South AfricaSouth Africa Cars

How To Ship Cars From USA To South Africa

Car shipping is one of the major means diverse and sufficient cars are available to satisfy the needs of South Africans. South African has its own car manufacturing plants, hence limiting the inflow of imported cars is a means of protecting the interests of these indigenous car producers. While there is a ban on certain cars being shipped into the country, quite a number are allowed. The USA represents a part of the car producing nations in the world. Many used and new cars can be shipped from the USA to South Africa without hassle if you know how to deftly go about it. If you are willing to join the car shipping business from the USA to South Africa, this article is for you. You will find useful guidelines and information you need to know.

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Cost Of Shipping Cars From Usa To South Africa

The cost of shipping is largely dependent on both the number of cars being shipped as well as their weight. Car shipping costs to South Africa from the U.S. start at $3,300 for normal-sized cars and go up to $7,000 for SUVs and larger vehicles.

Types Of Shipping Method

After knowing who your car dealer is, and you have concluded on the kind and number of cars you want, the next thing is to decide on a shipping method. The commonest and cheapest method of shipping cars from the USA to South Africa is by sea. This is because cars are heavy-weight, shipping by air freight will be too expensive.


There are two main shipping methods, Roll-on/Roll-off (RORO), and container shipping


The advantage Roll-on/Roll-off (RORO) has over container shipping is it’s cost-effectiveness. Here, your car needs to be in good working condition such that it can be driven on and off the ramps that facilitate boarding and disembarking from the ship. A disadvantage however is that the car can get damaged or scratched due to poor handling.

Container Shipping

Container shipping is more expensive. Here, your car is enclosed and safely protected In either a 20-ft or 40ft container, and hoisted on and off the ship using a crane. Using this method ensures that your car gets to you in South Africa in good and perfect condition as it was shipped from the USA.

Also read:

  • Benoni
  • East London
  • Port Elizabeth
  • Johannesburg
  • Durban
  • Cape Town
  • Pietermaritzburg
  • Pretoria
  • Soweto
  • Tembisa

Cost & Time Examples For Shipping A Car To South Africa

To/FromGround (cost)  Ocean (cost) Days
 Boston, MA to (New York port) to Cape Town            $400.                $3,400            5+66
Los Angeles to (California port) to Cape Town         $350               $3,600         5+41
Las Vegas, NV to (California port) to Cape Town     $450.               $3,600             5+41
Portland, OR to (California port) to Johannesburg     $475.               $4,800.            6+41
Phoenix, AZ to (California port) to Johannesburg     $550.              $4,800             6+41
Charlotte, NC to (New York port) to Cape Town      $575.               $3,400            6+66
Chicago, IL to (New York port) to Durban.                 $675.               $3,400              6+61
Atlanta, GA to (New York port) to Durban                  $700.               $3,400.            6+61
Denver, CO to (California port) to Johannesburg      $775.               $4,800.            7+41
Houston, TX to (New York port) to Cape Town        $1,075             $3,400             7+66

Ground cost is the cost of transporting the car from your supplier in the USA to the ship port. It is always advisable to choose the nearest port to your supplier. Ocean cost is the cost of shipping via the sea is your desired location in South Africa.

Required Documents For Shipping A Vehicle To South Africa

  • Import permit
  • Registration
  • Passport
  • Proof of ownership for more than 1 year
  • Ocean bill of lading (OBL)
  • Letter of authority from SABS (South African Bureau of Standards)
  • Proof of SABS payment

US car auctions represent the cheapest means to source cars for shipment to any African country, including South Africa. US car auctions such as Manheim, Copart, or IAAI are popular due to the large volume of vehicles available. In addition, US car auctions are lower In purchase costs and cheaper transportation rates. However, these types of auctions are usually not available to the public and require a wholesale or retail dealer’s license. Many international car buyers choose to go through US auto auction brokers or apply for an auto dealer’s license themselves.

Countries like South Africa have a demand for classic cars. Classics like the Mustang, Camaro, and Corvette are popular imports from the USA.


When shipping cars to South Africa, it’s important to stay abreast of laws and regulations guiding car importation. Endeavor to have the required document and sufficient capital to clear every cost required.

Carmart Team

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