Run-Works LLC Vehicle Importing

Access to vehicles in Japan has become as easy as emailing an exporter like Tweed-Autogarage. They can source you just about any car throughout Japan, purchase it on your behalf and book it on a ship heading to the USA. But what happens after that? You can try and handle the import yourself. But, it can be a MAJOR pain, and the slightest mistake in the process and you can find yourself at port to pick up a car that they're refusing to release. From paperwork mistakes to missing payments, there are numerous reasons that can cause your import to become a nightmare. How do you avoid all of this? Easy, let me do it for you for!

Since 2013, I have handled the importation of nearly 400 vehicles into the USA under the 25 year safety and emissions exemptions. My company, Run-Works LLC, maintains a continuous bond with customs, which allows me to quickly secure releases. In addition, my relationships with the import staff of the major ocean freight carriers (Hoegh Autoliners, WWL, etc..) makes fixing problems as quick as making a phone call.

How does it work?

Basically, you find a car through an exporter, and the care of your car is handed off to me once it's on the water. I handle all the filings with customs, ensure all fees are paid, and secure the customs and carrier releases. Once your vehicle is ready for pickup I make the arrangements for you to pick it up at port, or have it delivered to your driveway.

How much does it cost?

It literally costs the same as doing it yourself, plus my flat service fee of $300. Below is the breakdown of the fees involved in importing. Please note that there is some minor variation dependent upon which port you bring the car in through.

  • Customs brokerage - $200
  • Run-Works LLC Service Fee - $300
  • Port Fees - $100-$300 (varies by port)
  • Import Duty - 2.5% of declared value

    Note: Declared value is derived from the purchase invoice from the exporter. As an example, a car purchased for $10,000 USD would have an import duty of $250.

Instead of having to pay multiple parties and send multiple parties, you simply make a single payment to me (via Paypal, Venmo or credit/debit) and I handle all the payments.

What happens after arrival?

Once your car arrives and I have it fully released you have the option to either pick it up from port yourself, or I can arrange to have it delivered to your home (for an additional fee). Shortly after pickup or delivery I will provide you with all the paperwork necessary for registration including:

  • Customs Release
  • 3520-1 (EPA Exemption)
  • HS-7 (Safety Exemption)
  • Bill of Lading
  • Title (Export Certificate) Translation

In addition, if your DMV/BMV requires any additional documents will assist you in obtaining them. Typically the documents above are all that are required, but occasionally I run into a branch that wants something additional.

What do I need to get started?

All I need to handle the import of your car is the purchase invoice from the exporter, the booking information for the shipment, and a copy of the export certificate (EC). All three of these should be readily available from your exporter.

We highly recommend using Tweed-Autogarage to source your car as I can work directly with them to gather all the documents and export information. Once you have purchased your vehicle and your exporter is ready to ship it please send an email to Richard at to get the process started.

Special services for US service-members stationed at MCAS Iwakuni

If you're stationed in Iwakuni and are set to rotate out I can take care of the entire process of getting your car shipped back to the USA, even if DMO is unwilling to do it. From de-registration, delivery to port, export and import. For more information contact Richard at