Korea – Car Shipping Guide

Download the PDF version – Busan Car Shipping.pdf

1 Overview

There are many ports in South Korea to which you can ship your vehicle in a container. However, as far as we know only Busan has the necessary Customs office to process the import of your vehicle. The port in Busan is separated into two components – ferry passenger traffic and container traffic. You container will most likely arrive with the rest of the container traffic to Busan New Container Terminal, which is in a different location from the Ferry Terminal. The issue is that the Vehicle Clearance Office is located in the Ferry Terminal. It makes sense since most of the cars come in from Japan on a Ferry. This means that you will have to hire a company to move your container to the Ferry Terminal, sounds difficult but in reality not bad at all. After you get the container to the Ferry terminal, you open it, inspect, pay all the fees and leave. The container moving should be scheduled the day before you get to the Customs, once you get the container you can be out in less than 2 hours. The only difficulty in this process is not speaking Korean, so we provide some phrases that you can copy and past along with your English email you send to people/companies. Total cost to get the car out:

ItemKorean WonUSD
Shipping Company Destination Charges155,420129.52
SeaRoad Container Trucking180,000150.00
Auto Insurance 1 month172,000143.33
Container Unloading and Unstuffing152,900127.42
Container Storage fee 1 day13,00010.83
Guarantee Fee150,000125.00

I would like to thank Coen and Karin of LandCruising Adventures for providing us with their account of the process. To Jin for helping them and us. If you read their blog already, then you know that they got lucky and didn’t have to move the container from Busan New Container Terminal, their case was the one and only. The Customs guys got in trouble for that and will not do this for anyone anymore. Don’t worry read this and you will know how to move it yourself.


2 Necessary Things to Temporarily Import Your Car to Korea

2.1 Auto Insurance

Car insurance is mandatory to drive a vehicle in Korea and you will not be allowed to get a temporary import permit without it. We contacted Brian Kim at Samsung Insurance to get our insurance
his email is lasmid@hanmail.net. Prices from 2016 for our Land Cruiser 100 for 1 month was 172,000 KRW. LandCruising Adventures paid 400 USD for 6 months.

2.2 International Driver License
2.3 Vehicle Ownership Certificate

For our California registered Land Cruiser we were able to present a Title. We were also asked about our California registration, which we couldn’t produce since it already expired. We said that
we dont have it and it was not an issue.

3 Before you show up at the Customs

  1. Check to make sure your container is on its way. http://www.track-trace.com/container
  2. A couple of days before the container arrives call or email your shipping company. You will need to give them you BOL or container number, they will give you an actual amount you need to pay to them for handling the container in port of arrival. This is known as “Destination Charges”.  We shipped with China Shipping and got the following invoice:destination_charges
  3. At the bottom of the invoice you can find a temporary account number to which you need to deposit this sum, in our case 155,420 Korean Won. To do this you can go into any bank branch and deposit cash with a teller.
    English – “Hello, we would like to send money to this account XXX-XX-XXXXX-X.”
    Korean – “안녕하세요. 이 계좌번호로 송금하려고 하는데요””
    You will get a deposit slip, fill it out with your name, shipping company account number.
    Get a receipt, take a picture of it and email it back to your shipping company representative. Ask for the location of your container, most likely it will be Busan New Container Terminal.
  4. Get an Electronic Delivery Order (eD/O) in your name from the Shipping Company. If they complain for whatever reason, just stick to your guns and ask them to send it to you over email. At this point you are done with the shipping company.
  5. Since the container is most likely in the Busan New Container Terminal, you need to have it trucked over to the Vehicle Inspection Area. The New Container Terminal does have a
    customs office, but it cannot inspect vehicle or issue temporary import permits. We used SeaRoad Global Logistics (http://www.searoad.or.kr) and called them over the phone. The day before you show up at the customs email them and ask them to move the container to “Busan International Ferry Terminal”. You will get a quote and will have to pay it at the bank, follow the instructions for Shipping Company payment.
    Try to send this email to them.
    English – “Hello, we have a car in a container at the Busan New Container Terminal, we need to move the container to Busan Passenger Terminal code 03002009 for vehicle inspection
    and import.We would like to schedule a truck for ……..(insert date and time). Our shipping company is ……………….. (insert your shipping company) and our container number
    is …………………(insert your container number). Included you will find a copy of our Electronic Delivery Order. Please let us know the time it will be moved, amount to pay and bank
    account for payment. Please respond only in English we do not speak Korean at all. Thank you very much!”
    Korean – ‘‘안녕하세요, 저희 차량이 실린 컨테이너가 부산신항에 도착했는데 (date and time)에 차량 검문과 임시통관을 위해부산여객터미널로 보세운송을 요청합니다. 보세구역코드는 03002009입니다. 선박회사는 (insert shipping company)이고 컨테이너 번호는 (container number)입니다. eD/O 사본도 첨부합니다. 운송 일자와 시간이 정해지면 영수금액과 은행계좌정보를 부탁드립니다. 저희는 한국어를 하지 못하는 점을 양해바라며 영문으로 답변주시면 감사하겠습니다. 감사합니다.”
  6. Email the customs (hyw0603@customs.go.kr) people and let them know you are coming, so they can mentally prepare for dealing with you.
    English – “Hello Customs, we are the travelers from (your country) trying to travel Korea with our own car. the container with our car should be arriving tomorrow. We will unload it and will need to process it for temporary import to Korea. Our name is ………(insert your name) and our car is registered in ………..(insert your country). We have auto insurance, international driver license and vehicle ownership paperwork. Thank you.”
    Korean – “안녕하세요, 저희는 차로 한국을 여행하고자 하는 (country)사람입니다. 다름이 아니라 저희 차량이 들어있는 컨테이너가 내일 도착합니다. 하역 후 한국으로의 임시통관을 진행하려고 합니다. 저희의 이름은 (your name)이고 차량은 (your country)에 등록되어있습니다. 차량보험과 국제면허증 그리고 차량등록증이 모두 준비되었습니다. 감사합니다.”
  7. You are ready to go to the Customs.

4 At The Busan Customs

  1. Vehicle Clearance Office
    Located in the building of Busan International Ferry Terminal on the first floor next to the security gates. Here are the GPS coordinates: 35.118514, 129.049924. In side the office introduce yourself and mention that you have a car that you need to import. Most of the time these guys deal with cars coming in on a ferry from Japan and not with containers. Assure them that you have the container delivered to this terminal and that you will go open it right now.
  2. Walk through the security to get your container.Now you need to go to the “Container Delivery” area to open you container and get your car out. You will need your passport to get through the security, if the security is not allowing you to go through ask them to call the “Vehicle Clearance Office”. Once in, go all the way to the building and inside ask for the office. They will organize the container unloading from the truck, opening it up and unstuffing it. And we asked, you can unstuff it yourself, but you will still get charged for it. So just let them do it.
    The workers are unfamiliar with the process and might ask you for a temporary import permit, which you cannot have before the inspection. Don’t worry and say you dont need it, if there is still an issue ask them to call the Vehicle Clearance Office.
  3. Drive your car back to the inspection area
    Drive your car back to the Vehicle Inspection Area, a worker from the “Unloading Company” will escort you there.
  4. Vehicle inspection and X-ray
    First the bottom of the car will be examined and recorded with a CCTV camera. Then one of the customs officers will ask you to unload some things from your car and put them through the x-ray machine. The worker from the “Unloading company” will most likely help you out, as he has to wait for you to get your import permit, so the sooner you finish the sooner he can move on.
  5. Vehicle Guarantee Fee
    After the inspection, walk out of the Vehicle Inspection office, turn left and walk along the building for 50 meters to the Vehicle Guarantee Fee office. Here you will pay anywhere from 150,000-180,000 KRW depending on your engine displacement. They will need a Korean address and phone number, just use the address and phone number of the hotel you are staying at. This is a non-refundable fee.
  6. Back to Vehicle Clearance Office
    Walk back to the Vehicle Clearance Office, hand in your receipt, passport, vehicle ownership doc, international driver license, vehicle insurance. You will get two documents: a yellow windshield sticker and the temporary import permit.
  7. Pay for Container Unloading
    Walk back to the building where you will pay two different companies. First upstairs you will need to pay for the container storage fee (13,000 KRW) even an hour counts as a single day.
    Second, you will go downstairs and pay for the container moving from the truck to the ground and unstuffing (152,900 KRW). Get your receipts and you are done.
    Walk to your car, the security will ask you for your permit, show it to them and you are free to overland this beautiful country.

5 The documents from our process


Electronic Delivery Order



Vehicle Guarantee Fee



Container Storage Receipts



Temporary Import Permit



Container Unloading and Unstuffing fee





3 Comment

  1. […] Edited to add, June 3, 2016: about 2 weeks after our arrival, Ivan and Hyein arrived in Korea with their car in a container as well. They had to get it trucked from the Container Terminal to the Ferry Terminal, which went easy and wasn’t that expensive. Read their full write-up here. […]

  2. Katya says:

    Ваня, вся наша большая семья поздравляет тебя с Днем Рождения!!! Удачи вам в пути! Наслаждайтесь разными странами, культурами, языками.
    И ждем тебя в Москве!!!

    Катя, Леша, Саша, дядя Олег, тетя Оля, Миша и все, все, все…

    1. irazinkov@gmail.com says:

      Spasibo vam vsem…mi vo Vladivostoke…zhdem mashinu…potom k vam poedem

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