How To Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipment

Vehicle Requirements

  • Vehicles must be in operating condition when tendered for shipment, with a working emergency brake.
  • Vehicles must either be licensed or qualified to be licensed for operation on public streets or highways.
  • Windshields and windows must be free of cracks and other damage.

Matson reserves the right to reject receipt of cargo if the vehicle does not meet the requirements for safe transportation & handling by our stevedore or our vessel operations.

Please complete the following prerequisites prior to dropping off your vehicle at the port for shipment:

  • Wash your vehicle.
  • Remove all personal belongings from your vehicle*.
  • Reduce fuel level to ¼ tank or less.
  • Remove all fire extinguishers from your vehicle.
  • Empty all auxiliary propane tanks if your vehicle carries any.
  • For electric vehicles only, please fully charge the battery.

* When shipping between Tacoma and Alaska see details on personal belongings


Wash Vehicle

Wash your vehicle before dropping it off at the port.
All vehicles must have a clean exterior so that a vehicle survey may be conducted at the load port. Dirty vehicles will not be accepted.

Please Note: Vehicles are subject to stringent inspections by the USDA. It is the responsibility of the shipper to have the interior and exterior of the vehicle thoroughly cleaned. Example: The USDA looks for clumps of mud in wheel wells or under the vehicle’s carriage, under the hood of vehicles is also inspected, the USDA also looks for dirt, grass, plant seeds in the interior as well as the exterior and for anything that they consider invasive. If your vehicle fails a USDA inspection at origin, Matson will be unable to ship your vehicle until the vehicle has been properly cleaned at your expense and re-inspected by the USDA. If your vehicle fails a USDA inspection at destination, Matson will be unable to release your vehicle to you until the vehicle has been properly cleaned at your expense and re-inspected by the USDA.

The USDA inspection does not apply to vehicles moving to or from the Tacoma port, however vehicles must be clean as they are still subjected to a survey at the origin port.


Remove All Personal Belongings

You may leave up to two child car seats in the vehicle. If you have an electric car, please leave the charging cable inside the vehicle.
The only other items acceptable for shipment in your automobile are accessories attached by the manufacture to the vehicle, or permanently installed in the dash, doors, rear deck, or console. For example the following items should be removed:

  • All personal items
  • Loose radios
  • CD’s
  • Tape players and tapes
  • Compact disc players and discs
  • Portable telephones of any type
  • Power boosters
  • Equalizers
  • Radar scanners
  • Extra speakers or amplifiers
  • Decorative ornaments
  • Auto protective covers/auto bras
  • Truck tailgate nets
  • Auto roof racks if not factory installed
  • Theft alarm systems (if you choose to leave the car alarm in your vehicle, make sure that the system is disengaged prior to shipment)
  • Toll tags

Please Note: Personal effects are permitted to be shipped in your privately owned vehicle for an extra fee only when shipping between Matson Tacoma port and Alaska ports of Anchorage, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. Ammunition and Explosives are NOT permitted. Please contact Alaska Customer Service at 1-877- 678-SHIP or email alaskacs@matson.com if you have any questions.


Fuel Level, Fire Extinguishers and Propane Tanks

Fuel Level

  • The vehicle’s gasoline or fuel level must ¼ tank full or less.
  • For electric vehicles, batteries should be fully charged.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Must be removed. Federal regulations do not permit fire extinguishers to be shipped with your automobile.

Propane tanks

  • Vehicles with propane tanks for auxiliary uses must be delivered for shipment with the propane tanks empty of any liquid or fumes.
  • The empty tank must be tagged and certified as “gas free” by an authorized propane dealer or service company. We recommend that you verify the cost of emptying and certifying propane tanks. It may be less costly to purchase a new tank at your destination.