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Old 06-10-2010, 12:14 PM
Patrick J. Martin Patrick J. Martin is offline
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Default International Vehicle Shipping

Has anyone here ever shipped a vehicle overseas, and if so, perhaps you could offer some words of wisdom and recommend shipping companies to use.

To be more specific in my own case, some of you may know that Germany had a hearse trailer vehicle, the idea being that funeral directors could conduct a service using the trailer behind whatever his normal everyday car was. I have come across one, in Germany, that has captured my fancy, and I'm having thoughts about purchasing it.

I have contacted an international vehicle shipping broker who simply popped up in an internet search for shippers, and I find myself thinking they are not very knowledgable. I'm being told that if I brought the trailer over, it could only stay here for a year, and then have to go back. As I search government websites, the only reference I find to this one-year provision is if a non-US resident is bringing over their personal vehicle for use during a trip. I personally know a car collector near me who imported a Rolls Royce hearse from England several years ago now solely to add to his collection, so I do not beleive this one-year rule that I am being told.

Additionally, as I see it anyway, with this being trailer, it is not a motor vehicle, so I would think it would qualify as merely being personal property. And regardless as to what kind of vehicle it is, I understand that there is a 25-year-old historical expemption from imported vehicles needing to meet US manufacturing standards anyway.

I guess what I'm asking in a long-winded way is first, can someone recommend an overseas import company to use, and second, could someone perhaps point me in the right direction on who to contact to make perfectly clear any legal requirements on importing this trailer. My many thanks for any advice that may be offered!
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2010, 01:10 PM
Rick Franklin Rick Franklin is offline
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Patrick, I will send you an email with contact info for a friend of mine here in Seattle that has imported several cars from Great Britain and is knwowledgeable about the process.
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2010, 05:53 PM
Russell Dalziel Russell Dalziel is offline
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Thumbs up U.S. Customs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick J. Martin View Post
Has anyone here ever shipped a vehicle overseas, and if so, perhaps you could offer some words of wisdom and recommend shipping companies to use.

To be more specific in my own case, some of you may know that Germany had a hearse trailer vehicle, the idea being that funeral directors could conduct a service using the trailer behind whatever his normal everyday car was. I have come across one, in Germany, that has captured my fancy, and I'm having thoughts about purchasing it.

I have contacted an international vehicle shipping broker who simply popped up in an internet search for shippers, and I find myself thinking they are not very knowledgable. I'm being told that if I brought the trailer over, it could only stay here for a year, and then have to go back. As I search government websites, the only reference I find to this one-year provision is if a non-US resident is bringing over their personal vehicle for use during a trip. I personally know a car collector near me who imported a Rolls Royce hearse from England several years ago now solely to add to his collection, so I do not beleive this one-year rule that I am being told.

Additionally, as I see it anyway, with this being trailer, it is not a motor vehicle, so I would think it would qualify as merely being personal property. And regardless as to what kind of vehicle it is, I understand that there is a 25-year-old historical expemption from imported vehicles needing to meet US manufacturing standards anyway.

I guess what I'm asking in a long-winded way is first, can someone recommend an overseas import company to use, and second, could someone perhaps point me in the right direction on who to contact to make perfectly clear any legal requirements on importing this trailer. My many thanks for any advice that may be offered!
Patrick call the U.S.Customs Office and Ask Them About getting the vehicle through Customs Etc

Russ
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:24 PM
Attila Bethlenfalvy Attila Bethlenfalvy is offline
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US Customs is not going to be forthright - like most other government agencies.

Patrick, from '99-'02 I imported 4 40' shipping containers loaded with vehicles from Europe. Any non-corporate individual is made to jump through hoops of red tape to discourage doing so. I strongly suggest hiring a broker to handle this end.

Basics:

-Arrange ground transport to a large port (cheaper) like Bremerhaven yourself (or through seller). Finding room in a shared container is a bonus. Use twice the amount of ratchet strap deemed needed, motorcycle size is fine.

-Enter through a close port (to Europe) like Roanoke, VA. Stay away from the busyness of NYC area. Retrieve from Roanoke or arrange shipping from there post-customs clearance. The other option being bonded transport to IL (additional forms & expense) and being able to find an agent in IL to handle this.

Float time is less than 2 weeks. You (or your agent) will need the BOL (Bill of Lading) which is not issued until after cargo ships (so it can't change). If you chose to clear customs yourself, the window of opportunity before making port is less than 5 days.

PM for my number if you'd like more specifics or to learn about bad customs mojo.

About the one-year only dealio, that references the type of import; which covers temporary import. Temporary import is completely different than otherwise and is only for one year. At the end of the one year, the vehicle must be shipped back. Until '03 or so, temp imports weren't even entered into a computer. The forms were sent to a warehouse and stored. No government agency followed up, knocked on your door, and mandated that vehicle must leave. Too many abused this loophole with 'gray imports' and the procedure changed. I know of several vehicles under 25 years old not intended for our market currently in the US that came via this method.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:15 PM
Bee Hamlin Bee Hamlin is offline
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Default More International Shipping Suggestions

Patrick: some limited experience with vehicle shipping overseas (3 of them to date) suggests some precautions.

1. Take a hundred photographs. The thing is bound to arrive with some kind of damage and the shipper will definitely say it was damaged before it left.

2. Ensure that everyone agrees exactly where it's going. "Chicago" is one destination, but "1240 Butterfield, Elmhurst" is quite another - though it sounds, from a 5000-mile remove, to be about the same.

3. Get the thing cleaned thoroughly before it leaves, so Agriculture won't worry about mud underneath carrying unwelcome seeds, spores, or insects.

4. Anything you ship inside it must be fastened down thoroughly. Sometimes you'd swear they dropped the container from 50 feet.

This advice is being sent along second-hand. Hope it helps.

Bee Hamlin
MAC
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  #6  
Old 06-10-2010, 10:01 PM
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Tim Prieur Tim Prieur is offline
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Default shipping

As a Canadian having dealt with US customs importing several cars I also would STRONGLY support the idea of using a broker. I have done it both ways. By myself, a major headache, after I covered all the bases! With a broker, no issues. Their fee is no a lot and I would never try again on my own.

The problem I found with doing it on your own is that you are at the mercy of the border agent of the day. One day terrific, the next, major issues for no reason at all. Not an ambassador for their country.

Money well spent (one mans opinion).
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:53 PM
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Steve Lichtman Steve Lichtman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila Bethlenfalvy View Post
...a close port (to Europe) like Roanoke, VA...
I wouldn't plan to ship to Roanoke, VA - it's in the mountains of central VA several hundred miles from the ocean! Maybe Norfolk.

If it comes through Baltimore - another good choice - I'm nearby and can help locally if needed. A lot of vehicles come and go through the Port of Baltimore. (And no, I'm not advertising the Port of Baltimore even though I work for an agency of the Maryland DOT which also owns the Port).
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:38 PM
Keith Snyder Keith Snyder is offline
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Default 1942 Argentine Cadillac Hearses

Though these aren't exactly my cup of tea, they may be of interest to someone in the organization. Enjoy.

http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2...ian-barn-find/
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:30 AM
Attila Bethlenfalvy Attila Bethlenfalvy is offline
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Thanks for the assist Steve! Damn that disappearing edit button anyway.
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:10 PM
Bill Carlin Bill Carlin is offline
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I have imported items before and have always used an attorney who specializes in imports and customs. With custom laws changing overnight and all the required paper work, it is well worth the few hundred dollars to have someone who does this everyday handle the paperwork. My last shipment would have been held by customs for a long period of time (years) and possible sold at auction in addition to requiring me to post a $10,000 bond if the attorney hadn't filed the paperwork before the ship sailed!! In the past you filed while ship was at sea..how would I have known? Look for an attorney/broker in your area. It shold be handled in the final destination point and not the US ship port. Containers are inspected and cleared by customs at the final destination...in my case, that is the train depot - rail yard in Minneapolis. It's scarry we have all these foreign containers going around on rail lines in the US days or weeks before they are inspected!!! Kind of long, but I hope this helps.
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