How To Clear A Car At Any Seaport In South Africa

Clearing a vehicle at any South African seaport involves navigating through the relevant authorities, primarily the South Africa Customs Service (NCS) stationed at the port. Without their seal of approval on your car or vehicle papers, you cannot clear it and drive it out of the port to anywhere in South Africa.

Indeed, clearing vehicles at any of the major seaports in South Africa can be a daunting task due to the formalities involved. With thousands of cars imported into the country annually from places like Canada, USA, Japan, and China, the process of clearing your car can be challenging. This article aims to arm you with the knowledge of what to expect and the amount to pay at the ports when you want to clear your car in South Africa.

Step By Step Guide On How To Clear A Car/Motor Vehicle At Any Seaport In South Africa 2024

1. Endeavour To Get The Vehicle’s Bill Of Lading

Your car or motor vehicle bill of lading is a document sent to you by your foreign shipping agent. This document, issued by the shipping company or cargo carrier transporting your car, serves as a receipt stating that the motor vehicle you’re importing into South Africa is on board their ship.

2. Get An Import Duty Valuation

The next step in clearing your motor vehicle at any South African port is to apply for an import duty valuation via credible clearing agencies. This process will determine if you’ll proceed or not with your vehicle clearance.

3. Register The Valuation Into The Customs Database/Server

As the import duty valuation is received from the South African Customs Command, the details of it will be registered into the Customs database. This process is known as “Direct Trader Input” (DTI) or “punching”.

4. Payment For Import Duty

To pay for your import duty, you are required to check the bank that was stated during the punching process and make the required payment. Upon making payment, the bank will issue a bank receipt.

5. Physical Inspection And Customs Release

At this point, you are to submit all your documents at the South African Customs Service Office. Once you have submitted the necessary documents, they will be registered and a date for the physical examination of your car will be fixed.

6. Printing Of Exit At The Shipping Company

Visit the shipping company in charge of your motor vehicle and provide your SGD form to them so that your exit copy can be printed.

7. Release At The Shipping Company

Your car will only be released when you submit all the required documents to the shipping company.

8. Register And Sign At The Gate Office

Locate the gate office at the South African Customs office in order to register and sign.

9. Collect Terminal Delivery Order (TDO)

In order to collect the Terminal Delivery Order (TDO), you will need to provide the shipping company’s payment receipt and a copy of the signed gate document.

10. Submission For Vehicle Delivery

At this point, you will need to submit all the documents needed for the vehicle to be delivered to the open floor at the final delivery gate.

11. Final Customer Check

Once the car has made it to the floor at the final delivery gate, a shipping company official and a customs officer will do their final checks on the vehicle before it is driven out of the port.

12. Final Payment

After the final customer check, you may have to make a payment to the customs officers on duty, clearing agent’s association, and any other extra charges by associations in that vicinity before you can drive your car safely out of the port as yours indeed.


Clearing a car at any seaport in South Africa involves a series of steps that require careful attention to detail. By following this guide, you can navigate the process more smoothly and ensure that your vehicle is cleared without unnecessary delays or complications. Remember, each step is crucial and skipping one could lead to setbacks. Happy clearing!

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