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What is Terminal to Terminal Car Shipping


Talk to people about shipping a car and most will mention door-to-door shipping. However, there is another option, although it’s not quite so popular. 

If you’d like to know more, this post will answer your questions. 

What is terminal-to-terminal auto transport?

Terminal-to-terminal car shipping is exactly what it says on the tin. Your car is shipped from one terminal to another. It’s your responsibility to get it to the terminal and then collect it from the terminal at the other end of the journey.

Terminal-to-terminal auto shipping is a great way to ship a car if your want to save money or your budget is limited. However, one downside is that it may take longer than door-to-door transport.      

Car shipping, terminal-to-terminal, used to be the go-to method of transporting cars across the United States. However, over the last few decades, the auto transport industry has really taken off and now there are many more carriers that offer door-to-door services. 

Terminals are not so commonplace anymore. The construction of numerous highways has made door-to-door car shipping a much easier option.

How terminal-to-terminal car transportation works

The process is relatively simple, although will be more involved than if you’d chosen door-to-door car shipping.

You request a quote

The first step is to contact a company that offers terminal-to-terminal shipping and request a quote. If you like the price, you can go ahead and make your booking.

You drop off your vehicle

Once your booking is confirmed, the next step is to take your vehicle to the designated terminal by the agreed date. At the terminal, there will be staff who will be able to guide you through the process and make sure the necessary paperwork is completed. 

Your vehicle is transported

Your vehicle will be securely loaded onto a transport trailer, along with other vehicles, and transported to the destination terminal. 

You pick up your vehicle

Once your vehicle has arrived at the destination terminal, it will be stored there until you’re ready to collect it. 

The benefits of terminal car shipping 

Auto transport, terminal-to-terminal, makes sense in some instances. For example, if you live in a metropolitan area where parking is restricted or access for large vehicles is limited, terminal-to-terminal shipping makes perfect sense. Other situations that might call for terminal car shipping include:

  • If you want to drop off or pick up your car on a specific date or time. You can schedule the drop-off or pick-up without having to coordinate with the carrier. 
  • If you don’t want to wait for a pick-up. Instead, you can collect your vehicle at a time that suits you.
  • If you don’t need your vehicle moved immediately but would like a place to store it.
  • If you want to arrange for someone else to drop off or pick up your vehicle.
  • If you want to save some money on your car shipping service. Terminal-to-terminal shipping tends to cost less. However, there is the addition of storage fees that you might need to consider. 
  • Carriers can also benefit from offering terminal-to-terminal shipping. When they transport vehicles to and from regional terminals and combine shipments that are heading in the same direction, it saves time and cost. 

The downsides of terminal-to-terminal car shipping

There are some very good reasons why terminal auto transport is not as popular as it once was. The drawbacks of this particular car shipping service include:

  • Scheduling the service and the process itself is far more complicated than door-to-door shipping. It’s not uncommon for transporters to wait until they’ve got a full load before pick-up.
  • Terminal-to-terminal transports tend to be limited as to the type of vehicle they can transport. If your vehicle is modified or lifted in any way, they might not be able to help you.
  • Terminals are only suitable for storing standard vehicles.
  • The number of terminals is very low.
  • Enclosed car shipping is not an option offered by terminal-to-terminal car shippers.
  • Your vehicle is left exposed to the elements when it’s at a terminal. 

As you can see, there are numerous disadvantages to using terminal-to-terminal shipping. This is why door-to-door transport is far more commonplace nowadays.

If you want a more convenient option for shipping your car, our shipping advisors will be happy to arrange door-to-door shipping for you. Call (864) 546-5038 or use Live Chat to request a quote.

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What is a car terminal?

A car terminal is basically a large vehicle storage facility. They tend to be located in large urban areas which is why they’re so convenient for carriers to access. There are usually dedicated areas for loading and unloading.

Carriers who use these facilities usually keep vehicles at the terminal for a few days before shipping. This ensures the carrier always leaves the terminal with a full trailer and helps them keep their costs lower.  

Is terminal-to-terminal shipping cheaper than door-to-door?

Yes, in general, terminal-to-terminal shipping is usually cheaper than door-to-door car shipping. This is because it requires less effort and resources from the carrier. However, if you live far from a terminal, there are additional consits to consider with regards to transportation to and from the terminal.  

How much do terminals charge?

Terminals tend to charge between $15 and $35 per day, depending on the location. This charge is just for storage. Transportation costs extra. 

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