Vehicle Requirements

  • Vehicles must be in operating condition when tendered for shipment, with a working emergency brake.
  • Vehicles with a warning light to check engine, airbags, or tires will be refused.
  • 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.
  • Vehicles must have 6-inch minimum ground clearance.

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 be advised that any vehicles exceeding the Matson maximum dimensions for personal vehicles and/or vehicles with machinery, commercial vehicles, or vehicles with built-in accommodations for cooking or sleeping will be refused. Modified vehicle information must be confirmed with customer service prior to arrival at the port. Please contact the Matson Conventional team to book vehicles exceeding the maximum dimensions for personal vehicles at 1-888-362-8766. Rates and shipping schedules vary for oversized freight.

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*. Car covers, roof cargo carriers, attached tents, bike racks, and additional batteries of any kind must be removed from the vehicle.
  • Reduce fuel to a level between 1/8  and 1/4 of the tank, but not exceeding 1/4 of the tank. For electric vehicles, batteries should be fully charged or they may be refused.
  • 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, and leave the charging cord in the vehicle.
  • It is recommended that all remote monitoring devices not be used while the vehicle is in Matson’s possession. Matson will not accept any liability for charging electronic vehicles, dead batteries, or any functions controlled by a remote monitoring device. All electric vehicles and their accessories are shipped at their own risk.

* When shipping between Alaska and Tacoma 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 manufacturer 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
  • Attached tents
  • Bike racks
  • 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
  • Additional batteries of any kind

Please Note: Personal effects are permitted to be shipped in your privately owned vehicle for an extra fee only when shipping between Alaska ports (Anchorage, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor) and Tacoma. 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. Electric vehicles not fully charged at drop-off may be refused.

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.

If you have questions about how to prepare your vehicle for shipping, please contact our customer service team.