A classic car, for those of us lucky enough to have one, tends to be one of our most prized possessions. As powerful as a classic Chevrolet might be, the thought of having that beautiful coat of paint scratched during transit is devastating. Finding the right pair of hands to give it the care it deserves during shipping can be a daunting task even for car enthusiasts. Here are some of the biggest and best players in the industry that do it well:
Trans Global Auto Logistics
Trans Global Auto Logistics, or TGAL, is one of the more prominent and time-tested faces of the group. Batting from a position of ‘For enthusiasts, by enthusiasts’, their experience and passion make them a reliable option for classic car shipping. They set themselves apart by offering a more complete experience to those looking to get a car shipped. They support their customers in every step of the process. From filing paperwork to inspections after a doorstep delivery, they’ve made a name for themselves and hit a significant milestone of 15,000+ vehicles a year.
Endorsed by the Porsche Club of America, Leland West is a relatively smaller and younger shipping company. Boasting low premiums and a customizable experience, they’ve been making a splash in the pond with their service. Leland West’s flexible service options let customers choose their own repair shops and even customize claims services according to their preferences. An unfortunate downside here is that they do not operate all over the US; interested parties are advised to check the service area on their website.
Think eBay for finding shipping carriers rather than your usual shipping company and you have uShip. uShip is an online marketplace alternative to shipping companies. It lets users pick and choose who they’d like to work with to get an item transported. Here’s how it works: users list what they need, browse the shipping options that match their requirements, and pick one. Naturally, this does mean that it functions more as an intermediary than a direct contact for you.
There are many factors that a classic car owner has to consider before zeroing in on one company. Here are the most important ones:
#1: Do they provide auxiliary support?
An aspect of shipping that flies under the radar is the fact that the process of shipping a classic car begins during paperwork, not transportation. With bureaucratic red-tape and global protectionism on the rise, it’s harder than ever to get normal goods through customs, let alone classic cars. An experienced shipping company will file the necessary paperwork for you, helping you navigate what can otherwise be a maze of confusing procedures. Having your car shipped overseas only to be rejected at customs can be painstaking and even double the overall investment you’ve put into shipping.
Other than paperwork, auxiliary support also refers to additional services that the company might provide for your car either during or after shipping. An example of this would be offshore biosecurity cleaning or a GPS tracking service.
That said, every port, national or international, has their own rules and regulations. Consult your classic car shipping company to hash out the finer points depending on where (and how!) you want to have your car shipped.
#2: Transportation Options
There’s more than one way to get your car across borders, and the right one for you depends on which type of border you’d like to cross. Open transport involves loading cars onto multi-level trailers. You might have seen one of these massive trucks on the highway. The biggest advantage of open shipping for your classic car is the fact that it is much more affordable than shipping it enclosed. Using this method also tends to save more fuel and can be faster as the shipping company will not have to spend time encasing and shielding your car.
The cons generally outweigh the pros here in most scenarios for classic cars. Shipping a car openly exposes it to the elements and can create a significant security risk as well. People prefer to use open shipping for shorter distances, as a longer journey exposes the car to more risks.
Closed shipping ensures that your car will almost certainly reach its destination in pristine condition. Shipping companies will tailor the casing and add additional security for your car according to your needs. As you can imagine, this does rack up the costs significantly and takes longer than open shipping. Nevertheless, closed shipping remains a reliable option for people looking to transport their classic car internationally.
Ideally, the shipping company you are looking for will offer both options while helping you choose which one is more suitable for you.
The likelihood of disaster striking during even an overseas shipment is not that significant with advancements in technology. Nevertheless, it pays to be insured when it comes to shipping classic cars. Getting what is called ‘marine insurance’ ensures that in the event that something does go wrong, you’ll be eligible to get much more than just the $500 guaranteed by the Carriage of Goods at Sea act. Without insurance, you will be at risk of having your cargo getting tied up in storage and security deposit payments in the event of an emergency.
Thankfully, if you have chosen a reliable classic car shipping company then you will already have your car secured with marine insurance. Some companies will offer a choice between either total loss or all-risk insurance. Total loss insurance will only cover your car in the event of a ‘total loss’ during transit and does not include other forms of liabilities. All-risk insurance will cover any form of damage your vehicle might incur, including tiny scratches.
Making The Call
The best classic car shipping company is the one that suits your particular needs. Once you have considered the destination, distance, and the type of cargo that you’re looking to ship, making the final call will get much easier. If you still need help narrowing down your options, you will find many enthusiast websites that post helpful blogs about classic cars and how to treat them right.