While the logistics of importing and exporting may seem daunting to first-time clients, CTC Worldwide Logistics is committed to helping our customers ‘navigate the waters’ safely and confidently. In keeping with this commitment, we have included below some of the more common questions and answers relating to our business and industry.

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1. Any advice for first time shippers?

Consider taking all risks door-to-door insurance cover for the full replacement value of your shipment and ensure that your product is packaged sufficiently for extreme conditions whilst in transit.

Cargo is subjected to numerous mechanical and climatic stresses during transit, such as variations in temperature, humidity, acceleration, tilting, slamming, condensation and corrosion.

Freight charges are based on either actual mass or a volumetric ratio. Pack contents tightly within the box or crate to avoid paying for empty space. Also ensure that boxes are marked with waterproof ink including shipper and consignee names and addresses.

Costs may be lower on some Carriers to the same destination but there is invariably a trade off in transit times and reliability.

2. How do I register to become an Importer / Exporter?

You will need to complete the DA185 Importer / Exporter application document from the SARS website. We would recommend applying for both Importer and Exporter status.

If all documentation and requirements are correct, the process should take about 14 – 31 working days.

3. What is the difference between Customs Clearing & Freight Forwarding?

Customs clearing is the process of completing Customs formalities necessary to allow goods to be imported or exported to or from a country. This includes payment of all legislated taxes (Customs and VAT) as well as fulfilment of the requirements of other government departments such as Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, Health, Trade & Industry and Transport.

Freight Forwarding is a service provided by specialist Logistics Service Providers (Freight Forwarding Agents) for arranging importing or exporting of goods by Sea, Air or Land on behalf of their customers, from point of origin to final destination.

Freight Forwarders use established relationships with Air, Sea and Land Carriers to ensure the best trade-off between speed, reliability and cost whilst fulfilling customer requirements.

4. What documentation will CTC need to clear my goods?

A commercial Invoice from the supplier.
A Packing List.
A copy of the transport document (bill of lading or airway bill).
Other documentation dependant on the specific Commodity; for example – permits and certificates. 

5. How long will the customs clearance process take?

If all the relevant documentation is available, it will take between 1 to 3 working days, depending on the cargo and related factors (e.g. Customs queries, Port delays, Customs Stops).

6. What is the minimum information CTC will need in order to provide an estimate for importing or exporting my goods?

The total weight of the cargo.
Dimensions of the cargo (or if Full Container Load).
The commodity/ies or full Packing List (full description of goods).
If Hazardous, an MSDS Data Sheet must be provided.
The pickup and delivery address / zip code.
The shipping terms / Incoterms (see resources page).
Value of the cargo for Insurance / Duties & Taxes.

7. How can I prevent delays and ensure a smooth process of my shipment?

Ensure payment is made to your supplier early enough to avoid delays in obtaining Bill of Lading release (depending on the Payment Terms agreed with your Shipper / Supplier).

You should also ensure that your overseas supplier, or if you are the supplier for an export, creates all required documents correctly and sends these to the destination in time to ensure that the clearing of customs and payment of relevant charges do not delay collection of your shipment at Port of discharge.

All documentation requirements must be strictly adhered to.

If cargo is of EUR origin, ensure the Shipper issues an Original EUR 1 document / Original Invoice with EUR declaration (which might save you on Duties applicable in certain countries).

8. Should I insure my cargo?

Yes. All Carriers trade under limited liability conditions and may not entertain claims for loss or damage irrespective of the cause. Under certain conditions, you may even be compelled by maritime law to contribute to the salvage costs of cargo other than yours that has been jettisoned at sea in the interest of the safety of the ship.

9. What are volumetric charges for Air and Sea carriage?

Airline charges are based on shipment actual mass or a volumetric charge of 6000 cubic centimetres equals 1 kilogram, whichever is greater.

Shipping Lines Less than Container Load (LCL) charges are based on metric tons or cubic meters (L x H x W in metres), whichever is greater.

10. Is it more cost-effective to import by sea or air?

The most cost-effective mode of transport depends on the actual mass, and volume of a shipment. Small shipments, typically below 100 kilograms, tend to be less costly by air.

Landside Charges on each mode of Transport also play a role, so feel free to ask your Forwarding Agent for a cost comparison.

11. Can cargo be released without presentation of an original Bill of Lading?

Yes, a telex release of the Bill of lading can be arranged by the shipper. The shipper surrenders the Original Bill of Lading back to the Shipping Line at origin, who advises their destination office to release the shipment to the consignee.

A second option is for the shipper to arrange an Express Bill of Lading with the Shipping Line at origin. No original is issued, but a copy Bill of Lading is handed over to the shipper once the shipment is on board. The shipment is then released immediately upon arrival at destination. No further document needs to be surrendered by the importer.

12. What is the maximum size of a shipment that can be sent by air freight?

This depends on the airline selected and the type of aircraft they operate on the route required.

A rule of thumb is about 300 x 200 x 150 centimetres.

Please contact CTC to discuss your shipment, and we will gladly advise on the best and most cost-effective way to transport your goods.

13. Are there commodities that cannot be shipped by air freight?

Yes, some items may endanger the safety of an aircraft or persons on board. The air transportation of dangerous materials can either be forbidden or restricted. Examples of such commodities are hazardous goods, flammable goods, dangerous chemicals and explosive materials.

You are welcome to send your MSDS Data Sheet to us and we will confirm what is permissible and what is not.

14. What Incoterms do I need to know?

Incoterms or International Commercial Terms are a pre-defined set of International contract terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce. These terms help traders avoid costly misunderstandings by clarifying the costs, tasks and risks involved in the delivery of goods from sellers to buyers.

These rules define at what point in transit the ownership, and therefore risk, of goods transfers to the buyer. CTC is able to assist you with advice on which purchasing option would be best for your business.

15. Why use CTC Worldwide Logistics?

In an intensely competitive industry, CTC Worldwide Logistics is set apart by its uncompromising and consistently high levels of customer service. Offering a complete range of cargo logistic solutions, CTC is your ideal choice as the integral partner in your logistics chain.

A good Forwarding Agent should take ownership of your consignment from point of pickup to final delivery, provide you with advice that is in your best interests, take corrective action if there are any changes to planned transit routes or bookings, and keep you frequently updated on the shipment progress.

CTC takes care of all of these functions via our team of experienced, dedicated and professional staff who strive to ensure that we consistently deliver on our commitment of a “Personal Touch with a Global Reach”