Eastern Europe Shipping Blog

Expert tips on smarter shipping between the U.S. and Eastern Europe, including shipping of heavy goods.

A Comprehensive Guide to Shipping a Car to Poland from USA


The volume of cars shipped internationally is on the rise, with Poland becoming an increasingly popular destination for vehicles from the United States. Understanding the detailed process, regulations, and costs of car shipping is essential for a smooth experience.


Is it Worth it to Ship a Car to Poland?

shipping a car to PolandThe expat population is growing in Poland. More people are moving there for job opportunities and a lower cost of living.  When it comes to driving, cars move on the right-hand side of the road, making it convenient for American drivers. The demand for imported cars make shipping a car to Poland attractive for many.

Deciding whether to ship a car to Poland hinges on several factors. Smart budgeting and understanding specific expenses, such as excise taxes and insurance costs, are crucial. Additionally, being aware of the regulations around lithium batteries and any hazmat considerations is essential for electric or hybrid cars. If these aspects are managed well, along with a clear understanding of the customs duties and processes, shipping a car to Poland from the USA can be a smart  decision.


Five Tips for Successfully Shipping a Car to Poland

We've compiled five essential tips to help you navigate the journey of shipping a car from the United States to Poland. Whether you're a first-time shipper or have some experience, these tips will ease the complexity of the shipping process.


1. Understand Import Regulations and Requirements

When importing a vehicle to Poland, several documentation and compliance requirements exist. These include providing proof of ownership, vehicle title, and registration. The vehicle must also meet Poland's emission and safety standards as mandated by the Road Traffic Act. The registration process, overseen by the Starosta (local authority), requires an administrative decision and involves various fees. For vehicles imported from outside the E.U., they grant a 30-day authorization post-customs clearance.


2. Choose the Right Shipping Method

For international car shipping, each shipping method offers different advantages, depending on your needs.

  • RO-RO (Roll-on/Roll-off) Shipping is the most cost-effective and straightforward method if you’re only shipping a car since you are just paying for the space the car takes up on the vessel. Much like the ferries we see in the U.S., someone drives your car onto the ship and then drives off at the destination port. However, RO-RO ships only operate at specific ports and, for Poland, this might mean traveling to a port in Germany to claim your car. Additionally, with RO-RO you cannot ship personal effects inside your car. RO-RO offers protection from the elements since cars travel below deck, but this shipping method doesn't offer the same protection as being inside a container. Vehicles being shipped using Roll-on/Roll-off can only be insured against total loss. That's because there is no way to determine if there was damage prior to departure as port inspections are not performed upon vehicle receipt.
  • Container Shipping is often the safest and most secure way to ship your car. It can also be the cheapest if you opt for consolidated container shipping service, which combines your car/goods with those of other shippers who share the cost. Container shipping allows you to load the car and the rest of the container with personal effects, making it an ideal choice if you are moving (check out our detailed guide on shipping personal items overseas).  If you include other items along with a car, it's advisable to load these first and then place the car towards the door for easy access during customs inspection. 
  • Air Freight is obviously the quickest method but by far the most expensive. This option would only be suitable for high-value vehicles or when time is crucial.

Choosing between RO-RO and container shipping hinges on your specific needs, budget, and the level of protection you desire for your vehicle during transit.


3. Prepare Your Car for Shipping

Here's how to get your car ready to ensure safe and smooth transit from the United States to Poland.

  • Document the Car's Condition: Before shipping, thoroughly clean your car's interior and exterior to identify pre-existing damage and for a more precise inspection upon arrival. Take photographs and document the condition of your car before shipping. This documentation can be crucial in any disputes regarding the car's condition upon arrival.
  • Personal Items: If you opt for RO-RO shipping, ensure your car is empty. If you're using a container, you can pack personal effects along with the car. This handy checklist can help when if you’re planning to ship personal effects overseas. 
  • Electric and Hybrid Vehicles: If shipping an electric or hybrid vehicle, be mindful of the regulations regarding lithium batteries. Due to their high energy density, these batteries are classified as hazardous and require compliance with specific packaging and handling regulations. 
  • Secure the Vehicle: If you choose a shipping container, you want to ensure your car won't roll, shift, or have any personal items fall on it. You can opt for specific wheel chocks for container shipping or DIY some with 2x4s. 

It's a long journey across the ocean. Following these steps can ensure your car and personal belongings will make it safely to Poland.


4. Navigate Customs and Clearance in Poland

Shipping a car to Poland comes with various costs, including shipping fees, insurance, and customs duties. Specific excise taxes apply based on engine size: 3.1% for engines up to 2000 cm3 and 18.6% for engines above 2000 cm3. You'll also need customs declarations, inspection certificates, and proof of ownership. Leveraging an expert in shipping personal effects can save money, time, and frustration.


5. Work with a Reliable Shipping Partner

Choosing the right shipping partner for shipping a car to Poland simplifies the process and provides peace of mind. Here are key considerations when selecting a shipping partner:

  • Experience in USA-Poland Routes: It helps to work with an experienced shipping company that understands USA to Poland shipping and the logistics and challenges specific to this lane. 
  • Comprehensive Services: The right shipping partner can offer you not only international auto shipping services but all the services you require for your move – from booking to documentation requirements to advice on customs clearance. That partner should be able to advise you on the best shipping method for your needs, whether it's RO-RO or container. Their expertise will guide you in making an informed decision that aligns with your budget and requirements.

By working with a trusted shipping partner like I.C.E. Transport, one with strong roots in Poland, you can rest assured that your car shipment to Poland will be handled professionally and with the utmost care. 


Shipping a Car to Poland from the US? Trust the Experts to Help

While complex, shipping a car from the United States to Poland can be navigated smoothly with the proper knowledge and guidance. By partnering with a trusted and experienced shipping company like I.C.E. Transport, you can ensure a hassle-free process fine-tuned over decades of experience shipping between the U.S. and Poland. Contact I.C.E. Transport today for expert guidance and to streamline your car shipping experience to Poland.


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