Terminal to Terminal Car Shipping Services | CitizenShipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated: March 8, 2023 / Published: July 16, 2020

Terminal to Terminal Car Shipping

Most vehicle haulers using the CitizenShipper platform offer door-to-door delivery as the default option. However, you might occasionally run into one offering terminal-to-terminal shipping instead. 

If you’re unsure of what the word terminal means in this context, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a brief rundown of how this type of transport usually works.

What do they mean by “terminal” anyway?

A transport terminal is a location at which multiple cars wait to be transported or picked up. You can think of it as a great big parking lot maintained by vehicle shipping companies. They are sometimes located near airport terminals (hence the name). However, they can just as easily be found in residential urban areas or right next to major junctions.

Terminals are used by car haulers to save time and money. It’s easier and quicker to just drive up to one and load the cars they’re hauling all at once. (As opposed to stopping at a bunch of smaller places, picking up one car at a time.) The same logic applies to deliveries! When haulers drop off all the cars at a terminal, they’re free to move on to their next shipment. The car owners come by the terminal at their own convenience to pick them up.

What’s the advantage of a terminal-to-terminal car shipping?

There are two main upsides when shipping cars terminal-to-terminal, and they’re closely related.

First off, this type of shipping is more flexible when it comes to time. You can drop your car off at your local terminal and move on with your day, no need to worry about when the hauler will be available to pick it up. For some people, this works better than door-to-door delivery which requires you to be at home when the hauler arrives.

Again, the same dynamic applies to deliveries as well. When your car is dropped off at a terminal, the shipping company simply notifies you. You can go there at a time of your choosing and pick it up. No need to match your schedule with the hauler’s! 

The second advantage, obviously, is the affordability. The hauler saves money by shipping to a terminal instead of your doorstep. That, in turn, allows them to offer you a lower quote while still turning a profit. It’s hard to estimate just how money can be saved this way, but it’s often in the hundreds of dollars.

Any downsides to speak of?

A couple, sure. First off, it’s not always convenient to drop your car off at a terminal or pick it up from one. If you’re located far from metropolitan areas or major shipping routes, there might not be any terminals in your immediate surroundings.

Second, there are always queues at terminals. After you leave your car there, it’s hard to say when a hauler might get around to picking it up. The estimated wait time at most terminals is between two and seven days. And while your car waits, it might be exposed to the elements or at risk of theft. Terminals have their own security, of course, but the car is still essentially unattended.

Which type of shipping should you go with?

Ultimately, only you can answer this question. Terminal-to-terminal or door-to-door, each approach comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

If you’re looking to cut down on the cost of transport and avoid messing about with haulers’ scheduling, who could blame you? Terminal-to-terminal car shipping services could be just what the doctor ordered.

On the other hand, perhaps you prefer having your car picked up/dropped off at your doorstep? If you don’t mind paying a little more for this convenience, then door-to-door shipping is for you.

Whichever way you decide to go, we advise you to explore all available options. There’s a whole lot of independent transporters out there, ready to send in their quotes. Using an online marketplace, you can pick out the most competent, most dependable haulers around.

Stay safe, and happy shipping!