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  • Writer's pictureVegard Synnes

Motorbike Transportation - An Introduction

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Global Motorbike Market

The Global motorbike market saw sales of around 44 million units in 2021, a rough 20% decrease from 2019 and pre-covid times according to*. The market is however expected to bounce back, and by 2026 see almost 61 million sold units worldwide.

Global motorbike marked mapped

Southeast Asia is by far the global market with most sold motorbikes in the world, and countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia have an extremely high motorbike ownership rate, where more than 80% of all households own a least one motorbike. Though car ownership is growing across the region, motorbike ownership is also big in India and China, and Asia in total is estimated to stand behind more than 81% of global motorbike demand**.

The two biggest motorbike manufacturing countries in the world is India and China, other major manufacturing countries include Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, Taiwan, and The Philippines.

The internal combustion engine motorbike has been the standard for many years, and are especially in rural areas the only viable option. However, recent years have seen a huge growth in electric motorbikes, especially in urban regions where air pollution has been a problem and “Green Mobility Solutions” have been of importance. Major motorcycle brands like Harley Davidson, BMW, and Yamaha are at an increasingly pace releasing products or concepts catering for this segment as well.

Conventional Motorbike Transport

Motorbikes can be shipped through different modes, the most popular being in containers or on trucks fitted with the specialized equipment to load and secure motorbikes. When shipping in containers the bikes must be secured either on a skid, in a crate, or a rack which allows for the bike to secured in a up-right position throughout the transport journey. Though you do see cases where bikes are loaded straight into the container without any proper securing mechanisms, this is not something we would recommend anyone to do.

Challenges in Conventional Method

Several challenges come to mind when looking at any of the conventional transport methods for motorbikes. Anyone attempting to ship bikes straight in the container without proper packaging or loading equipment will experience a very high damage ratio. As the container is lifted on and off trucks, rail wagons or ships, the content within will move around if not properly secured, this can result in damages ranging from light dents or scratches, all the way to a completely totaled bike. When loading bikes directly into container, you are also not able to fully utilize the container space. Motorbikes are relatively light cargo, and you will neither cube out nor weigh out if loading without equipment or crates.

Specialized motorbike carrier trucks can be found in either single, double, or tri-level configurations. Such trucks are mostly used for domestic distribution, or other overland transport scenarios. The number of motorbikes which can be loaded on each voyage using such specialized trucks are usually higher than when shipping in containers, however price is often found to be more expensive and the trucks cannot be loaded with other cargo and must return to base empty. Loading and unloading procedures are also cumbersome as bikes must be loaded one by one.

A typical scenario seen for global export moves will be motorbikes loaded on wooden skids or in wooden crates. This allows for proper securing of the bikes, and it will also be easier to load and unload them in a container. Using expandable wooden packaging is not conducive to todays focus on minimizing environmental impact, and the record high wood prices in today’s market will also make it a very costly exercise.

In summary, conventional methods of transporting motorbikes does not utilize the transport asset in a good manner, transport assets require a long time to be loaded and unloaded, bikes are prone to damage, and there is little emphasis on cost saving and CO2 reduction.

The Kar-Tainer Method

Kar-Tainer’s Motorbike Cassette System aims to eliminate the challenges and short-comings outlined above. The system consists of eight identical cassettes which each can load five motorbikes, two cassettes are then stacked on top of each other to combine in one module. Each module is inserted into the container with a forklift, and container loading is done in less than 10 minutes.

As the cassette system is double stacked, the full space of each container is utilized, and up to 40 bikes are loaded in each container instead of the standard 20. As the bikes can be pre-staged onto cassettes before the container even arrives, all loading and securing activities takes place out in the open and does not involve personnel climbing into a tightly packed truck or container to position the bikes and lash and secure them. This method greatly reduced time spent for both loading and unloading and clears up capacity at the loading dock as trucks or containers do not need to be parked for an extended period of time during loading and unloading.

The cassette system has defined positions for each bike with required lashing and tire fastening points. Bikes are positioned in a way that there is zero risk of them touching each other or swaying into each other during transportation. This greatly reduce the risk of damage to the bikes during transport. As the system is made of sturdy steel, it can be reused unlimitedly. An attribute which negates the use of expendable packaging material like wood, paper, or plastic, and greatly reduces the CO2 impact from your motorbike transport setup.

If you want to learn more about how the Kar-Tainer Motorbike Cassette System can help optimize your motorbike logistics, get in touch with your closest Kar-Tainer representative or reach out to us through the website contact forms, on

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