The logistics of Shipping and Airfreighting when Travelling

A handy breakdown to help you with your shipping needs when travelling

If you’re looking at shipping your vehicle to your destination, it’s worth to get the ball rolling early on so you know where you stand. 


You’ll initially have to decide between Sea or Air Freight. Here are some considerations to help you along the way:


Cost. Sea Freight is often cheaper, although not always by much and on the rare occasion can cost the same if not more. You can either be charged by container sizes (of which you can try to arrange to share the costs with fellow travellers) or by the weight and size of your vehicle. Where you can get caught out though is by the import duties and taxes and the port so make sure you identify these costs before booking your travel!

Air Freight tends to be a lot more costly upon initial glance. The cost will be based on the chargeable weight of your vehicle. The chargeable weight is generally the volumetric size of the packed vehicle but if your vehicle weight exceeds this, they will charge according to that weight.

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The chargeable weight can usually be calculated as…


Size of Crate or Shipment = (Height x Width x Length in cm) / 6000


Chargeable Weight = Weight of Vehicle (including crate)


… Whichever is heavier!


As with Sea Freight, you may also have to pay import and export fees as well as other costs depending on your destination – be sure to check before booking!


Timing. Sea Freight. You initially are required to book your vehicle into the port and then drop it down on the day you have arranged. From there it depends on the shipping schedule and time it takes to travel. Naturally takes longer to arrive to it’s destination (from days / weeks to months) and weather can cause both minor and major delays. Once it has arrived at it’s destination it has been known for same day pick up but can take much longer.


Air Freight. As with Sea Freight, you must book you vehicle to be freighted by air prior to turning up with your bike. Whether it is uncrated or crated shipments, the documentation must be prepared before arrival at the airline. The pre-flight requirements can take a couple of days and are as follows: 

- Dangerous Goods Documents Completed

- Dangerous Goods Checks

- Security Swabs
- X-Ray

Once your vehicle is shipped and arrives at it's location, ordinarily it can be collected within 24hours of arrival. Again, there can be delays from bad weather or incidents but normally these are rectified quickly by the air liner.

Crating. A lot of travellers opt to pack their own vehicle for shipping which requires a bit of prep. Make sure you find out the regulations for freighting your vehicle before rocking up with some wood and nails and boshing something together! Alternatively you can get an agent to arrange this for you. For most counties, all wood content must be Forestry Commission ISPM15 approved. The wood must bear a stamp to this effect.


Agents. Freighting your own vehicles without the aid of an agent is possible although becoming much more difficult with stricter regulations. For normally a negligible amount, using an agent can make life much easier and reduce the stress of shipping at the start of your adventure. With forms filled, they can negotiate the best prices for you and ensure all the correct documentations and costs are set out from the word go. Well worth their weight in gold and to put your mind at ease.

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