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What shipping methods are available for international motorcycle shipping?

Published by Joe Webster.

What shipping methods are available for international motorcycle shipping?

Shipping a motorcycle across international borders is not just a task—it's a journey that involves careful planning, understanding of legal regulations, and choosing the right shipping method. As global transportation becomes more accessible, the demand for international motorcycle shipping services continues to grow, driven by individuals relocating, buying bikes from overseas, or participating in international events.

Professional International motorcycle shipping companies specialize in navigating the complexities of this process, including customs clearance, choice of transport method, and ensuring the safety and security of the motorcycle during transit. Whether by air freight for expedited service or more economical options like container shipping, these companies offer tailored solutions to meet the varied needs of shipping motorcycles overseas. Understanding these options and the logistics involved is crucial for anyone looking to transport a motorcycle to another country, ensuring that your prized possession arrives safely, legally, and in a timely manner at its destination country.


How to Ship a Motorcycle Overseas

Preparing to ship Your Motorcycle overseas for Shipping

Ensuring your motorcycle is properly prepared for international shipping is crucial for a smooth transit and arrival at your destination country. Here's a step-by-step guide to get your bike ready:

  • Clean Your Motorcycle: A thorough cleaning not only helps with inspections but can also prevent quarantine issues due to soil and other contaminants that may be present on the bike.
  • Inspect and Document: Carefully inspect your motorcycle and document its condition with photos. Note any existing scratches or damages for insurance purposes before motorcycle shipping.
  • Drain Fluids: Drain most of the fuel from the tank and check for any oil or fluid leaks that need fixing. Some shipping methods may require the battery to be disconnected before motorcycle shipping.
  • Secure Loose Parts: Remove or secure any loose parts or specialty items such as mirrors, bags, or extra accessories to prevent loss or damage during transit.
  • Check Tire Pressure: Ensure that tires are properly inflated to avoid any issues during loading and unloading.

Choosing the Right Shipping Company

Selecting a reliable shipping company is key to ensuring your motorcycle reaches its overseas destination safely. Consider these tips when choosing your transporter:

  • Research Reputable Companies: Look for international shipping companies with experience specifically in motorcycle overseas transport. Check reviews and testimonials to gauge their reliability and service quality.
  • Specialization in Shipping Motorcycles: Choose a company that specializes in international motorcycle shipping. They will understand the specific needs and challenges associated with transporting bikes internationally.
  • Licensing and Insurance: Verify that the shipping company is licensed and offers insurance coverage for international transportation. This will protect you against potential damage or loss during shipment.
  • Shipping Options: Discuss shipping methods such as container shipping, air freight, or roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) sea freight. Each option has its benefits depending on your budget, timeline, and destination.
  • Customs and Import Duties: Ensure the company has expertise in handling customs clearance and is knowledgeable about the import duties and regulations of the destination country. This can prevent unexpected delays and expenses in motorcycle shipping.
  • Communication and Tracking: Opt for a company that provides good communication and offers tracking options so you can monitor your motorcycle’s journey and be informed of its status throughout the shipping process.

By meticulously preparing your motorcycle and carefully selecting a seasoned shipping company familiar with international motorcycle transport services, you can ensure that your bike arrives safely and efficiently, ready for your adventures overseas.

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Common International Motorcycle Shipping Methods

Container Shipping

Container shipping is a popular choice for shipping motorcycles overseas due to its security and cost-effectiveness. Motorcycles are securely strapped and blocked inside a standard shipping container, often alongside other bikes or goods. This method protects them from the elements and minimizes the risk of damage during transit.


  • Protection: Offers excellent protection against weather and handling.
  • Cost: Generally less expensive when shipping multiple motorcycles simultaneously.


  • Flexibility: Less frequent departures than other methods may not align with every schedule.
  • Speed: Typically slower than air freight, as it depends on sea transport schedules.

Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) Shipping

In RoRo shipping, motorcycles are driven on and off the cargo ship using their own wheels or a trailer. This method is efficient for international motorcycle shipments because it requires minimal handling, reducing the chances of damage.


  • Convenience: Easy loading and unloading process.
  • Cost: Usually more affordable than air freight for international shipping.


  • Exposure: Motorcycles are exposed to the elements and might be less secure, increasing the risk of theft or damage.
  • Availability: Limited to routes where RoRo service is available.

Air Freight

Air freight is the fastest method for shipping motorcycles internationally. The bike is typically secured on an aircraft pallet and then loaded into the cargo hold of the plane. This method is ideal for high-value motorcycles or when speed is a priority.


  • Speed: Significantly faster than sea shipping, ideal for quick deliveries.
  • Security: High level of security and handling care.


  • Cost: More expensive than sea freight options.
  • Size and Weight Restrictions: Certain limits apply, which might not be suitable for larger or custom bikes.

Each shipping method offers unique advantages and considerations, making it essential to choose based on your specific needs, budget, timeline, and the level of protection required for your motorcycle. Understanding these options helps ensure that your motorcycle arrives safely and efficiently at its destination country. Whether you opt for the security of shipping in container, the affordability of RoRo, or the speed of air freight, selecting the right shipping method is crucial for a successful international motorcycle transport experience.


Cost of Shipping Motorcycles Internationally

Cost to Ship a Motorcycle from the US to Europe

Shipping motorcycles overseas from the USA to Europe involves various factors that can significantly influence the overall cost. Prices can range from $700 to $2,000 depending on the shipping method chosen. Container shipping is generally more cost-effective, especially if consolidating the shipment with other bikes, while air freight, though faster, tends to be the most expensive option due to the speed and added security. Other cost factors include:

  • Distance and Destination: Major European ports might cost less compared to more inland destinations.
  • Insurance: Optional but recommended, can add to the cost depending on the value of the motorcycle.
  • Door-to-Door Delivery: Adds convenience but increases costs.
  • Customs Clearance: Includes handling fees and import duties which vary by country.

Cost to Ship a Motorcycle from the USA to India

The cost to ship a motorcycle from the USA to India is similarly affected by the choice of shipping method, ranging typically from $1,200 to $3,000. RoRo shipping offers a more affordable rate, but container shipping provides better protection for the motorcycle during the long journey. Factors affecting the price include:

  • Service Type: Door-to-door service costs more than port-to-port due to additional handling and transportation.
  • Customs and Importation Fees: India has its specific requirements and tariffs, which can significantly affect the overall cost.
  • Insurance and Additional Services: Including packing and crating services for added protection.

Both routes require thorough planning and consideration of the logistics involved, including potential delays and costs associated with customs clearance in the destination country. It’s essential to work with international motorcycle shipping companies that not only provide comprehensive transport services but also assist with the complex customs processes to ensure your motorcycle arrives safely and without unexpected costs. Selecting an experienced international motorcycle transport specialist can help navigate these challenges effectively, ensuring a smooth and cost-effective shipment of your bike overseas.

Tips for Choosing the Right International Motorcycle Shipping Method

Selecting the appropriate shipping mode for your motorcycle is crucial and depends on several factors including budget, timing, and the specific needs related to the type of motorcycle. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  • Assess Your Needs: Consider the urgency of the shipment. Air freight is faster but more expensive, suitable for expedited shipments, whereas sea freight is more economical for less urgent deliveries.
  • Evaluate the Type of Motorcycle: High-value or antique motorcycles might require more secure and protected shipping options like container shipping.
  • Budget Considerations: Determine your budget for shipping costs including potential additional fees such as insurance and customs clearance.
  • Insurance and Tracking: Opt for a shipping company that offers comprehensive insurance to protect against loss or damage. Tracking options provide peace of mind by allowing you to monitor the progress of your shipment throughout the transport process.


Choosing the right motorcycle shipping method is paramount when planning international motorcycle transport. It ensures not only the safety and security of your motorcycle but also affects the overall cost and delivery time. At A1 Auto Transport, an international motorcycle shipping specialist we specialize in providing tailored shipping solutions that meet the unique needs of each shipment, backed by expertise in customs clearance and international transportation logistics. Contact us today to discuss your motorcycle shipping needs and learn how we can provide you with a seamless and stress-free shipping experience.

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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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