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The Gearzette


- September 16, 2023

We invest significant time and money in equipping our vehicles with essential accessories and gear, making them ideal travel companions. While this works well if you're exploring your own continent, what if you reside in the UK or Europe and wish to venture to Africa, Australia, or South America with your vehicle? Shipping becomes the only viable option unless your vehicle possesses an incredibly long snorkel or submarine-like capabilities.

© thelandyexpedition

Moving house is often cited as one of life's most stressful experiences. However, whoever coined that phrase clearly never shipped their vehicle from one continent to another. To help you navigate the challenges of trans-continental vehicle shipping, we consulted a panel of experts to gather their top tips and tales. Here are their top 10 shipping tips:​

  1. Ensure all your paperwork is in order, with matching engine, chassis, and VIN numbers.​
  2. Personally measure and weigh your vehicle when providing size and weight details, instead of relying on the manufacturer's spec sheet, as you may have added size-altering equipment like a bulbar or spare wheel carrier.​
  3. Book the appropriate container size for your vehicle.​
  4. Secure or remove all valuables from the vehicle. ​
  5. Provide clear instructions to the shipping company regarding the functioning of your immobilizer and alarm system.​
  6. Obtain comprehensive insurance, as shippers bear no responsibility for any damage incurred during shipping.​
  7. Choose a reputable specialist shipping company with a proven track record, even if it means paying a slightly higher price to avoid complications or delays.​
  8. Utilize ship tracking apps to monitor your vehicle's location 24/7. The shipping company can also provide tracking details for a specific container. Additionally, you can install your own tracker in the vehicle.​
  9. Remember that shipping often takes longer than anticipated or quoted, so account for this in your trip plans.​
  10. Familiarize yourself with the specific terms and requirements of the shipping company you choose, as some may demand draining all oils and fuel from the vehicle, while others may not, but to be safe we suggest one always removes gas bottles.​

To further assist you in navigating the complexities of vehicle shipping, here are few a real-world shipping scenarios which highlight the potential pitfalls even after taking just about every possible precaution.​

© thelandyexpedition

Harry Shipton and Chloe Strudwick (@thelandyexpedition) recently shipped their Defender 110 from England to South Africa and used International Shipping Services UK (, they found the whole experience relatively straightforward. Harry explains: “They gave us a drop-off date. We filled out the necessary paperwork, drove our 110 to the London port and left it with them. Chloe was also impressed with IVSSUK. “We took out shipping insurance, which cost us £250. This gave us peace of mind. Unfortunately, due to weather delays, our 110 arrived in Durban 2 weeks after they said it would. The shipping agents in Durban had no hassles clearing it and off we went.” 

© Kingsley Holgate & Stone Tribe

Kingsley Holgate (Front Runner fan and Land Rover ambassador) shares his perspective: "We despise shipping, but it is an unavoidable part of global overland travel, particularly when conflicts or pandemics force changes to our plans. During our journey along the Tropic of Capricorn, we encountered issues when bringing our Defenders into Australia. Aussie customs officials strictly prohibit entry if the vehicle has even a speck of mud or half an insect from another continent. The vehicle must be spotless. Consequently, our cars were initially deported upon arrival, and we had to clean them again in Indonesia before they were allowed entry. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the destination country's regulations."​

© thelandyexpedition

Stone Tribe, a company specializing in Land Rover restoration and repairs, also facilitate worldwide vehicle shipments. When choosing between shipping containers or RORO, I ask founder Gerhard for his opinion: "Containers offer enhanced security once sealed, as they remain unopened until they reach their final destination. Even if customs authorities need to inspect the contents, they must reseal the container. We can ship regular vehicles, vans, campers, 4x4s or expedition trucks between any destinations in the world.” Now that you know everything there is to know about shipping, where will you and your vehicle be heading next?  ​