Auto Shipping when Car Arrives Ahead of Schedule

What if my car arrives before I do?


Sometimes plans don’t go as expected and you end up being unable to meet your vehicle when it arrives. Luckily, Auto Transportation professionals are very familiar with the volatile nature of the industry and are quite understanding when surprises inevitably pop up. In this article, we will cover a few options that may be available to you in these types of circumstances.


  • Always insist that your preferred arrival time is listed in your Dispatch Sheet.

Due to the numerous factors that could affect a Carrier’s progress on the road, the industry can never guarantee times of arrival to its customers. Your driver may arrive hours before, or hours later, than originally estimated. However, having special mention of your request in the dispatch sheet will mean that your Shipping Broker will have some additional negotiating power with the Carrier should they arrive at a time vastly different to what was initially projected. Your agent may be able to arrange that the Carrier wait until you arrive or to ensure that extra effort is made to ensure your car is delivered to a secure location as per your instructions.

Similarly, you can specifically request how far in advance you wish to be informed of the Carrier’s arrival time. This will also allow your Broker to insist on special dispensation should your Carrier fail to reasonably comply with this update request.

  • Delegate a Representative / Consignee

In those cases where you are unable to meet your Carrier within a reasonable timeframe, you can delegate someone you trust to be your representative at the time of delivery.

You will need to send identification and contact details of this person to your Broker or Transport Company prior to delivery. Name, contact details and identification reference numbers should be sufficient in most cases. These should be submitted in writing.

Your representative will be required to inspect your vehicle upon delivery, take interior and exterior photographs to record the condition of the vehicle, pay Cash on Delivery (COD) to the driver and to sign the Bill of Lading (BoL) after the inspection is completed. Instruct your representative to inform you of any damages prior to signing the BoL.

  • Use Terminal Drop-Off facilities

In circumstances where you are not able to get someone to be there for the delivery of your vehicle, you can ask your driver about the possibility of a ‘terminal drop-off‘. Many larger cities will have shipping terminals available for use. You will be required to pay an extra fee for using a terminal rather than the original door-to-door drop-off as previously arranged.

Some shippers opt for a terminal-to-terminal shipment from the very start. In these instances, the customer will drop their vehicle off at a terminal and wait for a Carrier to transport their vehicle to a terminal closest to their destination point. The downside to this type of shipping option is that Carriers will wait for enough vehicles needing the same transport route before embarking on the journey. This will mean that in most situations, terminal-to-terminal options are not the quickest solution for auto transport.

How would you receive your vehicle from a Terminal?

Most customers opting for a terminal-to-terminal shipment are those who live in areas where a door-to-door shipment may not be possible. The rest are usually customers who were unable to meet their drivers at the agreed pick-up location.

For both sets of customers, the driver will leave the vehicle along with all it’s necessary paperwork for the transportation with a terminal attendant. This attendant will keep your items safe until you are able to retrieve them. As the terminal is also a car storage facility, you may be required to pay a service fee for each day to leave your vehicle on the premises.


As the Auto Shipping process is vulnerable to numerous elements that could delay the progress of each shipment, it is highly recommended that you use the services of an Auto Shipping Broker. As Shipping Specialists, Brokers will be able to ensure your shipment proceeds as smoothly as possible. In cases where issues crop up, your Auto Shipping Broker will be able to make sure you’re provided with the full power of their expertise and industry knowledge to ensure your vehicle gets to you in good time and on budget.



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