no guarantees that it will pass customs as Australia is notorious for extremely strict customs and failing almost everyone first time round.
We were told shipping would take +-44 days. We fly to Sri Lanka to wait it out. The ship our car was on departed Rainham port (London) on the 17th of November. The boat berths in Fremantle (Perth) on the 26th of December total 39 days.
They tell you that once the boat arrives you can expect 7-14 days for it to be unloaded and go through customs. They also say due to the strict customs in Australia it is rare to pass the first time round. A further cleaning by them and inspection can take between 5-10 days. This may happen more than once. We have been told horror stories of people having cars kept for months and been handed enormous cleaning bills. We were expecting $700AUD per clean. For some unknown reason our car cleared in 3 days!!!
Our agent said she had only seen this happen two times before.
Before the car arrived in Australia we were contacted by an agent to arrange final paperwork and to understand the process of customs and clearance. We were told that once your car clears customs you are given 3 free storage days and then it will be $50 per day until you collect the car. The agents in Australia are very helpful. What we had not been told was that as soon as the boat arrives that you and your Carnet need to go to the docks for them to sign the paperwork before it can start the customs clearance. We are in NZ when this happens but thankfully (despite the Christmas public holidays) we can express post the document for them to process, this comes at an extra fee.
Once the car clears customs you are contacted with an invoice to pay, once this has been paid you will be sent your release documents and you can now go and pick up your car from the port.
We then have a small hiccup at this point. We go to collect the vehicle from the port and find othat that bio security have put an extra hold on our container even though we had already cleared. This resulted in us waiting an extra four days before we can collect our car.
I’m sure there are many different ways and prices of how to ship your car internationally but this is our experience and what we went through. See below for costs
5 Page Carnet valid for Australia £215
Refundable cash deposit £4,000
Carnet replacement £315 (we lost it before we even left UK)
= £5,030 (£4,00 deposit)
Vehicle insurance £358
Insurance to cover £2,150 worth of contents cost £96