Buying a classic Down Under is a great idea – and getting it home to Britain needn’t be a headache if you follow our extensive guide.
Australia has a lot going for it: great weather, sunny skies and cars that have their steering wheels on the correct side. These factors combine to make it a great source for good-condition classic cars – if only it wasn’t so far away, right?
Well, distance need not be an obstacle in your search for that rare historic, as there are a number of reputable shippers and transport specialists who can take the hassle out of getting your vehicle into the UK. There are still a number of considerations to be aware of, though, so we look at what it takes to import a car from Australia into the UK.
Preparing and collecting the vehicle for shipping
You have finally found that perfect classic waiting for you in Australia, so it will now need to be prepared for its trip to the UK. The very first step is to identify a vehicle shipping specialist and get the vehicle to it.
The majority of reputable specialists offer a collection service from most major city centres within Australia. If your car is somewhere less accessible then you may need to discuss your options with the shipper, as some outsource the collection service to transport companies.
As insurance limits for transport firms vary, it’s worth checking whether they cover especially valuable vehicles. To reduce any potential damage, it can be worth spending extra or an enclosed trailers, if available.
An odd starting procedure or maybe a mechanical fault should be reported to the shipper and/or transport company beforehand. You should also have the motor fully photographed and its condition recorded prior to collection.
Looking to drive the vehicle to the shipping-collection point? Then you’ll need to register and insure it for use within Australia, which can often cost more than transport company fees. If not, then you should not have to pay any local taxes or custom duties.
Most shippers will drain any excess fuel in your car free of charge, so it can legally travel. For customs clearance, you will be required to submit the original vehicle title, your passport and a bill of sale. You will also need an export permit, which can either be filled out using a B957 form or electronically. Arrange this beforehand via a courier, and your shipper will if usually do the rest on your behalf.
Shipping the vehicle
You have the choice of either shipping your vehicle by sea in a consolidated container (with other cars heading to the same destination), in its own container or via RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off). RoRo is the cheapest method; however, your car will need to be roadworthy as it’ll be driven on and off the ship, and will be exposed to the elements and possible unintentional damage while in transit.
Sharing a consolidated container is the next best option, and depending on the port from is worth the slightly higher cost than RoRo. The containers remain locked for the duration of the trip, so you will also be able to pack parts and spares into your car as well, although restrictions may apply. If you’re importing multiple cars or prefer not to share, you can book for your own container – although this tends to cost up to three times as much as the consolidated option.
If you’re in a hurry and do not mind the expense, air freight is by far the quickest way to get your car into the UK. You can even opt for a sealed container. Do not forget to get transport insurance whichever method you choose; the average cost of this is usually around two per cent of the vehicle’s value, although this figure can go down on very high-value cars.
Landing in the UK
Once the car’s arrived in the UK, it’ll need to be collected from the port and cleared by the local customs agents. Budget on around £475 for this process. Most shippers will assist you, although certain aspects must be completed by you. We have outlined the entire process as it is worth knowing what is required in case there are any hiccups along the way.