Frequently Asked Questions

International Household Removals

What will my international removal cost?

International moving prices vary vastly, from as little as a few thousand Rands for a small shared container load, to as much as a few hundred thousand Rands for a large container. The determining factor will be the size of your shipment, be it a shared container load measured and charged per cubic meters, a standard 6 meter / 20 foor container or a 12 meter / 40ft container ; as well as the final destination.

How do I know the size of my shipment?

Please feel free to contact us to conduct a free no obligation volume assessment of your goods for a proper quotation, or request our estimate list for us to get a good idea of your shipment size.

Who will pack my goods for safe shipping?

Our quoted price will include full export packing. One of our mobile packing teams will pack your smalls into cartons and export wrap your furniture items at your home before upliftment, using the best industry-standard materials available. The supply of all materials will be included in our quotation, and will commonly include double walled cartons, corro-board, bubble wrap, fat free white paper, etc.

What about my very fragile items?

We offer an in-house crating service for such items and based on our survey, we will also recommend what items may need crating. All crates are made with pre-treated timber in accordance with current bio-security regulations.

May I owner-pack my goods?

Yes, though this is not recommended and may make your goods more prone to customs inspections in the destination country.

Can I share space in a container?

Yes, we offer a groupage / shared container service to the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand as this is where most cargo leaving SA is destined for. Thousands of other destinations worldwide are also offered via a weekly LCL ( less than container load ) service, in which we will ship your goods via a trans-shipment hub such as Rotterdam, Hamburg, Singapore etc

Can I have my vehicle shipped overseas?

Yes, we will either ship your vehicle in an own-use container, as part of a shared container or in the same container as your household goods. In this case a wooden platform will be built over your vehicle and the space above it utilised to full capacity to save costs. To many countries the import of vehicles is strictly controlled and in some countries duties and taxes are levied even on your own vehicle, but we will of course advise you of this.

Can I ship my caravan, trailer, boat etc?

Yes, but the same caution applies as for motor vehicles above.

Will Customs inspect my goods before or after shipment?

Inspections for exports are extremely rare, but at destination this will be random in most countries and mandatory in others.

What about the dreaded quarantine inspections in some countries?

As some countries, in particular Australia and New Zealand are isolated with agricultural industries to protect, quarantine inspectors are tasked with detecting potential bio-security threats. As long as our preparation guidelines are followed, this inspection is normally a formality.

Is pre-shipment fumigation compulsory?

No, contrary to common belief. The accepted chemical used for fumigation is Methol Bromide, which deals only with wood infestation. If your furniture does not show signs of infestation then we would advise against fumigation.

May I include alcohol in my shipment?

Most countries do not prohibit this, though many charge duty on wine and spirits. Please check with us on this.

Can I store my goods before or after shipment?

Yes, we and our worldwide agents have secure storage facilities at very competitive rates.

Can I ship my goods by air freight?

Yes, though this is normally only cost effective for small / light shipments.

Can I arrange my shipment if I am already abroad?

Yes, as you do not have to be present during the export procedure.

What must I do to prepare my goods before the big pack-up?ad?

We will guide you and provide you with a packing preparation list prior to your move. This will primarily ask you to sort what goes from what stays, and clean any quarantine risk items such as camping equipment, bicycles etc etc.

May I ship my firearms in my container?

No, with ports around the world having enfocred strict port-security regulations over the last 10 years, this is no longer allowed. Firearms must be shipped by air after obtaining approval from an airline, as well as satisfying import permit requirements in the destination country, which in many cases will prove impossible.

May I include foodstuffs in my container?

Yes, but as with alcohol, please check with us regarding the regulations in your country of destination.

How long in advance must I book my international move with Econo Trans?

Although we can assist clients at short notice, it is always recommended to book as far in advance as possible. Most clients book up to 3 months in advance, though this may understandably not always be possible.

Overlanders’ Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Shipping

How can you ship my vehicle or motor cycle?

Vehicles are typically shipped in an own-use container and motor cycles are crated for shipment per shared container.

Who will secure my vehicle into the container?

Our quotation will include this service.

Will Econo Trans crate my motor cycle?

Yes, this will be done in our warehouse by our own carpenters, using pre-treated timber. We offer this as a professional service and this will automatically be inclued in our quotation.

Can I pack goods inside my vehicle or motor cycle crate?

Yes, as long as a list of the items is supplied to us.

Will customs inspect my vehicle or motor cycle for export?

Yes, but only for Carnet shipments and temporary exports, and we will make all these arrangements for you and return your stamped Carnet or temporary export clearance. Customs will not inspect vehicles cleared for permanent export, but for customs clearance you will need to obtain a police clearance certificate. An export permit is also required but we will obtain this on your behalf.

Can I share a container with a fellow overland traveller?

Yes, this is often done. We can fit 2 motor vehicles into a 40 foot container. For motor cycles we can fit 5 or 6 into a 20 foot container and 11 or 12 into a 40 foot container depending on the sizes.

Must I drain my fuel and disconnect by battery?

This is not compulsory but always recommended to render the vehicle non-hazardous for shipping. If the vehicle is classed as hazardous, the shipping fees are higher and shipping lines often take days to approve bookings.

Can I crate my own motor cycle?

Yes, but this is not recommended, and will generally not save you anything.

How can I pay for my shipping?

Payment can be in cash (Rands, US Dollars or Euros), by credit card although this attracts a 3%-5% processing fee, or by bank transfer.

Can my motor cycle be shipped via air freight?

Yes, but although shipment will only take a few days, it will be much more costly than sea freight.

Can you store my vehicle or motor cycle?

Yes, please check with us for current storage rates.

What documents will you need from me for an export shipment?

For vehicles with a Carnet, we will need the original Carnet and a copy of your passport. For temporary exports of South African registered vehciles we will need your original registration document and a copy of your passport. These documents will be returned to you after customs inspection and clearance. For permanent exports of South African registered vehicles we will need a copy of your registration document, a copy of your passport and your police clearance certificate.

What documents will you need from me for an import shipment?

For vehicles with a Carnet document we will need the original to effect customs clearance and inspection, as well as a copy of your passport. We will also ask that you email these to us ahead of time. If your vehicle will arrive in Cape Town before you, please courier your carnet to us so that we can have your vehicle cleared and ready for you when you arrive.
For temporary imports of vehicles arriving by air or sea freight without a Carnet document we will need a copy of the vehicle registration document, a copy of your passport and 3 valuations. These can be formal dealer valuations or printed off internet vehicle sites. The highest of the valuations will be used by customs to calculate a deposit that will be payable to cover duties and taxes, which is refundable when the vehicle exits South Africa. This refund can take up to 3 months to process.

What will your import clearing or export shipping quotes include?

For imports our quote will inclde ALL services needed from the time that the vessel with your shipment arrives in port, until you can drive away. For exports our quote will inlude all required services from our depot, until your container or crate arrives at the destination port or container freight depot.

Shipping For Tourists

What does this service entail?

This service entails offering a quick and cost-effective service for tourists visiting South Africa, purchasing items and then needing those items packed and shipped back home. Our service includes collection of such goods from your hotel or vendor, returning to our warehouse, export packing & crating, export customs formalities, air or sea freight, transit liability insurance and on request, destination customs clearance & delivery to your home.

What type of goods do you ship?

We deal with many of Cape Town’s top retail shops sellling curios, ornaments, stone or wooden sculptures, artwork, furniture items, soft furnishings etc to tourists.

What if I buy lots of items from various shops?

This is no problem and we very often handle such multi-supplier shipments. We will require a list of all the shops you have purchased from, as well as copy invoices. We will then collect all your items and cross-check according to the invoices that all the items are supplied. All items will be packed and crated and shipped together, saving you having to deal with several different shipments and clearances. Alternatively, you can ask your vendors to deliver your goods into our warehouse to save costs, and as we will have the copy invoices we will check that the corretc items are being delivered.

How can my purchases then be shipped?

We offer a weekly-departure shared container service for crated cargo as well as weekly container departures. For large shipments of furniture etc we will consolidate all your goods into a shipping container for your own use.

Must I be present during the shipment of my goods?

No, if you need to return home after your holiday we will arrange everything in your absence and communicate with you via email and telephone so that you are fully aware of the status at all times.

What is the easiest way to arrange such shipments?

In the unlikely event that your vendor is not already an Econo Trans client, you can simply ask them to contact us and we will collect your goods from their shop.

Where can you ship my goods to?

We offer thousands of destinations by air and sea freight, including yours.

What about Vat on such purchases?

For items that you will carry with you on departing from SA, you will be able to process a refund at the airports by showing the refund officer your tax invoice, your passport and the actual item. For items being shipped by a freight company, it is at the discretion of the vendor to charge you SA Vat or not, as they will be liable to pay over Vat not charged should the export shipment not qualify for zero vat. Should a vendor insist on charging you Vat, you can still claim this Vat back once your goods are received by you abroad. See www.taxrefunds.co.za for more info.

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