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Infographic: How to load a car into a container

icontainers_news_1a50488895.svgLogistics & Shipping
Updated on 09 Jan 2024
3 min read
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Shipping a car via ocean freight can be a long process when you’re moving overseas. Trying to look for cheap container shipping rates is part of entire moving operation. But getting the car prepared and loaded is a process in itself too. Forgetting to follow certain rules can result in additional fees added on to the shipping of your car, and can even stop the car from being shipped at all. In this post, we’ll guide you on how to load a car into a shipping container.

Moving overseas: How to load a car into a container

It is common among families and individuals making an international move to ship cars overseas. However, shipping a car internationally can be expensive. Shipping cars with a low appraised value isn’t really a good idea since the shipping costs can be more than the car is worth.

The paperwork involved with car shipments varies. Make sure you give our post on the documents needed for shipping cars a read before you prepare your shipment. You must present original titles of cars to destination customs. If a vehicle is bought by the consignee before its international shipment, then the Bill of Sale should be presented at the destination as well. It is important to know your liability as a shipper, especially when shipping cars. Doing so can help with avoiding extra charges at the destination. Not having proper documentation can result in higher costs.

Making sure the car is clean

First and foremost, clean the car inside out. Making sure the car is clean on the outside allows customs to make a correct inspection, detailing any nicks or pre-existing damages to the car. When cleaning out the inside of the car, you should make sure to remove personal items (i.e. clothing, papers, and trash), non-factory electronics like GPS systems and stereos, and any items stored in the trunk.

Things to remember when loading a car into a container

  • Retract, or remove your radio antenna. Exposed antennas can be damaged during transit. The same applies for large spoilers.
  • Fold the side mirrors on the exterior of the car. It prevents damage and allows a little more space in the container.
  • Owners of trucks that have camper shells can expect to pay additional fees. This is particularly so if these modifications that make the car heavier are not disclaimed prior to pick-up.
  • Always put the top up on convertibles.
  • You must also declare your vehicle non-hazardous. Drain all fuel from the car. Disconnect the battery and alarm system.
  • Remove all vehicle documents. You may need them for proof of ownership.
  • Block the wheels from the front, the back and the sides with wooden blocks or wheel chocks. Make sure to attach the wheels securely to the container.

Hiring a flatbed tow truck can save a lot of time and energy when loading your car into the container. Although it is an extra cost for the shipper, the risk of not getting the car into the container is lower. So using ramps or solely manpower risks not getting the car loaded at all.

How to load a car into a containers


Shipping a car internationally can take some time, so planning in advance is important. Using a freight forwarder like iContainers can help guide the shipper through the entire ocean freight process. However, it is the shipper’s responsibility to provide all of the required documents at both the origin and destination country.

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iContainers is a digital freight forwarder based in Barcelona that assists thousands of companies and families around the globe in moving their merchandise internationally.

Our online freight quoting platform has the latest technology in the sector and simplifies ocean freight, quoting and managing your bookings from the same user area.

We are part of the Agility group, and we work side by side with Shipa Freight to fully cover the demands of our customers.

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