Shipping Cars and Automobiles

A comprehensive guide to exporting and importing cars and automobiles in Canada.

If you’re looking to ship a motor vehicle into or out of Canada, Canaan Group is here for you. Offering convenient door-to-door service with pickup and delivery, we walk you through the process, including customs clearance, returning your vehicle to you in the same condition that you left it with us.

Canaan Group is pleased to offer vehicle shipping for both individuals and corporations. Whether you are moving to a new country for work, school, or retirement, or looking to ship classic, luxury, vintage, or oversized vehicles, our vehicle transportation services can help you move your vehicle to where it needs to be. For commercial or corporate clients looking to relocate executives, our top-notch service and experience gives you peace of mind.

Mercedes-Benz on a loading dock by an open shipping container

Shipping Methods

Standard vehicles are typically shipped in one of two ways: RORO Vessels, or Containers. The type of shipping method you choose will depend on various factors. We can discuss your needs with you to determine the shipping method most suitable for you. For oversized and overweight vehicles, as well as machinery, our project cargo team can assist you.

RORO Vessels

Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships are designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailers, trailers, and machinery that can be driven on and off the vessel on their own wheels. Vehicles cannot contain personal effects and these ships are only available for certain destinations.

Container Shipping

When shipping in a container, vehicles are loaded into a container and its wheels are blocked and braced before the container is placed on an ocean carrier to complete the trip to its final destination. Once the container arrives, the car is unloaded at the destination. Personal effects can be included when shipping a vehicle by container, however the items must be declared to customs. Vehicle sizes are limited to the interior dimensions of a container (39' 6” long x 7' 9” wide x 7' 10” high).

White van getting loaded into a shipping container

Exporting Vehicles

Before Shipping

Preparation for shipping a car includes knowing the final destination, shipping method (RORO or container), and verification of the title of the car. We will run the car title through the CBSA vehicle list to make sure it belongs to you or your company, and that it isn’t stolen or blacklisted. Once it’s verified, we will confirm whether your car can be imported to the destination country, as some countries prohibit certain vehicles based on make, model, or year. You need to check with your insurance policy to find out what it covers, and whether you need additional insurance for the transport. We will quote you a price, and when you’re ready, we’ll book your shipment.

Pickup or Dropoff

If you are shipping via RORO, you can drop your car off at the terminal and their staff will drive your car onto the ship when it docks. You will sign off on existing damage to the car when you drop it off.

If you are shipping via container, you can drop your car off at our loading facility or we can pick it up from wherever you are. If we pick it up, you have the option of transporting it in an open or enclosed trailer. Open trailers are less expensive, but there is a risk of damage to your vehicle as it is exposed to the elements. Closed trailers cost more but is the safer option for transporting expensive model cars, sports or race cars, or classic or vintage cars. Cars must have less than ¼ tank of gas when dropped off or picked up. Excess fuel will be disposed of at the customer’s cost. Any existing damage will be noted and signed off on at this point.

Vehicle Loaded onto Vessel

Vehicles shipped by RORO will be driven onto the vessel when it has docked. Vehicles shipped by container will be loaded into the container and secured. Wheels will be blocked and bracing will be applied so that the car cannot shift or sustain damage should the container move while in transit.

Documentation and Paperwork

Canaan Group will help you prepare all necessary documentation for the shipping company, as well as proper customs paperwork for the destination country.

Vehicle Arrives at Destination

Once your vehicle arrives at the destination country, it must clear customs first. If shipping by RORO, you can pick up your car at the port. If shipping by container, your car will be taken to an unloading facility to be unloaded. You can pick up your car at the facility. Before driving in the destination country, you must have proper insurance and the car must meet all legal safety requirements of the destination country.

Mercedes-Benz inside a shipping container

Importing Vehicles

With overseas offices worldwide, Canaan Group has all the connections in place to help coordinate import shipments. Our overseas offices will handle loading and documentation at the origin country, as well as arranging the shipment. Our office in Canada will help you handle customs clearance, documentation requirements, and unloading/delivery of your vehicle to the final destination in Canada.

Before Importing

Before importing a car to Canada, it needs to comply with all Canadian import laws. Canaan Group can help you gather all pertinent information, determine whether your vehicle is admissible under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and check with CBSA or the Registrar of Imported Vehicles for any additional restrictions. We will make sure you have proper documentation, including a Statement of Origin or Certificate of Title, along with the bill of sale.

Clearing Customs

Our office will help you clear customs once your vehicle arrives in Canada. If proper paperwork is on hand, this should normally happen within a day.


Canaan Group will pick up the container your car is in, unload your car, and keep it at the unloading facility for you to pick up. After you pick up your car, make sure you perform any required modifications or inspections within 45 days as required by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles program. For more information about importing a vehicle into Canada, consult the Canada Border Services Agency page on Importing a Motor Vehicle into Canada.

A nice car in front of shipping containers

Book a Consultation

If you are looking to ship a car or automobile, book a consultation with us. We can discuss your needs, answer your questions, explain how it works, and explore your options to help you create a customized shipping plan. We can also give you a quote on your project so you know how best to move ahead. We look forward to serving you!

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