Motorcycle transport guide

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Motorcycle transport solutions

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Motorcycle transport guide
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Motorcycle transport guide

Motorcycle transport guide
Train, freight forwarder, plane or ship

There are plenty of reasons for transporting your own motorcycle. If you are planning a holiday in another European country and are afraid of the long journey on your own, you can use the services of freight forwarders or car trains. The transfer to other parts of the world should be entrusted to companies with experience in motorcycle logistics.

Markus Biebricher

01/21/2016

Autozug and forwarding agents

Motorbike vacation in the sunny south? No desire or time for the wear-prone long-distance journey on your own bike? Then the arrival by shuttle service becomes interesting. It is based on the business idea of ​​a number of freight forwarders or tour operators to bring the motorcycles to their destination with light vans and trailers, with trucks or minibuses. The motorcyclist either rides on the bus or flies to the destination. The individual design options are interesting. In addition, this variant makes sense especially for group trips or events. Another possibility is loading the motorcycle onto a car train. After the German railways stopped most of their previously helpful connections for cost reasons, there are still possibilities in neighboring countries to have the motorcycle brought quite far into sunny, southern climes. Interesting for motorcyclists from the north: In 2016, Deutsche Bahn still maintains two connections from Hamburg to Munich and to Lorrach. The DB Autozug should roll 135 days a year with one sleeping car, five couchette cars and seven vehicle transport cars: from March to October on three days, during the rest of the year once or twice a week. There are also special dates over Christmas and New Year.

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All information: www.dbautozug.de. In 2017, Deutsche Bahn unfortunately also wants to save these routes. Reason: The demand is concentrated on the summer months, around 90 percent of the 200,000 passengers per year are summer vacationers. And this almost purely seasonal business could not ensure black numbers, according to Deutsche Bahn. 

But there is consolation: An interesting offer comes from the Dutch “Treinreiswinkel” in connection with Euro-Express. The Dutch are sending a car train from Dusseldorf to Verona in Italy every week from mid-May to the end of September in 2016. The whole thing at attractive conditions: For example, a “one-way ticket” on May 21, 2016 for one person including a motorcycle costs 148 euros. All information under http://www.bahnreiseladen.de/autozug/italien/autoslaaptrein-dusseldorf-verona

Austria offers interesting connections from Feldkirch to Villach or Graz. Or from Vienna to Verona, Livorno, Dusseldorf or Hamburg, for example. Bookings and information at www.oebb.at

There is even a train (approx. 36 hours) from Edirne in Turkey to Villach in Austria (www.optimatours.de). France also has an attractive network: www.b-europe.com. Reliable information about routes in Italy and Spain is currently difficult to find and will be the subject of another article.

Anyone who dreams of driving the non-European dream routes of this world with their own machine should contact a forwarding agent. Ideally one that specializes in motorcycle transport (see company profile and box with addresses). Of course, such a transport only makes sense if the trip is to take a little longer and any rental fees for a motorcycle in the destination area would exceed the transport costs. 

The shipping company DFDS Seaways has put a clear video online on how to properly lash a motorcycle on ferries.

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Air freight

Air freight is considered to be a problem-free and quick means of transport. If costs are a minor factor, the motorcycle can be shipped to almost anywhere in the world. First of all, you should ask for offers from several forwarding agents, because the way of transport can be as different as the pricing. It is important that you know the dimensions and weight of your vehicle when making an inquiry. 

Some companies already have special pallets of different sizes for motorcycles on which the machine can be lashed without major dismantling. If there is no fixed price or a special offer, the amount is calculated from the volume weight of the entire freight. The formula is: length × width × height (in centimeters) divided by 6000. This value is then multiplied by the price per kilo (size-count-formula). In addition, the fees for loading and unloading, customs, a hazard assessment and possible transport insurance add up. In the destination country, additional small fees may apply at the airport.

If you take the trouble to partially dismantle your motorcycle (remove the front wheel and handlebars) and give it up with a suitably compact pallet or box, you can save money due to the smaller volume. Tip: Before starting work, discuss any packaging requirements with the carrier of your choice. You can have the motorcycle packed by a packaging company or you can build a box yourself (there are instructions on the net). The transport boxes from local motorcycle dealers are also a good solution, but you should take care of them early on.

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Quarantine in Australia and New Zealand

Countries like Australia or New Zealand go to great lengths to keep pests out of their countries. Wooden boxes and their contents are therefore treated with toxic gas in a quarantine area at the target locations. Which makes some box builders resort to metal constructions (in which new motorcycles are increasingly being shipped to dealers). Sometimes the metal frames also have to be clad, which is best done with plywood. This is produced at such high temperatures that the authorities do not consider it suspicious of pest infestation.

Ocean freight

Sea freight is seen as a cheaper alternative to air freight. However, this variant is usually associated with considerably more work and organizational effort – and you have to give up your motorcycle six to eight weeks before you start your journey. Sea freight is possible with and without packaging as container goods. In any case, the box or motorcycle must be brought to Bremen or Hamburg. Many freight forwarders require the battery to be disconnected and the tank to be emptied for unpacked container transport. Once the bike has been packed, forwarding agents help, which are the more expensive the further the collection takes place in southern Germany. If you don’t want to drive your unpacked motorcycle yourself, you can fall back on the small or large transporters mentioned at the beginning, who sometimes offer transport across Germany for around 100 euros if they get their respective vehicles full.

Most of the time, you can also integrate equipment and suitcases into the motorcycle transport boxes, but this should also be clarified with the carrier of your choice. Even if you entrust your bike unpacked to a container, you may be able to deliver equipment such as helmets, boots, station wagons, spare parts, tools, tires, spare canisters and pack them on the bench, luggage rack or in the side cases. 

Motorcycle transport costs

Let’s get to the prices: As part of a special offer from In Time from Hamburg for Valparaiso / Chile, a mid-range travel enduro including all fees (without transport insurance) would cost 950 euros for the “one way” passage by container ship to book. Air transport can cost over a thousand more, but prices vary depending on the time of year, the shipping company and requirements. Here it is worthwhile to start researching early. 

The price for sea freight consists of the pure freight costs, the port costs and the disembarkation costs. The latter can amount to 500 to 1000 euros, depending on the destination port, and thus represent the largest item in the bill. In addition, you have to expect customs duties, taxes and storage fees in the destination country. While in the case of Chile, the USA or Australia the amounts involved are fixed and therefore calculable, various diffuse bribe payments can be added quickly, especially in third world countries, which can hardly be calculated in advance. In addition, there is the at least theoretical disadvantage that the container could be reloaded in intermediate ports, which does not always protect the motorcycles inside. But there is a risk with any type of transport, because the pallet can tip over from the forklift truck when loading the aircraft, etc. Fortunately, special insurance can be taken out for almost all types of transport, which does not cost a fortune compared to the freight price. 

In general, it is advisable to take into account the transport experience of other motorcycle travelers. In the database of the well-known long-distance travel forum HUBB, you can specifically search for experience reports: www.horizonsunlimited.com/tripplan/transport/shipping.php.

The conditions in the various countries are constantly changing and the best sources for fresh information are other travelers. Basically, there are some very good freight forwarders on the market that specialize in motorcycle transport for Western European customers. Recommended addresses can be found below. This time we would like to take a closer look at a specialist: the company In Time from Hamburg (see brief portrait).

Interview with Olaf Kleinknecht

In order to better understand the everyday life of a motorcycle haulier, we asked Olaf Kleinknecht, founder of the Hamburg forwarding company In Time, a few questions: 

 ?  What have been the most exotic delivery destinations for you so far??

 !  Individual transport to Japan was particularly exotic because it involved extreme preparation. Exotic on the world map were Ouagadougou and Dar Es Salaam. The container full of motorbikes from Vladivostok, 11,500 kilometers away, was also quite exotic.

 ?  What was the biggest logistical challenge in your career as an expert??

 !  The transport of the motorcycles of a German tour group for a trip through China from Shanghai to Beijing. Starting with the loading of the 15 motorcycles in exclusive containers to the release in China and the return transport to Germany.

 ?  What was the bizarre experience in connection with motorcycle transport?

 !  A motorcycle transport for a German customer to Australia and back. Usually routine, but the customer didn’t speak a word of English. Together with our German-speaking partner in Australia, however, we were able to organize a smooth process of the transport on site, and the customer came back completely satisfied.

 ?  What was the most beautiful and what was the most terrible experience?

 !  The best thing for me was a customer who gave her boyfriend a lavish motorcycle transport. On the other hand, the organization of a return transport from Peru to Germany was terrible. For personal reasons, the customer had to cancel his trip and return early. The motorcycle remained in Callao and the local customs authorities no longer wanted to take it out. It took me nine months and countless phone calls at night to get the bike out of the clutches of Peruvian customs. We only narrowly escaped confiscation. Regardless of the immense additional costs, the customer has of course only paid the agreed freight price.

 ?  Can you tell us a few goals that can be reached really quickly??

 !  The fastest way from Germany to New York by ship takes around nine days. The quickest way to get to Cancun / Mexico by plane is by “Fly and Ride” within three days; In general, the way back takes longer than the way there. A motorcycle takes about five weeks to ship to Chile, and seven weeks back. You can travel to Chile by plane within five days, and back it can take seven to 14 days.

 ?  What was the most expensive transport you have handled so far?

 !  It wasn’t a motorcycle, but a five-ton Dodge pickup that absolutely had to be on the plane from Miami to Amsterdam.

 ?  What is your recommendation to customers who would like to travel to other parts of the world??

 !  The best destinations for me are Valparaiso in Chile and Auckland in New Zealand. We have long-term partners at both destinations who always look after our customers far beyond the normal range. The infrastructure in both ports corresponds to Western European standards.

 ?  What is your most booked destination?

 !  That varies with the seasons. South America, especially Chile, is a constant. For this reason, we will be launching our Valparaiso special campaign again in 2016.

 ?  Do you already know something about other special offers from In Time?

 !  In the case of individual travelers, it is difficult to bundle a large number of customers at the same time. Nevertheless, we have further targets for special promotions in the planning stage. Canada, New Zealand or Namibia are conceivable. We will again be offering groupage containers to Chile and an early bird discount. If you book by March 31. there is a discount of ten percent on the basic price, if you book by 30.06. five percent.

Motorcycle shipping company In Time

The company In Time was founded by Olaf Kleinknecht in 1997. The founder relies on the transport of commercial goods by ship and plane. The long-time enthusiastic motorcyclist began to specialize in intercontinental motorcycle transport as early as 1998. In addition to his professional competence in the forwarding business, he can empathize with the worries and needs of customers who are inexperienced in transport and who have to entrust their beloved motorcycle to strangers for a potentially delicate transport. “For our understanding of service, it is irrelevant whether someone wants to send a brand new BMW GS or is traveling around the world with a twenty-year-old Yamaha. We take every concern seriously and treat every transport with the same care as if it were our own motorcycle. “

Just a nice promise? Apparently not, because In Time has a certain reputation among customers, which is reflected in positive entries in various forums. In addition to individual advice, cost transparency is an important component for Olaf Kleinknecht in order not to lose his reputation as a reliable transport partner. The customers receive a final price including all ancillary fees. Not a matter of course, because other providers sometimes leave out various items out of negligence or lack of knowledge. 

In addition to the common and popular destinations in America, Australia and Africa, In Time also offers transport solutions for India, Mongolia and Nepal, for example. For even more exotic travel destinations, individual concepts can be developed on request. Olaf Kleinknecht: “If we don’t have a reliable partner or can’t generate one, we don’t make false promises, but give tips on how to get the motorcycle home safely.” A statement that should reassure many long-distance travelers.

Info and address: 
In time forwarding & Courier e. K.
Airport Freight Center Building 148,
22335 Hamburg,
Telephone 0 40/59 35 92 40
www.intime-ham.com

Addresses

Selected addresses of motorcycle shipping companies / bike shuttle services

Europe-wide:

www.bike-on-board.de

www.bikertransit.de

www.bike-shuttle.com 

www.bayerwald-motorradtransporte.de

www.bikeworld-travel.de

www.CS-Conti.de 

www.4Motorbiker.de

www.free-bike.de

www.hertrans.de

www.motomotion.org

www.moto-cargo.de

www.motorrad-trip.de

www.mototransporter.de

www.mtl-spedition.com

www.motorrad-topguide.de

www.motorradtransporte.org

www.motorradtransport-haueis.de

www.iloxx.de

www.wallner-motorradlogistik.de

www.zweiradtransport24.de

Worldwide:

www.bikertransit.de

www.bikeworld-travel.de

www.hamburg-sued.com

www.dhl.de/motorradlogistik

www.hellmann.net

www.interfracht.de

www.intime-ham.com

www.leisurecargo.com

www.lufthansacargo.de

www.go2mbs.de

www.go2uti.com

www.pan-europa.de

www.shipafl.com

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