South Africa imported 17 Billion US dollars worth of goods from China in 2018. Although the covid pandemic reduced the importation, still South Africa is largely dependent on China in terms of importation. And when it comes to shipping goods from China to South Africa, price is the foremost factor that every business should consider.
Winsky has a rich experience of shipping from China to South Africa. We have a dedicated team to look after our South African clients. We have shared our experience and information that most South African importers should know.
1. Shipping Ways from China to South Africa.
China and South Africa are located on different continents. So, there are only two available shipping options for you – Air and Sea freight services. Besides, you can use express shipping services to import your goods from China.
Different services have their own policies and shipping rates. Incoterms are also a big factor while importing to South Africa. Incoterms don’t only affect the shipping responsibilities but also affect the price.
1.1. Air freight.
Air freight is fast and will ship your goods to South Africa securely. You can ship your goods in under five days to South Africa by using air freight. Air freight is fast, and therefore the cost is also higher. But if you need fast delivery, they can help you with that.
Air freight uses chargeable weight. It depends on two parameters – Volumetric weight and gross weight. The greater weight will be considered to apply price on your shipment. So, before making a shipment, please calculate the chargeable weight of your goods to avoid any financial issues in the future.
Another thing you should know is you can not import any type of good using air freight. They have some limitations for security purposes. For example, you can not import lithium batterie by air freight. The highest weight you can carry is 3000 Kg. But we will recommend you to use air freight for more than 500 kg as that will not be cost-effective.
1.2. Sea freight.
If you are looking for cheap shipping from China to South Africa, you must be looking for sea freight. South Africa has eight major seaports. And as you know, China is a country full of ports. So, there are very good ocean freight transportation systems between these two countries.
Sea freight is slow compared to other air shipping, but the shipping cost is also very low. If you are importing bulk quantity products from China or planning to import regularly, sea freight should be the option you should opt for.
When it comes to ocean shipping, many clients get confused seeing two options – FCL and LCL. Let us clear that for you.
LCL is a cheap shipping option if you are not shipping a huge volume from China. Many small and medium business owners use this shipping method to reduce their shipping costs.
In LCL shipping, you book space in a container. You will pay for the space you are going to use. Here are some of the advantages of LCL shipping
- It is a cost-effective shipping solution compared to FCL.
- Maximum use of 20 or 40 ft container.
- Secure package
- Low risk
- Best for small to medium businesses.
If you want to use LCL shipping, first, you have to contact a freight forwarder. Shipping agents from China to South Africa play a big role here. You have to pick a good freight forwarder that will handle your LCL shipping.
You have to provide them with an accurate description of your goods. The freight forwarder will arrange the space for you in a container.
WInsky is famous for LCL shipping. We have special expertise, and we offer the most competitive price for LCL shipping. If you are looking for the best LCL shipping from China to South Africa, don’t forget to ask for a quote from us.
In FCL, you have to book an entire container. You have two options for containers – 20 and 40 ft containers. This is by far the cheapest shipping from China to South Africa.
But as you can not share your container with any other shippers, you must have a huge amount of goods to fill a 20 or 40 ft container.
FCL shipping from China to South Africa has the following advantages:
- FCL is secure as you don’t share your container with others. There is no chance of contamination of your goods.
- Tracking FCL shipment is easier.
- FCL is faster than LCL shipment as it doesn’t stop in several ports.
- FCL is the cheapest shipping from China to South Africa for large volume of products.
The process of FCL is similar to LCL. You have to find a freight forwarder and send them all the details. The freight forwarder will then arrange a container for you.
FCL is a flexible, secured, and relatively fast ocean shipping method. But this is a suitable method for heavier goods such as cars, bikes or if you have a huge amount of goods.
Here is a video describing how to ship to South Africa
2. Which products can I Import to South Africa?
The answer is simple. If the South African government approves a good, you can import that from China. But not all goods are profitable. For example, the main goods that South Africa imports from China are furniture, tires, wedding gowns, automobiles, electronic parts, etc.
We have listed the top imported goods to South Africa:
- Gems and similar metals (16.7% of total imports) USD 14.9 billion
- Ash, slag, ores (12.6% of total imports) USD 11.3 Billion
- Oils and Minerals (11.8 of total imports) – USD 10.6 Billion.
- Steel and Iron (11% of total imports) USD 9.8 Billion.
- Automobiles (11% of total imports) USD 9.8 billion.
- Personal computers (6% of total imports) USD 5.4 billion.
- Various fruits (3.8% of total imports) – USD 3.4
- Electronics and similar equipment (2% of total imports) – 1.8 billion
- Aluminum (2% of total exports) – USD 1.7 billion.
- Soft Drinks and other liquids (1.5 of total exports) – USD 1.4 billion
Before importing goods from China, you should look for the goods that will be profitable for you. Besides, it would be best if you had a good idea about the product you will import. Don’t just blindly follow the trend.
3. How long does shipping from china to South Africa take?
Different shipping methods require different times. Typically air freight will take 5 -7 days to reach South Africa. Air freight takes 20 – 30 days. Express shipping is the fastest, and you will receive your goods in 2/3 days.
Time by Air.
Typically air freight transports your goods to South Africa in 4-7 days. There are some additional days required for departure and after arrival. So, it’s better to add 2/3 additional days to the expected time.
Here we have prepared a table to give you a better understanding:
|| 3 Days
|| 3 Days
|| Cape town
|| 3 Days
|| 4 Days
|| 3 Days
|| Cape Town
|| 5 Days
|| Cape Town
|| 3 Days
|| Port Elizabeth
|| 4 Days
Air freight is suitable for transporting fewer amounts of goods. But the efficiency of air freight travel entirely depends on the air carrier and the freight forwarder you choose.
Winsky freight works with the top carriers in South Africa. So, with us, you will never be late.
Time by Express shipping.
This is the fastest shipping and is mostly used to import small packages. Express shipping is operated by various big companies like DHL, FedEx, TNT, UPS, etc. The time needed by express shipping does not exceed three days.
For example, DHL shipping from China to South Africa takes 2/3 days. Other large shipping companies like FedEx, TNT, and UPS more or less take a similar amount of time.
Time by sea freight.
It is hard to tell the exact time for sea freight at various factors can affect the time in this shipping method. For example, FCL or LCL shipping time is not the same. We will discuss other factors in the next section but first, let us give you an approximate idea. The standard time of shipping from China to South Africa by the ocean is 25 days.
You will get a more clear idea from the below table:
| Departure From
|| Arrival At
|| Days needed
|| 25 Days
|| 23 Days
|| Cape town
|| 26 Days
|| 21 Days
|| 20 Days
|| Cape Town
|| 23 Days
|| Cape Town
|| 25 Days
|| Port Elizabeth
|| 26 Days
We did not add onboarding and after arrival time here as that is not constant. As most shippers widely use sea freight, you should add one week to these days.
4. What is the cost of shipping from China to South Africa?
There are lots of shipping options, and every option has a different price range. Besides, which product you are shipping also affects the shipping time. Here is an overall idea:
- Air shipping – USD 4 to 7 per kg.
- LCL shipping costs USD 25 – 30 per CBM.
- FCL shipping – USD 1800 – 2000 per 20 ft container.
These are overall price ranges. It is better to ask for a quote from different shipping agents from China to South Africa to get an overall idea.
Winsky offers the most affordable shipping rates from China to South Africa. You can get a free quote from us.
Express Shipping Costs.
Many express shipping companies operate between these two countries. Price can vary for different companies. It’s better to do research before booking a company.
Here we have included costs for DHL shipping from China to South Africa:
- Document parcel will cost USD 100 to 200 for .5 to 2kg.
- Non documentent percel will cost USD 150 to 4000 per.
At Winsky freight, we have contracts with top express shipping companies from China to South Africa. In addition, we also offer special discounts.
5. Door to Door shipping from China and South Africa
Yes, door to door shipping is available between these two countries. Door to door is a very flexible shipping method. A freight forwarder prepares everything in this shipping – from collecting your goods to delivering to your given address.
It seems like express shipping, but you have more flexibility. You can choose air or sea freight service for door to door shipping service. The freight forwarder will prepare the documents.
6. Air freight Vs. Sea freight – Which one should I choose?
Air freight is better for the fastest shipping method. But as it is fast, it is costly. We will suggest this shipping method if you are importing less than 300 Kg from China. If you are shipping more than that that will not be cost-effective for you.
One more thing with air freight you should consider – your product type. You can not ship certain products using air freight, such as lithium batteries. So, before choosing air freight, find whether the good is permitted to ship via air shipping mode.
On the other hand, sea freight is good for large volume products, and there are no restrictions for product types.
In short, air freight is good for low-volume goods, and sea freight is good for large volume goods.
7. What is the cheapest shipping from China to South Africa?
We mentioned earlier; shipping costs depend on the shipping mode. But when it comes to cheapest shipping from China to South Africa, nothing can come close to ocean shipping. Moreover, you can choose between FCL and LCL.
Both methods are cheap by their own means. If you are importing products like cars FCL will be the cheapest. On the other hand, if you are not importing large products and don’t need an entire container, LCL is the cheapest shipping.
8. Ways to Reduce your Shipping costs.
Here are our expert tips to reduce your shipping costs in South Africa:
- Use professionals to pack your goods. Good packaging can reduce the shipping cost by a great deal.
- Use sea freight if you don’t have any rush. Channel your goods in such a way that you can always use sea freight.
- Find an expert freight forwarder. Don’t fall for cheap shipping rats without knowing their experience. There could be some hidden costs that will dramatically increase your shipping costs from China to South Africa.
- Maintain a good and long-term relationship with your freight forwarder. Good freight forwarders offer discounts for their regular customers. So, find a good freight forwarder and stick to them.
9. DDP shipping service from China to South Africa.
DDP means door to door shipping. Winsky provides the best DDP shipping service from China to South Africa. Our DDP shipping is fast and reliable. You will get trouble-free shipping from China to South Africa. Moreover, our DDP shipping is cheap, and you can ship from China to South Africa at an affordable price.
10. Do all goods go through customs in South Africa?
Yes, every product that enters South Africa must go through customs. There is no way you can skip customs. Yes, there are some goods and under a certain amount of goods are excelled from customs clearance charges, vat, and taxes. But customs will check your items for sure.
11. How much is customs clearance cost in South Africa?
Customs clearance charges, Vat, and Taxes are not fixed; they change according to the type of goods. Many importers know that trick, but they don’t know how they calculate the customs clearance and related costs. Here is how they do that:
- The total landed cost includes the carrier’s cost. Duties will be applied to add that cost to the costs of your goods.
- Logistics costs.
- Customs broker’s cost. We will handle the customs cost if you use DDP shipping from us.
- SACU members (SA, Switzerland, Namibia) will be charged the same price.
On average, the charge is around 18%. 0-45% is the range applied to various products. 14-18% rate is applied to the following products:
- Electric guitar.
- Computer accessories.
- Electric Equipment.
If you want to know more about South African import duties, please go to the South African Revenue Service’s website.
12. Top Air ports in China and South Africa.
Top Air ports in China
- Guangzhou Airport
- Shenzhen Airport
- Beijing Airport
- Chongqing Airport
- Shanghai Airport
- Chengdu Airport
- Shanghai Airport
- Kunming Airport
- Hangzhou Airport
- Xiamen Airport
Top Air ports in South Africa
- Cape Town Airport
- King Shaka Airport
- R. Tambo Airport
- East London Airport
- Upington Airport
- Kimberley Airport
- Bloemfontein Airport
- George Airport
- Port Elizabeth Airport
13. Top Seaports in China and South Africa.
Top Seaports in China
- Port of Shanghai
- Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan
- Port of Shenzhen
- Port of Guangzhou
- Qingdao Port
- Port of Tianjin
- Port of Xiamen
- Beibuwan Port
- Port of Rizhao
- Port of Lianyungang
Top seaports in South Africa
- Port of Cape Town (Cape Town)
- Port of Durban (Durban, South Africa)
- Port of Coega (Port Ngqura)
- Port of East London (East Cape Province)
- Port of Richards Bay
- Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha, South Africa)
- Port of Saldanha (Saldanha Bay)
14. How to track goods while importing to South Africa?
Tracking goods is not a difficult task while you are shipping from China to South Africa. If you are using express shipping, you can just go to their websites and use the given tracking code to find the status of your shipment. Many freight forwarders also offer these services.
Besides, you can contact the freight forwarder to know your shipment’s current location and status. If they have a 24/7 customer care service as we do, tracking your goods should not be a concert for you.
15. Advises for shipping from China to South Africa
Complete your documents to avoid any unnecessary delay in shipping. You will need to have some necessary documents for global import and export. Besides, you must have registration and import permission from the South African government.
Do not miss any papers. Ask your supplier and freight forwarder to assist you with all the necessary documentation. Otherwise, your shipment will face some unnecessary delay in the port.
You will need the following documents:
- Bill of lading/Airway Bill.
- Commercial invoice
- Letter of credit
- Packing list
- Certificate of origin
- Import declaration form for Customs
Express shipping is the best way for urgent shipment. If you have the urgency of shipping goods in a limited time, you should use express shipping. Express shipping does not have any weight limitation but keeps it under 300 Kg for the best value of your shipment.
Don’t ship in Pick time
October to December is considered as the Christmas season, and many countries in the world celebrate Christmas. E-commerce platforms and retailers give special offers. Consequently, many businesses import from China, and pots face considerable pressure.
If you choose that season, your shipment will take some additional time, and the cost will also increase.
16. Why Choose Winsky freight while importing from China to South Africa?
The most crucial factor you should consider when shipping from China to South Africa is the experience. We have been operating between these two countries for more than a decade.
At Winsky, we have a dedicated team to look after our South African clients. We also offer a hassle-free customs clearance service for DDP shipping. You will get 24/7 customers care service and will be able to know the status of your shipment at any time.
The cheapest shipping rate from China to South Africa, dedicated customer care service, wide network coverage in South Africa made us one of the best shipping agencies in the South African market.
Whether you are shipping for the first time or doing this for a while, this guide should have helped you gather more information on shipping from China to South Africa.
International shipping is a complicated task, and you should have good knowledge to reduce your shipping cost and get your shipment on time. If you want to know more, you are always welcome to send us a message.
A South African shipping expert will contact you shortly to answer your questions.