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Motorcycles offer a level of excitement that cars simply can't match.
The thrill of navigating across a web of city streets at night with cool breezes brushing softly against your body is an unparalleled experience. Whether it is your job, education, or holiday fun, that compelled you to move to another country, you might want to get your two-wheeler delivered to you so that the fun never ends.
But how do you ship a motorcycle overseas?
This is what we plan on walking you through in this guide, and hopefully, after going through this brief but helpful text, you won't have any trouble with the process.
Let's get started!
Okay, so you're back home with your motorcycle, wanting to get it shipped to wherever it is that you're headed to. Before you go on and look for a reliable automobile transport company, you'll have to take care of a couple of things yourself.
You can leave this part to the company's staff, but it is better that you handle this stage yourself, especially if you're on a limited budget:
First, start with the cleaning, and we're not talking about just removing the dust from your bike's casing. We're talking about a full and thorough cleaning.
The cleaning part is important since it is a crucial import regulation for many countries.
Riding your bike with multiple add-ons is all fun and cool in your own country, but when you plan on shipping your bike, it is better that you strip it off those accessories. This is because you don't want anything jutting out of the frame of your ride while transporting it, lest it gets damaged.
In essence, strip your bike down to its original form before shipping it.
Based on the type of shipping option you've considered for your bike (more on that later), you might want to keep some fuel in your tank but don't fill it up to the mouth. Instead, keep it around one-quarter of the full capacity, i.e., fill up ¼ of the tank.
No, we're not talking about selfies with your beloved bike. Those can wait. Right now, you need to do something much more serious:
While most transport companies offer a safety guarantee (i.e., your bike will remain in pristine condition throughout the shipment process), you can never be too careful about this. It is best to have documented proof of your bike's condition before you ship it. This way, if it takes on any new damages, you'll know immediately.
The exact documentation requirements vary from country to country, but there are some generalizations here. You will need the following documents to ship your motorcycle hassle-free:
You may or may not need all of these documents, and there might be some additional requirements as well. To avoid any trouble, it is best to consult the customs department website of the country you plan to export to.
Next, you need to decide how you plan on shipping your motorcycle as there are several options, each with its applications and limitations:
Open-Air Shipment: This is also called roll-on, roll-off shipment and is exactly as it sounds – the motorcycle will be driven onboard the vessel (1/4th of the fuel tank must be filled), secured to the deck, transported, and then driven off-board upon arrival. This is the cheapest of all available options and is reliable too. The only limitation is that other options offer better safety options.
Palletized Motorcycle Shipping: In this method, the bike is shipped while safely enclosed inside a crate and put on a pallet (thus the name). It is a more secure mode of transport than the last option and is fairly affordable too, but of course, it costs more than roll-on, roll-off shipment.
Container Shipping: This is the most secure and reliable method of shipping any vehicle and costs its fair share. As the name suggests, container shipping involves a motorcycle being shipped inside a sealed container and thus secured from any transport damage. Upon arrival, the container is offloaded and unpacked.
Apart from the type of shipment method, you can also choose between having your motorcycle shipped from door to door or from port to port. The latter is cheaper but if you don't have budget constraints, go for the former one. It will save you lots of hassle.
Once your shipment arrives at the destination port, there will be some processing before legally driving your bike in the country. This post-shipment process is not the same internationally, but we have pointed out some general practices you need to know about:
At this stage, you'll have to offer specific documentation to the customs department as per their demand (we have mentioned a generic list earlier), and be sure about a couple of things here:
Failing to ensure so will cause unnecessary delays and increase the cost of importing your motorcycle.
This may not be applicable in all cases, but several countries have rules dictating mandatory inspection of all imported vehicles by the concerned departments to ensure road and environmental safety.
To ensure that you don't run into trouble here, make sure that:
Following this, your motorcycle will be released by the customs, and you'll be given an invoice of payment for the value-added tax (VAT) and customs duties. After this, you can apply for registration if you plan on staying in the said country for some time and then drive your motorcycle on the roads without any worries.
Now that the rest has been covered let's take a look at one crucial aspect of this whole process: money, and more specifically, how you can minimize the costs of shipping your motorcycle overseas.
So here's what you can do if you're on a limited budget:
Of course, if money constraints don't bother you, sit back and relax while your logistics service provider handles everything.
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.
And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.
The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.
When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.
The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.
They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?
So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!
If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.
I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!
The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!
There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.
After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.
Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.
By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.
We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!
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