We get visitors from around the world at the Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show… so we get a lot of questions about shipping cars home.  Sometimes home is just a few states away, but sometimes it’s across an ocean.  No matter how far you’ve come, if you buy a classic car on the lot, you’ll need a way to get it home.  And that’s where Chris Ortiz and Direct Express, Inc. come in.  (Look for them on the Main Aisle in Pomona, on Space D19.)

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF…

PSM:  What’s your name and title?
CO:  My name is Chris Ortiz, also known as “Rambo Logistics.”  I am the CEO at Direct Express, Inc.

PSM:  When and how did you get started in this industry?
CO:  It all started back in “the good ol’ days.”  1997, to be precise.  I was working with a good friend of mine who invited me to play futbol (“soccer”) with his team on Sundays.  After playing for several weekends with him, I became familiar with my other teammates.  I was given the opportunity to explore the auto shipping industry by one of my teammates.  After the initial job interview, everything just clicked and fell into place.  The rest is history.

PSM:  What’s the best part of your job?
CO:  I enjoy getting up every morning and knowing that every day is different.  Not only do I get to deal with unique and special vehicles, I also have the opportunity to deal with customers from around the globe, with different cultures and languages.

PSM:  Have you always been interested in classic cars?
CO:  As I started working in the industry, I noticed that we were often dealing with unique vehicles and classic vehicles.  Dealing with classic cars on a daily basis peaked my interest, and as the years passed by I started saving up to buy one of my dream cars.

PSM:  Do you currently own a classic car?
CO:  I currently own an original 1974 Volkswagen Bug convertible, which I call the “Love Bug.”  And yes, I fell in love with it the moment I saw it.  Love at first sight.  The most fun thing about the Love Bug is putting the top down, driving on the freeway, doing 70-75 mph, and watching how everybody is passing me by… even though I’m flooring it!  I do get the thumbs up as other cars pass me by.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

PSM:  If you won the lottery tonight, what’s the first classic car you would buy?
CO:  1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 Eleanor.  I would like it to come with Angelina Jolie… just like in Gone in 60 Seconds.

PSM:  Any favorite memories of the Pomona Swap Meet that you would like to share with us?
CO:  BBQ time, sitting back, having a few laughs in our shipping tent and just enjoying the view of all the classic car lovers and enthusiasts passing by.

PSM:  Ford or Chevy?
CO:  Chevy.

NOW TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS…

PSM:  How can customers contact you?
CO:  Direct Express, Inc. encourages our customers to contact us at any time, for any questions or concerns that they might have.  You can request a quote online through our website, and our highly dedicated staff will be glad to assist with your inquiry.  You can email us at info@shipdei.com or call (310) 324-2100, and we’re located at:

303 W. Artesia Blvd
Rancho Dominguez CA 90220

Our website is www.shipdei.com.

PSM:  How long has your company been in business?  Tell us a little about your company’s history.
CO:  Direct Express, Inc. has been in business since 1986.  28 years in the auto shipping industry.  We specialize in the transportation of vehicles worldwide.  We have offices and warehouses strategically located in Los Angeles, Houston, Jacksonville, and New York.

June 2014-15

We offer a wide variety of services, including door to door services.  We have the capabilities to collect vehicles from anywhere in the USA, whether the vehicle is a restoration project (non-running) or an immaculate concours vehicle.  We will transport the vehicle by open car carrier, flatbed tow truck or in an enclosed trailer.  It all depends on the customer’s needs.  Once the vehicle is received in our warehouse, we will ship via container to its final destination across the sea.

PSM:  What is your company’s main focus?  A simple mission statement, if you will.
CO:  To provide excellent service to all of our customers from the first time they contact us to the time their vehicle arrives at its destination and the customer has a big smile on his or her face.

PSM:  Aren’t all car shipping companies pretty much the same?  What differentiates you from the competition?  What makes your company special?
CO:  NO, WE ARE NOT LIKE OTHER CAR SHIPPING COMPANIES.  Anybody can offer shipping with low (unrealistic) prices in order to attract customers.  Direct Express, Inc. focuses on providing good customer service, with honesty and integrity.  We understand and realize that our customers are what make us.  This is why we take pride in what we do.  We offer prices that are reasonable and that allow us to do our business in a professional manner, day in and day out.

We are always enthusiastic, positive, and friendly, and we look forward to providing our services to each of our customers.  By no means are we perfect, but we remain humble and grounded and we’re always committed to each of our customers.

TELL US ABOUT THE SHIPPING PROCESS…

PSM:  If someone buys a car in Pomona, what’s the process for shipping it across country?
CO:  We have services at the Pomona Swap Meet.  All that needs to happen is for the customer to come by our location at Space D19 to provide us with the original title, the complete details of the vehicle (year, make, model, VIN), and information about the vehicle’s condition (running or non-running).  If the vehicle will not be transported from the Pomona Swap Meet, we’ll also need the complete details of the location where it needs to be picked up from.  We will have our professional flatbed towing company, Lucky’s Auto Transport, transfer the vehicle to our headquarters, and from there we’ll arrange final delivery to the customer’s desired destination.

PSM:  We also have a very international crowd.  What if someone needs to ship a car internationally?  Can you explain that process?
CO:  Shipping vehicles internationally or overseas is one of our specialties.  You might feel this process is overwhelming, but we at Direct Express, Inc. make it as easy as enjoying a BBQ at Pomona.  We provide several options to our customers.  One of them is to transport the vehicle from the Pomona Swap Meet, via Lucky’s Auto Transport, to our warehouse in Rancho Dominguez, CA.  The other option is for the customer to personally deliver the vehicle to our warehouse in Rancho Dominguez.

Then, the process to export the vehicles is as simple as two steps:

1) Direct Express, Inc. POA/SLI (Power of Attorney).  We provide this form.  It asks for details about the exporter, the receiver, and the vehicle.

2) POA from US Customs.  We provide this form, as well.

Additional documents that we’ll need are the original title for the vehicle (required by US customs), a copy of the passport for the receiver, and the bill of sale.

Once we have the above information and documentation, Direct Express, Inc. will make all of the necessary arrangements and preparations for the vehicle to be safely exported and delivered to its new home.  In addition, we have offices in each of the countries we service.  Our offices will assist our customers with the import process, such as unloading the vehicles from the container, customs importation, duties and taxes, etc.

June 2014-10

PSM:  How long does it typically take to ship a car from coast to coast? What about to Australia? And what about to Europe?
CO:  Shipping a vehicle from Los Angeles to Miami, or from Los Angeles to New York, usually takes from 9-11 days once the vehicle is in transit.  The time can vary depending on the weather and road conditions.  Shipping a vehicle overseas takes a bit more time, as we have to make all of the proper arrangements for export.  It takes about 1 week to load the vehicle in a container and to process the export documents.  Once the vehicle is safely loaded in a container, the container is returned to the port so that the carrier can load it on board the vessel for the vehicle to continue its marine journey.

The transit time is different depending to the origin and destination of the vehicle.  Transit time from Los Angeles to Australia is usually between 24-28 days, with direct service.  Transit time from Los Angeles to Northern Europe, such as Antwerp in Belgium, Rotterdam in The Netherlands, Bremerhaven in Germany, Le Havre in France, or Southampton in the UK, is normally from 30-37 days.  These shipping estimates are based on the vessel sailing from Los Angeles without port congestions, CBP port examinations, port delays, port strikes, or other delays that would be considered an act of God.

We offer weekly shipping from Los Angeles, Houston, Jacksonville and New York to The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and other destinations upon request.

PSM:  What are some things that people should consider when choosing a shipping company?  Anything people need to look out for?
CO:  Ensure that the company you are considering and communicating with provides you with a very detailed and clear picture of what is included in their offer.  The majority of shipping companies will initially provide you with a very attractive price for shipping.  However, once the vehicle arrives at its destination, their office may demand very exorbitant charges for the services provided at the destination for unloading, dray, handling, documentation, customs entry, and duties and taxes.  Additionally, such companies may not take the time to explain or communicate with customers about the possibility of additional charges, such as US Customs x-ray fees, US Customs exams fees, US Customs inspections fees, congestion fees, and other charges.  We clearly indicate these in our quotes, and in our terms and conditions.

Direct Express, Inc. quotes and prices are very reasonable.  Our offers clearly indicate what is included and what is not included.  In addition, please take your time to read, understand and agree to each of the terms and conditions provided.  All of our terms and conditions are provided in our SLI/POA and are accessible via our website www.shipdei.com.

PSM:  Just how expensive is it to ship a car?  Is car shipping just for rich people?
CO:  Car shipping is very affordable and reasonable.  Most of our customers have a passion and dream for vehicles.  Many of them have owned classic cars for many years, and others have been looking for their dream vehicle for a life time.  Spending the reasonable amount of funds to safely transport your dream car is worth it, and it is very affordable.

PSM:  What needs to be done by the owner to prepare a car for shipping?
CO:  The owner must ensure that the vehicle has the proper amounts of engine oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid and, most importantly, that the vehicle has antifreeze in order to ensure that the engine does not get damaged while it sits parked inside the shipping container, under extreme temperature variation.  Any mechanical failures during transit are not covered by the insurance carrier, if insurance is purchased.

LAST THOUGHTS…

PSM:  How long have you been coming to Pomona?
CO:  I’ve been coming to Pomona since 2005, and Direct Express, Inc. has proudly been attending since 2011.

PSM:  Do you offer any special swap meet deals or discounts?
CO:  If a customer books the vehicle at the Pomona Swap Meet, we provide a 15% discount on the towing/transport from Pomona to our location in Rancho Dominguez, California.

PSM:  Anything else customers should know about your company or the shipping process?
CO:  I always encourage customers to ask questions.  It does not matter how silly the question might seem.  It is extremely important for customers to be properly informed in order for them to understand what is required from them, and what the customer can expect from us at Direct Express, Inc. during the shipping process.  It is also crucial that each customer understands what is expected from them once the vehicle arrives at its final destination in regards to destination charges, customs clearance, duties, taxes, customs, and import regulations.

If you’re coming to the Pomona Swap Meet and Classic Car Show from out of state, or from out of the country, and you plan on purchasing your dream car… make sure you contact Direct Express, Inc.  You can find them on Space D19 out on the lot, or you can call them at (310) 324-2100.  Travel safe, and we’ll see you soon!