Shipping to Vietnam: 2 vans with no bumpers

From Los Angeles, California to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam:

There doesn’t seem to be a shipment type that causes more unnecessary stress for the owners of the cargo than when shipping autos of some kind. In a lot of ways, auto freight is a complicated undertaking, but when you’ve been in the business as long as I have, it’s almost second nature.

We recently had a client shipping two trucks to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, from Los Angeles, California. Shipping a single vehicle is quite a bit different from when multiple vehicles are present, and not many people realize that. So, for those of you needing to ship multiple vehicles, I thought would help by showing what you need to look out for.

1. The routing:

The 2 vans were shipped from the port of Long Beach to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Catlai terminal. The buyer requested our international shipping company to pick up the vans in one trip from two separate dealerships, and retrieve the original manufacturer certificate of origin (MSO) in lieu of an original title.

The MSO replaces the title when a vehicle is new and purchased at the dealership.

2. The warehouse:

We received the vehicles, then created a report of the condition for each car, then recorded our own measurements to assess the loading, blocking, & bracing into an ocean container.

It turned out that the vans were too long to fit into one 40-foot container, but just barely. So, by removing the font and back bumpers and the grill, and building a small ramp, we were actually able to get them into a single unit after all!

We ended up saving them a lot of money that way, because the second container would have essentially doubled the shipment costs.

3. The FPA cargo insurance:

You always have the option to purchase up to 110% of the vehicles’ value, or you can lower. We opted for full coverage, and a certificate was provided.

4. The storage:

They ended up needing to wait a few weeks before shipping in order to get the timing just right. So, we helped them reduce some of their costs with a week of free storage inside a secure warehouse.

5. Booking:

The space for a 40 foot HQ was reserved with the carrier and a container number, vessel name, ETD / ETA were confirmed by the carrier to the forwarders.

6. The shipping documents:

You should always end up with a draft of the bill of lading to verify that all shipper/consignee information & commodities, etc. are correct. Then your forwarder should verify everything matches.

7. Container dray:

Container dray is when your chassis is picked up by the designated trucker along with retrieving the ocean container before positioning at the warehouse.

8. The Customs:

Your forwarders will help you get the MSOs / titles (originals) validated with the US Customs.

9. The loading of the 2 vans into the 40’ HQ container:

We removed the bumpers & grills as well as building a short ramp to fit the vans into 1 container, then blocked & braced each van securely to prevent any shifting during transportation.

10. The container loaded returning to the departure port:

The container was sealed off & seal number shown on all documents. In this scenario, we had a target date to meet for the customer & in order to be successful, we had to pull the container out of the port the night before & keep the container in our secure yard.

11. The Terminal in Long Beach:

Once at the terminal, the container was picked up by a crane, and loaded onto the vessel reflecting the booking information.

12. The shipping:

We sail once per week & the estimated transit time from Long Beach to Ho Chi Minh is 25 days. 

13. The arrival and aftermath:


The shipper / consignee needed to clear the shipment through Vietnamese Customs & retrieve the container & their cargo. The container needed to be promptly returned to the destination terminal.


Not all forwarders will be able to manage every piece of the process I outlined for you here, so be sure that they are detailed in their estimate, and include information that explains the different legs of the process as well as the price.

Know your products well, including their weights & dimensions (Click HERE to calculate volume and HERE to download a free US to metrics conversion calculator).

Do YOU have a vehicle or two that you’re trying to get from one country to the next? Let us help. Click HERE for a free quote:

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