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International Container Shipping to Johannesburg

Warmer climes await you in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. You’ve made the decision to relocate to the southern hemisphere – for retirement, for work or to be closer to your family. But what now? Before you start bubble wrapping the crockery, here are a few things to think about shipping options, tracking your goods, insurance and how all these costs break down.

Should I send my belongings by air or sea?

It all depends on how much you need to take with you. Sea and air are both superb options for different needs. If you send your consignment to Johannesburg by sea freight, your containers will arrive in the Port of Durban, around 300 miles by road from Johannesburg.

Moving your goods to South Africa by sea container could, in this case, be a sensible option for keeping those moving costs down. Sea freight charges are based mainly on the volume of goods shipped – most freight companies use 20’ or 40’ containers for domestic freight. Consolidating – or sharing – your container with other customers can be easily organised by your shipping company with and is a very cost-effective way to do it, but containers won’t ship until they’re filled. You and your family could be in for a lengthy wait for your stuff, but this is a great option for many.

Air cargo carriers charge customers by weight rather than volume of goods, so if you’re moving to Johannesburg without beds, washing machines and other heavy objects, air freight could be the key.

Shall we bring the car?

For many of us, bringing our car with us when we relocate is a comfort as well as a money saving decision. A few things to check when you search for quotes from vehicle freight companies: Make sure their quote states the origin of the journey (your address or departing port) and the consignment’s destination (freight company’s door, port or warehouse – or your new home address).

Your shipping quote must clearly outline all other services you have requested: pick-up service, delivery to a specified place in the destination country, customs clearance, export declaration, bill of lading, marine shipping insurance, shrink-wrapping, crating, loading, container drayage, paperwork, and fumigation.

Options for taking your car abroad with you are ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) service, where your car is transported on a cargo ship solely used for vehicle freight - or having your vehicle shipped by container along with your belongings.


CIF (cost, insurance and freight) is the most common type of domestic sea freight. With a CIF package, your transporter company takes responsibility for your entire consignment until it arrives in your destination country – and that includes insuring it for loss or damage.


Tracking services are offered by lots of cargo companies now, and this service lets you see on a map exactly where your container is at any time. Lots of big cargo companies provide this service now – it’s a bit of peace of mind during a potentially stressful time.

How is the Cost Calculated?

The cost of moving your belongings abroad is always going to come down to the size of your shipment and the distance it needs to travel. If you want the luxury and peace of mind that comes with a door-to-door cargo service, you’ll obviously pay more. Shipping containers are occasionally subject to customs inspection fees and import duties – these costs should be covered by your shipping supplier, so check that there are no potential additions to your bill before instructing them.