Shipping a motorcycle to Europe from the USA

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Home » Moving Tips » Shipping a motorcycle to Europe from the USA

If you are moving to Europe, and you have a Harley, Honda, or Yamaha, of course, you’d want to take it with you. Besides, 2/3 wheelers and ATVs are becoming popular in Europe even more than in the US. So shipping a motorcycle to Europe is a move to satisfy Europe’s demand for individual mobility and vehicles with low emission levels.

There are numerous options to ship your bike. SDC International Shipping offers competitive quotes to any destination in Europe.

How Motorcycles Are Shipped Overseas

You can pick up the transport option based on your preferences and needs. SDC International Shipping can arrange both airfreight and ocean freight. These are common vehicle shipping options. 

Pros of Air Freight

An owner of an expensive Harley is likely to prefer sea freight because it is considered the safest way of shipment. In terms of timings, it is also very fast and reliable. Shipping a motorcycle to Europe’s west, for instance, to Germany, will typically take only two days.

Pros of Ocean Freight

The air freight option is perfect but does it mean that transporting your car on a ship can be detrimental to your vehicle? If not taking into account unforeseen circumstances, sea freight is also a pretty safe method to ship a vehicle internationally. Plus, unlike air freight, it isn’t expensive at all.

How Long Does it Take to Ocean Freight to Main Container Ports in Europe?

The below timings are rather rough estimations because the exact shipping time depends on which port the shipment occurs.

Rotterdam, Netherlands3-4 weeks
Le Havre, France2-4 weeks (from 22 to 30 days)
Bremerhaven, Germany3-4 weeks
Antwerp, Belgium4 weeks
Thames port, UK2-3 weeks
Dublin, Ireland22-30 days
Oslo, Norway23-30 days
Aarhus, Denmark20-40 days
Gothenburg, Sweden20-30 days
Barcelona, Spain22-27 days
Genoa, Italy30-41 days
Marseille, France12-41 days

Shipment Methods to Europe From the US

The most preferred shipment methods to Europe are roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) and container. You can consult with SDC International Shipping logistic experts to decide which one works best for your situation. In the meanwhile, find out more about the two transport methods.

Ro-Ro Service for Shipping a Motorcycle to Europe

If you don’t know what “Ro-Ro” means, imagine a ship at the port with the opened “mouth” and cars rolling out from it. It’s quite a popular movie scene. So, if you choose this method, your motorbike will be driven straight into the ship at one of the US ports and then driven off at the port in Europe.

It is an ideal choice for temporary shipments. For example, if traveling in Europe for leisure or motorbike rides, you’ll easily get your car from one country to another via ocean with the Ro-Ro service.

Container Service for Shipping a Motorcycle to Europe

At SDC International Shipment, you can book either a 20 foot or 40-foot container. The latter is also known as FCL – Full Container Load and the benefit of sending your car in a private container is that you can also load personal household items.

If you do not intend to ship personal effects with your motorcycle, your bike will be placed in the container with other cycles.  

Do You Need Crating Service?

SDC International Shipping offers a crating service for air and ocean freights. Crating your motorcycle provides protection from contact with a container wall or other vehicles. But even more, some EU countries set strict regulations towards wood crates. For example, wood must be processed through the heat to eliminate the risk of pest infestation.

Our agents know all the rules specific to each country and tailor crating to specific bikes. Owners of old classic and premium-class bikes may choose extra protection and security crating measures.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Motorcycle to Europe

The price of the motorcycle shipment from the US to Europe involves the following:

  • The size of your cycle.
  • The shipment method – air or ocean.
  • The distance between the port and destination.
  • Additional service (door-to-port, port-to-door, etc.)

As for the shipment method, since bikes are over 100 kg, it’s more affordable to send them as ocean freight. You can get the cost of shipment by filling our online quote form.

Customs Clearance

Before we ship your motorcycle, it’s vital to meet the EU regulations for shipment. In some countries in Europe, you may qualify for a duty-free entry if you have owned the bike for six months prior to importing. Besides, you need to ensure that you have paid the VAT and sales tax.

You will have to submit the following documents as evidence of ownership of the motorcycle:

  • Title deed;
  • Purchase invoice;
  • Bill of sales (if the bike is in your ownership for less than six months);
  • In some cases, the US and the EU county’s insurance proof;
  • Valid ID documents;
  • The proof of residency in the USA.

We will use these documents for the US customs clearance. Then, we’ll mail them to our EU shipment agent to clear your motorcycle through customs at the destination port.

When the import is over, you’ll have to present this import documentation to register your motorbike. You’ll also need them when returning to the US and bringing your motorcycle.

Converting Your Imported Motorcycle

When your motorcycle gets to the arrival port, it will be checked for technical defects and compliance with EU registration regulations. Without the conversion, the vehicle won’t be registered in the EU country. 

Most upgrades involve converting your MPH to KPH, exhaust, lighting, and emission adjustments to EU standards.

We advise that you contact the local customs department for the latest information about conversions.

Please note that some upgrades aren’t possible with motorcycles 25 years or older.

Do You Need Transit Insurance?

Although disasters are rare, they still can occur. We offer transit insurance which is optional yet still highly advised. If your motorcycle gets damaged or lost during shipment (including during loading and unloading), you will be entitled to some compensation. 

Also, it’s very important to examine your motorcycle after the delivery before signing the bill of lading. Otherwise, you won’t get coverage for damage after signing the bill.

Shipping Process for Importing Your Motorbike

The shipping process includes several stages. Your shipping representative will advise you on the safest way to get your bike to the port during each stage. The process involves the following:

Stage 1

You can either transport your bike yourself or take advantage of our transport service. 

Stage 2

Once your bike is on the ship and the sea, you will get a bill of lading and an approximate time of arrival.

Stage 3

The bike import process in the EU will start after the ship arrives in the port.

Stage 4

You will be notified when the bike enters the country, and the customs clearance process is completed.

Stage 5

You can either pick up the bike yourself or get a delivery service to your home.

Shipping with SDC International Shipping

We have been offering superb motorcycle shipping to multiple destinations overseas for several years. You can rely on our experience and hassle-free service for your international shipment.

Simply fill out our three-step online quote to find out the shipment cost for your particular situation.

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By Kfir Cohen

Kfir Cohen is handling global operations, cargo shipping, negotiation, and management of different suppliers around the world. He has more than 15 years of experience in the avant-garde of relocation and the sea/air freight business.
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