Have you thought about shipping your overland vehicle across the ocean to venture to far-off destinations? Across the Atlantic to begin overlanding throughout Europe or maybe Africa? Or south to Columbia to begin the second leg of the Pan-American Highway? Maybe you’d like to ship your vehicle to New Zealand or Australia?
You may have imagined these dreams but are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of such an undertaking, or perhaps you’re committed to getting your vehicle overseas but are in need of some solid education on the topic.
We’ve been in your shoes and have learned a lot over the past decade about moving overland vehicles around the planet that we’re eager to share with you. That’s why we reached out to our Global Shipping Logistics Coordinator, Matt Hopkins, to offer insight and know-how based on lots of real-world experience.
After listening to this episode, we’re confident that you’ll be more confident in taking this significant step as an overlander. It’s a big world out there with a lot of water to cross over to reach the places we’d like to travel.
Join our conversation to start on the path toward realizing your dreams of overlanding in your own vehicle in the distant-most places of the world.
Detailed Episode Summary
Part 1 (1:30-3:58) Intro and Welcome Matt Hopkins, X Overland Shipping and Logistics Coordinator: Matt discusses his business as a shipping coordinator for semi-trucks around the country (U.S.) and how that translates into his work for X Overland as a global logistics coordinator. Jimmy and Matt discuss Matt’s role in X Overland Season 5, The Nordic Series.
Part 2 (3:58-8:25) What is the difference between shipping an overland vehicle or ADV motorcycle domestically vs. overseas? Matt explains how you can ship a vehicle or motorcycle within the U.S. and how this is different from shipping your overland machine overseas. Matt points out the difference between shipping a conventional vehicle/car and a fully-built overland vehicle.
Part 3 (8:25-14:24) “Roll-on/Roll-off” vs. Using Shipping Containers to Transport Your Overland Vehicle Overseas: Matt explains the two different options for transporting a vehicle overseas on a cargo ship: Roll-on/Roll-off vs. the use of a Shipping Container. Matt and Jimmy discuss the importance of having “boots on the ground” when it comes to shipping vehicles, especially during loading and unloading in ports, and the need to pay attention throughout the entire process of moving a vehicle overseas.
Part 4 (14:24-18:41) What are “Red Flags” to Look for When Shipping an Overland Vehicle Overseas? Shipping a vehicle across an ocean is an undertaking that has lots of moving parts and will involve your working with a variety of different people throughout the process. Matt explains what “red flags” to pay attention to when working with shipping brokers and others involved in the process, and how to resolve common issues that arise as a result of them.
Part 5 (18:42-19:55) What is the Most Convenient Way to Ship Your Overland Vehicle Overseas? If money is no object and you’re willing to pay a steep price to ship your vehicle in the most convenient way, are there businesses out there ready to help you? Matt and Jimmy discuss what’s available.
Part 6 (19:56-22:52) What is the Cheapest Way to Ship Your Overland Vehicle Overseas? What if the opposite is true and you want to save as much money as possible when shipping your overland vehicle overseas? What is the best way to do that? Listen in as Matt explains the best approach to saving lots of money while still getting your overland vehicle to your destination.
Part 7 (22:53- 25:45) What is the Normal/Conventional Way to Shipping Your Overland Vehicle Overseas? After having discussed the options for high-cost and low-cost approaches to shipping your overland vehicle overseas, Matt and Jimmy discuss the average approach most people use when shipping a vehicle.
Part 8 (25:46-29:33) Beyond the Shipping Broker: What Else Do You Need to Do to Ship Your Overland Vehicle Overseas? The shipping broker is there to handle just that: brokering a passage of your vehicle to get overseas. Once you arrive, there is a lot more you need to keep in mind. Matt and Jimmy discuss what those key items are and how to address them.
Part 9 (29:34-30:08) From Where Should You Ship Your Overland Vehicle When Planning to Ship it Overseas? If you live on the East Coast and want to ship your overland vehicle to Iceland, does it make the most sense to ship it from Maine? Matt explains why this is not the case and the counter-intuitive realities of shipping your overland vehicle around the world.
Part 10 (30:09-31:42) Developing the Right Mindset for Shipping Your Overland Vehicle Overseas: Along with all of the technical elements of shipping your overland across the ocean, there is the benefit of having a mindset appropriate to the task. Matt and Jimmy discuss the key elements of this mindset and how it will help you get you and your vehicle where you want to go.
Part 11 (31:43-42:50) What Do You Need to Do to Physically Prepare Your Overland Vehicle to Be Shipped Overseas? Matt and Jimmy discuss best practices and legal necessities for preparing your vehicle to be shipped overseas, everything from how much fuel to have in your vehicle to theft prevention along with battery storage, key management, and tire inflation are discussed.
Part 12 (42:51-46:07) What Documents do You Need to Ship Your Overland Vehicle Overseas? Now that we’ve looked at how to physically prepare your overland vehicle to be shipped overseas, Matt explains what legal documents you need to have in your vehicle when shipping it: title, registration, lien holder release, passport, driver’s license, tourist visa, bill of laden, etc. Matt also explains best practices for managing these documents while shipping your vehicle around the world. Can you ship a vehicle overseas if it still has a lien on it? Matt and Jimmy discuss potential answers to this question as well.
Part 13 (46:10-47:46) Legally and Technically Speaking, What is the Difference between a “Port” used for Shipping and a Typical Overland Border Crossing? How does a port used for shipping items around the world (including your overland vehicle) differ from an overland border crossing? Matt explains these differences and how overlanders can be prepared for entering and leaving ports when shipping their vehicles abroad.
Part 14 (47:48-58:18) What is the Best Way to Manage Customs When Arriving at Port with Your Overland Vehicle? Matt explains how best to prepare yourself and your vehicle for going through customs when you leave port and head into the country you are visiting. Matt and Jimmy also discuss social strategy for customs and border crossings, examing things like appropriate tone and how to find someone who will help you.
Part 15 (58:19-End) What Does It Cost to Ship an Overland Vehicle Overseas? Matt explains what the average cost is likely to be for shipping a vehicle overseas, considering actual dollar amounts. Matt and Jimmy discuss how to save as much money as possible when shipping your vehicle. Matt also explains what affects the cost of shipping your particular overland vehicle: size/dimensions, modifications, equipment, etc. Finally, Matt looks at the factors involved in shipping an overland trailer overseas.