Shipping around Ethiopia
A number of people are looking at ways to ship around Ethiopia, below is some general information:
There are both Roll on Roll Off vessels and container ships from Sudan to East Africa and South Africa.
For Roll on Roll Off, the cargo goes on the feeder service to Saudi Arabia, where it is transhipped to the main vessel, which calls at East Africa (Dar Es Salaam & Mombassa) and South Africa (Durban).
Containers – easy enough to arrange
Northbound (from East Africa)
There are both Roll on Roll Off vessels and container ships, to Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Europe
For Roll on Roll Off to Sudan, the cargo goes to Saudi Arabia and is transhipped with a feeder service. For southern Europe and Saudi Arabia, the cargo normally stays on the same vessel. For Northern Europe, the cargo will be transshipped somewhere in the Mediterranean or will go on a service southbound via southern Africa to N Europe
Containers are available weekly to all destinations.
Ground transport
Is not really a viable consideration to be crossing multiple borders where generally there are no regular commercial transport services between the two points.
Passenger services
There is a passenger RORO / ferry service between Sudan and Saudi, (check if it’s operating COVID) but no passenger services on any other routes.
For containers expect to spend anywhere between USD$3000 and USD$4500
Roll on Roll Off the cost is very expensive, as the cargo may need transhipping, and it competes for space with cargo going to and from Europe.
RORO Expect costs to be around $80-$90 cbm + for High & Heavy units to/from Sudan + locals, and a little more for Southern Europe, less for Saudi. Unit prices may be available for smaller units under 2.15m high
*Roll on Roll Off costs from East Africa are more expensive than from southern Africa to Europe
General thoughts
For those who are already in Egypt and Sudan, it makes sense to ship southbound, to continue your travels despite the costs. (subject to covid restrictions)
Northbound – to Sudan, the costs may probably outweigh the benefits, as you would also need to ship from Egypt to your next destination
The alternative northbound is to ship to Europe or Saudi Arabia (then continue overland). Which makes more economic sense.
Other Routes
There are lots of shipping options from southern Africa, for example to South America (Uruguay), Mexico, USA, Europe, India, Australia (Both RORO & container services), from East Africa in a container you can pretty much ship anywhere, at a cost, for Roll on Roll Off there are services to India.
Generally, Durban is the best port to ship from and to in Southern Africa as it offers more services than other ports. Routes from Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Walvis Bay are more expensive or have less frequent services or options.
Looking for quotations
It’s important to really consider what options are realistically available to you first, you have rough ballpark figures above to work from, therefore if you are not shipping in the next two or three months, it would not be beneficial to seek lots of quotations, prices will change, and the situation in East and North Africa will most likely change as well.
Maybe speak to one freight forwarder for a general idea on cost for the route that you are most keen on, but please avoid requesting lots of quotes from many different freight forwarders from many different routes, as this puts a huge burden on all companies trying their best to service your requests.
If you are not in Africa yet or plan to travel next year, then keep an eye on the situation, there is no urgency to obtain pricing, as generally, the situation is forever evolving.
General advice
We strongly recommend, when shipping that you only use bona fide shipping companies/freight forwarders who are registered with a trade body, for the UK that would be BIFa (British International Freight Association) or an equivalent organisation, and avoid using fixers, campsites or other parties, who are not directly booking the shipment.
It’s important, as bonafide companies will have errors and omissions insurance, they will provide you terms & conditions, they may offer insurance for your cargo, and you know who is dealing with your vehicle, and your direct agent with the carrier.
Third parties, unfortunately, add, an additional layer of complexity, cost, and risk to the shipping process, these third parties ultimately go through a freight forwarder and are unlikely to be insured so add no beneficial value.
Insurance – it is also important to consider taking out insurance for your cargo, as the carrier and freight forwarder have limited liability, most insurance policies also cover general average claims.
A special thanks for IVSS – Vehicle shipping for providing this information
I hope this is helpful to give people a general overview.
Last updated byOverlanding Association on May 25, 2021
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