International & Overseas Motorcycle Shipping
Shipping a motorcycle to another country is not much more complex than shipping a bike within the U.S. The main difference is that there is another step involved (in most cases) of transporting by ship. The majority of shipments internationally involve three steps:
- Transport from current location to shipping port.
- Shipping from port to port.
- Transport from port to final destination
Though it is cheaper to ship a motorcycle than a car or truck, the additional steps involved with shipping overseas adds up. The extra steps make the process more lengthy and obviously comes with an additional cost. If the bike’s current location and ultimate destination are not near a shipping port, that will raise the cost of the shipment due to the ground transport part of the equation. Here are some examples of shipments and costs that give a good estimate of what you can expect in terms of total shipping costs.
*Note that there are other costs affiliated with international shipping, such as import duties and applicable taxes (see second section below for more information about duties and taxes).
Cost & Time Examples For Shipping a Motorcycle
|New York, NY to (New York port) to Germany||$275||$365||5+19|
|Los Angeles to (California port) to UK||$350||$700||5+32|
|Las Vegas, NV to (California port) to New Zealand||$450||$450||5+26|
|Portland, OR to (California port) to Puerto Rico||$475||$600||6+20|
|Phoenix, AZ to (California port) to Hawaii||$550||$370||6+15|
|Columbus, OH to (New York port) to Spain||$550||$365||5+19|
|Detroit, MI to (New York port) to Argentina||$575||$515||6+26|
|Chicago, IL to (New York port) to Costa Rica||$675||$650||6+16|
|Miami, FL to (New York port) to Belgium||$925||$370||7+18|
|Dallas, TX to (California port) to Australia||$1,025||$400||7+30|
- *Prices and times are estimated and can vary depending on the specifics of the shipment (see below for cost factors).
- *Save on ground transport cost by delivering the motorcycle to the nearest port.
- *Allow at least 10 days to process documents.
- *Prices are for 1 motorcycle in a shared 20 foot container.
International Motorcycle Shipping Options
- RORO (Roll on, roll off) - Roll on, roll off service is a popular method for shipping any type of vehicle that involves travel by ship. In simple terms, your motorcycle is driven onto the transport boat, secured internally with a built-in mechanism or using tie downs and skids, and then transported to the port nearest your destination. After arrival, it is transported by a standard overland carrier to the specified location.
- Crated - Crated motorcycle shipping is a secure and affordable way to transport a bike internationally, usually in a shipping container. With crating, the bike is fastened tightly onto a crate, enclosed securely, and then placed on a pallet before transport. (This can also be called palletized motorcycle shipping.)
- Container - Containerized motorcycle transport is a cost-effective way to ship multiple bikes at once. Container shipping may be done with the use of crating, or it can mean securing the motorcycle inside a container by using straps and tie downs to make sure it stays put throughout the course of delivery. Containers can sometimes be split between multiple parties to help reduce the total cost.
- Door to door - Even for international transport, having a motorcycle shipped right to your door is an option. Naturally, it will cost more than if you picked it up at a local terminal or port, but it’s the ultimate in convenience for long distance vehicle transport. Door-to-door motorcycle shipping is ideal for delivery of rare, high-end or classic bikes.
- Port to port - A more affordable overseas shipping option than door-to-door is the port to port delivery service. Port-to-port transport requires the bike to be delivered to the shipping port of origin and then picked up at the port in the country where it’s being shipped. There is some more legwork involved, but it can save a lot of money by eliminating the cost of overland shipping, which can cost $200 to $500 on both ends, with the cost depending primarily on the distance.
Cost Factors & Required Documents For Overseas Motorcycle Transport
As far as the cost of shipping is concerned, there are a few key factors that have the most impact on you can expect to pay. These are the main points to consider along those lines:
- Type/size of motorcycle
- Shipping distance
- Method of transport
- Import duties & VAT (value added tax)
Import duties and the value added tax should be considered separately from the shipping cost since they are independent of one another. While they both affect what your final cost will be, the duties and taxes are not paid to the shipper, but are assessed in the country of destination. Speaking in very general terms, you can expect that import duties will range from 6% to 8% for a motorcycle, while the VAT will range from 15% to 20%. It should be noted that most countries have a much lower VAT (around 5% to 8%) for bikes that are more than 25 years past the manufacturing date.
In order to make sure that your shipment doesn’t experience any unnecessary delays, it’s essential that you have all the required paperwork. Though this too can be different from country to country, most of them will require the documents listed below. It is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced shipper to ensure that you have everything necessary for the specific country you’re shipping to.
- Title or Manufacturers Certificate
- Photo ID
- Certificate of release if a lien or loan is involved
- Proof of ownership or bill of sale
- Proof of insurance
- Power of Attorney (if applicable)
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Resources For International Motorcycle Shipping
World’s Best Motorcycle Rides - An article from CNN.com that details 10 of the best motorcycle rides in the world. From exotic bike trips through Morocco to Australia’s Shipwreck Coast to California’s Pacific Coast Highway, there’s something for everyone in this informative piece.
Motorcycle Rides, Rallies & Events - A listing of motorcycle events from all over the world. You can search events by date or use the interactive map to find motorcycle rides and rallies in different countries around the world.
Related Information & FAQ
- How much will state to state shipping of your bike cost you?
- Quotes calculator - get the quotes of motorcycle shippers
- I need my motorcycle shipped
- Worldwide motorcycle shipping
- Transporting motorcycle by plane
Written By:Joe Webster
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.