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How to Ship a Motorcycle Overseas

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If you own a motorcycle, chances are it's one of your most prized possessions. If you are moving overseas, you don't want to give up your bike.

Fortunately there are several international shipping companies that will take your motorcycle to your new country. But it isn't that simple - there are a few things you need to know first when shipping motorcycles overseas.

For example, shipping your motorcycle overseas is much like shipping a car overseas. The main difference is the smaller size will lead to cheaper rates and it is more likely that you have more than one motorcycle to ship. You can ship your motorcycle with a roll-on roll-off service, container shipping, or air shipping.

Choosing a shipping method

Just like shipping a car overseas, there are three methods for shipping motorcycles overseas:

Roll-on Roll-off: This service is less common with motorcycles than regular cars, but it remains a relatively economical option. Your motorcycle will be rolled/driven onto a cargo ship and secured in a cargo deck with straps for the shipping process. It is usually shipped with several other motorcycles in close proximity in the cargo deck. If you trust the people moving your motorcycle and the restraints in the cargo deck, there is no reason to worry about RORO shipping. It can be a bit faster than container shipping.

Container Shipping: This option is sometimes cheaper than RORO if you are shipping multiple bikes in one container. Your motorcycle will be lifted by crane into a container before it enters the ship. It is then secured and enclosed in the container in the ship during the whole shipping process. The container remains closed until it is at its destination. This is a safer and sometimes cheaper option. However, it can take a longer time since container shipping is more common and tends to mean many different stops along the way.

Air Shipping: This option is basically the same process as either RORO or container shipping, except you ship on a plane instead of a boat. This means that your motorcycle will get to its destination much quicker, but it also is several times more expensive. It is the safest option since the shipment time is shorter and air turbulence is usually not as jarring as the ocean's waves.


Any time you ship any vehicle, you need to prepare it for inspection and transport for safety and insurance concerns. Here is a step by step checklist of things to do with your motorcycle before shipping it internationally.

. Make sure the destination country will allow the motorcycle. Many countries have restrictions on large engines and certain vehicles, so you should research the customs regulations of your destination country before you try to ship your motorcycle there.

Give your bike a tune-up. Make sure that everything is in proper working condition and that the tire pressure is at a good level. Your motorcycle may need to be rolled or even driven a short distance up and down a ramp if you are using RORO service.

Remove/secure all loose parts. This is to keep the motorcycle safe during the shipping process.

If there are any containers on the motorcycle, empty them. Separate items, no matter how small, will not be shipped with the motorcycle by the shipper.

Consider your insurance options with your current motorcycle insurance provider and the shipper's insurance.

Empty the gas tank and take out the battery if the motorcycle doesn't need to be started during shipping (air/sea container service.) If you opted for RORO service, you only need to leave a little gas in the tank. Too much could lead to spills during shipping.

Photograph your bike at all angles before submitting it to the shipper for the pre-shipping inspection that they do themselves.

8. Make sure the shipping company tracks the shipment. Ask if they can take care of the customs process for you at the destination. If not, then you need to remember to get your motorcycle and fill out the paperwork for it after you are in the new country.

Whatever service you choose, make sure you find the right international mover/shipping company to take care of your bike. Screen the company and ask about insurance and the pricing beforehand. Make sure they are certified by some international freight organization. You wouldn't want anything bad to happen to your motorcycle.

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on August 11, 2014 - Moving Expert
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