Shipping a Vehicle Dili to Darwin

carcleaning2_014.jpgShipping a vehicle from Dili to Darwin

A British couple, Maz and Alex and showed up at the Backpackers Guest House in Dili a couple of days ago.

They had a great trip across Europe, the Middle East, through Iran and Pakistan, across China into Laos and across Indonesia via Borneo and Sulawasi to East Timor.


Getting from Indonesia to Australia is a challenge.

Vehicles could be shipped from Surabayah in Java to Freemantle in Australia as an option, but you would miss driving across Flores and seeing Komodo and maybe Kelimutu and Bajawa.

Tcarcleaning2_005.jpghe people of Flores are very friendly and full of smiles and laughter so it would be a shame to miss that part of the world especially since you were that close anyway.

There is a ferry from Maumere to Kupang. You could go all the way to the east end of Flores to Larentuka and take the ferry to Kupang in West Timor from there as well.

From Kupang it is a 10 to 12 hour drive to Dili crossing the border near Atambua.

carcleaning2_015.jpgThis page is mostly going to deal with shipping a vehicle from Dili in East Timor to Darwin in Australia.

Perkins Shipping is one of the shipping companies in Dili that will transport vehicles to Australia. SDV is the local agent customs agent. There are usually at least 2 ships a month leaving to Australia.

The Australian customs people have very strict control when dealing with imported vehicles which have to be cleaned of any foreign matter that might be inadvertently introduced to the country.

carcleaning2_006.jpg All dirt, mud, seeds, stalks, insects and any other organic matter must be removed before shipping the vehicle. There are a few companies in Dili that provide the service or the tools and support staff to do it.

It is a bit more involved than a regular car wash. All the trim was removed to facilitate the cleaning. Each piece was meticulously scrubbed and then dried in the sun. Some parts were reinstalled but some were put in plastic bags to allow for inspection by the customs people.

woodshop_019.jpgEven if the vehicle owner does a lot of the work it will cost between 500 and 1000 dollars US.

You need a pressure washer and air compressor to blast the dirt from hard to reach spots.

The vehicle should stay in the yard till it has been cleaned completely top to bottom and then loaded into a 20′ container and sent out.

carcleaning_046.jpgThe process could take up to 5 days or so to get everything in order remembering that all the baggage that is going to be shipped has to be gone over too.

A-1 Services has a big but dusty yard and can facilitate the cleaning or you could contract out to a local freelancer for 45 to 55 USD an hour.

The whole procedure is quite expensive with port fees on both ends plus the cost of shipping and cleaning.


Missed a spot!

A rough estimate of charges:

Aprox 600.00 USD for shipping the container

A BAF charge of 125 USD (some kind of port fee)

Port charges in Darwin 335 AUD

Quarantine fees in Australia 157 AUD for the first half hour – 80 AUD per half hour thereafter plus a 37 AUD admin fee

Cleaning and prep charges 500 to 1000 USD depending on your haggling skills

carcleaning_042.jpg Passengers are not allowed on the boat so you will have to figure in the cost of a flight to Darwin too.

Air North is the carrier and the fare can fluctuate greatly so be sure to check this out before you use this info. On the internet it was possible at this time to find a flight for 159 USD plus 30 USD tax.

Always check the fares on the internet before you come all this way because they can vary greatly.

Be sure to check out Alex and Maz’s website!

Container being loaded on a ship bound for Darwin.

Here is an update from Maz:

Sorry in the delay in reply….we finally got our car through quarantine and custom and into Aus!!!

customs actually seized the car in the container, took it from the port to a customs inspection house and took it to pieces! Thankfully, we had already done most of it and left it all loose for quarantine to inspect, so they only managed to break the back door handle. While customs had the car, quarantine also had a route through (we were kept in the dark for most of it which was extremely stressful, we only found out about it as we asked where the keys were), but in the end I think it worked in our favour. They seized the blowpipe which we knew they would and also codeine tabs which are illegal here. It hadn’t even crossed my mind!! Ironically they allowed us to keep our mandau (knife) which with a 10inch blade obviously isn’t as dangerous as a beautifully carved piece of bamboo with a hole in the middle!

However, we were not actually allowed to take the car home that day, even though it had passed all quarantine inspections….as they lazy buggers up here don’t work full days and the shipping company knocked off just as the inspection started at 3.30pm! All an anti-climax which is a shame.

We then took it to Toyota, who after a month or so of Alex writing to them about all the serious problems with her, said no problem bring the car in…..after 5 days and lots of calling, we eventually got to speak with Toyota who said “oh, we don’t do automatic transmissions” this is the main problem with the car (i.e. the gear box) What?!?!?!?! Thankfully it is all fixed and we could get to the outback (even if it was a month after arriving in Aus).

So we have now driven and walked around Kakadu, canoed down part of Katherine Gorge and just finished the Gibb River road. We have just arrived in Broome and hoping to meet up with my mum and dad in the near future for Xmas. Where do you think you’ll be?

Hope to hear you news.

All the best
Maz & Alex

Shipping a vehicle from Dili to Darwin

Oct 25, 2006

22 responses to “Shipping a Vehicle Dili to Darwin”

  1. We were very excited to read in your website the information on the tour to Australia . We are planning a trip on the route Riga(LATVIA) – Melbourne this year with specially equipped vehicles. We will appreciate a lot if you could send us some useful information out of your experience about ferry traffic between Malaysia and Indonesia, among islands of Indonesia and from Dili to Darwin?

    Thank you in advance
    Ivo Lismanis

  2. Those “lazy buggers” at Perkins are generally out working by 7am every morning and rarely get time for a break. If, by 3.30pm after a day in the tropical sun, you are tired then I suppose you can consider yourself a lazy bugger too.

  3. can anyone help me, three of us plan to buy a van, pos. a merc sprinter. about £8000 to go overland from london to darwin australia, inc visas, diesel, carnet for the van, ferrys, & the cost of living. what would the rough total cost be.
    many thanks.

  4. can u please contact me as soon as u can

  5. Hi dp,
    I would love to chat. In need of info on driving through the island and you seem like the right guy to talk to.

    Hope to receive your reply soon!

  6. Hi all!
    I’m from Vietnam.
    Next week, I have a vessel to Dili.
    Pls tell me about a shipping agency at Dili.
    Tks for your support

  7. dear sir,
    we are looking job in Vessel in dili,pls help for in shipp thank you,
    best Regrads,

  8. dear sir,
    we are in india,we like to job in vessel pls help us .if you have any kind of help job for us,We came in dili for job,When you call us thank you,
    Best Regrads,

  9. dear sir
    please can you provide me your office contact
    we have some informations to ask

    thanks and best regards,

  10. I was excited when i read your story of Moving from Dili to Darwin. We are going the same way with motorhomes. We are coming from germany. A group of 24 cars! I want to know how is process look like? Do you know it by heart? Could you tell me step by step for shipping cars from dili to darwin and process/challenges which we will face one by one, organization by organization? I will apreciate if you let me know in details and that will make our shipping thing easier by knowing it earlier.

    My email. Dehdarali @ gmail . com

    All the best,

    Al Dehdar
    www . abenteuerosten . de

  11. you can help me pliz

  12. inquiring does your shipping company transport vehicals also do you’s deal in shipping 1meter x 1meter cages to east timor. And possibility of obtain a price listing from you’s please
    Thank you

  13. Hello,

    I’m trying to find if you know of any boats that possibly take passengers from Darwin to E Timor please?

    Very Best Wishes, Beverley

Leave a Reply

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *