Feel like you need an overland driving adventure? Want to get your vehicle out of Australia and into Asia? It’s not as difficult as you may think.
Once you’ve got the paperwork sorted the process itself is smooth sailing. You just need to pre-plan, have a little patience and have the funds to make it happen.
STEP 1 – GET A CARNET
Think of it as your vehicle’s passport. A temporary import document that, in theory, allows you to drive in and out of most countries without paying exorbitant import fees.
The RAC in Australia organise this and it helps to be one of their members beforehand (it will cost you slightly less and you have the benefit of reciprocating membership in those countries with their own RAC association)
- Valid for 12 months and good for 25 countries
- The overall cost is calculated on the estimated value of your vehicle x the % demanded by the countries you’re travelling through. Most range from 100 – 200% (Iran, Egypt are 470%!)
- Get a low valuation for your vehicle; the carnet will cost you less. Speak to Tim at Brisbane 4×4, 537 Gympie Rd, Brisbane (07) 3359 9177
- Processing fee of $400 plus the amount of security required – there are several ways to pay this
- Apply one month out from your departure
- Ensure your vehicle registration is paid, for the duration of your carnet. You can pre-pay at the Department of Transport if it expires whilst you’re away
- Wait patiently for the 2nd most important document after your passport to arrive
- Slap the big AUS sticker on the car!
STEP 2 – FIND A GOOD SHIPPING AGENT
- It’s the biggest single cost you’ll have to fork out. Contact a few and shop around. They all do the same job but don’t offer the same service quality! I went with Brad and the team at EDI Customs and had a great experience
- Think about the final destination. I chose Singapore for historical reasons but Kuala Lumpur can be cheaper once your vehicle hits the tarmac
- Prepare a full kit list for the vehicle contents including tools, spares and personal effects
- Clean the vehicle thoroughly inside and out. This saves on the extra cleaning fee from customs at the port of arrival
- If you have a roof-tent you’ll need to take it off to fit into the container
- With EDI Customs I paid the final invoice for all Australian and Singapore fees before departing. It leaves nothing to worry about at the other end
STEP 3 – MAKE IT LEGAL (SINGAPORE)
- Getting there a few days before the ship means you can have all the paperwork organised in advance
- Have a valid International Driving Licence (issued in Australia)
- Visit the AA Office to pay for:
- International Circulation Permit – $53.50 (Singapore $)
- Local insurance – $50/day (cost varies with vehicle type)
- Campervans, caravans and vehicles with cooking/sleeping facilities are illegal on Singapore roads. Tell them what they need to know and nothing more!
- Visit LTA (Land Transport Authority)
- Autopass card allows you to drive on the toll roads, of which there are many – $10 issue fee. $5 per day of driving in the ERP zone
STEP 4 – ARRIVING IN A FOREIGN LAND (SINGAPORE)
- Collecting your vehicle in person means entering the secure port area. For this you need the shipping agent to arrange a security pass in advance. You pay a $3.50 fee in person but can’t use cash or a credit card, only a local cashcard – as your agent about using their one!
- Be there at the port for the “unstuffing” of the container. That way you know all your personal effects are all still there and untouched
- Turn the key and drive out
- Get the first stamp in your carnet and drive!