Ship from China to South Africa: Costs, Times, and Duties

This article offers detailed instructions on efficiently shipping from China to South Africa, providing strategies to enhance your current import procedures. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced importer, you will find all the essential information to ensure your shipping process is seamless and hassle-free.

Sea freight from China to South Africa

Sea shipping remains the most common method for international goods transportation.

Under normal circumstances, sea freight from China to South Africa costs around US$45 per CBM and usually takes about 26 – 40 days. It is cost-effective but not the most secure option, so it is wise to insure your cargo.

When shipping from China to South Africa by sea, you can opt for FCL (Full Container Load) or LCL (Less Container Load).

FCL means one exporter or importer books an entire container, while LCL involves sharing the container with other companies, leading to a longer shipping process.

Major Seaports in China:

  • Port of Shenzhen
  • Port of Shanghai
  • Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan
  • Port of Guangzhou
  • Port of Tianjin
  • Port of Qingdao

Major Seaports in China:

  • Port of Durban
  • Port of Elizabeth
  • Port of Cape Town
  • Port of East London
  • Port of Richards Bay
  • Port of Saldanha Bay

Air freight from China to South Africa

If you’re in a hurry and your shipment volume is less than 2CBM, air transport is your best option. It generally takes 2 to 5 days.

Air freight is also particularly advantageous for perishable food items or high-value goods such as jewelry or premium furniture.

Although it’s faster and safer than sea freight, it is also more expensive, with rates starting at US$3.89 per kilogram for packages weighing 100kg.

Major airports in China:

  • Beijing Capital International Airport
  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport
  • Shenzhen Baoan International Airport

Major airports in China:

  • Beijing Capital International Airport
  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport
  • Shenzhen Baoan International Airport

Shipping rates from China to South Africa

Shipping ModePrice Range
Air freight$3.89 -$10/kg
LCL (USD/CBM)$45-$85/CBM
FCL 20’ container$2,500-$4,200
FCL 40’ container$3,500-$6,900

Note: These prices are only for reference.

Both air and sea freight rates are determined by the cargo’s weight or volume, with the higher of the two considered the chargeable weight.

Sea freight rates also depend on container sizes (20ft or 40ft) at fixed rates. For example, shipping a 20ft container via sea freight from the Port of Shenzhen to Durban might cost between $2,500 and $4,200.

Shipping freight from China to South Africa involves considering various costs influenced by shipping solutions, cargo size, and distance. Additionally, customs duties, insurance, and fuel surcharges significantly affect the total expense.

With Airsupply, you can receive tailored solutions and all-inclusive shipping quotes to fulfill your specific shipment requirements.

Custom clearance process in South Africa

South Africa’s customs clearance, overseen by the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC), is known as the Import and Export Control Regime.

Importers should declare to Customs the goods they have brought into the country and the mode of transport used. The clearance process includes:

  • Checking and verifying the goods declaration against the accompanying documents.
  • Conducting cargo inspections if necessary.
  • Assessing and collecting tariffand VAT.

Importers have seven days to clear goods upon landing in South Africa, with an additional seven days for loose or bulk cargo. Customs clearance typically takes one to two days if the shipment complies with all customs regulatory requirements.

Shipping document: Electronic Cargo Tracking Note

Customs clearance documents for shipping into Africa include the standard Commercial Invoice, Packing List, and Bill of Lading. However, over half of African countries also require an Electronic Cargo Tracking Note for cargo clearance.

A cargo note sample

While the name may vary by country, the purpose remains the same. Here are some examples:

  • Cameroon, Congo, Chad, Tanzania, and Togo: ECTN (Electronic Cargo Tracking Note) Certification
  • Guinea, Mali, Central Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, and Guinea: CTN NO. (Cargo Tracking Note Number) Certification
  • Kenya: COC (Certificate of Conformity) Certification

Getting an ECTN in 7 steps:

1. Gather required documents:Collect the commercial invoice, bill of lading, freight invoice, and packing list.

2. Identify the authorized issuing agency:Find the designated agency on the destination country’s customs website or through your freight forwarder.

3. Submit application and documents:Apply online or by email to the authorized agency.

4. Pay the ECTN Fee:Pay the fee required for the ECTN certificate issuance.

5. Document verification:The agency will verify your documents for accuracy and completeness.

6. Receive your ECTN certificate:Once verified, the agency will send you the ECTN certificate electronically.

7. Attach ECTN certificate:Include the ECTN certificate with your shipment documents for customs clearance.

Import duties from China to South Africa

As a signatory of GATT, South Africa maintains a liberalized trade regime, with many goods such as electric guitars, laptops, and computer peripherals being duty-free.

However, certain categories of goods are still subject to excise duties and taxes.

The customs duty rate in South Africa ranges from 0% to 30% depending on the product category, averaging approximately 18.74%.

For detailed information about taxes and duties, visit the official South African Government website.

The cheapest shipping from China to South Africa

To find the cheapest method for shipping your goods from China to South Africa, you must first determine your shipping requirements. Consider the following:

  • How quickly do you need your cargo delivered
  • The volume of goods you want to ship
  • Your destination in South Africa

Once you have clarified these requirements, the next step is to find a reputable shipping agents from china to south Africa.

At Airsupply, we offer the best shipping solutions at the most economical prices. Our goal is to guarantee secure delivery for your shipments. Contact our experts today to leverage our extensive industry experience and discover the value of ASLG.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does shipping take from China to South Africa? 

  • Air Freight: 2-5 days
  • Sea Freight: 26-40 days
  • Express Shipping: 3-5 days
Road and rail freight times depend on specific routes and logistical factors.

For more details and tailored shipping solutions, contact Airsupply to leverage our expertise and ensure timely delivery.

How to ship from China to South Africa?

1. Sourcing products in China

First, find the product that meets your desired price and quality. You can collaborate with reliable online sourcing agents or attend trade fairs to find what you need.

2. Choosing your shipping mode

You have several options: air freight for a balance of speed and cost, sea freight for large volumes, and road or rail freight for land transport.

For instance, sea shipping from china to Zimbabwe is popular due to its affordability and reasonable transit times. It shows the right shipping mode is crucial based on cost, speed, and volume.

3. Find a reliable shipping agent

Partner with a trusted expert like Airsupply for a hassle-free experience. They can book cargo space, arrange pickup, send goods to the Port of Loading, and handle export and import customs clearance. It ensures your entire shipping process is smoothly managed.

What hottest products does South Africa import from China?

  • Furniture
  • Mobile phones
  • Footwear
  • Solar panels
  • Electronics and electrical equipment
  • Garments and apparel
  • Vehicles and spare parts, including tires
  • Foodstuffs like rice, fish fillets, and refined sugar
  • Iron and steel products, including machinery

What happens if my shipment is delayed?

If shipment delay happens, maintain regular contact with your freight forwarder for updates and advice. Delays can result from various factors, such as weather conditions, port congestion, or customs issues. Your forwarder should help address and resolve any problems that arise.

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