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What are the applicable custom duties in South Africa? What is FOB? Can I import containers less than 20 feet?

Posted: 2013-03-18

Full Question

I would like to import solar panels but I do not know if there are any custom duties in South Africa. What is FOB? Can I import any small container less than 20 feet?


While we can provide information on China export issues, I am afraid we don’t have information on South Africa import duties. But I can tell you where to look. If you can’t find it online or by contacting your government office at the nearest port, I would suggest you reach out to a customs broker in the port where you plan to import the solar panels. They will have the resources to check. And if you offer them the chance to quote on your shipping, they will be happy to look up the duties for you.

Here is a short video too:

Video 7: How to Find and Manage Partners for Logistics

Here are answers to your other questions:


“Freight on Board”. In simple terms, this means the buyer takes title to the goods when the goods are placed on the boat and have cleared outbound customs. For example “FOB Shenzhen”.


Certainly. The term is LCL (“less than container load”). The per cubic meter rate will not be as good as shipping a full container, but LCL is fairly common and easy for your logistics provider to arrange for you on the major shipping routes.

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