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For many people, shipping a car between Puerto Rico and the US mainland may seem like a difficult and complicated task. However, that doesn’t need to be the case when you select the right shipping line to help you every step of the way. The key element to success is doing your homework and following the instructions for preparing your vehicle for shipping, delivering it to the port and receiving it at destination.

shipping your car

Working with a trusted, knowledgeable, experienced carrier can make all the difference. When you are considering the selection of a transportation provider, here are a few questions you should ask, or consider.

1) Do you own the ship?

Many auto transport companies advertise the ability to ship a car from Puerto Rico to the US mainland. But, very few own the vessels in which your vehicle will be transported. Instead, they serve as a middleman between you and the ocean carrier. Crowley does own their ships, and is one of only three shippers in the US mainland to Puerto Rico trade lane.

If issues occur, a carrier who owns their ships is in a far better position to solve them quickly. This includes situations where the middleman has not paid the carrier for the ocean transportation on time, which prevents the car owner from picking up his or her vehicle at the destination port.

shipping your car

Other service failures have been reported where the broker has failed to provide customers with detailed information about the right way to prepare the vehicle for exportation based on the ocean carrier’s actual requirements. This can result in their customers arriving at the ocean carrier’s terminal with incomplete documentation. In turn, this can cause delays and long wait times. Because of this, customers often have to begin the process all over again.

Using carriers who own the ships, such as Crowley, ensures professional guidance will be provided every step of the car shipping process.

2) What do I need to know about how to properly ship a car from Puerto Rico?

While Crowley does its part to ensure excellent service is provided, you as a client have responsibilities to address before your tires touch the ship. To assist, we have created a step-by-step guide: How to Ship a Vehicle from Puerto Rico to the US Mainland. In this guide, we provide detailed instructions on the end-to-end process to guarantee shipping a car to the US is quick and simple.

3) How will my car be shipped?

There are several ways to secure a car for transport. Dock workers with some carriers drive cars into shipping containers, roll down the windows and climb on the roof and trunk of the cars to exit the container. When the container arrives at destination, they do the same thing in reverse to get the car out.

Some carriers load multiple vehicles into open-air skeletal steel car racks. They lift these container racks on and off the vessel. These racks are often stowed on the vessel above deck, exposing vehicles to weather and marine elements. Crowley is the only vehicle carrier in the trade that transports cars in secure, enclosed, weather-proof auto garages aboard its ships. Vehicles are driven aboard, secured with lashings, and then driven off at the destination port.

4) How long will it take to ship a car from Puerto Rico to Florida?

If you use a carrier with ships, such as Crowley, the voyage from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Jacksonville, Florida takes about two and a half days. If you use a barge carrier, the trip will take six days to a week.

5) Does experience matter when it comes to selecting a car transportation provider?

For most people, their car, truck or SUV, is the second biggest investment they will make after their homes. Many also have a personal or emotional connection to their cars. They are wary to turn the keys over to a valet, let alone a shipping line at a port. If you want the best for your vehicle, you want an experienced service provider who truly knows car shipping. In the Puerto Rico market, that carrier is Crowley.

The company has been transporting vehicles for more than 65 years, longer than any other carrier in the trade. With Crowley, personalized customer service is included with every car shipment.

6) Can Crowley provide some additional tips and car shipping advice?

Of course.

First, after reviewing our how-to-ship-a-vehicle guide, give yourself ample time to ensure everything gets done. Waiting until the last minute to complete the paperwork is a decision that can delay the transport process.

When planning to drop off your vehicle at the port, you need to give yourself some time. Due to the requirements of both federal and local law, the processing of paperwork typically takes a minimum of 45 minutes for each customer waiting in line. Early arrival at the terminal is recommended for same day processing, as customers are handled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Clients can make the booking ahead of time, before arriving at our facilities to make the process easier. But it is important to have the required documentation ready to ensure processing. It is not advisable to drop-off the vehicle on the same day you are flying out of Puerto Rico,” said Jorge Escoda, car division manager for Crowley Logistics in Puerto Rico, who has more than 13 years of experience in the maritime industry.

In 2018, Crowley moved nearly 59,000 vehicles. This includes cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, heavy equipment, construction machinery, recreational vessels and mobile homes between Puerto Rico and ports in the US mainland.

No matter the type of vehicle you need to ship or its destination in the US, we know you may have more questions. Please consult our frequently asked questions or call 787-331-1421 for additional information, or to make a booking.