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How can I ship a motorcycle internationally?

Published by Joe Webster.

How can I ship a motorcycle internationally?

As globalization expands and the world becomes more interconnected, the demand for reliable international motorcycle shipping services continues to rise. Whether for relocation, overseas purchases, or international touring, the need to transport motorcycles across borders has never been greater. Understanding the process, costs, and various options available for shipping motorcycles overseas is essential for anyone looking to navigate this complex field effectively.

International motorcycle shipping involves several logistics and considerations, from selecting the right international shipping companies to choosing between air freight and sea freight based on urgency and budget. With the right knowledge and partners, shipping your motorcycle overseas doesn't have to be a daunting task. This article aims to demystify the process, offering insights into how international motorcycle shipping companies operate and the best practices to ensure your motorcycle reaches its destination safely and efficiently. Whether you’re a first-timer or looking to streamline your next shipment, understanding these elements is crucial to achieving a successful transfer of your bike to or from any corner of the globe.


Shipping Your Motorcycle Internationally

Can I ship my motorcycle to another country? Absolutely! Shipping motorcycles internationally is entirely feasible with the right preparation and a reliable shipping partner. Here’s a breakdown of the general legal and logistical requirements involved:

Compliance with Export and Import Laws:

  • Ensure your motorcycle meets the specific import standards of the destination country, including emissions and safety regulations.
  • Obtain necessary export documentation from your home country and prepare for import customs clearance.

Choosing the Right Shipping Method:

  • Air Freight: Ideal for fast delivery of high-value or urgent bikes, such as Harley Davidson or vintage bikes.
  • Sea Freight: More cost-effective for non-urgent shipments, commonly used for standard motorcycle shipments or when shipping multiple bikes.
  • Road Freight: Used mainly within continental regions or when the destination country is accessible via land.

Working with International Motorcycle Shippers:

  • Partner with reputable international motorcycle shipping companies that specialize in motorcycle transport.
  • Look for shippers that offer comprehensive services, including customs handling and insurance options.

Preparation of the Motorcycle:

  • Thoroughly clean your bike to avoid quarantine delays.
  • Drain all fluids and disconnect the battery to meet international shipping safety standards.
  • Secure loose items and protect the bike in a crate or use padded materials for additional safety during transit.

Insurance and Tracking:

  • Opt for transit insurance to cover any potential damages during shipping.
  • Ensure that the shipping company provides tracking capabilities to monitor your motorcycle’s journey to its new destination overseas.

Customs Clearance:

  • Be prepared for possible inspections and customs duties or taxes depending on the destination country’s regulations.

Shipping your own bike internationally, whether it's a standard road bike, your cherished Harley Davidson, or a rare vintage bike, requires careful planning and adherence to international transport regulations. With the right approach, you can ensure a smooth and successful international motorcycle shipment, bringing your beloved bike safely to its new overseas home.

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Motorcycle Shipping Costs Across Borders

Navigating the complexities of international motorcycle shipping involves understanding the various costs associated with transporting your bike overseas. Here are detailed insights into what you can expect to pay when shipping motorcycles from the USA to Germany and from the UK to the US:

Shipping a Motorcycle from the USA to Germany:

Estimated Costs: Typically, costs range from $700 to $2,000, influenced by several key factors.

Key Cost Factors:

  • Shipping Method: Choosing air freight for your motorcycle shipping to Germany offers speed but at a premium, generally above $1,500. Sea freight provides a more budget-friendly option, with prices ranging between $700 and $1,200.
  • Service Type: Opting for door-to-door delivery increases convenience but also the cost, whereas port-to-port is more economical.
  • Motorcycle Specifications: Larger motorcycles or those requiring special handling, such as vintage bikes, may incur higher shipping charges.
  • Insurance and Extras: Adding full insurance coverage and tracking services increases costs but ensures peace of mind.
  • Customs and Import Taxes: These are necessary expenses for legally importing a bike overseas and will vary based on the bike's value and type.

Cost to Ship a Motorcycle from the UK to the US:

Estimated Costs: Prices for shipping a motorcycle overseas from the UK to the US can range from $800 to $2,500.

Factors Influencing Cost Variations:

  • Route Specifics: Less common shipping lanes or routes requiring multiple transfers can elevate shipping costs.
  • Taxes and Duties: Expect to face taxes and duties in the US, calculated based on the motorcycle's type and value.
  • Choice of Container: Choosing an exclusive shipping container for your bike offers superior protection but at a higher cost compared to shared container options.

Whether you're looking to ship a standard road bike or a prized Harley Davidson overseas, understanding these factors will help you effectively budget for your international motorcycle shipping needs, ensuring your bike arrives safely and cost-efficiently at its overseas destination.

How to Choose Your Motorcycle Shipping Method

Selecting the right shipping method for your motorcycle is critical to ensure it reaches its destination safely and economically. Here's a breakdown of the main shipping methods, including the specific considerations for using air freight:

Sea Freight:

  • Pros: Cost-effective for most international motorcycle shipping needs; suitable for heavy and large motorcycles, including Harley Davidson bikes.
  • Cons: Longer transit times, which may not be ideal for time-sensitive shipments.
  • Best For: Standard shipping when cost is a major consideration and time is not critical.

Air Freight:

  • Pros: Fastest shipping method, reducing transit time significantly; ideal for high-value, vintage bikes or urgent shipments.
  • Cons: More expensive than sea freight; may be limited by air cargo size and weight restrictions.
  • Best For: Expedited shipments, high-value motorcycles, or when the bike needs to arrive by a specific date.

Road Transport:

  • Pros: Direct delivery options available; ideal for shipping motorcycles across continental distances without the need for overseas transport.
  • Cons: Limited to countries connected by land; longer transit times compared to air freight.
  • Best For: Economical shipping within the same continent or when precise delivery dates are less critical.

Shipping Motorcycles on a Plane:

Scenario Suitability: Ideal for shipping motorcycles overseas quickly or for transporting high-value bikes that need extra security.


  • Speed: Significantly faster than other methods, ensuring quick delivery to the destination country.
  • Safety: Less handling involved, which reduces the risk of damage during transit.


  • Cost: Generally more expensive than sea or road transport, particularly for longer distances like from the USA to the Middle East.
  • Size Restrictions: Larger bikes may face more logistical challenges and higher costs.
  • When to Use: When time is of the essence, for transporting premium motorcycles, or when participating in international events where timely arrival is crucial.

Understanding these options and evaluating them against your specific needs, such as the urgency of the shipment, the type and value of the motorcycle, and the final destination, will help you choose the most suitable shipping method. Whether opting for the reliability of moto freight lines, the speed of air cargo, or the economy of sea freight, ensuring your motorcycle is legally and safely imported to the destination country is paramount.


Preparing Your Bike for the Journey

Preparing your motorcycle for international shipping is crucial to ensure it arrives safely at its destination. Follow this step-by-step guide to get your bike ready:

  • Documentation: Ensure all necessary documentation is complete and readily available. This includes registration, proof of ownership, and any required export documentation specific to your destination country.
  • Clean Your Motorcycle: A thorough cleaning can prevent quarantine issues due to soil or plant matter that might be considered a biohazard in some countries.
  • Drain Fluids: Drain all fuel and oil to reduce the risk of leaks during transport. This step is often a requirement for air freight and overseas transport.
  • Disconnect the Battery: To prevent any electrical issues during transit, disconnect and secure the battery.
  • Secure Loose Parts: Remove or secure any loose parts or accessories to prevent loss or damage during shipping.
  • Insurance: Obtain adequate insurance coverage. This protects you against potential loss or damage during transportation.

Selecting a Reliable International Motorcycle Shipping Company

Choosing the right shipping company is essential for the safe and efficient delivery of your motorcycle overseas. Consider the following criteria:

  • Licensing and Accreditation: Ensure the shipping company is licensed and accredited for international motorcycle shipping. This guarantees they meet certain standards of reliability and service.
  • Insurance Options: Check that they offer comprehensive insurance coverage options that protect your motorcycle throughout its journey.
  • Customer Reviews and Track Record: Research customer feedback and the company’s track record in the industry. Positive reviews and a history of successful shipments are good indicators of reliability.
  • Experience with Specific Bikes: If shipping specialty bikes like vintage or Harley Davidson motorcycles, look for a company experienced in handling these types of bikes.
  • Global Network: Consider companies with a strong network in your motorcycle’s destination country. This helps facilitate smoother customs clearance and delivery processes.

By carefully selecting a motorcycle shipping company that meets these criteria, you can ensure your bike is in good hands, whether it’s heading to the Middle East, across air cargo, or through moto freight.



A successful international motorcycle shipping hinges on meticulous planning, choosing the right shipping method, and collaborating with trustworthy shippers. It's crucial to prepare your bike adequately, select the appropriate transport method—air freight for quick delivery or sea freight for cost-effectiveness—and ensure your shipping company is experienced and reliable. For a seamless and stress-free shipping experience, reach out to A1 Auto Transport. We are committed to delivering your motorcycle safely and efficiently to its international destination. Contact us today and let us handle the complexities of your motorcycle's journey.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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