Shipping from China to Africa

If you are looking for a freight forwarder to handle your shipping from China to Africa, Bansar can be a very good choice. Whether you want air shipping or sea shipping from China to Africa, Bansar can provide very competitive shipping rate from China to any seaport and airport.

We will help you ship from any place in China to any area of Africa like East Africa, West Africa, North Africa and South Africa.

You can choose FCL and LCL based on the quantity of your goods, Bansar will provide you our best shipping solution.

Sea Freight Shipping from China to Africa
For both FCL and LCL shipping to Africa, Bansar will provide you very competitive shipping rate, and ensure you the best shipping time based on the urgency of your order.
air Freight Shipping from China to Africa
Air Freight is fast but expensive than shipping by sea. If your goods are urgent on shipping, we can choose the air shipping, anywhere your goods are in China, Bansar can always handle and give you our best shipping rate by air.
Door to Door Shipping from China to Africa
Bansar has very good agents and global office in every country of Africa. We will ship your goods directly to your warehouse with very competitive rate.
OOG shipping from China to Africa
Bansar is expert on OOG (OUT OF GAUGE) shipping, we help African importers ship goods by OOG with very good rate and we always ship goods to your port or warehouse smoothly.

FCL Shipping from China to Africa

Bansar provides very competitive shipping rate on FCL. Any city of your goods, Bansar can handle. Just give us your warehouse address and ask for a pickup.

LCL Shipping from China to Africa

With over 10 years freight forwarding experience on shipping from China to Africa, Bansar is specialist on LCL shipping, Just tell us volume and size of your goods, we will provide you our best LCL shipping rates.

Additional services for shipping from China to Africa

Pickup and Delivery
We will pick up your goods in any city in China.
Warehousing Distribution
Bansar provides free warehousing services for any of your goods
Cargo Insurance
The cargo insurance protects your goods all the way to any city of Africa
Custom Clearance
We will handle all paperwork and other details for you.
Loading Inspection
Ensure safe packaging and loading of goods in your suppliers' factory.

Your Best Freight Forwarder from China to Africa

  • Provide competitive Shipping rate shipping from China to Africa
  • Professional on shipping hazardous and large sized goods
  • 24/7 online team to support your business
  • Arrange pickup in any city of China
  • Container loading supervision service in any city in China.

Shipping from China to Africa: Your Ultimate Guide to Importing from China to Africa

If you’re importing from China to Africa, and not sure of what to do, then I have made this guide for you.


As the leading freight forwarder, we know the challenges our clients face when importing from China to Africa.

In this guide, I will walk you through important factors to consider when shipping to Africa.

From choosing the right freight forwarder, proper documentation, African ports and airports to factors that may affect the cost of shipping, just to mention a few.

Chapter 1: Bansar Freight Forwarder: Help You Ship from China to Africa with Better Shipping Rate

We are a global logistics company in China with over 10 years’ experience in shipping to Africa.

Depending on your shipping needs, we offer custom clearance, air freight and sea freight to all African countries.

So far, we have excellent partnerships with world’s top carriers and airlines.

This makes shipping easier and simple – whether you want to ship to West Africa, Central Africa, South Africa of East Africa, you can always count on Bansar.

What’s more?

We ensure every cargo arrives safely by choosing better packaging and supervising loading process.

Also, we track all cargos in real-time, so you’ll always get an accurate location and condition of your goods.

Even in landlocked countries in Africa – Bansar will arrange inland transportation either by road or rail.

You don’t have to worry about anything – simply contact us, and wait for your cargo at your preferred destination.

And by the way:

You don’t have to worry about storage facilities as your cargo awaits shipping from China to Africa.

Bansar provides that for free.

Take for example:

Bansar provides a 20 to 30 days free warehouse services of client’s cargo before shipping.

But, that’s not enough.

You can use our containers for up to 28 days – isn’t that amazing!

Look – at Bansar, we look forward to seeing you back and help you grow your business.

That’s why Bansar has put all measures in place to reduce costs on your end.

The bottom line:

Bansar, as your reliable freight forwarder in China works to ensure safety, affordability and convenience.

This is why we are always ahead of the competition when it comes to shipping from China to Africa.

Anyway, that’s who we are.

Now, let’s get back to the main subject of this guide.

How can you ship from China to Africa? Or, how can you effectively import from China to Africa?

Well, here are the critical things you MUST know:

Chapter 2: Shipping from China to African Countries

If you’re shipping to Africa for the first time, then this is what you need to know.

There are 54 countries in Africa – it’s indeed a large area!

Before you even think of any logistics or what you want to ship.

You must know your destination.

With this, you will know the best shipping process – whether to start with air freight or ocean freight, then opt for either road or rail freight.

I hope, you can see what I am talking about here.

China-Africa Bilateral Trade

Now, let’s have a quick overview of some of the most common destinations when shipping from China to Africa:

2.1. Shipping from China to East Africa

Below are some of the main airports and sea ports in East Africa.

  • Ports of East Africa

East Africa comprises of different ports used to export and import different goods such as electronics, farm produce, petroleum products, etc.

Due to the advancement of technology, many equipment and machineries are imported from China to East African countries.

By the way, you can make a lot of profits if you venture into such business.

Some of the main sea ports include:

  • Ports of Djibouti, located in Djibouti takes about 27 days from China
  • Port of Lamu and Port of Mombasa in Kenya takes approximately 29 days from China
  • Port of Kismayu, Mogadishu and Merca located in in Somalia takes about 27 days
  • Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania takes about 29 days and Port of Zanzibar in Zanzibar takes around 29 days from China

Port of Mombasa

Port of Mombasa

On the other hand, some of the main airports within East Africa include:

  • Burundi: Bujumbura International Airport
  • Kenya: Moi International Airport – Mombasa, Kisumu International Airport –Kisumu, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – Nairobi
  • Rwanda: Kigali International Airport – Kigali
  • Tanzania: Julius Nyerere International Airport – Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro International Airport – Hai District
  • Zanzibar: AbeidAmaniKarume International Airport – Unguja.
  • Uganda: Entebbe International Airport – Entebbe

Julius Nyerere International Airport

Julius Nyerere International Airport

In addition to these, you need to know some of the major cities in East Africa.


Just in case you ship from China to Africa, at times, you’ll have to connect from the seaport or airport to these cities.

The best part – you’ll find better infrastructure (either road or rail) to take goods to the local destination in Africa.

So here we go – some of the mainland cities include:

  • Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa in Ethiopia
  • Bujumbura, Muyinga in Burundi
  • Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Dodoma in Tanzania
  • Djibouti in Djibouti
  • Gitarama and Kigali in Rwanda
  • Hargeisa and Mogadishu in Somalia
  • Kampala and Mbarara in Uganda, Nairobi
  • Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu in Kenya

Why should you know the distance from the main sea port or airport to these cities and to the final destination?

It will help you to calculate the freight cost of shipping from China to East Africa.

2.2. Shipping from China to West Africa

West Africa has several countries.

This region produces oil for export but in return imports from China technological products such as:

Electronics and their spares, information technology gadgets, machinery equipment and their spares, furniture among others.

Main Ports in the West African region include:

  • Ivory Coast: Port of Abidjan takes 51 days from China
  • Nigeria: Port of Lagos takes around 51 days from China
  • Ghana: Port of Tema and Port of Takoradi takes about 52 days from China
  • Senegal: Port of Dakar takes around 50 days from China
  • Togo: Port of Lomé, port of Togo and Port of Kpeme takes 51 days from China
  • Benin: Port of Cotonou and Port of Benin takes 51 days from China

Alternatively, you may opt for air freight.

Therefore, you must know the main airports to ship effectively from China to East Africa.

MurtalaMuhammed International Airport; Lagos

Murtala Muhammed International Airport; Lagos

Here are some of the major airports and their locations in West Africa:

  • Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou Airport; Ouagadougou
  • Benin: Cadjehoun Airport International; Cotonou
  • Ghana: Kotoka International Airport; Accra
  • Guinea-Bissau: Osvaldo Vieira International Airport; Bissau
  • Liberia: Roberts International Airport; Monrovia
  • Mali: Bamako–Sénou International Airport; Bamako
  • Niger: DioriHamani International Airport; Niamey
  • Senegal- Blaise Diagne International Airport; Dakar
  • Sierra Leone- Lungi International Airport; Freetown
  • Gambia: Banjul International Airport International; Banjul
  • Ivory Coast: Port Bouet Airport; Abidjan
  • Togo – Lomé–Tokoin Airport; Lomé
  • Nigeria: Murtala Muhammed International Airport; Lagos
  • Guinea: Conakry International Airport; Conakry

Also, I want you to note that these are some of the main cities in this region:

  • Abuja, Lagos, Benin City, Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan, Port Harcourt – Nigeria,
  • Abidjan- Ivory Coast,
  • Accra, Kumasi –Ghana, Bamako – Mali,
  • Conakry – Guinea,
  • Dakar- Senegal,
  • Freetown -Sierra Leon,
  • Lomé- Togo,
  • Ouagadougou – Burkina Faso.

Why am I doing all these?

As I said, use these as your “landmarks” from where you can calculate the distance.

It is this distance that you’ll know the freight cost from China to West Africa.

2.3. Shipping from China to North Africa

These are countries located in the northernmost part of the African continent.

These countries supply products such as cotton textiles, non-petroleum products, and natural gas.

In return, they import electronics, machinery etc.

Their mode of shipment is via the sea or by air.

Some of the main ports in North Africa include:

  • Ports of Algeria: Port of Annaba and Port of Arzew takes 42 days from China; Port of Bejaia and Port of Jije take around 41 days from China
  • Ports of Egypt: Port of Abu Qir, Port of Abu Zenima takes 33 days from China; Port of Alexandria takes 35 days from China; Port of East Port Said takes 35 days from China; Zeit Bay Terminal takes 33 days from China
  • Ports of Tunisia: Port of Bizerte takes 40 days from China; Port of Gabes and Port of Sfax takes 39 days from China
  • Ports of Libya: Port of Benghazi takes 37 days from China; Port of Darna takes around 36 days, and Port of Homs takes 38 days from China
  • Ports of Tunisia: Port of Tunis and Port of Mahdia take 40 days from China; Port of Gabes, Tunisia takes 39 days from China
  • Ports of Sudan: Green Harbour, Port of Digna and Port Sudan takes about 31 days from China

Sea port in Algeria

Sea port in Algeria

Also, whenever you are shipping from China to North Africa, you may opt for airfreight.

In such a situation, you can choose the following airports:

  • In Algeria we have: HouariBoumediene Airport-Algiers, EsSenia Airport-Oran, Soummam Airport-Béjaïa, AinArnat Airport-Sétif, RabahBitat Airport-Annaba, Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport-Constantine, Zenata – Messali El Hadj Airport-Tlemcen, Biskra Airport-Biskra
  • Chad: N’Djamena International Airport – N’Djamena
  • Egypt: Borg El Arab Airport – Alexandria, Alexandria International Airport- Alexandria, Assiut Airport – Asyut, Aswan International Airport –Aswan, Cairo International Airport – Cairo, El Arish International Airport- El Arish, Al Alamain International Airport- El Dabaa, Hurghada International Airport HRG- Hurghada, Luxor International Airport – Luxor
  • Libya: Benina International Airport – Benghazi, Sebha Airport – Sabha, Tripoli International Airport- Tripoli, Mitiga International Airport – Tajoura
  • Morocco: Al Massira Airport – Agadir, Mohammed V International Airport- Casablanca, Fes-Saïss Airport – Fes, Marrakech-Menara Airport – Marrakech, Nador International Airport – Nador, Hassan I Airport – Laâyoune
  • Sudan: Khartoum International Airport – Khartoum, New International Airport – Port Sudan
  • Tunisia: Zarzis Airport – Djerba, Hammamet International Airport – Enfidha, HabibBourguiba International Airport – Monastir , Thyna International Airport – Sfax , 7 Novembre International Airport – Tabarka, Nefta International Airport – Tozeur , Carthage International Airport – Tunis

Hammamet International Airport – Enfidha

Hammamet International Airport – Enfidha

Like other regions in Africa, some of the main inland cities in this region include the following:

  • Algeria: Algiers, Oran, Blida, Constantine, Annaba, Djelf
  • South Sudan: Juba, Malakal.
  • Sudan: Khartoum, Omdurman in Sudan
  • Egypt: Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, Port Said, Suez, Al Maḩallah al Kubrá, Luxor, Asyūţ, Al Manşūrah, Tanda, Al Fayyūm, Zagazig, Ismailia, Kafr ad, Dawwār, Aswan, Qinā, Ḩalwān.
  • Libya: Tripoli, Tripoli,Benghazi , Misratah , Tarhuna , Al Marqab
  • Morocco:Casablanca,Fez, Tangier, Marrakesh, BeniMellal, Meknes, Sale,Rabat

Just do the math – ship from China to a North African port or airport, then distance to the main city and to local destinations.

You will know the exact destination from which you will know the shipping from China to Africa.

2.4. Shipping from China to South Africa

Shipping to South Africa to China is not only via the ocean, but also connecting to the mainland via trucks.

These transit trucks connect to the neighboring countries via inland road networks.

Technological goods such as machinery, electronics, and furniture are among the commodities these countries import from China.Port of Cape Town

Port of Cape Town

Some of the main seaports within this region include:

  • Port Cape Town takes 39 days from China
  • Port of Durban takes 35 days from China
  • Port Elizabeth takes 37 days from China
  • Richard Bay takes 35 days from China

Alternatively, you may opt for air freight.

Therefore, you can consider the following:

  • Cape town international Airport-Cape Town
  • Durban International Airport-Durban
  • Lanseria Airport- Johannesburg
  • R. Tambo International Airport- Johannesburg
  • Mmabatho International Airport- Mmabatho
  • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport-Nelspruit
  • Polokwane International Airport- Polokwane
  • Pilanesberg International Airport- Sun City

O.R. Tambo International Airport- Johannesburg

O.R. Tambo International Airport- Johannesburg

Also, the mainland cities in South Africa include Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Germiston-Ekurhuleni, Pretoria, Nelspruit-Ehlanzeni, Rustenburg.

But, is this all?

No, as I said from the beginning, Africa has many countries, some have access to the sea or ocean, while others don’t have.

I just sampled a few and at the same time, giving you a guide on what you need to know.

The bottom line:

  • Know the country you want to ship to; say shipping from China to Kenya, Namibia, Gambia, etc.
  • Identify the mode of freight you prefer, say shipping by air or sea/ocean.
  • For air freight, identify main airport within that country. The good news is, every country in Africa has at least one main airport or more.
  • For ocean freight, there are countries without access to either sea or ocean. Identify the nearest port in a neighboring country.
  • Once the products/goods get to the port, arrange for transport by rail or road

Chinese Constructing SGR in Kenya

Chinese Constructing SGR in Kenya

In short – know the distance from China to African town or city.

It will help you calculate the freight cost.

Just in case you have any questions here, just do me an email, I will help you.

With this information, let’s move to yet another important thing you must know when shipping from China to Africa.

Keep reading.

Chapter 3: Practical Tips on How to Choose the Best Freight Forwarder When Shipping from China to Africa

Even before going into the main subject of this section, let make a quick overview of some facts you should know:

FACT 1: Chinese shipping outlets mainly include the following:

Remember, the outlet will depend on the type of products you want to ship from China to Africa.

Port of Shanghai

Port of Shanghai

FACT 2: Cargo shipping from China to Africa is mainly by rail freight or air freight.

Let’s have a quick look of the two shipping methods:

  • Charges vary depending on the mode of shipment.
  • Air freight from China to Africa is costly than sea freight
  • For both, the weight of the cargo is considered as well as the handling charges. For example, charges are $11.5 per kg with a minimum of 10kg per cargo.
  • Air freight is faster that ocean freight. That is, air freight may take 1 day with ocean freight 30 days, once the goods leave the port in China.

With that in mind, let me take you to yet another important aspect when shipping from China to Africa.

3.1 Steps in Shipping from China to Africa

As mentioned, these steps are very important before shipping from China to Africa.

The main processes include:

· Identify the good to import

It is important to know the good you want to deal with.

Make sure you do the research about the good.

Be sure to have the authenticity of the suppliers.

To help in the clearance, ensure you have the relevant documents which will be required at any given stage.

This will facilitate the custom clearance immediately your commodities arrive in your country.

You know what?

To get quality goods, you better use Chinese sourcing agents.

Don’t worry; we’ll help you find one.

Remember, don’t stop here:

Thoroughly check and recheck on the validity of the supplier you chose.

Ensure you do back-ground checks with the following precautions in mind:

  • Talk to those who have used such a supplier before
  • Before buying in bulk, ensure the supplier sends a sample for verification
  • Deal with a supplier who is legally registered in China.

But, is that all? No, keep reading to learn more…

Again, let me mention VERY IMPORTANT THING you must do here, get a reliable freight forwarder in China.

I will show you how to find one later in this article.

· Calculate the actual cost of importation

Get to know how much you will spend till you receive the commodity.

These include:

  • Amount of goods you will buy
  • Freight charges
  • Handling fee
  • Duty charges from your countries, clearance charges and others.

Why should you know all these?

It will ensure you receive your goods without staying for long at the receiving port .

Once you are fine with the costs and the quality of the sample sent, go ahead and look for the best chosen supplier.

· Choose your port of delivery

Get the port of unloading in your country which is convenient.

Your courier agent should also be aware of this point of unloading.

Instruct your supplier to drop your commodity to the courier agent office that will ship your commodity to your country.

They will help in the facilitation of the commodity clearance with the local authorities.

· Collection of the commodity

If the commodity comes via air, the collection will be at the chosen airport.

Alternatively, if it was shipped via sea, it will be collected at the seaport chosen in your country.

I had discussed various airports and sea ports earlier – I hope you can recall that.

Do you remember what I promised you earlier – how to choose a freight forwarder.

Now, here we are, let’s get to this…

What are the Tips to Help Me Choose the Best Freight Forwarder?

I know you’d not wish to hear this – but, here is the truth.

There are so many freight forwarding companies in China.

But the truth is, you cannot trust all of them.

Besides, there are those that don’t offer quality services.

Now, how do you ensure only reputable freight forwarding companies handle your goods?

Here is a quick overview of what you must give the highest priority:

  • Safety of the commodity during shipment
  • Insurance
  • Availability of their warehouse in China
  • Whether the freight forwarder knows the country of destination in Africa
  • An existing office of the freight forwarder (more so, in China)
  • Verify the authenticity and legal existence of the freight forwarder.

Once you are sure of the company’s authenticity, you can go ahead and hire the freight forwarder.


All that aside:

To avoid getting trapped in a wrong freight forwarding company which may not deliver or can take too long; it is important to choose wisely.

Some of the rules include:

·Carefully Select Reputable Freight Forwarder in China

There are several brokerage companies in China, which advertise and claim to be effective while they can be a great disappointment.

So, you got to be careful here.

It is important to note that if a freight company delays with a good and the sale peak elapses, the importer suffers losses.

At Bansar, you don’t want you to experience this – we care about the success of your business.

Still remember, what we offer? Here is a quick link – Bansar freight forwarder services (Shipping from China to Africa).

Bansar Freight Forwarded Services


Let me repeat this – maybe you have forgotten:

Choose a freight forwarder who has a global network with good standard procedures.

This is what I mean – one with:

  • Good network globally; know Africa very well
  • Have agents or partners in Africa
  • Better shipping information technology systems which can track the progress of the cargo
  • Complies with set rules and regulations on customs, international shipping, etc.
  • Understands shipping needs of clients
  • Good track record in shipping from China to Africa at any point in time and complies

With such freight forwarding companies in China, you will never go wrong.

·Ensure the company has system capability

The freight forwarding company must have up to date profile.

They must know the shipping procedures.

That is, have the capability to:

  • Store
  • Transport
  • Package
  • Label
  • Supervise loading
  • Track cargo, and
  • Handle documentation of the cargo, just to mention a few.

Offloading cargo in Port of Mombasa

Offloading cargo in Port of Mombasa

· Compare the freight rates and services

Better services are worth paying for but must be cost effective.

Companies have different freight rates and quality of services.

Make a comparison to choose the most effective and cost competitive freight forwarding company.

·Rigorously review the past performance of the freight forwarder

You need to review the company based on:

  • Delivery time
  • Clearance duration
  • Similar services offered in the past.

·Export/import compliance

Lastly, you may inquire if they are compliant with the regulations for Africa importation.

Once you’re satisfied with a freight forwarding company then you can go ahead and hire them.

Let me make one point clear:

All these processes involve some paperwork.

And by the way, it can be so confusing that you may find shipping from China to Africa really cumbersome.

Yet, it’s not when you hire a reputable freight forwarder in China.

This is what they do – so it is an easy process for them.

I am sure you’d love to know what kind of paperwork is involved here.

Let’s dive right in.

Chapter 4: All Paper Work needed When Shipping from China to Africa

Before you ship from China to Africa, it is important to have some critical documents.

These documents will facilitate the clearance procedure.

In fact, once you do them right, the duration for custom clearance will be very short.

Lack of some of these documents may make the clearance process very difficult.

This can end into losses.

From my experience as a leading freight forwarder, most African countries will require the following documents before clearing your cargo:

        i.Electronic Cargo Tracking Note

This is a waiver certificate which some African countries need to help in managing import or export to a country.

The documents have full details of the:

  • Shipping method used
  • Exporter or importer
  • Type and value of goods you’re shipping

This helps in the verification of the cargo contents and tracking cargo movement between the ports.

ECTN meaning - what does ECTN stand for?
ECTN means – Electronic Cargo Tracking Note

Cargos travelling via sea are issued with the “cargo travelling note” before the departure by the approved agent.

Importer and exporter must work on the waiver document.

It must be ready before cargo reaches port in Africa.

At the destination port, an importer will declare the cargo and therefore he/she will give the cargo number.

Different countries in Africa will use different names such as:

  • Angola – CNCA Certification
  • Benin – BESC Certification
  • Cameroon, Congo
  • Chad, Tanzania and Togo – ECTN Certification
  • Democratic Republic of Congo – FERI Certification
  • Gabon – BIC Certification
  • Guinea, Mali, Central African, Senegal, Nigeria and Guinea – CTN NO. Certification
  • Ivorian, Madagascar -BSC Certification
  • Kenya – COC Certification.

        ii.Commercial Invoice

This is a customs declaration document by the organization or the person exporting commodity across borders.

It must always have a signature and a name to certify the correctness of the commodities to be exported.

Commercial Invoice

The content of commercial invoice includes the following information about the goods you’re shipping to Africa:

  • Weight
  • Number of pieces
  • Country of origin
  • Name and signature of the sender
  • Currency and specification of the goods

In addition to these, the details of the invoice information include:

  • Order number
  • Invoice number
  • Invoice date)

At the same time, the shipper information includes:

  • Name and contact
  • VAT number
  • Country

Also, the consignee information also forms part of the commercial invoice.

And last, the shipping information in the commercial invoice includes:

  • Payment method
  • Forwarding agent
  • Export date
  • Airway bill number

Don’t worry about all these, your freight forwarder will take you through everything.

        iii. Packing List

It is also called the bill of parcel/packaging slip.

This is a document highlighting the contents of the package or container shipped.

Packing List

It has the information about the dimensions and weight of each package or container.

This is important in making claims for damaged/lost consignments.

They help in selective inspection of the shipment by the customs authorities.

Besides, they also give the buyer easy time to unpack and stock the received commodities.

        iv.Bill of Lading/Airway bill

This is a shipping legal binding document required to move any shipment.

It is a receipt of any freight service between the shipper and the freight carrier.

Non-negotiable Bill of Lading

It has all the details required by the driver and the carrier to process the invoice and the freight shipment accurately.

Normally, it is the carrier that provides the bill of lading during the collection and one copy attached to the package.

This therefore serves as a proof of ownership and hence is needed anytime claims of compensation are made i.e. during damage or loss.

Normally, this document contains the following information:

  • Names and addresses
  • Department of transportation hazardous material designation
  • Special reference numbers or purchase orders
  • Special instructions
  • Date
  • Description of items and packaging type.

        v. Import Declaration Form

This is a document made and submitted on the behalf of the importer by the broker or an agent as custom entry for imports.

Goods may arrive either by air cargo, international mail or sea cargo – you have to declare them using Import Declaration Form.

Import Declaration Form

It therefore provides correct information about the imported goods and used to clear goods by the customs control.

The importer always needs to identify if the goods to be imported are liable to:

  • The IDF fee
  • Pay to obtain the relevant IDF license

Of course, this should be before importing the goods into the country.

        vi. Bill of Entry

Bill of entry is one of the key documents used for customs clearance.

It is filled and signed by the importer.

Bill of Entry Details

It is always filled within thirty days when the goods arrive at the custom location.

Once you complete filling this form together with other import clearance documents; the assessment is done by the customs official and a ‘pass out order’ document given under such a bill of entry.

Once custom official issues this order document, the importer or the authorized custom agent, can now move the goods to any destination in African town of city from customs.

        vii.Import License

It authorizes an agent to import a good to a country.

It is used during the import clearance procedures for specific commodities/products.

These commodities vary from country to country.

An import license document is therefore mandatory for importing specific commodities and is provided as import guideline in most countries.

      viii.Insurance certificate

You need this as part of the import customs clearance procedures when the goods arrive at the destined port.

It assists the customs authority in identifying whether the selling price of the imported commodity is inclusive of the insurance or not.

insurance certificate template Lovely Shipping Contract Template Fresh Car Insurance Certificate
Insurance certificate template Lovely Shipping Contract Template Fresh Car Insurance Certificate

This is helpful in calculating the import duty amount since it can be used to know the value of imports.

        ix. Test report

This is also required by the customs authority for clearance formalities.

The customs official may draw a specific commodity; and send it to an authorized government laboratory to test if its quality conforms to the standards.

The appraisement on the commodity can only be done by the customs official.

Of course, this is after receiving the test results otherwise they may not clear the goods.

      x.Purchase order/Letter of Credit

You need this during clearance when you import from China under letter of credit.

It indicates all the terms and conditions of your contract.

This helps the customs official to arrive at the exact value during the assessment.

The importer only submits a copy of the letter of credit if the consignment is under the letter of credit.

    xi.Technical write up

This is applicable to some machinery and assists the customs official in coming up with the exact market value of the imported machinery during value assessment.

This document is simply a literature explaining the function of such machinery.

Automatic Capsule Filling Machine

You should attach it alongside other shipping documents.

It is only applicable under specific goods during the clearance point.

        xii. Industrial License

A copy will be required by the customs authority if the importer claims any benefits as given by specific government guideline.

This is used to arrive at the benefits to be claimed by the importer.

I know some of these terms may sound “scary” if you’re new to shipping or importing from China to Africa.

Like I said earlier, a freight forwarder will explain everything to you.

You know what?

Freight forwarders make shipping easy and simple – a reason why you need them.

Now, let’s come back to freight cost…

Chapter 5: Factors Affecting Cost of Shipping from China to Africa by Sea and by Air

Let me tell you one secret:

You need to know the factors that affect the freight cost.

This way, you will choose an appropriate shipping method from China to Africa.

And, by the way, I have mentioned freight rate a number of times here.

Do you know what it means?

Well, freight rate is simply the charges you will incur when transporting cargo from one port to another.

In our case, it is the cost of transporting cargo from China to Africa.

Since shipping from China to Africa involves either ocean freight or air freight, I will only focus on these two here.

Here’s everything you should know:

Factors Affecting the Cost of Sea/Ocean Freight

Some of the main factors you must consider include:


The distance the freight takes in the sea/ocean determines how much the cargo costs.

It is straightforward:

Shipment rate increases with distance.

That is, you’ll pay more for long distance and less for short distances.

You can refer to my discussions in chapter 1 – the distance from China to various sea ports in Africa.

2. Port Service charges

Other charges at the port during handling of the cargo can add to the value of the shipment.

These may include port security levy, port handling services, etc.

3.Terminal Fees

You will pay this during loading (in China) and offloading (in Africa).

In most cases, the shipping line recovers this from the shippers.

436 APS Ramp Services
(UNRELEASED) 436th Aerial Port Squadron personnel from the Ramp Services section, service and load various types of aircraft at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Sep. 8, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik)

Therefore, terminal fees cover loading and unloading of the container.

Besides, it may cover any other cost that comes as a result of handling the container at both the departure and the destination ports.

4.Currency Conversions

During the international transactions, the dollar is always used as the common denomination.

As this currency fluctuates, the shipment rate also changes depending on the fluctuation.

The exchange rate affects the shipment cost and the prevailing exchange rate is used as the basis for the day’s shipment rate.

5. Fines and Fees

Delay of the ship to reach the destination due to over-crowding may attract some fine which will increase the shipping rate.

As well, when the consignment stays for so long at the destination port, it also attracts other charges such as security charges.

It is therefore advisable to be strategic and clear the container as fast as possible to avoid extra charges.


Depending on the demand of certain commodities in some areas, season plays a very important role in determining the freight rates.

For example, flowers, fruits and grains are transported during some seasons.

During that period, shipping rate is always very high.

It is therefore critical to have knowledge of both the high and low seasons.

7. Bunker Capacity

Just like the exchange rate fluctuates and affects the shipping cost, the fuel price also fluctuates.

Depending on the prevailing fuel price, the container shipment of fuels also changes.

When the fuel prices increases, the shipment rate also increases and vice versa.

8.Container Capacity

Filling a container implies that you will pay a fixed amount of money (of course for everything in the container).

Container Capacity

However, if you insist on shipping products, even if the container is half, you’ll still pay for the space.

Therefore, the second option will be uneconomical.

What’s the bottom line?

Experienced shippers can easily understand the trend of the shipment rate and adopt a cost effective method.

That’s why Bansar is here for you.

The reality is:

Rate of shipping from China to Africa can be very tricky.

It changes depending on the situation as you have seen.

Factors Affecting the Air Freight rate

Air freight from China to Africa is fast and reliable.

Also, in terms of the carbon footprint, airfreight is preferred to the ocean freight.

However, it cannot carry massive loads like in the case of ocean freight.


Just like ocean freight, below are some of the main factors that affect air freight from China to Africa:

1.Demand of the service

During the high peak season, there is high demand to use the freight.

Therefore, from economies of scale, the freight rate also goes up.

At that point, you will pay more to ensure their cargo reaches African airport.

As this demand declines, the rate normalizes and vice versa.

2.Type of Cargo to be shipped

Different goods have different ways of handling.

Handling comes with security features and different container types (unit load devices).

This will definitely affect the air freight cost.

For example, you must handle artistic works, pets, livestock and flowers with care.

Some commodities need specialized containers which come with additional costs.

3.Manpower handling the shipment

If the commodity you’re shipping needs extra care, you will need specialized persons.

This adds to the airfreight cost.

It also requires a reputed shipping company which is specialized in handling such type of cargos.

These additional services change the rate adversely if the good has to arrive safely.

4. Speed

Air freight is the fastest means of shipping a cargo from China to Africa.

Different companies have different rates for depending on when you need air freight service.

Some companies are faster than the others and charges higher rates.

The rate depends purely on how fast one gets the cargo at the final destination.

For a shorter delivery time, expect to pay more to ship from China to Africa.

Now, I know it is your wish to reduce the freight cost from China to Africa.

At Bansar we can do it.

But, what factors do we consider to guarantee competitive freight rates to our clients?

Have a look at these:

How to Reduce Shipping Cost when Shipping from China to Africa

Below are some of the most effective ways that will help you reduce freight cost from China to Africa:

1.Choose smallest size of box

In case you don’t fill the box, ensure the packing box does not cover a big volume with few items.

Ensure you pack the items to only fit in a given volume.

Remember, you may pay for a space not covered just because your packing box is big.

In most cases, the pricing is pegged on the volume.

2.Negotiate with the shipping carrier

When you are a frequent customer, you can negotiate with different shipping carriers and ensure you get the one with the lowest offer.

Try to compare the carrier rates and settle for the affordable rates.

Do not just rush into giving a contact to any shipping carrier you see around.

Remember, bulk shipping can also attract discounts.

3. Use packaging provided by the carrier

In some cases, your own packaging can attract additional charges due to excess dimension.

Most packaging materials, especially the envelop types do not attract additional charges.

This is because the dimension conforms well.

4.Consolidate your accounts

It is advisable to ship as many products as possible within the given volume of shipment.

Insist that the vendors ship the products in your account so that it is fully utilized.

Figure 27This will help eliminate the markups that may be paid for on that cost.

Depending on the payment terms, choose wisely on this.

It is because some shipping companies may require payment within a given duration.

On the other hand your vendor may give you flexible payment duration.

5. Use of zone skipping

This is a consolidation service whereby small packages going to one zone are put in one container.

They are then sent as one to the consolidator offering that service in that specific region.

In most cases this will bring the cost of shipping from China to Africa down.

The consolidator will then distribute the packages to the customers.

This is a good cost sharing strategy.

The only challenge is that this doesn’t work with express shipments.

6. Ensure you have accurate weight of your package

When you provide the exact weight without adding so many unnecessary packings, you will pay for the actual weigh.

As a result, there will be no excess charges.

accurate weight of package

The more accurate you are, the more you save for shipping from China to Africa.

It is important to focus on the weight of the goods.

Just be accurate with the weight during packaging.

7. Plan and buy your package in bulk and once

It saves money to do one shipment from China to Africa with lots of goods than doing different small volumes.

Clearance charges apply for every shipment and therefore if one shipment is done, a lot can be saved.

Also, if bulk shipment is put in one container, the space is utilized constructively.

With all these in mind, I am sure you can estimate the freight cost from China to Africa.

Chapter 6:Factors to Consider when Shipping from China to Africa

When shipping from China to Africa, focus on factors which can enhance smooth movement of the goods.

That’s exactly what I am going to discuss in this section.

Remember, these factors will help you reduce the shipping cost.

Some of these factors you must consider include:

1.Type of Cargo to Ship from China to Africa

Depending on the amount of the goods to be shipped, you can pack them in different containers.

There are three different types of containers you can use when shipping from China to Africa:

  • 20 feet container
  • 40 feet container
  • 40 feet high cube container.

Normally, the design of these containers is such that they protect the goods from damage.

Figure 29

20 feet container is used mostly to carry some cargo such as machine spare parts, machineries, minerals since they tend to be a bit heavy.

40 feet containers do not only carry the heavy commodities, but those that are voluminous in nature and occupy a big space.

Such goods may include wood furniture, vehicle tires, assembled goods, toys etc.

The load for both the 20 and 40 feet container must be the same always, even though the volumes are not the same.

fact, the 40 feet container is twice the 20 feet container by volume.

By the way, I want you to remember this:

China allows the weight of a container packed to be between 27 to 28 tons.

They mostly prefer maximum weight of 20 tons.

So, even as you plan to ship from China to Africa, have this in mind always.

But, you know what?

The cost of ocean shipping of a single 40 feet container is cheaper than having two 20 feet containers during shipment – in China it is about 1.5 times less.

Now, what does this imply?

It is cost effective to have the goods shipped in the 40 feet container than two 20 feet containers.

As long as their weight conform to the required standards.

These containers are mostly applicable with regular commodities.

If the commodity is not regular, other containers such as:

  • Open top
  • Flat rack
  • Reefer or tanks may be a better alternative

But, what brings this difference – let’s find out.

· Open Top Containers

They carry goods which are handled mostly using a crane and hence they do not have a rigid roof.

These containers carry very bulky goods.

Open Top Containers

It is flexible and can be manipulated easily to fit the commodities inside the container as it has movable elbows.

· Flat Rack Containers

Flat rack containers do not have side walls and the top.

The have end walls which can either be fixed or collapsible.

Flat Rack Containers

These end walls can flush and fold with the base.

The collapsible end walls allow transportation of a cargo which is over length.

The reasons of the structure of this container are to accommodate abnormal goods with very high height, large width and are heavy and bulky.

·  Reefer Tanks

Reefer tanks are used mostly in transporting perishable commodities.

This is because they are equipped with the mechanical compressor system.


It is this compressor system that regulates temperatures inside the container.

The tank containers are installed inside a frame for stability purposes.

They are mostly used in the transportation of the hazardous or non-hazardous liquid substances.

It has safety devices and equipped with filling and emptying accessories to assist in loading and unloading liquid easily.

These tanks are always pressure tested after every 2.5 years for safety purposes.

2. Cargo Size

Cargo sizes vary with the type of container you’ll use.

These containers come in different sizes depending on the nature of the application.

The tables below show the dimensions of different cargo sizes.

Table 1: General purpose container


Table 2: Reefer containers


Table 3: Open top containers


Table 4: Flat rack containers


3. Shipment Type

Sea or ocean freight is the most common way of shipping goods from China to Africa.

This is because it is not only affordable, but carries voluminous goods.

Here, you can opt for either:

LCL is a situation where one shares the container space with others having same destination but small volumes of goods.

The cost for shipping is therefore shared among the individuals using the same container.

The amount you’ll pay depends on the volume (cubic meters) your goods will occupy.

It is one of the cheapest ocean freight.

I know you’d not wish to hear this, but it is the reality.

It will take longer time for the products to leave a port in China to Africa.


There is consolidation at the port of departure and also at the destination port.

Consolidation process may take time.

What’s more?

FCL is safer than LCL since not so many other cargos are put inside which can damage other cargos.

Before you choose LCL, ensure your goods will be safe.

Even the chemical loaded if not well packed may spoil other goods.

Tracking FCL shipment by the shipping company is also easy.

Simply use the container number or booking number to estimate the shipping duration.

Normally, the freight charges for FCL are flat rate basis.

Now, what’s the difference between LCL and FCL?

  • Who issues the bill of lading?

The freight forwarder issues bill of lading of LCL shipment while for FCL, the bill of lading is issued directly by the official shipping line.

  • Take note of the mark to identify goods

The mark identifying your goods from other shippers (shipping mark) is printed on the outer package when using LCL.

This mark must be black and bold with waterproof paint so that they cannot erase easily.

Orange or red color is used for cargo carrying dangerous materials or substances.

The marks are mainly in English and other languages depending on the country of destination in Africa.

  • FCL charges less shipping cost per unit than LCL

The difference in the charges is simply because of other fees levied on LCL at the destination.

Clearing and handling the LCL consignment has a high wo k rload compared to the FCL.

It is because the agents always handle several LCLs inside one container. All the LCLs are normally unloaded at the port of destination for segregation.

This is because they belong to different people while the FCL can be unloaded and sent directly to the buyer’s point.

  • Handling FCL vs. LCL

FCL shipment handling is less since loading and sealing of the container is done by the seller and shipped to the destination port.

LCL will be subject to consolidation at the loading port and once the container reaches the destination port, it is again unloaded during sorting out.

4.Shipping Time and Port

Products made in China are of good quality and therefore their market in Africa is guaranteed.

They are also affordable.

Carrier companies have different departure times to their final destination.

Most companies have their schedules posted on their websites and one can easily contact them for forwarding services.


With the rising urge of importing products from China to Africa, the importers prefer different departure ports.

China has a number of ports and therefore depending on the location of the cargo, you can take it to the nearest shipping port.

Of course, it must be convenient in terms of logistics.

You’ll discuss this with your freight forwarder in China.

Some of the ports in China include:

  • Dadong
  • Lianyungang
  • Nanjing
  • Beihai
  • Dalian
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Qingdao
  • Qinhuangdao
  • Sanya
  • Shanghai
  • Ningbo
  • Shanghai
  • Huangpu
  • Jiujiang
  • Hankou
  • Jiujiang among others.

Of course, you will load products in any of these ports.

I hope you remember my discussion in chapter 2 – sea ports and airports in Africa.

Well, those are your unloading ports.

In short, before shipping, you must know:

  • Loading and unloading port
  • Shipping duration
  • Cargo departure time
  • How best to track cargo when in transit

Your freight forwarder will give you all these details.

5.Rules and Regulations on Importing from China to Africa

In any international business, there are rules and regulations that determine how people do business.

The same scenario is the same whenever you’re importing from China to Africa.

Figure 34

The good news:

China has good relations with most African countries.

Therefore, rules and regulations when it comes to international trade are not that strict.

Anyway, let’s have a quick overview of the rules and regulations on importing from China to Africa:

  • Import declaration form

You will apply for this in the African country authority.

As an importer, you will apply for an import declaration form.

You will avail this form at the port of destination in Africa before inspection begins.

  • Customs entry

You will require the following documents for clearance to enable Electronic Registration of The Customs Entry:

  • Original commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Original bills of lading
  • Original certificate of conformity
  • Original test result/report/analysis
  • Original certificate of origin for preferential trade area partners e.g. COMESA
  • Import declaration form and the receipt
  • Insurance debit note
  • Importers declaration
  • Import levies

Every African country will put special levies on some product i.e Kenya has Sugar at 7% of CIF and Petroleum Products.

  • Special permits/Certificates

You must produce special permits/certificates when importing certain products such as:

  • Fumigation certificates
  • Phytosanitary certificates
  • Insecticides & herbicides permits
  • Plants importations permit
  • Bill of lading

Bill of Lading signed by the importer, shall only be issued and the banker can only be given to the shipping agent; to issue a delivery order only once the freight and the container chargers have been settled.

Figure 35

  • Prohibited products

The following products are prohibited from importation by a number of countries:

  • Game trophies
  • Fruits
  • Explosives
  • Counterfeit currency
  • Gambling machines
  • Animal traps
  • Imitation
  • Firearms
  • Alcohol and other spirits
  • Precious metals and stones

Prohibition of importing all arms, explosives and ammunition unless there is police permit


Shipping from China to Africa can be very challenging for one who doesn’t understand the requirements.

Once someone gets to know every detail of shipping, he/she will enjoy stress free process and plan at his/her own convenience.

More importantly, you must have good planning and know all the necessary regulations.

Also, once you get a good freight forwarder, importing from China to Africa will be simple and easy.

With this guide, I believe shipping from China to Africa will be very simple.

And, by the way – feel free to share this article with family and friends.

More Resource: Importing From China: The Definitive Guide


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