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International Relocations

International Moving Guides

Shipping to South Africa

Freightworks has compiled this information sheet to help you understand what happens when moving to South Africa, and to inform you of procedures once your goods arrive. Please try and take time to read the information and contact us or our agents in South Africa if you require further clarification of any of the points outlined below – we are all available to help you.

This information is provided without obligation and at the individual’s risk. We accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy of whatever nature.

  • Air Freight Option
  • Arrival in South Africa
  • Customs Regulations
  • Customs Clearance

Air Freight Option

Due to the large number of consignments that we move we have been able to negotiate very competitive rates with the airlines to South Africa. Air freight charges are based on weight. Our staff will weigh and measure your shipment on collection, and it will be charged on whichever is higher, the actual or volumetric weight. If your shipment is a small one – under about 35kg (approx. 80lbs) in weight, it may cost about the same, or even actually be cheaper depending on the destination, to send it door to door by air.

If you have such a shipment, and are considering sending it by air, just call us for a quotation. As well as the possibility of air freight being cheaper than sea freight for the smaller shipment, there is the benefit of a faster transit time – usually between 7 and 10 days to most South African destinations. If you want to make a further saving, we offer another service to ‘arrival airport’ only. This means you can collect your shipment from the receiving agent. On this service to ‘arrival airport,’ there will be a fee for airline handling and unloading which must be paid to the destination agent when you collect your goods.

Arrival in South Africa

Our computer system will automatically generate a shipping advice email which will be sent to the email address you supply us with, giving you the name of the vessel your shipment is on, the arrival date into the port, the destination agent and other important details. This notification is usually sent a week after the vessel sails.

Our destination agent will contact you before the vessel arrives regarding clearance formalities and to obtain further information from you regarding the access at your delivery point.

On arrival at the port of entry the container will be collected by our agent, hauled to their depot and unloaded into their Customs bonded store, where the shipments will undergo Customs clearance. Clearance normally takes 6-9 days, but this time frame can vary during the year. Deliveries to the main metropolitan areas usually take place within 5 days. Deliveries to other destinations take a bit longer, but our agents will contact you to make arrangements for a suitable delivery date.

Customs Regulations

It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are aware of how current Customs regulations and your own personal circumstances affect the status of your shipment with regard to whether or not you will be liable to pay any duty or taxes on your shipment or certain items in it. If a formal Customs entry has to be made, a fee may be charged for this. If you have dutiable goods in your shipment, you may be asked by Customs to supply documentary evidence (sales receipts, invoices, insurance papers, etc.) to ascertain your ownership of the goods, period of ownership, and their value.

Please note that we do not accept firearms (including air, gas, and starting pistols), gun replicas, food, alcohol, fireworks, explosives, narcotics, drugs, incitements, pornographic material, walkie-talkie radios, products made from protected species (eg tusks, furs, feathers, skins etc) and paint in both sea and air freight consignments. Please note that all gas bottles for diving tanks, gas stoves and barbeques etc must be empty and free of gas. Ornamental swords must be declared to Customs and will probably attract extra charges. Garden implements, outdoor furniture, golf clubs, tents, camping equipment, barbeques, shoes, bicycles, buggies/prams need to be cleaned thoroughly and be free of dirt, soil, grass, food etc. These items may attract attention from Quarantine and be order for cleaning. All dangerous goods are prohibited by sea and air shipments.

If you are importing a motor vehicle please contact us for further information.

Customs Clearance

All shipments entering the South Africa must be cleared through Customs. There are some documents which must be completed for your goods to clear Customs. We would advise you to complete these and give them to us so we can send them to our agent in advance of the shipment arriving, so that there will be no delay in clearing the goods.

To clear personal or household effects we require a packing list or inventory. If your shipment is an owner-packed shipment, we will supply you with a packing list form on which you list the goods in your shipment. If your shipment is a household relocation including professional packing, our packers will make an inventory for you at the time of the relocation.

We will also need a clearing mandate, form DA304 and form P.1.160. We will supply you all the necessary documents. You will also need to provide a copy of the photo page of your passport and visa page if applicable.

We will then forward it these documents to our agent in South Africa in advance of the vessel arriving at the port. A copy of your entry stamp into South Africa may be required for customs clearance.

Finally, please feel free to call us or our any of our agents in South Africa if you require any further advice on any aspect of your shipment. Remember also that our agents will be able to help you should you require shipping services after you have arrived. Please call us for full details of our South African agents and their locations.

All information on this sheet is given for guidance only, and although we believe it to be correct at the time of writing, we do not accept any liability for errors, omissions, inaccuracies or misinterpretation. All charges, regulations and procedures are liable to change without notice.