China is the centre of many large scale manufacturers. The country is also home to the global e-commerce company, Ali Baba which has made this Asian country an excellent source of import shipments of commercial value into South Africa.
In this post, you’ll learn the procedures involved in cargo/freight shipping from China to South Africa.
Generally, the best bet when shipping to South Africa is to use the services of courier companies and cargo shipping companies.
However, one of the first things to consider when shipping from China is the transport route.
Although, cost usually determines this choice, there are other important considerations like transit time.
There are cargo services that use strictly air transport which is faster than shipping by sea. The transit time by sea is around 45 days while air freight is less than a week.
Typically, companies that freight by air have a regular shipping schedule from China to Johannesburg/Apapa every week.
If you’re looking at price, the cheapest method of shipping is to use the China or Hong Kong Post Service.
Typically, this service will take 2 to 5 weeks before you receive the package. This is a good option for small shipment and it’s quite cheap. You can also track and trace your item online but most times this tracking is usually slow.
However, a major disadvantage of this method is that packages often get lost in transit and most times they are hard to find.
Express Post is a faster method and it involves the use of courier companies like DHL, UPS, and FedEx. With this service, you can receive your shipment within 2 to 5 business days but the cost is higher than using the China Post.
Particularly DHL and FedEx have an excellent track record in Africa. For instance, DHL provides a door to door service from China to South Africa through the DHL Express. The minimum order is 1kg and the supply ability of the company is 30,000kg
The port is located at Shenzhen in Hongkong and the transit time is usually 3 to 4 days after the package has been loaded in Shenzhen.
Air Freight is one of the shipping methods employed by cargo companies but this transport mode is dependent on the weight of the package.
When the shipment weighs more than 250kg, air freight is an excellent option. Usually the shipping takes between 2 to 10 days. But you may have to handle the documentation and customs clearance on your own.
Using this route isn’t advisable if you’re a newbie to the game. Nonetheless, you can outsource this to a customs broker or trucking company at an additional cost.
Sea freight is used for very large package and this process usually has a long transit time but it is cheaper than using air freight or traditional courier companies.
Prior to shipping, you can email your cargo details to the shipping company especially if you’re shipping commercial goods like raw material, machines and equipment.
It can take up to 2 months before you get your package in some cases. So, if you’re a businessman or importer, your best bet will be to plan ahead of time, so them your shipment can come in when you need it.
There are two methods of receive your shipment. You can either receive it by yourself at the port after taking care of the necessary documentation and custom clearance.
Or you could pay the freight charges and use a cargo company to help you with the other processes. You just have to keep in touch with your representative and wait for your delivery once you’ve paid the necessary fees.
Another shipping hack especially if you’re not using to the whole shipping process is to instruct your Chinese supplier to ship the cargo to your location. In this case, you will tell the supplier to ship your cargo as CIF “Port of destination” or DAP “Your facility address”.
Although, this is more expensive, it will save you the stress of custom clearance and the headache associatied with the documentation process. In this case, you can either work with a freight forwarder in your country, for convenience or work with a freight forwarder based in China, for speed.
Another interesting option is to work with a forwarder on each side, for speed and savings
This is how it works, the supplier in China can send the package to the company’s facility in China and then the shipment is delivered to your address in South Africa
One of the most popular cargo companies used by South African businessmen and individuals is the Value Handlers International. This cargo company offers direct shipment for urgent delivery.
Cost of shipping from China to South Africa
Usually, for cargo consolidation to South Africa, the cost of freight from China includes origin handling to South Africa airport custom clearance could be as low as $5.2 per kg.
Below is a breakdown of the cost of shipping from China to South Africa
- 1 – 2kg | Minimum invoice | $15
- 3 – 5kg | Freight & Clearing | $7.0
- 6 – 45kg | Freight & Clearing | $6.8
- 46 – 100kg | Freight & Clearing $6.4
- 101 – 300kg | Freight & Clearing | $6.3
- 301 – 500kg | Freight & Clearing | $5.7
- 501 – 1000kg | Freight & Clearing | $5.5
- 1000 – 3000kg | Freight & Clearing | $5.2/kg
Overall, the steps involved in shipping from China to South Africa have been highlighted below.
Take note of the warehouse shipping address of the cargo company in China. For example: VHI, No.89-1, Guangyuan West Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou, China
Once the cargo arrives the facility, the courier company receives the parcel/cargo and reweighs it.
Then the company ships the cargo out via consolidation to South Africa. You should expect the arrival of your package in Johannesburg, South Africa within a week.
Usually, the clearing of cargo out of Johannesburg Port takes 24 to 48 hrs.
Typically, the estimated time of arrival (ETA) for consolidation from China to the South African Airport takes at least 5 days when counting from the day the shipment was received at the facility in China.