Man riding motorbike

Are you planning a global motorbike adventure? Or perhaps you’re moving to a new country, and don’t want to leave your vehicle behind? It’s difficult to know where to start with transporting your motorcycle abroad, from shipping options and documents to insurance and agents. To help, this detailed guide is packed with information to explain everything you need to know. Read on, and you’ll be with your partner on the overseas roads in no time.

Using a Shipping Agent

There’s a multitude of options for shipping your motorbike, so using an agent can help remove all the stress, and save you costs overall. They’ll suggest the right transport method for you, be knowledgeable about paperwork, and have experience in how to crate your vehicle securely. Have a look to find one that suits your needs by checking Google reviews, social media, and online forums – or, you may know someone who recommends one by word-of-mouth. Fundamentally, you’re looking for a company with a good reputation, timely responses, and a friendly service.

Air or Sea?

Whether you transport your motorbike by plane or boat, it should reach its destination securely in a dedicated crate – with costs usually based on the length-width-height size of the crate, as opposed to the bike’s physical weight. If you need to ship your vehicle more quickly and reliably, then go for air freight – you’ll know exactly when it’ll be landing, and the security is second to none. The downside? A fast service typically comes in at a much higher price tag, so air is usually much more expensive than sea.

However, be aware that while shipping by boat offers lower charges initially, the arrival and handling charges can be much higher. Plus, some countries won’t clear your bike at Customs unless you’re present, so you may incur additional storage costs if it arrives ahead of schedule. Though with boat, you could also opt for an un-crated Ro-Ro (Roll-on/Roll-off) service (door-to-door), where all you need to do is hand over your vehicle and let your shipping company take care of the rest. Ultimately, both air and sea offer their pros and cons – you just need to choose what works best for you.

Preparing Your Motorbike

Before dispatching your vehicle, you’ll need to clean it up, and remove any personal belongings attached – taking off touring screens or the front wheel for example, can save money too. This also makes it easier to check your bike’s condition ahead of travel. Make sure you take dated photos of the existing condition (useful for any potential insurance claims) and note down any scratches or dents that are already present, so you can be sure there was no damage in transit.

For sea freight, you’ll need to drain the fuel and disconnect the battery (so it can be shipped as a non-hazardous item), and for air, the tank will need to be a quarter full – though the battery can remain connected if you’re shipping it as a Dangerous Good. In terms of packing, we recommend strapping up with foam padding for maximum protection, though your Agent should arrange the right protective crating for you. Be aware that some countries may penalise you heavily if you don’t use ISPM15-treated wood, including disposal of your motorcycle.

Man cleaning motorbike

Necessary Documents

Like when you go abroad yourself, a vehicle needs the right documentation to get to its destination. The paperwork you need will vary but will likely be anything from the motorbike’s Bill and Certificate of Sale to a copy of your own passport and driver’s licence.

Make sure you check the country’s specific requirements – for example, down under in Australia and New Zealand, all vehicles need to be spotless, while the USA requires that you apply for an EPA Exemption. Some may also insist on a Carnet-de-Passage, which can take at least a month post-application – so make sure you do your research ahead of the shipping date. It’s your responsibility to have the right paperwork, though if you’re using a shipping company, they’ll take care of document handling for you, and make sure everything goes to plan at Customs.

Do You Need Insurance?

Even though trusted shipping companies work safely and efficiently, there could be some third-party factors that mean you’ll benefit from insurance cover. It’s recommended to take out as much as you can to protect your motorcycle in the case of loss or damage, but there’s a range of options on the market to suit your needs – though usually cover is only for the bike and its permanent fixtures, as opposed to additional kit.

Motorcycle on Roads Overseas

Let your trusty ally accompany you through all those key life events by following our motorbike shipping guide. Nothing in life comes for free, and like most things requires a bit of time and preparation, but it’s all worth it to have your motorbike where you want it, when you want it, and in the condition you want it. What’s stopping you…Get ready for the ride of your life!

People riding motorbike abroad

At Andrews Shipping, we’ll help you get you motorbike overseas, quickly, and safely. We’re experts when it comes to vehicle shipping – remove the stress and put your mind at rest by getting a quote today.