Shipping to South Africa

Mercator handles a variety of export shipments to South Africa from the UK.  The main commodities we see the trade of are UK manufactured engineering equipment (including machinery and parts) and hazardous chemicals.

Our in house export team will ensure that your shipment is handled efficiently, professionally and smoothly.  Your shipping to South Africa task will be assigned to one of the team, who will handle the whole process with you from beginning to end – we find that this allows for a better personal service, and having just one person overseeing the process nothing gets missed or overlooked.  We can advise on documentation requirements, timescales, restrictions on certain goods, and any charges payable once your shipment has arrived in South Africa.

Shipments can be arranged to South Africa via sea or air freight.  Sea freight to South Africa takes between 23 and 28 days (to Cape Town and Durban respectively).  Our sea freight shipping services to South Africa cover full container loads and palletised shipments.  We’ll arrange for less than container loads to be loaded into a shared container (also known as ‘groupage’).  Groupage shipments are a cost effective way of shipping smaller shipments to South Africa as the cost of the container is shared between the cargo owners based on the volume of the consignment.  There are regular departures from London Gateway and Tilbury in the UK.

Air freight is more expensive than sea freight, however, it allows for your urgent shipment to arrive in South Africa within a matter of hours (you will need to factor in time either side of the flight for loading, unloading and customs).  Air freight is particularly good option if your shipment for South Africa is small, light, delicate or a combination of the three.  Air freight is calculated by volume and weight, so the smaller or the lighter the cheaper the shipping service will be.  There are daily departures from the UK to South Africa, including Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

Once your shipment has cleared through export customs in the UK, has made its journey and has arrived in South Africa we can instruct our agent out there to complete the customs clearance process on your behalf and even arrange the onward delivery of your shipment.  Our agent in South Africa is a member of MPL (the global network of freight agents) we have worked together for almost 10 years and so can safely say they are reliable and very good at what they do.  We find that offering such a consistent service even once your shipment has arrived in South Africa gives our customers peace of mind.

We have over 20 years’ of experience of export shipping from the UK, and the trade with South Africa has really picked up within the past 10 years.  Our export team know how to handle export shipments to South Africa, and our tried and tested supply chain of the transportation process is now down to a fine art.  So you can be confident in our shipping services to South Africa, knowing at what stage your shipment is, and know what you will need to pay and when.

If you require some assistance with shipping to South Africa then do get in touch to discuss costs, sailing schedules and ask any questions about our shipping services please give our export team a call: +44 2392 756 575 or email


Importing Cars from South Africa

Importing vehicles from South Africa is a very popular option for classic car collectors and dealers here in the UK.  Due to the dry climate in South Africa the cars do not get the problems with rust quite as badly as in other countries.  This is perfect for sourcing vintage cars which otherwise might not be in such great condition.  South Africa also drives on the left, the same as the UK, so most cars are right hand drive.  Again, this provides good opportunity for UK import and resale/use in the UK.

We ship all kinds of classic and unusual cars from South Africa to UK for individuals and also for dealers in the UK.  As we have been dealing with importing cars from South Africa for a number of years, we have contacts with vehicle sourcing and importing companies.

Our South Africa partner (also member of MPL – the global network of vetted and approved freight agents) can assist in South Africa with export customs, loading and inspections.

Your car can either be shipped to the UK via RORO (roll on, roll off) or containerised shipping.  RORO is a good option for cars that are “runners” – i.e. they drive with no problems, or for cars which might not fit into a container quite so easily.  The most popular option we find is containerised.  Containerised car shipping from South Africa to the UK is a great option for “non-runners”, for vehicles of high worth (as once they are loaded, they do not move in transit – minimising the risk of damage) and it is also a good cost-effective option.  We have recently gained the use of a new racking system which can allow for up to four cars to be loaded into a container.  In this case, the shipping cost from South Africa to the UK will be shared between the four cars, which can make it cheaper than RORO shipping.

Once your car has arrived in the UK, Mercator can arrange the UK customs clearance and onward delivery to your door (or you can collect it from the port if you prefer).  We have a good network of haulier providers that cover all the UK ports, and can call upon their services, allowing us to offer excellent availability and a reliable service.  UK import VAT & duty payable will be dependent upon the age of the vehicle and the value of the car.  Once it is classed as ‘classic’ (usually over 30 years old, please get in contact with our car import team to clarify) then there is just 5% VAT to pay (usually duty free).  If the vehicle is new then please make sure that before you buy anything you get some advice from us with regards to charges payable upon UK import as sometimes newer cars will require approval in the UK which can cost quite a lot of money.

Please get in contact with our vehicle import team to discuss shipping cars from South Africa to the UK, they will be happy to give any advice about importing cars into the UK+44 2392 756 575 or email


Get Your Quote for Shipping to or from South Africa

    Please note we are unable to handle personal shipments.