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Benefits of Terminal-to-Terminal Auto Shipping (Podcast)

Benefits of Terminal-to-Terminal Auto Shipping (Podcast)

Mike Scenna from Preowned Auto Logistics sits down with John Maher to talk about the benefits of termina-to-terminal shipping with vehicle transport. Mike answers questions about what terminals are, how they work, and why people opt to use terminals instead of shipping vehicles to their homes or other locations. 

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Mike Scenna, sales manager at Preowned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. And today our topic is terminal to terminal auto shipping. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Scenna: Hey John, how are you?

What Is a Terminal in Auto Transport?

John: I’m good, thanks. So Mike, in the world of car shipping, what is a terminal?

Mike: Great question. So when you ship a car, it’s not always the case that it’s going to go door-to-door. So a driver meeting you at your house or a parking lot to same thing, house or parking lot on the other end. We have what we call terminals that have tons of advantages and ways that they can make car shopping a lot easier.

Basically, they’re kind of like storage facilities. Places that cars can be left and watched over. If you have to drop it off at a terminal, you got to go somewhere and you don’t have the ability to meet a driver on the pickup end, or a place that it can stay and hang out on the delivery end if you’re not able to get to it right away.

They are places usually that trucks consistently go in and out of. So they can usually create more efficient lanes, as well as just a place that is more common for a carrier to be in and out of. So it can help speed up the shipping process, help at the rate of the shipping process. It’s common for them to be looking over these cars, so it’s a really safe place. They do a really good job with condition reports. Going over the car with the drivers when they show up. And on the delivery end, going over it with them when they’re dropping it off. It can kind of take over the pickup and drop off process for you, and as well as hold the car as long as you need to.

How Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping Benefits Vehicle Owners

John: Right. So there’s typically somebody there at the terminal, like you said, who can receive the car, check it over for any damage that might have been caused by the move or something like that, but I don’t have to physically be there in order for that to happen. And so that’s helpful for me because it frees up my schedule and I don’t have to plan on being there the moment that the car’s dropped off.

Mike: Right. Yep, exactly. There are a lot of places that do this quite a bit or almost exclusively, and they’re very equipped for all that and it can save you a ton of time. Because as we’ve talked about in the past, timing in this industry can be difficult. You’re dealing with a lot of factors when it comes to traffic and accidents and delays with loading and unloading at other stops. So, it could save you a whole day. Usually, typically, you’re waiting around for half of a day or a day to get that call that the truck is there. Whereas, if you were to use terminal and just let the car off there, you’re done. You’re in and out in 10 minutes and that process of the day is over for you.

How Do Shipping Terminals Work?

John: Right. So are terminals owned by the shipping company like yourselves, or are they sort of like parking lots where you rent spaces, or how does that work?

Mike: Yeah, so all kinds of combinations out there. We have our own spots, lots of companies have their own spots. There are people who get into this, as I said, exclusively. There are terminals out there that are just terminals. That’s all. They don’t own trucks. They’re not affiliated with any individual shipping companies. They’re just in areas where so much shipping occurs that there’s a demand for just a terminal, and that’s what they do exclusively. There are companies that might have a few flatbed trucks where they move some cars around locally, do a little bit of towing. And another big part of their business is to operate as a terminal. Because again, they happen to be in a lane where there’s a lot of demand for that kind of stuff.

So it really comes into the industry in all different forms. Just anyone who’s in an area where there’s a need for this might offer services as a terminal.

Locations of Vehicle Transport Terminals

John: And where are there terminals and how many of them are there?

Mike: Sure. All around the country. There are people I’ve seen in every state that offer these services. We’ve worked with people in a majority of the states that offer these kinds of services. By far the most, the majority of it, the most commonplace would be the State of Florida, which again, you and I’ve talked about being a huge shipping lane for the consumer based off of that. Those seasonal residents, the folks who traveled back and forth from the North down to the South for the winter. So there’s tens of thousands of cars, probably hundreds of thousands of cars getting shipped down there throughout the year. We work with a lot of terminals in the State of Florida, and there are a lot of terminals down there that are offering this service for a very long time.

John: Right. So there’s not going to be as many terminals in say Ohio or something like that, because you don’t have that many people constantly moving cars to and from Ohio. But Florida, like you said, with a lot of seasonal residents, people who go down South to Florida for the winter and then come back up North for the summer. There’s so many of those types of people doing these moves constantly every year that it makes sense to have all these terminals in that state.

Mike: Right. Yep, exactly. You get down to Florida and you have a whole bunch on all the major cities along the coast and a couple centrally in the state. Whereas, if you go out to, like you said, a State like Ohio, there might be just a handful, a couple around basically the capital or one or two of the major cities in the state.

Advantages of Shipping to Terminals Instead of Your Home

John: You mentioned a couple of them, but what are some of the advantages or disadvantages of using terminals over having your car shipped directly to your address or your home or a parking lot, like you said?

Mike: Right. So as I touched base on origin end, the pickup end, you have the advantage of dropping the car off and being done with that process. It’s out of your hair and it’s all set and you know it’s at a safe place. On the other end of that, it could be there’s more of a demand at the destination on the drop-off end. We deal with a lot of people who are traveling somewhere, they’re shipping their car, and it’s really important for them to have their car at that destination when they get there. So by using a terminal, you have a place that the car can get sent to, but you don’t need to be on that end to receive the car.

We have people who ship their car well ahead of time, because that’s how desperately they need it on that end. And they want that peace of mind, a call from us saying, “Hey, your car is at the terminal in Fort Myers. It’s there waiting for you.” They can say great. They might not be going there for two, three, or even four days, but they really need the car there when they get there, and they know it’s there. They can get off the plane, they could take a taxi or shuttle over, and their car is right there waiting for them when they get there.

John: Right. So they don’t have to worry about, like you said, having the car shipped and then having to time your flights or your drive or something like that perfectly so that you’re down there at the exact right time when that car is coming in. And then you have to arrange for transportation maybe to get to where that car is being shipped to. Just lots of logistical things like that that gets solved by the fact that it’s just being dropped off, you don’t have to worry about being there at all, and then it’s there when you’re ready to go pick it up.

Mike: Yep, exactly. So for your own personal logistics, there are all kinds of advantages. We’ll use that same lane as an example. There are lane efficiency advantages. In a lane like Florida from the Northeast down to the major cities in Florida, it’s so common at certain times of years for cars to go back and forth from the same city up here to the same city down in Florida, that there’s just trucks running back and forth from these two terminals like a bus stop. So you could drop it off at your terminal up North, it’ll get right on a truck and be down in Florida very quickly at the terminal, just because that’s that lane that that truck is driving in. Almost like a bus stop, it’s just going back and forth.

So you could save some money by using these terminals. You’re picking to move in that lane that is common. You’re dropping it off and making it nice and easy for the driver. That driver is picking up nine cars at that same place and bringing the nine to the same place down there, and not stopping at different people’s houses. So yeah, there’s a financial advantage and a time advantage as well to using terminals.

Contact Us to Learn More About Auto Shipping

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Mike: Yeah, of course. Thanks, John.

John: And for more information or to request a quote for your auto shipping needs, visit the website at or call (877) 542-1955.