How to Ship a Motorcycle to Canada

Welcome to the Canada motorcycle shipping guide. If you’re planning on shipping a foreign registered motorcycle to Canada, have a read of this detailed guide first. 

Motorcycle Shipping UK to Canada
Mad or Nomad's bikes shipped by Moto Freight from the UK to Vancouver, Canada.

Contents

By Kathy Wood

By Kathy Wood

Kathy is an international motorcycle shipping expert and co-founder of UK based shipping firm Moto Freight.

How to Ship a Motorcycle to Canada

This guide explains everything you need to know about shipping a motorcycle to Canada.

You may be considering shipping your bike there because you’re planning an extended trip and don’t want to deal with the high costs of a long term rental, or deal with having to buy and sell a bike at the end of your trip. Shipping your own bike is a fantastic option because you get to ride your pride and joy in foreign lands and it’s easy to do! 

Keep reading for all the ins and outs, and have a read of all the detailed Canada riding guides once you’ve finished here so you can fully prepare for your Canada motorcycle adventure. 

READ MORE: Canada Motorcycle Travel Guides

Air vs sea freight

At the time of writing we would highly recommend airfreight over seafreight – the costs are actually relatively similar at the moment as airfreight rates have become much more competitive as we leave the COVID pandemic behind us. 

The arrival charges for airfreight are also considerably lower than for seafreight, so the total cost is actually less. Additionally the timings are much quicker and more reliable with airfreight so there really is no reason to go with anything else at the moment.

Canada shipping ports and airports

Any major airport in Canada is a good option logistically, and there is very little differentiation in price. Generally the more aircraft that fly in to an airport the more competitive the rates will be – so in a way, the busier the airport the better. Based on this, the best airports to start your Canadian adventure are Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal or Halifax, as the rates are the most competitive and there are currently daily flights.

Canadians are notorious for being friendly and helpful, and no airport in Canada has a reputation as being one to avoid.

The cost of shipping a motorcycle to Canada

Rates fluctuate all the time and quotes are only valid on the day they are sent, but as a ball park (based on current rates at the time of writing) airfreight of a BMW R1200GS size bike or similar from our depot near London Heathrow to arrival at any of the airports listed above is GB £1,595. This would be paid to ourselves before your bike exits the UK.

For arrival in to Canadian airports it is easy to clear your bike through Customs yourself (we can talk you through how to do this), in which case you will pay approximately US $120 in arrival charges directly to the airline cargo shed.

Storage fees

Another reason we recommend airfreight over seafreight to Canada is because it is easier to avoid storage charges – if you let us know which date you are looking to collect the bike in Canada (please bear in mind that you cannot clear/collect over a weekend or bank holiday) we will book the bike to arrive 24 to 48 hours before you. This is to make sure that the bike is there before you, but not so early as to incur storage.

By doing this the only way storage would be incurred is if the bike is flown early (this is extremely rare as we work hard to avoid this), or if you can’t collect the bike on the day that you planned to, for any reason.

Essentially make sure you choose an agent who is experienced in working with private individuals and vehicles and you will set yourself up for a good experience where there shouldn’t be any unexpected extras.

Customs and paperwork

Temporary import

You don’t need a temporary import in advance to take your bike in to Canada, and as long as you keep a copy of the airline and customs clearance paperwork with you during your time there, then this – along with your original V5 or title document – is evidence that your bike is a temporary import. A general piece of good advice is never to throw away any paperwork that you are given in relation to either your bike or yourself when entering or exiting a country.

Time

If your bike is a temporary import in to Canada you are allowed to keep it there for up to 12 months after it arrives, or until you leave if this happens sooner.

EPA

EPA Exemption is a USA specific document and does not apply to Canada. There is no Canadian equivalent and no document that you are specifically required to take your bike in to Canada. Having said that, if you start your trip in Canada but intend to cross in to the USA you will still need EPA Exemption, which you should apply for at least one month before the start of your trip. This is free and easy to do, and we can talk you through the process.

Insurance

Yes you will require motor insurance to take your bike in to the USA and/or Canada and you will need to have this in place before your trip (you may be asked to provide proof of insurance as part of the clearance process in to Canada).

We can provide details of a couple of companies that offer motor insurance for foreign registered vehicles in North America.

Fore more info, have a read of the below guides. 

READ MORE: 

Exiting Canada

You may be asked to present your paperwork at the border points between Canada and the USA (title document/V5, EPA Exemption letter etc.) but oftentimes you will be waved across without being asked to show any paperwork. Traffic flows between Canada and the USA quite freely so whilst you should be prepared to be pulled over and stopped it is likely that you will be allowed to continue without any inspection taking place.

Entering Canada via land

On passing from the USA to Canada across a road border you may be asked to pull over and present your documents, but in many cases you will be waved across to continue your journey. There is no additional paperwork you need to ask for at the border, and shipping from Canada back to the UK is extremely easy – you will need your V5/title document, you may be asked to evidence that your bike has motor insurance in place and you may be asked to show how and when your bike entered North America, but other than that there are no paperwork requirements – freighting your bike from Canada back to the UK is an extremely simple process.

Your bike is allowed in Canada for up to 12 months upon initial entry, so you will have plenty of time to explore.

Crating 

We handle the crating process so the physical crating element of the shipping is taken care of. In terms of packing the space around the bike in the crate – that is yours, so please do feel free to pack kit etc with the bike, if you so wish (most people do). There are certain things that cannot be packed with the bike though (anything hazardous with a warning label, e.g. camping gas, CO2 canisters, lighter fluid etc) and we would send you a list of such items to avoid in advance of your bike prep.

Whilst we have – touch wood – never had anything go missing, Customs both in the UK or at destination can choose to inspect your crate, so we recommend that you don’t leave anything valuable (e.g. cameras or sat navs) or sentimentally valuable items with the bike.

We send motorcycles as Dangerous Goods which means that they can have a maximum of ¼ tank fuel, and the battery can stay connected during transit.

Whilst the bike does not need to be immaculately clean, it is a good idea to wash it of any excess dirt or grease as part of your preparation.

Canada shipping agents

We work with a Canadian agent who is very experienced in working with private individuals and vehicles, whom we are happy to introduce customers to at the right time during the freighting process if their services are required.

Shipping to the USA

Shipping to the USA is an alternative, for more info on that, check out the USA motorcycle travel guides page and the US shipping guide. 

READ MORE:

Get in touch with Kathy and Moto Freight

If you’re interested in shipping your motorcycle to the USA, or to the UK from the USA, we recommend getting in touch with Kathy – the author of this article. We have personally used Kathy and Moto Freight’s services to ship our own bikes home from Australia and to Canada and couldn’t be happier with their perfect service. 

Read more on motorcycle shipping and Canada

Thanks for checking out the How to Ship a Motorcycle to Canada guide. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle shipping and travel in Canada that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning on shipping your motorcycle to Canada? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

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