There are many different ways to ship a motorcycle from one location to another. Most people contract with a motorcycle specific transport company to move their motorcycle from one location to another. Some people have their motorcycle crated and have it shipped through a freight company. Other people put their motorcycle in a container provided by a transport company and ship it through a freight company. A few people rent a trailer and transport the motorcycle themselves.
There are a number of advantages to contracting with a motorcycle specific shipping company to move your motorcycle from one location to another. These motorcycle shippers usually have enclosed trailers that have a lift gate or a ramp gate for loading and unloading. The advantage of that type of equipment is you do not need a dock or forklift to load and unload the motorcycle. The driver simply loads and unloads the bike on their lift gate or rolls it on and off using their ramp gate. Additionally, some shippers mount the bikes on pallets while they are in transit. The pallets either have wheels on them so they can be moved around with the bike attached or the shipper will have a pallet jack to move the palletized bike around with.
The shippers will have the proper soft tie down straps for securing a motorcycle within their trailer or on their pallets. The shippers that do not use a pallet use a method known as roll-on roll-off service. The roll-on roll-off service is the most common method of bike transport. With this method the bike is rolled into the trailer and usually positioned in the trailer sideways. There is a system called E-track that is in the floor and the walls of the trailer. The driver uses soft tie down straps on all four corners of the bike to secure the bike to the E-track system. This is a safe method to use to transport a motorcycle and so is the pallet shipping option.
As mentioned previously, some people put their motorcycles in a wooden crate to transport them from one location to another. You can either hire someone to provide the crate and crate the bike for you or you can build your own crate. The freight companies that ship crated motorcycles usually require the crate to be fairly robust and have plywood around all four sides and the top of the crate. There needs to be a gap underneath of the crate to be able to get a forklift under the crated bike. You usually have to drop the crated bike off at the shippers dock and pick it up at their dock also.
The container shipping option is not used very frequently to ship a motorcycle. Very few companies provide containers specifically designed for shipping motorcycles. This option usually requires you to bring the bike to the shippers facility and secure it within the container yourself. In most cases, you will have to retrieve the bike from the shippers facility at the delivery end also.
The other method to ship a motorcycle is to rent a trailer and transport the motorcycle yourself. Some people use this option but when you consider the cost of renting the trailer versus having a motorcycle specific transport company move the bike for you there usually is not a big difference in the overall cost. Additionally, you will need to provide your own tie downs if you rent a trailer so that is likely to be an additional expense.