How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car to Africa?
Africa is far away, there are a lot of complex rules to consider, and you have to make sure your shipment has all the proper paperwork.
In this article, we will walk you through the steps you need to know before shipping your car. As always, the best thing to do once you have this information is to get help from an expert.
Popular Shipping Methods
There are three methods for shipping a car overseas: Roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) shipping, exclusive container shipping, and shared container shipping. Open auto shipping and enclosed auto shipping are used primarily to transport vehicles to the shipyards, if the vehicle’s owner cannot do it themselves.
“RoRo” is a form of shipping where vehicles are driven onto a ship, transported to their destination, and then driven off the ship on their way to their destination. You have probably done RoRo shipping personally, or at least seen it done, if you have ever been on a Ferry ride.
With RoRo shipping, you can choose fixed departure dates. This is because you do not have to wait for other vehicles to help populate the ship. Think of ordering RoRo shipping like choosing a flight.
- You select a destination.
- You choose the departure time.
- You receive an expected arrival date to pick up your vehicle.
Although vehicles using RoRo shipping are tied down at designated spots within the hold of a cargo ship, vehicle owners who want to minimize the potential for damage to their vehicles should consider using container shipping, as your container will be locked, if not sealed, during the duration of the vehicle’s trip.
Exclusive Container Shipping
Exclusive container shipping is a form of transportation overseas where your vehicle is locked and sealed in a shipping container all by itself. At the designated port of entry, your shipping container will be unsealed and unlocked, and then either you, or a representative or worker of the automobile logistics company that you contract, will drive the car to its destination.
If you require a certain date of departure for your vehicle, for instance if you want to ship your vehicle to Africa before Christmas, it makes sense logistically to use exclusive container shipping.
Once your vehicle is loaded into the container, the container can be loaded onto the ship. Once the ship is full, it can depart.
Shared Container Shipping
Shared container shipping is a lot like exclusive container shipping. However, other cars will be transported in the same container as yours. This means that, unlike exclusive container shipping or RoRo shipping, it may not be possible to select a specific departure date for your vehicle.
A container will not be loaded onto a ship until it is full. The only exception is if the container is not meant to be filled completely, like with exclusive container shipping.
With shared container shipping however, your car will be one of many in the container.
Differences Between RoRo, Exclusive and Shared Container Shipping
The first main difference is one of practicality. Some places where RoRo shipping is not offered will be more likely to be able to accommodate container shipping. Whether RoRo shipping is offered at your desired port or not depends on the port, as well as your logistics company.
The second main difference is dependent on the interior of your vehicle. With RoRo shipping, leaving items in the car is discouraged. The vehicles are tied down in designated places in the hold of a ship, but beyond that, the vehicles are as accessible as any vehicle parked in a carpark back home.
To ensure the safety of your valuables, you can either clear them out of your vehicle first, or use container shipping.
With container shipping, you can leave valuables in your vehicle. Nevertheless, it may be better to clear out your vehicle if you plan on using shared container shipping, since other vehicles will be occupying the same space.
Those vehicles may be offloaded at different ports, meaning that your vehicle may be exposed at some points in the journey. Of course, with exclusive container shipping, you have nothing to worry about, since your container will be locked and sealed.
The third main difference depends on the working condition of your car. If your car is non-operational, you will need to use container shipping. RoRo shipping is only usable if your vehicle is in proper working condition.
The Cost of Shipping a Vehicle
Only one thing matters the most and that is the cost. Shipping a vehicle to Africa doesn’t have to be expensive. Before you commit to anything, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- How much protection does your vehicle need?
- Is your car operational?
- Are you limited for time?
- How difficult is the route to your vehicle’s destination?
- Do you need to order open or enclosed auto shipping to the shipyard?
- Do you want to purchase marine insurance?
There are many factors involved.
Here’s the deal
Prices are extremely competitive when it comes to vehicle shipping. Competition is fierce and the best logistics companies will do whatever it takes to get you the best price.
Keep in mind, prices tend to fluctuate depending on things like the price of gas, insurance, timing, and more.
RoRo is the cheapest form of shipping, followed by shared container shipping, and finally exclusive container shipping.
For a balance of security and cost, you should consider shared container shipping. You share the costs of a container with other clients, you receive the benefits of shipping a vehicle by container, and you avoid the risks of using RoRo shipping. We also recommend purchasing marine insurance. Even if you do not need it, it is essential in the rare off-chance that something goes wrong.
You’ll need to consider this too…
Depending on the operational status of your vehicle, you may not have a choice regarding your shipping options, as RoRo applies to operational cars only.
After all, you can’t roll-on, roll-off a car that doesn’t drive in the first place.
One more thing
Cost-wise, consider spending at least $1500 or more on shipping your vehicle from America to Africa. That cost will be for the route only. You will still need to transport your vehicle to and from the shipyards.
Marine insurance is another cost that you should consider. Using open or enclosed auto shipping, or have a driver transport your vehicle to its final destination will cost more as well.
There is some paperwork that you will need before you can ship your vehicle overseas. This paperwork is required to clear US customs and it may cost you some money to compile.
- Original Title: To export your vehicle, you will need to submit the original title of your vehicle to US Customs. If you have a lien on your vehicle, you will need to be released from it. If you have a lease or a loan on your vehicle, you will need to pay it off before shipping the vehicle.
- Vehicle’s Bill of Sales: Before you can ship the vehicle, you need to prove to US Customs that you own the vehicle. For this, you will need to provide the Bill of Sales, showing that you are the current owner of the vehicle. You do not need to provide an original, but can provide a duplicate instead.
- International Passport or an Employer Identification Number: An Employer Identification Number, which you can acquire from the IRS, is mandatory if you want to ship a vehicle overseas if you are a US citizen. If you are not a US citizen, a copy of your passport will be sufficient.
- Power of Attorney form: The shipping company will need power of attorney in order to ship our vehicle. They will need to make decisions that may affect your vehicle.
- Shipping form: A shipping form is essential to provide the automobile logistics and/or shipping company know the details of your vehicle’s intended journey. Commonly, a shipping form will have the shipping details, as well as contact information for you and someone waiting at the vehicle’s destination.
Costs Dependent on Country
Depending on the country in Africa that you plan on shipping a car to, you may be subject to law and regulations which can add to the price of shipping.
You may be required to pay additional taxes, but at the same time, you may be able to take advantage of tax breaks. The best course of action is to contact the Department of Commerce (or its equivalent) in the nation you intend to ship your vehicle, and ask about import costs and tax responsibilities for a vehicle.
The customs process can be stressful. We don’t recommend you try and tackle it unless you are experienced with shipping codes, classifications, and understand how to navigate it without putting yourself at odds with the law.
It pays to hire an expert
Auto logistics companies are experienced with the shipping process and they know what papers to file, how to classify your vehicle, and country-specific rules.
This kind of experience is worth a lot and can save you a lot of legal headaches.
The risk of “Denied Parties”
Although rare, you may not be able to ship a vehicle to a specific country if that country is on a Denied Party list, which you can become informed about by contacting US Customs. Countries that are in civil war, are state sponsors of terrorism, unrecognized nationally as states, or failed states, may be more likely to be on that list.
Now you’re ready to make the right choice
You now know the basic requirements regarding the shipment of a vehicle from America to Africa. The rest will depend on your vehicle, your status as a US resident, and the country that you intend to ship your vehicle to.
The vehicle shipping process doesn’t have to be scary. Take the time to research the country you are shipping your vehicle too and make sure you understand the specifics of the customs process.
If all else fails, hire an experienced auto logistics company to help you ship your car to Africa.
Trust the best
A-1 Auto Transport has been shipping cars around the globe for decades and we continue to offer some of the best prices in the industry.
Don’t leave your shipment to chance, give us a call and we will walk you through the entire process, provide you a fair quote, and put your mind at ease.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.