Like many websites, Shipa Freight uses cookies to personalize your browsing experience.

Register

Ocean and Air Shipping from Italy to South Africa

FCL, LCL and Air shipping comprehensive guide and instant online quote

Global Air & Ocean CoverageGlobal Air & Ocean Coverage
24X7 Customer Support24X7 Customer Support
500 Offices in Over 100 Countries500 Offices in Over 100 Countries

South Africa imported $2.56 billion of goods from Italy in 2018. Machinery, chemicals, and mineral products were the most popular items. Whatever commodities your business is planning to import from Italy to South Africa, this page should be useful.

It contains information specific to ocean and air shipping from Italy to South Africa, including guidance to help you choose the right services for your business, and details about ports and airports.


What Are Your Options for Shipping From Italy to South Africa?

Cargo shipments from Italy to South Africa can be made by air or sea. Each mode of transportation has some pros and cons, which we’ll tell you about on this page, so you can make an informed decision about which is best for you.


Ocean Freight From Italy to South Africa

Less than Container Load (LCL): This form of shipping requires goods from different shippers to share the same container. It’s often the most cost-effective way to ship smaller consignments.

Full Container Load (FCL): With FCL shipping, you are paying for the use and transportation of a shipping container from Italy to South Africa. It’s usually faster than LCL shipping, and less expensive in terms of per-unit costs for large shipments.


Air Freight from Italy to South Africa

There’s no quicker way to ship freight from Italy to South Africa than by air, but this method of transportation carries the highest price tag.


How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Italy to South Africa?

All freight forwarders need to know the following information to calculate the cost of a freight shipment from Italy to South Africa:

  • The type of goods being shipped, and their weight and dimensions
  • Are the goods to be moved by Air or LCL/FCL ocean shipping?
  • The distance the consignment needs to be transported
  • Whether a Port-to-Port, Port-to-Door, Door-To-Port, or Door-to-Door delivery is needed

If you’re unsure whether to choose air or ocean shipping, you can ask a freight forwarder to quote for both. It’s worth noting, though, that many forwarders specialize in one mode or the other. Rather fewer deal with both air and ocean freight.

As a general rule, the price tag for shipping consignments weighing under 100 kg will be similar for air and ocean freight services. Loads of over 100 kg are typically more cost-effective to ship as sea freight.

For light loads weighing 35 kg or less, you should contact an international courier, as most freight forwarders do not handle consignments in this weight bracket.


How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Italy to South Africa?

Air freight is much faster than ocean shipping, so if your consignment from Italy is required urgently at its destination, you should choose air freight. Five to eight days is the typical time required for shipments from Italy to South Africa.

Shipping a container from Italy to South Africa is a much slower process. Cargo vessels move at an average speed of 35 km/h, compared to 900 km/h for aircraft, and the journey by sea is a long one.

For example, an ocean carrier transporting your shipping container from Genoa in Italy to Cape Town in South Africa needs to travel over 13,000 km.

Therefore you will need to allow several weeks for sea freight shipments to be completed.


How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From Italy to South Africa?

Typical shipment durations between key seaports in Italy and South Africa are 25 to 30 days for LCL shipping and 20 to 25 days for FCL. Those transit times apply to the following four routes, taken from our schedule database:

  • Genoa to Durban
  • Venice to Cape Town
  • Genoa to Cape Town
  • La Spezia to Cape Town

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From Italy to South Africa?

The only direct flights from Italy to South Africa operate from Rome-Fiumicino to Johannesburg. The flight distance is 7,700 km and the flight time a little over ten hours. You will still need to allow five to eight days for your shipment from Italy to South Africa to be completed. That’s because as well as the flight time, there are time-consuming shipping processes and procedures that must be adhered to.


Customs Clearance in Italy and South Africa

Every export from Italy to South Africa must satisfy customs clearance criteria. Knowing the ins and outs of this complex process takes experience. Often, businesses will hand responsibility for such matters to freight forwarders. Your company should consider doing likewise as a good forwarder will ensure your consignment complies with shipping regulations, and will help you avoid issues and holdups at international borders.

Speaking of paperwork, you will need to complete and provide several vital documents that must accompany your shipment. The documents that customs officials in Italy and South Africa will expect to see are listed below, and we’ve included examples of them on this handy documents list page.

  1. Commercial Invoice
  2. Packing List
  3. Certificate of Origin
  4. Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  5. Airway Bill for air freight or Bill of Lading for ocean freight (Shipa Freight provides these)

Please note that the above list is not exhaustive. Your consignment may require additional paperwork in the form or a permit, certificate, or license. Much depends on the nature of the goods you are shipping, but your forwarder will assist you to identify and supply the right documents.


Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?


Ocean Freight

If your goods are not urgently required in South Africa, ocean shipping could be the best way to transport your freight from Italy. Cargo vessels will transport your container from Italy to South Africa along the ocean trade lanes that connect the two countries.

Most consignments can be safely shipped from port to port in a standard 20ft or 40ft container. You may wish to hire a container exclusively for your goods (FCL shipping). Alternatively, if you have a smaller consignment to ship, you might be content for your commodities to share a container with products belonging to other shippers (LCL).

We’ve included information about FCL and LCL below to help you decide which of the two sea freight shipping options is best for you.


Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL usually works out the best option for consignments that are:

  • Relatively small—14 CBM or less
  • Not urgently needed in South Africa
  • Safe to ship in a shared container

LCL shipping requires goods from different shippers to be consolidated in the same container at the port of origin. Deconsolidation also needs to occur at the port of arrival. Both of these essential logistics processes can mean LCL shipping takes longer than FCL.

Bearing this in mind, LCL shipping is unlikely to be your best ocean shipping option if your goods are:

  • Awkwardly-shaped, heavy, or very large
  • Delicate, perishable, or valuable
  • Likely to be damaged if moved or handled more than is necessary
  • Expected in South Africa by a certain date

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

FCL tends to be the best option for ocean shipping if your freight is:

  • Required in South Africa by a specific date
  • Delicate, fragile, or especially heavy
  • Not able to be shipped in a shared container
  • Large enough to take up at least half the capacity of a standard 20ft shipping container—14 cubic meters

Air Freight

You should choose air shipping from Italy to South Africa if your consignment:

  • Needs to be shipped as quickly as possible
  • Has a limited shelf-life
  • Is small and light—perhaps occupying no more than three pallets
  • Is a high-value cargo and must be protected by the tight security measures offered by airlines and airport operations

Ocean Cargo Port Guide


Cargo Ports of Origin in Italy


Naples

Port Facts:

  • A busy container port in Southwestern Italy
  • Infrastructure includes three container terminals
  • Easy access for any supplier or manufacturer based in Naples, Pozzuoli, Casoria, Nola, or other location in Southwestern Italy.

Owned By: Port Authority of Naples.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITNAP.


La Spezia

Port Facts:

  • A large container facility serving Northern Italy
  • The quayside stretches for over five kilometers
  • Won the ‘Best Container Terminal—Europe’ award at AFLAS in 2017
  • Ideal if your supply chain requires the movement of goods from Pisa, Florence, Livorno, Lucca, or Bologna.

Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITSPE.


Venice

Port Facts:

  • Serves northeastern regions of Italy
  • Occupies a 90-hectare site
  • Infrastructure includes seven container terminals, 163 berths and 1,400 meters of quayside
  • A comprehensive port railway system speeds-up the movement of goods

Owned By: Port Authority of Venice.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITVCE.


Genoa

Port Facts:

  • One of the three biggest ports in the Mediterranean—occupying a 700-hectare site
  • Italy’s second-busiest container port
  • A top-three port in the Mediterranean
  • The port is easily accessible for suppliers and manufacturers based in Italy’s industrial heartland
  • The port’s biggest container facility is the Voltri Terminal Europa

Owned By: Genoa Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITGOA.


Ancona

Port Facts:

  • An important container facility for Eastern Italy
  • Situated on the Adriatic Coast
  • This vast port covers 1.4 million square meters
  • Provides easy access for suppliers based in Rimini, San Marino and Senigallia in Eastern Italy

Owned By: Central Adriatic Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITAOI.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in South Africa


Coega

Port Facts:

  • Located on the shores of the Indian Ocean
  • Alternatively known as the Port of Ngqura or Zangq
  • Just 22 kilometers northeast of Port Elizabeth
  • The port’s Container facility occupies a 60-hectare sitec

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >630,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAZBA.


East London

Port Facts:

  • South Africa's last active river port
  • Located in East Cape Province on the banks of the Buffalo River
  • Containers are handled in the multi-purpose terminal on the East Bank
  • Infrastructure includes 11 commercial berths each up to 250 meters long

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >53,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAELS.


Durban

Port Facts:

  • Commonly referred to as Durban Harbor
  • South Africa’s busiest seaport
  • Home to the largest container facility in sub-Saharan Africa
  • The majority of South Africa’s container traffic is handled here (over 65%)
  • Over 4,500 commercial vessels call at the port every year

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2.5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZADUR.


Port Elizabeth

Port Facts:

  • Close to another major South African ocean freight hub—Port Ngqura—just 22 km away
  • The facility features three berths for cargo vessels and 22 hectares of storage space
  • Over three million tonnes of container cargo was processed here in 2016

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >216,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAPLZ.


Cape Town

Port Facts:

  • South Africa’s second-biggest container port, after Durban
  • Located on a popular shipping trade lane
  • The Ben Schoeman Dock is home to the port’s container terminal
  • A focal point for South African imports and exports of fresh fruit

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >888,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZACPT.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide


Airports of Origin in Italy


Milan-Malpensa

Airport Facts:

  • Situated 50 km outside of central Milan
  • Located on the banks of the Ticino River
  • Handles the majority of Italy’s air freight (53%)
  • Over 550,000 tonnes of air cargo was handled here in 2018
  • Facilities include two temperature-controlled storage areas for pharmaceuticals and perishables

South Africa Airports Served: None

Milan to South Africa Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: MXP.


Rome-Fiumicino

Airport Facts:

  • The busiest airport in Italy
  • Officially called Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport
  • One of Europe’s top-ten busiest airports
  • Hosts cargo and passenger services for 45 airlines
  • A major hub for Italy’s national carrier—Alitalia
  • Facilities include safe storage areas for vulnerable cargo and temperature-sensitive goods

South Africa Airports Served: Johannesburg.

Rome to South Africa Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: FCO.


Airports of Arrival in South Africa


Durban

Airport Facts:

  • Located 35 km outside of Durban
  • Third-busiest airport in South Africa
  • Officially called King Shaka International Airport
  • The ninth-busiest airport in Africa
  • The 15,000 square meter air cargo terminal is located to the north of the passenger terminal

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Durban Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: DUR.


Port Elizabeth

Airport Facts:

  • Only four kilometers from central Port Elizabeth
  • Handles 800 tonnes of air cargo every year
  • Goods can be easily distributed in Eastern Cape province by road or rail
  • Infrastructure includes two runways, the longest stretching for 1,980 meters
  • No direct flights from Italy

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Port Elizabeth Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: PLZ.


Johannesburg

Airport Facts:

  • Africa’s busiest airport is located in Kempton Park, Gauteng
  • Full name is O. R. Tambo International Airport
  • Serves as a hub for South African Airways
  • The only airport in South Africa to receive direct flights from Italy (Rome-Fiumicino)

Connected Airports in Italy: Rome

Italy to Johannesburg Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: JNB.


Cape Town

Airport Facts:

  • South Africa’s second-busiest air cargo hub
  • Ranks as the fourth-busiest airport in Africa
  • Located 20 km from central Cape Town
  • 24 airlines operate passenger and cargo flights from here to almost 100 destinations

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Cape Town Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: CPT.


Why Ship From Italy to South Africa With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight takes a refreshing digital-first approach to international shipping. We make importing from Italy to South Africa easier for all kinds of businesses. Whether you need help with a small air shipment or a huge ocean cargo consignment, our freight forwarding expertise will simplify your supply chain.

Other benefits of partnering with Shipa Freight include:

  • Quick quotes based on real-time shipping rates
  • Instant online bookings
  • Payment by card or wire transfer
  • No need to engage multiple agencies
  • Full guidance so you always know the documents your consignment requires
  • We’ll happily take complex customs processes and procedures off your hands
  • Call, email, or chat online with our friendly customer support team 24/7
  • Leave it to us to ensure your consignment complies with relevant legislation

“With Shipa Freight, I could do everything from quotation to booking with just a click”.

Follow us and be up to date on shipping News!

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Get instant global freight rates