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  #1  
Old 3 Jan 2009
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Ro-ro ships between Europe & USA?

Hi, thinking about shipping our bike to the US, but not so excited about crating and other quite laborous stuff associated with ´normal´ cargo... and would like to go by sea, to keep the costs down.

I think I remember that years ago, someone mentioned something about some ro-ro ships transporting vehicles (not necessarily passenger ferries, only vehicle transport) across the Atlantic... this maybe a long shot, but anyone have any idea, if this is true, and whether or not such shipping lines would still exist??

I know there have been such ships going between Japan and Australia. Not sure, if they would accept an uncrated bike at all, or what it would cost, but if I can find one going between Europe and the US, I´ll ask!
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  #2  
Old 3 Jan 2009
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This guy comes highly recommended...

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Old 3 Jan 2009
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For Ro-Ro, Wallenius Wilhelmsen are the people you want - they sail from northern Europe, via Southampton for us Brits, to the USA (west coast via Panama) and on to Japan, then turn round and do it all in reverse...

It takes about 22 days UK to LA (Ventura), and when I got a quote in spring 2008, it was £720 one way...

Although shipping by sea might appear simpler (and you might imagine cheaper), if it's a motorcycle you're taking, I'd recommend air freight for the following reasons:

1) It gets there when you want it to - typically 3 days is all it takes to get a bike across the atlantic, and that's to any city with an airport, not just New York or LA sea ports... Not only does that allow you to start your trip where and when you want, but it would be a pain in the ar5e if you'd arrived and your bike was still at sea due to unforeseen circumstances?

2) Crating a bike isn't difficult, and is certainly more secure (both from theft and damage) than using a Ro-Ro ferry... You can also fill the crate with your riding gear/boots/helmet & camping gear/luggage which all takes up space in your passenger luggage allowance when you yourself fly over...

3) although you might think sea-shipping is cheaper, I think the Ro-Ro operators charge a premium for the perceived 'convenience' of not having to crate... there also tends to be a number of additional charges when shipping by sea - customs, storage, loading/unloading etc - it can all add a significant amount to the base fee.

When I brought my bike back from the US last year, the price was $1400 (£700 at the exchange rate then, so actually cheaper than by sea!) - and that was picked up from my address in the US, and flown over to an airport near my home in the UK - all paperwork and customs sorted by the agent. All I had to do was turn up at the airport depot and take the bike away... If I'd paid a little more they would even have delivered it to my home address.

It was so painless, I did the same thing in reverse this autumn, and although the cost was a little higher (mainly due to the increase in fuel prices we saw last summer), I was able to pick the bike up at the airport, and after 20 minutes with a spanner and a gallon of fuel, able to ride the bike away...

I'd say that unless you have a full-dresser Gold Wing (and live in Southampton), it is far more convenient to ship a motorcycle by air?

xxx
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  #4  
Old 3 Jan 2009
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I see flyingdoctor has suggested an air-freight agent while I was busy typing!

I'm not sure about Finland, but certainly the protocol in the US and UK is to use an agent based in your own country (and typically local to you/the airport you intend to use). I used an agent in Las Vegas to ship from the US to the UK, and their opposite number for the return journey last year...

xxx
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  #5  
Old 3 Jan 2009
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We shipped our bike a total of 4 times on our last trip, twice by sea, and twice by air, so I am aware of the advantages of airfreight. This time I dont mind if it´ll take a few weeks, but I want to get it done cheap, or we´ll start to consider leaving ours at home, and either renting, or buying from the US. Should be possible to do it rather cheap by normal LCL seafreight, if all else fails, but I havent got their quotes yet.

I paid less than 500 euros to get the thing shipped from Sydney to Helsinki, (took over 2 months to arrive, though!) so even if distance doesnt matter so much with seafreight, I would think one should get it cheaper than that from, say, the UK to the US East coast.

£720 one way to LA, I think I might almost get it airlifted to NY for that (and it´ll probably be more than that now, because the pound has gone way down). And I probably want to start from the East coast anyway, otherwise our own flights will be longer and more expensive.

Thanks for the info anyway, it is good to know these roro services actually do exist!
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Old 3 Jan 2009
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Yes, a lot of people recommend Wallenius Wilhelmsen to get across the Atlantic (and a friend of mine used them for his Land Rover a few years ago which is where I heard about them originally), but as you say - if price is the no.1 priority, then standard sea cargo (container) would be the way to go...

xxx
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Old 3 Jan 2009
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I dont think bikes would travel well on the ocean going roro ships, they are setup to secure cars and upto 250 tonne cranes, I'm not sure they'd have the appropriate tools for the job.
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Old 4 Jan 2009
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Hi People, I have used WW twice in the last 3 years Nd the service has been nothing short of excellent. From Southampton to Halifax Nova Scotia, (Sep. '08) £685.00 + CD$103.00 landing and custom fees on arrival was the latest and this vessel starts in Zeebrugge. Delivered moto 3 days before the sailing date and picked it up 10 days later. I could have managed a day earlier but I screwed up the insurance. As to motorcycle gear, that went in my bike's panniers and when asked I said it was moto gear and everyone was happy. Everyone that I have spoken to also speaks highly of this company so check out their website which is a bit difficult to get around but you should be able to get the Zeebrugge contact number. Ride safe.
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Old 4 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maja View Post
Hi People, I have used WW twice in the last 3 years Nd the service has been nothing short of excellent. From Southampton to Halifax Nova Scotia, (Sep. '08) £685.00 + CD$103.00 landing and custom fees on arrival was the latest and this vessel starts in Zeebrugge. Delivered moto 3 days before the sailing date and picked it up 10 days later. I could have managed a day earlier but I screwed up the insurance. As to motorcycle gear, that went in my bike's panniers and when asked I said it was moto gear and everyone was happy. Everyone that I have spoken to also speaks highly of this company so check out their website which is a bit difficult to get around but you should be able to get the Zeebrugge contact number. Ride safe.
Was that price for a one way trip ?
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Old 5 Jan 2009
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Yes, also another couple with a bike and sidecar shipped from Southampton to Charleston in the USA at the end of '08 for I believe the same price and it only took a couple of days more. Ride safe
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  #11  
Old 8 Feb 2011
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Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
I'd recommend air freight for the following reasons:

1) It gets there when you want it to - typically 3 days is all it takes to get a bike across the atlantic, and that's to any city with an airport, not just New York or LA sea ports...

...When I brought my bike back from the US last year, the price was $1400 (£700 at the exchange rate then, so actually cheaper than by sea!) - and that was picked up from my address in the US, and flown over to an airport near my home in the UK - all paperwork and customs sorted by the agent. All I had to do was turn up at the airport depot and take the bike away...
JMo,
can you share with us exactly how you shipped it?, most importantly, with what company?, contact(s) there?, etc. ???

thanks in advance...
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  #12  
Old 8 Feb 2011
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Hi Crash - I'm sorry but that info is rather out of date now...

For info, I shipped (by air) a bike from the UK to Vegas in October 2008, and it cost $1800 USD outbound (about £1000 at the time).

Unfortunately in the spring of 2009, the USA (in their paranoia) changed the rules for shipping 'dangerous goods' and as such, a lot of the freight handlers stopped shipping DGs to save the paperwork grief...

Therefore, there are very few specialist shippers like Motorcycle Express who continue to ship bikes to and from the USA, and they now have a captive audience, and only have a limited number of destinations too of course.

Ultimately I ended up using Fedex to bring my bike back to the UK in April 2009, and it cost...

















...$2700 USD.

Yep, they pretty much had me over a barrel - particularly as I had to move quickly since my return flight was already booked, and I'd expected my original ground agent in the US to handle the return as a matter of course.

Another option would be to break the bike down into 'parts' and ship it that way (100Kg costs around £460 with Fedex), however, you'd then have a load of customs grief with bringing 'parts' in, and having to pay import duty etc. even if you were able to claim it back once you shipped the 'parts' out again...

As far as I know, there is no easy (I mean cheap x) way to ship by air now, other than Motorcycle Express etc. who (at the last time I checked) will charge around $2000 USD each way for a typical 200Kg bike.

Jx
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  #13  
Old 8 Feb 2011
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I believe it was an American guy on the HUBB that posted a couple of years back, "That shipping was for mugs" and at the prices now quoted, I can't fault his statement.
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