International Container Shipping to Cape Town
Warmer climes and a dramatic city await you in beautiful Cape Town. You’ve probably made the decision to relocate here for retirement, for work or to be closer to your family, but before you start dragging out the suitcases, there are moving costs and logistics to consider.
Moving Belongings by Sea or Air?
People often relocate to Cape Town for work secondments as well as permanent retirement. Long term moves to South Africa will usually involve shipping furniture and white goods and in cases like these, sea container shipping is normally the answer. But if you’re moving short term or into furnished accommodation, air freight could be the best option for you.
The Port of Cape Town handles all container shipments for this part of South Africa, and as you’re likely to be living in the city itself or close by, getting your belongings from ship to your new front door should be easy and inexpensive. People relocating by sea freight tend to fill a shipping container and pay a fixed price for a full one. A twenty foot container will hold the contents of a three bedroom family home; a forty foot container can hold all this plus one or two cars. Ask about grouping your load with others if you’re not quite going to fill a whole container – it can save precious funds.
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Should I Bring the Car?
Shipping your car abroad involves fees for marine shipping insurance, shrink-wrapping, crating, loading, delivery, customs clearance, export declaration, container drayage, paperwork, and fumigation. Sometimes these fees can mount up to the point that buying a new car makes more sense.
But if you do want to bring your car with you to Cape Town, there are two options open to you. Option one is using a ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) service on a specific vehicle freight vessel. Your car will travel under the deck, to be collected at the destination port or sent onward by transporter. Your second option is to ship your car in a forty foot container with your other belongings – normally the safer choice.
Your cargo company will take responsibility for - and insure - your container contents from port of origin to port of destination, or door-to-door if you request it. If you’re shipping a vehicle or any high value items (art, antique furniture, jewellery) make sure your cargo firm will cover these - you may need to pay extra for their cover. This standard shipping service is referred to as CIF: cost, insurance and freight.
Check whether your shipping company offers a tracking service for their containers – this is a great option for peace of mind and ease of scheduling. With access to your container number or a personal reference code, you can log into either your agent’s website or a third party site, and check your container’s exact whereabouts in real-time.
How’s it Calculated?
The cost of moving abroad - either by air or sea - is always going to come down to the size of your shipment and the distance the container needs to travel. If you want the peace of mind and added help of a door-to-door cargo service, be prepared to pay for the luxury. Shipping containers sometimes undergo customs inspection fees, warehousing charges and can attract import duties, so make sure that all potential extra costs will be absorbed by your shipping supplier and not you. Nobody wants a surprise follow-up invoice, especially at a costly time like this.