Getting it right can be a challenge when shipping from South Africa to the USA.
To prevent this, you need to understand what is required of you before and during the shipping process.
Here is a simple guide to help you understand your shipping.
Have a look
- Top Products you can Ship from South Africa to the USA
- Shipping Regulations from South Africa to the USA
- Ways of Shipping from South Africa to the USA
- How to Package and Label Products for Shipping from South Africa to USA
- Freight Insurance from South Africa to the USA
- Shipping Time from South Africa to the USA
- Customs Clearance from South Africa to the USA
- Drop Shipping from South Africa to the USA
- How to find a Reliable Freight Forwarder for Shipping from South Africa to the USA
Top Products you can Ship from South Africa to the USA
You must ensure the products you import to the USA are legal before you start the importation process.
You also need to ensure you have the necessary permits, which facilitates the customs clearance process.
Among the goods you can import to the USA from South Africa include:
- Precious minerals, gems, and ores.
- Mineral fuels
- Vehicles and machinery and their related parts
- Agricultural products
- Plastic and related products
Shipping Regulations from South Africa to the USA
You have to adhere to the various shipping regulations in South Africa and the USA to find it easy with the customs authorities.
Such regulations include ensuring you have the right documents for your shipment, shipping the correct goods, and having the necessary payments.
Before your goods arrive in the USA from South Africa, you have to file entry documents indicating your goods’ status.
Such entry documents include a commercial invoice, entry manifest, packing list, and airway bill.
Ways of Shipping from South Africa to the USA
Ways of shipping from South Africa to USA
Shipping from South Africa to the USA can either be through the ocean or air freight.
However, road and rail transport are typical when transporting from your manufacturer’s premises to the port of origin.
– Sea Freight from South Africa to USA
South Africa to USA
Sea freight involves the use of cargo ships to import your cargo from South Africa to the USA.
The main advantage of using sea freight is its relatively low cost and ability to handle a large volume of your shipment.
However, it is a slow method of shipping your goods compared to air freight.
Therefore, you have to plan as you wait for the arrival of your goods in the USA.
Piracy is also emerging as a crucial challenge when shipping your goods from South Africa to the USA.
Consequently, you have to pay a higher insurance premium, and at times, certain insurance firms don’t cover this risk.
If you are shipping bulky and less sensitive goods like clothes and agricultural products, this should be your option.
Other goods that you can ship include chemical and industrial products, machinery and vehicles, and agricultural inputs.
Shipping Container options from South Africa to the USA
Types of shipping container
It would help if you considered several factors when selecting a shipping container for your use.
Such factors include cost, state of a container, volume, dimensions, and nature of your goods.
Among the containers available for your use include:
These containers are available in three different options, including 20″, 40″, and 40HD containers.
Its use is common in shipping cargoes like bales, bags, and pallets.
The design of these containers allows for the safe storage of your cargo during shipment.
Some containers take into consideration hangers and layers to pack additional goods like bales.
A 40HD container is best for shipping taller goods which cannot fit in an ordinary 40″ or 20″ container.
The construction of these containers makes them ideal for shipping bulky goods.
They also feature a rooftop that can be open during shipping to accommodate taller goods.
Flat Rack Container
Flat rack containers are available in 20′, 40″ and 40HD sizes.
They are common in shipping cargo that is heavy or has an abnormal size.
The advantage of using these containers is they allow for stacking, which increases the volume of goods you can import.
These are containers whose manufacturing takes into account the need to maintain the condition of your goods.
Such considerations include the size of your cargo and temperature.
Examples of specialized containers include reefer and insulated containers.
They are suitable for perishable shipping goods such as food products.
FCL and LCL Shipping from South Africa to USA
FCL vs LCL
If you have a cargo that can fill a whole container regardless of its size, then FCL shipping should be your choice.
Alternatively, you can use FCL to ship goods that are exclusively yours.
Under FCL, you have exclusive ownership of your container; hence there is minimal interference of your goods.
However, the cost of shipping an FCL is relatively higher compared to an LCL shipment.
The shipping duration of an FCL is generally lower compared to that of an LCL.
This is because most shipping companies don’t allow for mixing LCL and FCL containers.
The essence of this is it reduces the time it takes to offload and load containers at the port
. This can be a lengthy process considering there are various goods in a single container for unloading.
LCL shipping is the best alternative if the quantity of your goods cannot fill a container.
Under this case, you make arrangements with your forwarder, who books space on a particular shipping container for your goods.
The advantage of this is you pay a lower shipping cost equivalent to that which your goods occupy on the container.
However, shipping under LCL usually takes time since there is the unloading of goods at different ports.
Your goods are also vulnerable to external interference such as scratches or breakage.
Major Seaports from South Africa
Main sea ports in South Africa
The main seaports for your consideration in South Africa are:
- Port of Durban
- Port of East London
- Port of Cape Town
- Port Elizabeth
– Air Freight from South Africa to USA
Air freight involves the use of cargo airlines to import your goods to the USA from South Africa.
It is the fastest and secure means of shipping your goods.
However, it is relatively expensive and limits the volume and type of goods you can ship from South Africa to the USA.
You can use air freight among the goods, including urgent cargo such as samples, sensitive products like firearms, and perishable products.
There are two types of air freight, that is, standard air freight and express shipping.
The choice of which type to use depends on various factors such as the volume of goods, urgency, and cost.
Express shipping is best if you are shipping a relatively smaller volume of your cargo, such as samples.
It is faster since most of the shipping is through the air.
Standard Air Freight vs. Express Shipping
Express shipping from South Africa to the USA is an ideal option if you are shipping urgent goods.
It takes a relatively shorter time compared to standard air freight.
The cost of using express shipping is relatively higher compared to that of standard air freight.
This is because express shipping mainly uses air couriers to ship your goods.
Major Airports from South Africa to the USA
The choice of which airport to use for your shipment depends on various factors.
These factors include services a particular airport has, the price, and your final destination.
The main available airports in South Africa are:
- OR Tambo International Airport
- Cape Town International Airport
- King Shaka International Airport
- George Airport
- Port Elizabeth Airport
You can import your cargo to the USA using the following main airports:
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
- JFK International Airport (JFK
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
- Los Angeles International Airport
- Indianapolis International Airport
Door to Door Shipping from South Africa to the USA
This is a shipping mode where the goods move from your manufacturer’s warehouse in South Africa to your premises in the USA.
The advantage of this shipping method from South Africa to the USA is it frees you all the time you need.
You, therefore, can concentrate on other aspects of your cargo shipments like marketing.
Having a trusted freight forwarder and manufacturer is essential for efficient door to door shipping.
This is because they are responsible for most of the transactions in door-to-door shipping from South Africa to the USA.
Such transactions include transportation to the port of origin and final destination, customs clearance, and warehousing.
It is also cheaper to do door-to-door shipping from South Africa to the USA.
This is because most providers tend to consolidate the entire cost, offering a discount on the shipping cost.
However, considering you have minimal control of your cargo, you may experience the risk of not having the right products.
This can implicate your business negatively as you wait for a solution.
When searching for a door-to-door service provider, you have to check for the services and costs they offer.
You also need to check if they have a shipping network in both South Africa and the USA.
Networking should include warehousing services in the USA and South Africa and available manufacturers and suppliers in South Africa.
The cost of this mode of shipping depends on the methods of logistics that the given provider uses.
For instance, shipping using air and road is expensive compared to using ocean and road.
How it Cost to Ship from South Africa to the USA
Understanding your shipping cost from South Africa to the USA helps you in the proper financial planning.
To get the actual cost, you have to understand components like the shipping mode and your cargo volume.
– Sea freight cost from South Africa to the USA
Determining the actual cost of shipping your cargo from South Africa to the USA involves having the cost of the following factors:
- Fuel cost
The cost of fueling your shipping vessel from South Africa to the USA fluctuates along the way.
This is due to the fluctuating global fuel prices. As such, your final invoice usually includes this cost as a fuel surcharge
- Government regulations
The government imposes different charges on the shipping vessels and the goods you are shipping from South Africa.
It is up to the South African authorities to stipulate the actual charges you have to pay for your cargo.
You can consult this charge with your freight forwarder.
The distance and route for your shipment determine the actual ocean freight you are to pay.
You need to check on the shortest possible shipping route that a particular vessel follows to reduce your shipping cost.
Your freight forwarder can help you in determining which vessels takes the shortest route.
- Nature and volume of goods
The higher the volume of your goods, the higher you have to pay for your ocean freight.
This is partly due to space they occupy on the container and the vessel charges.
Depending on the sensitivity of your goods, the shipping vessel may charge you for handling them.
For instance, you cannot charge machinery the same way you can charge chemicals and oil products.
Many shipping vessels have different rates for the various goods that you can import from South Africa to the USA.
You are likely to pay a higher ocean freight price during the peak season.
This is due to the high demand for shipping vessels leaving South Africa.
However, you can reduce the ocean freight by shipping your goods from South Africa by shipping during the off-peak seasons.
During such periods, most cargo ships in South Africa are usually empty; hence you can negotiate for better prices.
- Exchange rate
The actual value of the currency you are to use to pay for your freight charge depends on the exchange rate.
When importing from South Africa to the USA, you should use the US dollar for your transactions.
This is because the US currency is strong hence does not easily fluctuate compared to other currencies.
The essence of this is that it allows you to plan the actual amount you pay for your shipment.
– Airfreight Cost from South Africa to the USA
You have to consider several factors when determining your air freight’s actual cost from South Africa to the USA. These factors include:
- Shipping speed
Airfreight is available in two main modes, that is, express shipping and air cargo.
Express shipping is relatively faster, resulting in a higher price compared to air cargo.
You require different professionals to handle your goods during the shipping process.
These professionals add to the cost of your air freight depending on different ways of handling your goods.
– Courier Charges from South Africa to USA
Courier charges are relatively expensive compared to the ocean and air freight due to their somewhat faster shipping.
Factors that affect the cost of courier shipping from South Africa to the USA include distance and cargo volume.
However, there is a limit to the volume of cargo allowed to ship using a courier, which affects the price you pay.
You also have to consider the classification of your goods before deciding how much to pay.
How to Package and Label Products for Shipping from South Africa to USA
Packaging and labeling for shipping
You must ensure proper packaging and labeling of your products before shipping from South Africa to the USA.
This facilitates easy identification and proper handling of your goods during shipment.
Proper packaging entails using the right material as per your forwarder’s recommendation.
An important consideration here is to note that the material adds to the overall weight of your shipment.
Since weight is a crucial factor when estimating your shipping cost, you may end up paying more when using unnecessary materials.
You also have to consider the type of cargo that you are importing to the USA.
For instance, you have to add a filler material when importing goods that can easily break, such as electronics.
The filler material helps in cushioning your cargo during the shipment process.
Always ensure the packaging material can withstand external factors that can affect the integrity of your cargo.
The labeling of your shipment should be evident and easy to read.
If you are not sure how to package and label your cargo, you can consult your freight forwarder before shipping to the USA.
Freight Insurance from South Africa to the USA
Before shipping your goods, you need to have a freight insurance cover for your goods.
Such a cover protects your goods from certain risks during the shipping process.
– Benefits of Freight Insurance when Shipping from South Africa to the USA
Among the reasons why you need freight insurance when shipping your goods from South Africa to the USA include:
Protects your Cargo
Various factors can affect your cargo’s integrity during the shipment process.
These factors include theft, damage, and loss in the ocean.
These factors have the effect of putting you in an awkward financial position and can adversely affect your business operation.
However, having freight insurance minimizes the negative impact of these factors.
This is by returning you to the financial position you were in before the risks.
However, when taking out the insurance policy, you need to b particular about the insurance cover you want since they cost differently.
In case of occurrence of a particular risk, your shipping company undertakes to pay the insurance aspect of your cargo.
This assures you of continuity in the operation of your business.
Therefore, you have to continue operation as you wait for compensation for the loss of your goods.
An insurance cover is part of the documents that you need during the clearing process.
Your freight forwarder should have this document for faster clearance at the customs.
– How to obtain Freight Insurance from South Africa to the USA
When searching for the perfect freight policy when importing from South Africa to the USA, you have to consider certain factors.
For instance, you have to consider the risks that a particular insurance cover
The insurance cover should cover the entire period that your cargo is on transit from South Africa to the USA.
The premium you pay for the cover should be relatively affordable
Consulting your freight forwarder is vital when obtaining freight insurance for your cargo from South Africa to the USA.
Most forwarders understand the best cover for your cargo.
Shipping Time from South Africa to the USA
Shipping time from South Africa to the USA differs depending on the mode of shipment you use.
Airfreight is faster compared to ocean freight.
However, air freight is relatively costly and has limited volume and type of goods to ship.
– Factors Affecting Shipping Time from South Africa to the USA
Understanding the different factors that affect your shipping time from South Africa to the USA and how to avoid them is vital.
This is because it facilitates your shipment and allows you to continue with your business knowing when to expect your goods.
These factors include:
- Shipping mode
Airfreight from South Africa to the USA usually takes days since it is relatively faster than the ocean freight.
This requires you to consider the urgency of your cargo before deciding which model to use.
- FCL and LCL shipping option
When shipping under LCL, you expect your cargo vessel to make various stops along the way loading and unloading goods.
This has the effect of prolonging the time it takes to reach the USA from South Africa as they load and unload the different goods.
- Climatic conditions
Your cargo vessel may fail to take off due to poor weather, including when the sea is experiencing tides.
This increases the duration it takes for your cargo to arrive at your destination.
- Political events
Political instability within the shipping route from South Africa to the USA results in a delay in shipping your goods.
Other political events such as poor trade relations between South Africa and the USA also delay your shipping.
- Mechanical problems
When your shipping vessel develops a mechanical problem, you have to wait until when they resolve the issue.
The effect of this is it extends the arrival time for your goods.
- Poor cargo handling
Delays in your cargo’s arrival from South Africa to the USA can be due to poor, especially during customs clearance.
Customs authorities are strict regarding the necessary documents and proper packaging and labeling of your cargo.
A slight mistake of not having the required documents results in a delay in clearing your goods.
This extends the time you receive them.
– How to Reduce Shipping Time from South Africa to the USA
There is a need to reduce your shipping time from South Africa to the USA, especially if it is urgent.
Some of the ways you can use to reduce your shipping time from South Africa to the USA are:
Have the Necessary Documents
Having all the necessary documents needed by the customs authorities facilitates the clearance of your goods.
This is because they can cross-check on the papers during inspection hence reducing delays.
It is always advisable that you work with your freight forwarder if you are unsure which documents you need to have.
Most shipping vessels are not busy during the off-peak season.
As a result, you can find one which ships your goods faster.
Reputable Shipping Vessel
Look for a shipping company that offers the best services to ensure your goods’ quick shipment.
In case of any delaying factors such as mechanical problems, such a company facilitates shipping by giving appropriate solutions.
If you can use an FCL shipping option, you have to consider using it.
This is because there is minimal loading and unloading once your goods leave your port of origin.
Customs Clearance from South Africa to the USA
Customs clearance is a critical aspect of your shipping from South Africa to the USA.
You have to prepare all the necessary documents and have all the payments ready for a smooth custom clearing process.
– Freight Forwarding Documents you need when Shipping from South Africa to the USA
When you are shipping from South Africa to the USA, you need to have the following documents:
This document describes the specifications of your cargo. Such a description includes the name of the goods, the quantity, individual price, and the whole batch’s price.
It also stipulates who the manufacturer is and the final recipient of the goods in the US.
This helps in the fast tracking of the goods.
The US authorities insist on having special permits if you are importing restricted or prohibited goods.
Without this document, you won’t import restricted or prohibited goods to the USA.
This is a document that your carrier issues indicating that they are responsible for shipping your cargo from South Africa to the USA.
The information here includes the description of your goods, the amount you pay for using the carrier, and your address.
The information on your bill of lading, commercial invoice, and packing list should be the same.
Any mismatch in these documents can lead to a delay in clearing your goods.
The information on the packing list includes the name of your goods, quantity ad price.
Customs authorities in the US use this information to calculate duties and taxes to pay for your cargo.
It is essential to include the certificate of origin when submitting your documents.
It helps the customs authorities to check if there is a trade agreement between South Africa and the USA which guarantees tax exemptions.
The customs clearance process in the USA involves the following:
Having the Right Documents
You have to preset the proper documents to the customs authorities before they start clearing your goods.
All the documents should be valid and explain the contents of your goods.
The US customs authorities use these documents to evaluate if the goods are legal for importation and the amount of tax you pay.
Such documents include the invoice, special permits, and airway bill, and packing list.
Failure to produce these documents may lead to a delay in importing or a ban on importing those goods into the USA.
Check on the Information on the Documents
You must check for the accuracy of the information on the documents before submitting them to the US Customs authorities.
Any incorrect or mismatched information delays your cargo clearance process.
For instance, the information on your packing list should match that on your invoice.
The airway bill should indicate the mode of shipping your goods and a general description of your goods.
Package and Label your Products Securely
Packaging and labeling help give those handling your goods an easy time and knowledge of managing your cargo.
For instance, packaging should indicate what is inside and the preferred handling procedure.
The US customs authorities use the packaging and labeling information to calculate the amount of tax you pay.
The labeling information should be uniform to that of your invoice to avoid delays in the clearance process.
You have to pay for the necessary taxes and duties labeled on your goods.
Once you have paid for these duties and taxes, your customs authorities release the goods to you.
However, you can minimize this by hiring a professional freight forwarder to handle your shipment on your behalf.
Such a forwarder usually alerts you of the correct information you need, the payment, and documents.
This facilitates the clearance process hence reducing the time it takes to ship your goods.
When to use a Customs Broker
Hiring a customs broker is vital, especially when you don’t understand the customs clearing process either in the US or South Africa.
Most brokers understand these processes and can easily facilitate the clearance of your goods.
When hiring a customs broker, always ensure they have the relevant experience and have offices in both countries.
You also have to consider the cost of hiring a customs broker, which should be relatively affordable.
Drop Shipping from South Africa to the USA
The third-party is responsible for the entire shipping from the manufacturer to your premises in the USA.
It is advantageous since you don’t have control of the importation process.
You, therefore, concentrate on other aspects of your business, such as searching for potential clients.
How to find a Reliable Freight Forwarder for Shipping from South Africa to the USA
Finding a reliable freight forwarder for your shipping from South Africa to the USA involves the following:
A freight forwarder’s experience in shipping goods from South Africa to the USA indicates their reliability.
Such forwarder knows the best shipping companies, best shipping routes and understands how to deal with clients.
The right forwarder should have all the services you need to ship your goods from South Africa to the USA.
Such services inclu.de warehousing, logistics, and packaging of your cargo.
This reduces the number of people you have to contact to facilitate the shipping of your goods.
Having a freight forwarder who has contacts with the best manufacturers and warehousing providers facilitates a smooth shipment of goods.
You can ask if they have offices both in South Africa and the USA.
Always go for a forwarder who has adequate networking that you require for shipping your goods from South Africa to the USA
The price a particular forwarder offers for their services can help you determine which forwarder to use.
The price should be pocket friendly and one that incorporates all the services that you require.
However, you need to ensure the services are of quality such that it does not compromise the price they offer.
There are many quack freight forwarders who, when dealing with them, only end up in tears.
To prevent this, you have to request your forwarder to show evidence of their license to validate their function.
This prevents you from dealing with unregistered forwarders in the long run.
From the guide, you understand it is easy to ship your goods from South Africa to the USA.
All you need is to pay attention to the details of your shipping.
Go ahead now and make use of this guide in your shipping.
For any questions or inquiry, contact BanSar now.