One month ago we shipped our vehicle from Brisbane in Australia to Incheon in South Korea. Because our Toyota LandCruiser is converted to a camper with Hightop, it does not fit in a container. That means we have to do RoRo (roll-on roll-off) shipping. You wonder how to ship a vehicle from Australia to Korea? In this post you will find all about our experience, the handling, what you have to consider, what documents you need and what it costs.
When searching for information about how to ship a vehicle from Australia to Korea, we found very little information. We also googled for Overlanders, who had their vehicle shipped RoRo from Australia to Korea. Unfortunately, we did not find any information about that at all. That is why we share our experience in this post.
Above we are writing about RoRo. What does it mean? RoRo is the short version of Roll-on Roll-off and it means that the vehicle is driven onto the ship and also driven off the ship. It is different to container shipment, where the vehicle is driven into the Container on land, then loaded on a truck, driven to the port and finally loaded onto the ship by crane.
How to ship a vehicle from Australia to Korea
Not too many overlanders ship their vehicle from Australia to Korea. As we haven’t found information about how to ship a vehicle from Australia to Korea we share our experience and hope to help others who have similar travel plans.
In this post we describe how we organized the shipment of our camper. Below you find details about the process, the costs of RoRo shipment from Australia to Korea and helpful contacts.
The first step – Get a quote
We wrote emails to different freight companies in Australia and Switzerland and asked for quotes. The contact details were either from internet research, other overlanders, travelers or people who recommended shipping companies in a forum.
Provide following information to get a quote
- Port of departure and port of arrival
- Preferred date of shipping and/or arrival
- Type of transport method: 20 or 40 foot container, RoRo (roll-on roll-off)
- If you plan to ship RoRo: Length, height and width of the vehicle
- Weight of the vehicle
Within a few days we received three offers from the freight companies in Australia. The one in Switzerland wrote us, that his company does no longer do RoRo shipments. He explained that RoRo shipping is too risky and that they had too many cases of cars being broken into. Unfortunately, that’s a big problem with RoRo. We heard about this problem before but we have no choice but take the risk. At least we ship on a route which is hopefully not too big of a problem as Australia and Korea are civilized countries. Fingers crossed.
More about the quotes we got
The highest offer for RoRo shipment from Australia to Korea was EUR 2’686 / USD 3’250 and the cheapest offer was EUR 1’483 / USD 1’794.
You can also get a quote directly from the shipping company. We did not bother because we got a very good offer from our preferred freight company in Australia. It is also easier to use a freight company as they have access to the vessel schedules and they also have contacts at the port and in the country of arrival. As it is our first time of shipping our vehicle, we want to play it safe and prefer to have a freight company or agent.
If you are planning to ship your vehicle, get several quotes to compare. Prices vary a lot.
Compare quotes and decide
We decided to go for the offer with the arrival port in Incheon (near Seoul) and the ideal departure and arrival times. By coincidence it was the cheapest offer. You will find more about our contacts and prices at the end of this post.
We not only liked the price but also that our contact person answered to our emails within an hour. After we gave our final ok to book the ship, we had to send our passport copies, a list of things with value that we leave in the vehicle and a copy of the vehicle registration. The freight company booked the vessel and that was it for the moment.
Other ports in Korea that could be an option: Busan or Masan. We preferred Incheon as it is close to Seoul.
Vehicle delivery and handling at the port of loading
As mentioned before we ship RoRo. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to drive to the port in Brisbane ourselves. We need an entitled person who can enter the port and do that for us. Our freight company organizes everything and we just have to deliver our vehicle a couple of days before the vessel arrives at Brisbane port.
In our case the vessel arrived a few days earlier than expected. We knew that we need to be flexible when it comes to shipping a vehicle. But we expected the ship to be delayed rather than too early.
How we prepare our vehicle for RoRo shipment from Australia to Korea
We heard from other overlanders more than once, that it is wise to separate the drivers cab from the living space of the camper. We listened to that advice and installed a wooden wall. It helps to prevent from burglary. It is not a guarantee that nothing gets stolen but it makes it more difficult to get into the living area to steal things. We not only installed a separating wall but also removed the HF-Radio, the stereo and the solar controller from the drivers cab.
RoRo is always a risk because you have to leave all keys with the vehicle. And who knows where the keys are… most likely in the vehicle.
We deliver our vehicle to our agent in Brisbane, Australia
The delivery of our vehicle is unspectacular. We park our Toyota LandCruiser at our agent’s car park, we hand over the car key and that’s it.
And then we drive away with a rental car. Phuuu…, a very emotional moment. We get a last glimpse of our beloved Troopy, our home and reliable travel companion. It almost breaks our heart to leave him behind. But well, if we want to travel around the world, we have to ship our vehicle sooner or later. We wonder, when and in what condition will we see him again?
We don’t receive a receipt or other documents when handing over our vehicle. However, we are told that we get the Bill of Lading (also B/L or BOL) by email as soon as the vehicle is loaded onto the ship.
NOTE: The Bill of Lading is an important official document. You need the B/L to get the vehicle back. Without B/L you won’t get your vehicle at the arrival port.
Now it’s time to wait. Of course we are too curious and want to know the position of the ship. We download the Vessel Finder, a free app, and with the IMO number of the vessel (this number can be found on the B/L) we can follow the route and approximate location of the ship. It is helpful and we can see if the route or estimated time of arrival changes.
Additionally, we can check the planned arrival date and time on the website from Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions (that’s the shipping company our Toyota LandCruiser is traveling with).
Rule No. 1 – Make sure your vehicle is loaded onto the ship before you leave the country
We have heard from other overlanders that one should only leave the country when the vehicle is on the ship. We stay in Australia until we receive the B/L and leave after. It is also wise to arrive a week earlier than the vehicle arrives. It could be necessary because of documents for customs, insurance or other administrative things.
The procedure on Korea side
Since we are not familiar with the Korean language, we are glad that our freight company in Australia has arranged a reliable person in charge in Korea. We very much appreciate the help of our Korean agent as he is extremely helpful. We realized that it is almost impossible if you have no help of a person speaking Korean.
If we would have organized the temporary import, the insurance and the customs clearance by ourselves, we would have spent much more time on all the paperwork. And without a Korean speaking person, we probably would not have gotten our car through customs so easily.
Documents we need to deliver to our agent in Korea for custom clearance
- Title Document confirming the owner of the vehicle (our car is registered in Australia and there is no Title Document in Australia. More about this below)
- International driver’s license
- Duration of the stay in Korea
- Bill of Lading
- Copy of our passports
- Fuel type of the vehicle: Diesel, LPG, unleadedGood to know: For South Korea you don’t need a Carnet de Passage
To release the vehicle at customs and to get a temporary import permit (TIP), the vehicle needs to be insured in Korea. Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance is doing liability insurance for foreign vehicles.
Our agent organized the insurance, which we very much appreciated. Unfortunately, the insurance company insisted to see a title document. After some back and forth of emails we can proof ownership with sending our sales contract, the registration document from transport Australia and with explaining that no such title document exists in Australia. Thanks to our Korean speaking agent the documents we deliver are finally accepted and we get the insurance.
Our vehicle arrives at the port in Incheon, South Korea. What now?
Finally, we get the email we waited for so long. Our Toyota LandCruiser arrived at the port in Incheon. But, before we can pick up our travel companion, customs clearance has to be done first.
We now that we need to be online to answer questions. So we spend a day in a café in Seoul with good WiFi. The first email from our agent comes in at 10 am. During the inspection the customs officer has a question about our aluminum box which is in the back of our vehicle. We explain that there are tools and spare parts in the box. We also tell them that the key to open the box is with the car key. Well, it seems like they are happy with our answer.
Two hours later we received another email from our agent with the customs declaration attached. We fill out the form, sign the document electronically and send it back.
After lunch we get the confirmation that customs has cleared our vehicle. It looks like we can pick up our vehicle the next day. We also learn that sometimes an interview at customs is necessary. Fortunately customs is happy with our vehicle and the documents and therefore the interview is omitted.
Yeah!!! We are super happy. Soon we have our reliable vehicle and our home back, to explore Korea.
We can pick up our vehicle at the port in Incheon
The big day starts with a last coffee in Seoul. And then, we finally receive the final OK. Our vehicle is ready to pick up. Customs has definitely released our Toyota LandCruiser. We can pick up our beloved Toyota LandCruiser named Taku.
One month ago we left our vehicle with the freight company in Brisbane. One month ago we did not know how to ship a vehicle from Australia to Korea. And now, we are here in Korea and our vehicle is just a few steps away.
We have the address and the contact number and hop on the next Metro to Incheon. We show the address to a taxi driver and he is not sure where we want to go. After showing him the address on Google maps he finally takes us there. We pay, get out and while looking around we have this weird feeling. It turns out that we are in the wrong street but we also don’t know exactly where to go. We try to find out and realize that we are in the right area but not at the right address.
Lost and overwhelmed by all the street names we can’t read (Korean signs) we try to find someone who speaks a few words of English. After asking several people, knocking on office doors, we finally find a woman who speaks a few words of English. Luckily Koreans are super helpful and she calls the person we should meet. He tells her that we should wait and that he will pick us up. 20 minutes later we hop in a car and drive to the port.
At the customs office – Port of Incheon, South Korea
Together with our two Korean helpers we are walking to the customs office at the port of Incheon. Luckily, we have two helping hands who explain which documents we have to fill out. We first receive the TIP (temporary import document). This is the document we need for customs when leaving the country. On the TIP we also see how long our vehicle can stay in Korea. We get four months. We also receive the yellow sticker, an A4 yellow paper. We are told that we need to put this sticker to our windscreen.
Our vehicle is in the harbor but we first need to get authorization to enter. We have to fill out two forms, leave our ID cards with the customs officers and then we get the entry permit.
We go through customs and our driver picks us up inside the harbor area. We drive past containers, hundreds of new cars until we stop at a small building. One last document check before we finally get to our vehicle.
In the far distance we spot him. Taku, there he is. Relieved and super happy to see our vehicle standing here in Korea and at first sight it looks like everything is fine. We open the front doors, then the back door. After a first quick check we know, everything seems all right. Our Toyota LandCruiser looks exactly as it did four weeks age before it was loaded onto the ship.
We start our Troopy and realize how we missed that sounds. Totally excited we follow our two Koreans who are leading the way out of the port.
At the customs only one of us is allowed to drive through the gate. That’s perfect. Like this we can take a photo of this wonderful moment. We can’t believe it. We’re in. We’re in Korea with our Troopy.
Finally, our road trip around Korea can begin.
If you want to know how it is to travel around Korea with the own vehicle and if you are curious about Korea in general, check our blog and follow us on Facebook.
And what is coming after Korea? We are heading to Russia by ferry. Here are more details about our trip Overlanding from Australia to Europe
Details about the costs: How to ship a vehicle from Australia to Korea
Following we list the costs we had for our vehicle shipment from Australia to Korea. We ship RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off) because our vehicle does not fit in a container.
Total cost in Australia: AUD 2’377 / USD 1’794 / EUR 1’483
Details about the costs:
Export documents and clearance AUD 116.50
Delivery of vehicle into Terminal, plus waiting time AUD 434.50
Ocean freight Brisbane to Incheon AUD 1’826
Calculation of freight charges
The freight charges for RoRo shipment are calculated according to vehicle masses. The basis is m3 and costs depend on the route and distance.
Total cost in Korea: USD 976 / EUR 794
Details about the costs:
Guarantee Fee (B/L) USD 220
Import Broker Fee USD 114
Insurance for 3 months USD 280
Stevedoring Charge USD 159
Driver’s charge USD 95
Customs documents USD 108
Contacts of freight companies in Australia and Korea
Melbourne: Tradelanes Global Solutions PTY LTD, Stewart Garmey
Brisbane: EDI International Freight Management Pty Ltd, Jarrod Lee
Seoul: Pavix CO. LTD, Mr YC Park
Good sources for overlanders
Overlandshpere.com – The website and Facebook Group has lots of information for overlanders. And two more great Facebook Groups: Overland to Asia and OverlandingAsia
Did you ever ship a vehicle overseas? Do you have something to add to about your experience of RoRo or container shipment? We look forward hearing your story.
Should you have questions about our experience of shipping a vehicle from Australia to Korea, don’t hesitate to contact us.