Container Shipping FAQ

  • Why is Forward Air offering a containerized shipping program for motorcycles and other items?
  • The development of the Internet, with the ability of motorcycle buyers and sellers to freely communicate with each other, has created a demand to move motorcycles in the Forward Air network. Even before the Forward Air website existed, many motorcycle shippers contacted Forward Air to ship their motorcycles. That demand has evolved into an awareness that many shippers want the convenience of a purpose built, "bulletproof motorcycle container" for safe, secure, time-definite shipping. Forward Air is responding to your request to provide containerized motorcycle shipping.
  • Will I be guaranteed a container when I want it?
  • Until Forward Air completely fills the system with containers, to balance supply with demand, it is possible we might be unable to meet your request with a container on the day you request it; however, we will serve you on a "first -paid, first-served" basis. The earlier you book and pay for your shipment, the better your likelihood of getting a container when you want it.
  • How long does it take to ship my motorcycle or other containerized items?
  • Forward Air Express Service typically provides transit times of 1 to 4 business days, depending on origin and destination. Please go to Forward Air Motorcycle and Container Shipping and click on "Check Rates" for specific information.
  • How do I prepare my motorcycle for shipment in a Forward Air container?
  • All fluids must be drained from the motorcycle and fumes purged from the gas tank, the battery disconnected and the battery terminal cables secured to prevent electrical contact to comply with U.S. DOT Regulations. If you have a small bike, this may be your only preparation; however, with larger bikes, the windshield and mirrors should be lowered or removed, and in come cases, the handlebars must be lowered as well.
  • Do you provide tie-down straps and locks for the Forward Air container?
  • As the shipper, you are required to provide tie-down straps and locks to secure your shipment. There are two doors on steel containers (EXC & LGC). A minimum of 6 tie-down rings and, in most cases, 8 tie-down rings are installed in the floor of the Forward Air container. There is one door on plastic containers (SMC). Numerous tie-down positions are available and you can use Master Lock # 517 adjustable shackle lock or cable lock or carrier provided seal. It is your responsibility to load and secure your motorcycle; therefore, you must provide tie-down straps and locks.
  • How do I prepare my motorcycle for shipment if I supply my own container?
  • All fluids must be drained from the motorcycle, the battery disconnected and the battery terminal cable secured to prevent electrical contact to comply with U.S. DOT Regulations. The motorcycle must be completely enclosed in a wooden crate constructed of not less than 1/4 inch plywood with a frame using a minimum of a 2 X 4 inch boards. The base of the container must be pallet style or provide slots for fork lifts.
  • What are the maximum dimensions of a motorcycle that can be shipped?
  • Forward Air offers three(3) carrier provided container sizes with the following inside dimensions.

    1. Large Forward Air Container (LGC) - 118" L * 44.6" W * 59" H.
    2. Standard Forward Air Container (EXC) - 98" L * 44.6" W * 47.6" H.
    3. Small Forward Air Container (SMC) - 61" L * 44.5" W * 44" H.
  • Maximum dimensions of shipper provided containers may not exceed 130"L * 48"W *60"H.

  • Pricing for shipper provided containers is predicated on four (4) categories.

    1. Small container "SMN"= 70X30X36=302 pounds Weight Max, Max Length = 70 ", Over SMN = EXN.
    2. Standard container "EXN"=100X48X50=960 pounds Weight Max, Max Length =100", Over EXN = LGN.
    3. Large container "LGN"=120X48X60=1383 pounds Weight Max, Max Length=120", Over LGN = MXN.
    4. Maximum container "MXN"= OVER 120"less than 130"X48"X60",1498 pounds maximum weight.
  • Should your container exceed 130"L * 48"W *60"H, please call Forward Air Customer service at (800) 726-6654 for a personalized quote.
  • Can I send other belongings in the container with my motorcycle?
  • Since it is your responsibility to crate and secure your motorcycle, you certainly may use any available space in the container to ship motorcycle related, non-hazardous, accessories.
  • Will you ship my motorcycle if it is inoperable?
  • Yes
  • Are motorcycles inspected at time of tender?
  • Motorcycles are inspected for safety compliance only.
  • Is there assistance available to load or unload the motorcycle from a truck or trailer?
  • Assistance is available during non peak hours, typically 10AM-5PM, however you must sign a Personal Vehicle Waiver indicating you will not hold Forward Air liable for damaging a vehicle that is not designed to be loaded from a forklift or on a ramp in an LTL environment.
  • Can I use the container to transport my motorcycle from the Forward Air terminal to the final destination and then bring the empty container back to the terminal?
  • The Forward Air container must remain on Forward Air property, therefore you must arrange to pick-up and deliver the motorcycle at the Forward Air location.
  • Can Forward Air unpack the motorcycle and dispose of my shipping crate?
  • Yes, however, some stations may charge a disposal fee. Check with the FA destination station to see if fees apply.
  • What if I am unavailable to pick up my motorcycle at the destination station on the day specified?
  • If you are using a Forward Air container, additional charges will accrue after 24 hours of arrival at destination because Forward Air containers are in high demand. Storage charges for FA containers at destination are $50.00/day. If you are using your own crate, your shipment will be held for 2 days before storage charges begin at $0.03 per pound subject to a minimum of $25.00 per day.
  • How long does the receiver have to pick up the motorcycle at destination?
  • Storage charges for FA containers at destination are $50.00/day after the first 24 hours at destination. If you are using your own crate, your shipment will be held for 2 days before storage charges begin at $0.03 per pound subject to a minimum of $25.00 per day.
  • Can I pick up the motorcycle on weekends or after work?
  • Each Forward Air location has hours of operations that are particular to that terminal. The hours for each station are available through Central Customer Service at (800) 726-6654 or on our website at
  • What does it cost to ship my motorcycle?
  • The cost depends on the distance and container type (Forward Air's or Shipper's). Please go to Forward Air Motorcycle and Container Shipping and click on "Check Rates".
  • What payment options do I have?
  • You may book and pay for your shipment on-line using a secure credit card transaction or you may pay with certified funds or money order at origin station.
  • Can I ship a motorcycle C.O.D.?
  • No. You may use certified funds or credit card, C.O.D. shipments are not accepted.
  • Can a 3rd party (other than the shipper or receiver) pay for the shipping?
  • Yes, however the payment must be paid on-line with a credit card.
  • What credit cards do you take?
  • Visa and MasterCard.
  • Why can't I pay cash to ship my motorcycle?
  • Forward Air is a business-to-business company and we do not maintain cash on our premises, and we simply do not have the ability to accept cash.
  • Is my motorcycle insured during transit?
  • The maximum liability of Forward Air and its subcontracting carriers for loss, damage, or delay of your shipment will be $0.50 per pound per article. Our pricing is predicated on this release valuation. This means that you assume the risk of loss to the extent the items you ship are worth more than this amount. You may wish to obtain cargo insurance for your protection, but in any event, neither you nor your insurance company will have any right of recovery against Forward Air or its subcontractors for more than $0.50 per pound. You may purchase additional coverage on your motorcycle using Forward Air's 98" steel container (EXC) or 118" steel container (LGC) at the rate of $1 for every $100 of declared value with a minimum declared value of $10000 and a maximum of $30000. Forward Air's liability is for actual damage or loss incurred up to the maximum declared value you purchase. Additional declared value is not available for inoperable motorcycles or parts. Motorcycle damage claims must be noted on the Bill at the time of delivery. Damage claims will not be considered subsequent to delivery. Please go to Motorcycle and Container Shipping Terms and Conditions for complete explanation.
  • Is there a phone number to call if I have questions about how to book on the website?
  • Customer Service may be contacted with any question regarding booking on line at (800) 726-6654, or you may e-mail us at
  • Where can I obtain directions to the Forward Air terminal?
  • Addresses for each of our terminals are listed on the website. To find step-by-step driving directions, may be a
    helpful website.
  • How can I track the shipment of my motorcycle or container?
  • Shipments moving through the Forward Air system can be tracked on-line at by entering the Bill # and clicking on "Track".
  • How many days in advance do I need to book my motorcycle shipment?
  • If using a Forward Air container, we may need up to 7 days notice. If the motorcycle is crated we need no prior arrangements.
  • How far in advance can I book my motorcycle?
  • A motorcycle can be booked as much as a year in advance, but until payment is received (credit card or certified funds), a container will not be positioned for that move.
  • Can I use a motorcycle container to ship other stuff?
  • Yes.
  • How do I cancel a previous booking?
  • A booking can be canceled by sending an email to
  • What if I want to change an order that I have already paid for?
  • The shipment needs to be canceled by sending an email to, and then it needs to be rebooked.
  • Can a motorcycle shipment be prepaid at the destination terminal before it is shipped?
  • Only by credit card online. Destination terminals will not accept payments of any kind.
  • Do I have to drain all the fluids?
  • Yes and you must purge the fumes as well.
  • Is there a discount available for round trip shipping?
  • No.
  • What if I cannot get my motorcycle to Forward Air on the requested ship date?
  • If you have requested a Forward Air container that is available on the requested date and the motorcycle has not been tendered, then after 24 hours the shipment will be cancelled with a charged fee of $75.00 and the container will be repositioned. To move the motorcycle, the shipment will need to be rebooked. If you are using your own container, the motorcycle can be tendered at a later date upon notification to Customer Service.