The most common method of car transport is roll-on roll-off (RORO shipping), but if you’re storing your vehicle in a different city or moving it overseas, car shipping containers might be better suited to your needs.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about car shipping containers, from how they work to their average costs. We’ll also recommend car shipping companies that have the industry’s best services for car shipping containers.
How Do Car Shipping Containers Work?
Car shipping containers are mostly used when shipping cars via ocean freight or when those without garage space want to put their cars in storage. Shipping container garages create space for both your car and personal effects, making them cost-effective ways to clear out space in your home.
With car shipping containers, there’s a specific process for loading your vehicle and preparing it for transport. Your car will be placed inside a steel container via a racking system and then secured with safety equipment such as ratchet straps. Unlike with air freight or RORO service, your car will be protected inside a metal container for the entire trip.
How Do I Move Car Shipping Containers?
The best way to find providers that move car shipping containers is by getting car shipping quotes online from a cost calculator. Most car shipping companies provide free quote tools where you can add your vehicle’s year, make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN), as well as your personal information.
Most car shipping companies let you choose between having your vehicle shipped in a shared container, where it will share space with two or three other cars during transport, or in a single-car shipping container that offers maximum protection and stronger peace of mind.
How Much Do Car Shipping Containers Cost?
Depending on size, car shipping containers can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,500, minus any additional fees. Finding cheap car shipping when moving vehicles cross-country is difficult, as it will typically cost at least $1,200 to ship a car from the West Coast to the East Coast.
Shipping a car overseas in a container costs somewhere between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on the distance traveled. Even though this is the most expensive shipping method, it offers secure car shipping to Alaska, Puerto Rico, and foreign countries.
Transport costs for car shipping containers depend on the following factors:
- Vehicle size: If you have an oversize car, you will need large and expensive container sizes such as the 45-foot-high cube dry container for storage and shipment.
- Type of vehicle: If you have an exotic or classic car that you want to store away, expect to pay more due to higher cargo insurance.
- Time of year: Car shipping costs spike during peak seasons, such as the summer and early January.
- Location: If you schedule a pickup or delivery in a rural area, you may pay more since it’s harder for car carriers to reach.
- Shipping time: If your car shipment takes weeks longer than anticipated, you will have to cover the mileage accrued during transport.
We asked for quotes from some of the auto transport industry’s leading companies to get a sense of how much car shipping containers usually cost to move.
|Company Name||Pickup and Dropoff Locations||Cost|
|Montway Auto Transport||Los Angeles to Houston||$1,089|
|Easy Auto Ship||Miami to Portland, Ore.||$1,641|
|Montway Auto Transport||Phoenix to Honolulu||$2,019|
|Easy Auto Ship||Santa Fe, N.M., to Fairbanks, Alaska||$4,025|
*These examples from Montway Auto Transport and Easy Auto Ship’s quote tools are based on the lowest rate offered for an operable 2015 Chevrolet Malibu.
Are Car Shipping Containers Worth It?
Car shipping containers are often worth it if you need a secure spot to store your car, as buying a container once is cheaper than making high monthly payments on a storage unit for years. They can also be used to transport personal items or household goods during a large move.
Car shipping containers are also the safest method of having a car shipped internationally, as their steel shells block outdoor elements from damaging your vehicle during transit. They provide maximum protection during overseas trips, since the longer the distance the more potential there is for accidental damage to occur.
While car shipping containers can get pretty expensive, they are undoubtedly the safest and most efficient transport option available. If you’re shipping a car to Hawaii or even across the globe, be sure to check them out.
Recommendations For Car Shipping Companies
When looking at the best companies that move car shipping containers, be sure to consider Montway Auto Transport and Easy Auto Ship. These providers are regarded as some of the industry’s best due to their expansive services and affordable rates.
Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall
Operating in all 50 states and across the world, Montway Auto Transport is the premier choice for car shipping containers, especially if your shipment is going overseas. The company has extensive car delivery services, such as door-to-door transport and expedited shipping.
Montway Auto Transport can also accommodate the shipment of specialty vehicles such as motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and classic cars. We named the provider Best Overall in our review of the best car shipping companies, and it offers great customer service for those who need their cars shipped in containers.
To find out more about this auto transporter, check out our Montway Auto Transport review.
Easy Auto Ship: Best For A Quick Pickup
Easy Auto Ship has some of the best prices available of all car shippers and offers strong insurance coverage, a promise of no hidden fees, and an array of car shipping services. The company provides an easy and stress-free car shipping experience, and we highly recommend it for the delivery of car shipping containers.
The company holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and we give Easy Auto Ship 4.5 out of 5.0 stars for its competitive pricing, various location options, and fully vetted transport partners.
You can learn more about this company by checking out our Easy Auto Ship review.
Frequently Asked Questions
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of car shipping companies to formulate rankings of the best transporters. Providers receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Reputation: Shippers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of shipping routes, distances, and vehicles. Companies with lower prices and many discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Services: This rating is based on types of auto transport services available, insurance coverage, and the ability to guarantee pick-up and dropoff dates.
- Customer Experience: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each car transporter.