1300 404 579

When it comes to moving a vehicle, one of the main considerations is the cost.

Shipping a vehicle by sea or transporting by land are two common options in Australia; and each has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cost.

The Cost of Shipping a Vehicle by Sea

Shipping a vehicle by sea is often a more cost-effective option than shipping it by land, particularly for long distances. East Coast (SydneyBrisbane or Melbourne) to the West Coast (Perth) of Australia are great examples of long distance car transport that is more affordable with shipping.

Factors that Impact the Cost of Shipping

The cost of shipping a vehicle by sea depends on a number of factors, including –

The cost of shipping a vehicle by sea also depends on the type of vessel and shipping method used.

There are two main types of vessels used to ship vehicles by sea: roll-on/roll-off (RORO) vessels and container ships.

RORO vessels are specifically designed to transport vehicles and are typically the most cost-effective option.

Container ships are used to transport a variety of goods, including vehicles, and are generally more expensive than RORO vessels.

Other factors that can impact the cost of shipping a vehicle by sea includes port fees, customs and import/export fees, and insurance.

We advise, that you make sure your quotes includes all of these costs when comparing the cost of shipping a vehicle by sea versus by land.

There are a lot of terms that get used in shipping that you may be unfamiliar with. This can make some people hesitate from getting a price.

There’s no need to be ‘put off’, by the complex calculations required to get a quote for shipping. The calculations may be a bit complicated, but once they are done you can be confident that apart from “acts of god” or sudden economic changes, the quoted price won’t vary by much. 

To understand how pricing for shipping works, start here – Move Anything with Wheels: Your Guide to Vehicle Shipping Pricing

The Cost of Moving a Vehicle by Land

Transporting a vehicle by land is another option that can be considered when moving a vehicle.

The cost of transporting a vehicle by land depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the availability of carriers;
  • the type of transport used;
  • the distance it is being moved;
  • the route and destination.

In Australia, there are times when a shortage of drivers or a big increase in demand for vehicle movements can make carrier availability very low. This causes much longer transit times (how long it will take to deliver your vehicle to its destination) than quoted and massive fluctuations in pricing.

Despite this, one of the main advantages of transporting a vehicle by land is that it is generally faster than shipping by sea.

There are several options for moving a vehicle by land, including by truck, by train, or by a combination of both. 

Truck transport is generally the most common and convenient option for moving a vehicle by land in Australia. However, it can be more expensive than expected, particularly for long distances.

Train transport is generally less expensive than truck transport. The challenge with train transport in Australia, is that it may not be available for all destinations; and can be slower than truck or sea.

Understanding the Factors that Impact Vehicle Transport by Land

The price for transporting a vehicle by rail or road involves a number of factors that will impact on the total cost. Here’s a breakdown of these factors for both modes of transportation:

8 Things that Impact Price when Moving a Vehicle by Road

a. Fuel Costs: The distance and the fuel efficiency of the transport vehicle play a significant role. The longer the journey and the less fuel-efficient the truck or trailer, the higher the fuel costs. Fuel costs can vary a lot throughout a year. That means that quotes obtained a week apart might be wildly different in price depending on things like crude oil prices internationally.

b. Driver Wages: Long-haul trips (like West coast to East coast of Australia) may require multiple drivers or drivers working longer hours. Leading to higher labor costs that get included in the price to you.

c. Vehicle Maintenance and Depreciation: Wear and tear on the transporting vehicle contributes to maintenance costs that are part of price calculations. Longer trips will naturally result in more wear and tear, so a slightly higher amount is included for long hauls.

d. Tolls and Fees: An increasing number of freeways,  highways and bridges (in the major capitals) have tolls. These relatively small amounts add up over long distances.

e. Permits and Licenses: Depending on the size of the transporting vehicle and the region, special permits may be required. Each state and territory in Australia has their own set of permits that need to be obtained for particular transport loads.

f. Loading and Unloading Costs: In the case of some vehicles, special equipment or labor may be needed to load and unload vehicles onto transport trailers. EV’s in particular can require special loading and unloading procedures to ensure the safety of the vehicle.

g. Route and Traffic: Certain routes may be longer but faster, while others are shorter but congested. Unforeseen events such as traffic accidents or weather events that make routes unpassable all add to the time and cost of road transport. The preferred chosen route usually has known fuel consumption, travel time, and overall costs, which is what most quotes are based on.

h. Accommodation and Expenses for Drivers: On long-haul routes, drivers may need overnight accommodation, meals, and other essentials as mandated by law. 

10 Things that Affect Price when Moving a Vehicle by Rail

a. Rail Freight Charges: Rail companies charge based on a combination of factors including – distance, the weight of the cargo, and sometimes the type of cargo. Like shipping, rail quote calculations can be complex and use terms you may be unfamiliar with.

b. Loading and Unloading Costs: Specialised equipment, like cranes or ramps, might be required to get cars on and off railcars for RORO and autorack. 

c. Terminal Charges: Rail terminals can have fees for handling and the temporary storing of vehicles (until unloading can occur).

d. Insurance: As with all forms of transport, rail transport requires insurance to cover potential damage and liabilities. The rates can differ based on the perceived risks associated with rail transport of your type of vehicle.

e. Railcar Lease or Rental Costs: If the shipper does not own the railcars or have enough railcars, they may need to lease or rent them. The transport company should tell you this or have it listed separately in the quote.

f. Transshipment Costs: If a car needs to be transferred from one rail line to another or from rail to another mode of transport, there will be additional costs. In Australia, not all stations can be used for vehicle unloading. That means the closest station for unloading would require the final part of your vehicles journey to be made on a truck by road.

g. Security: Depending on the region and the value of the vehicles being transported, additional security measures might be necessary. Leasing GPS trackers to put in your vehicle are an option that will cost more.

h. Permits and Licensing: Just like with road transport, rail transport can require specific permits, especially when crossing through state or territory boundaries.

i. Delays and Downtime: Rail transport can sometimes face delays due to track maintenance, rail crossing works, or other issues. The increased costs of delays, especially if there are penalties or fees for late deliveries can be passed on to you.

j. Route and Distance: Similar to road transport, the length and specific route taken by the train can influence the overall cost.

Shipping vs Land Transport

Both modes of transport have their advantages and cost factors. The choice between road and rail will often depend on the specifics of the shipment, including the urgency, destination, budget, and other logistical considerations (such as size and weight).

Overall, the cost of shipping a vehicle by sea and by land can vary significantly depending on a number of factors.

Shipping by sea is generally more cost-effective for long distances or over international borders.

While transporting by land is generally faster and more convenient for shorter distances.

Before you decide on which transport option to choose.

It is important to consider all your requirements and how they might impact on costs. 

Start with an online quote and when you need something that’s more personalised and includes all your transport needs call us on 1300 404 579