Africa is a continent of around 55 countries, this makes it one of the largest economic regions in the world, and also the most diverse.Efforts have been made in the past to streamline trade and make it more attractive.This led to creation of Common external tariffs and free movement of goods across borders within regional blocs namely the Economic community of West African States, Southern African Development Community(SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and the East African Community (EAC).A great job has been done in relaxing regulations and harmonizing charges across these zones, but these advancements have still not made logistics an entirely rosy affair. It is often assumed that customs regulations for shipping out of one African country can be mirrored for another,that is not the case. Airline regulations differ across countries to conform to the regulatory requirements of the specific country in addition to international regulations, there are lots of other bottlenecks along the road and so it is worth checking requirements for origin and destination on a case by case basis before you make a purchase.Standard documentary requirements include MSDS (Material data safety sheet) ,Phyto sanitary certificate when shipping plant products, FDA (Food & Drugs Authority and Certificate of origin (COO) etc. Many countries require an accompanying Doctors prescription to ship medicine.
When shipping artifacts from Ghana you need to get a certificate from the museums and monuments board, When shipping into Kenya you may need Bureau Veritas Certification.Another challenge you are likely to face is some carriers just don’t ship certain commodities. A lot of express courier services do not accept liquids like honey and so you would have to use Air cargo option. This is inconvenient because Air cargo charges by the minimum weight so if your shipment weighs eg. 3 kg, a regular freight forwarder may ask you to use Air cargo option which will cost you same as if you were shipping 45 kg.
It is worth noting that whether your shipment will move or not move depends not only on the origin but also the destination. You may be able to send out your shipment on a particular trade lane but operators will turn you away when the destination changes . For a commercial shipment from Namibia to Hong Kong, the consignee needs to have relevant Importers codes for clearance, but doesn’t need same if the destination was Norway .
We know you just want to move your items from point to point and all of this just sucks but if proper attention is not given to these factors, it may result in delays and extra costs.This is the best shipping industry we have yet and you will save yourself a lot of trouble if you look out for these in advance. Good thing is some freight forwarders can advise you before you confirm the shipment, please ensure that they do; and that they inform you about associated costs.
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