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Ocean and Air Freight Shipping From South Africa to Italy

FCL, LCL and Air freight forwarding: information and online quote

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In 2019, iron, steel, vegetables, textiles, and vehicles were among the main product categories traded between South Africa and Italy. This page has been created to help businesses import these and other goods from South Africa to Italy more easily and successfully. The page includes details about air and ocean shipping, plus information on seaports, airports, customs clearance, and shipment durations.


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

Flags of South Africa and Italy for the tradelane with Shipa Freight

You have a choice of air or ocean shipping when importing from South Africa to Italy. Both have pros and cons, which we’ll cover below.

Ocean Freight From South Africa to Italy

Less than Container Load (LCL): Your freight shares a container with other goods when you choose LCL shipping. It requires logistics processes known as consolidation and deconsolidation, both of which can mean the LCL shipping process often takes longer than FCL.

Full Container Load (FCL): In FCL shipping, you pay for the use and transportation of a shipping container from South Africa to Italy. It’s typically the fastest way to ship ocean freight between the two countries, and is advantageous from a security perspective, as you can seal your container after stuffing.

Air Freight from South Africa to Italy

Air-freight shipping is the quickest way to import from South Africa to Italy, but it comes with a high price tag.

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

Calculator to represent the cost of Shipa Freight's quotes

When you ask a freight forwarder for a shipping quote, they will take into account:

  • The seaport or airport in South Africa you’re shipping from
  • The seaport or airport in Italy you’re shipping to
  • What kind of cargo needs to be transported
  • Whether you need a port to port, port to door, door to port or door to door delivery
  • The volume and dimensions of your freight
  • How much your cargo weighs

The weight of your cargo not only impacts cost—it can influence your choice of air or ocean shipping:

  • If your freight weighs 35kg or below, you should ask international couriers for a quote. Freight forwarders don’t handle such light loads.
  • If your consignment weighs 35 kg to 100 kg, there’s unlikely to be much of a price difference between the ocean or air shipping quotes you get.
  • For goods weighing over 100 kg, ocean shipping is usually more affordable for most shippers than air freight.

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

The quickest way to ship freight from South Africa to Italy is by air. Freight forwarders will almost certainly route your goods to airports in Rome or Milan. With various shipping processes and customs clearance protocols to be adhered to, you should allow five to eight days for your freight to ship.

Shipping a container from South Africa to Italy by sea takes more time. It’s an 8,800-kilometer journey from Cape Town to Genoa and cargo carriers move at an average speed of about 35 kilometers an hour. So for all ocean shipments from South Africa to Italy, you should allow between 15 and 30 days, whether you choose FCL or LCL.

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

The time required to ship freight between specific ports in South Africa and Italy is typically 15 to 25 days for FCL shipments, and 20 to 30 days using an LCL service. Some of the most commonly used routes are from Cape Town or Port Elizabeth to Genoa, and from Durban or Port Elizabeth to Venice.

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

There is only one direct service from South Africa to Italy and that’s the passenger flight from Johannesburg to Rome. It means that your goods are likely to be shipped using indirect services.

You should allow five to eight days from your goods’ arrival at the airport of origin, to the completion of customs clearance in South Africa. This transit time is typical for air freight flown from Port Elizabeth or Cape Town to Rome, and from Johannesburg to Milan.

Customs Clearance in South Africa and Italy

All goods you need to export from South Africa to Italy will be subject to customs rules and regulations. The following documents will be required:

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

We’ve compiled a documents list page featuring examples of the above so you can take a closer look. Additional forms may be required, such as permits, certificates, or licenses.

Many shippers find customs clearance one of the most complicated aspects of international shipping. That’s why they’re happy to leave the task to a freight forwarder. This reduces the risk of avoidable delays to your shipment and will ensure your cargo complies with all South African and Italian shipping rules.

Should You Choose Ocean or Air Shipping From South Africa to Italy?

Ocean Freight

If you have a large, heavy, or awkwardly-shaped consignment to export from South Africa to Italy, or are working to a limited budget, ocean shipping could be your best choice. An ocean carrier can transport your cargo in a shipping container from South Africa to Italy.

Containers are usually 20ft or 40ft in length, and there are different types such as refrigerated, open-top, or ventilated containers. Most consignments will ship in a standard container, which, if you choose an FCL service, will be sealed at the point of origin in South Africa. Your container will remain sealed until it reaches your consignee, unless customs officials demand to inspect the goods in port.

If you choose LCL shipping, your sea freight will share a container with other shippers’ products. The container will be sealed in the port of origin once freight handlers have consolidated the goods. The pros and cons of both forms of ocean shipping are discussed in more detail below:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL shipping is a good choice if:

  • Your consignment comprises less than six standard pallets
  • Your goods aren’t required urgently
  • Your products can be safely shipped alongside others in a shared container
  • Air freight isn’t an option you can consider

LCL shipping isn’t an ideal choice if:

  • You need to be able to predict with certainty when your goods will arrive in Italy
  • You are shipping very valuable or fragile goods that aren’t suited to sharing a container
  • Your goods are perishable and unlikely to arrive in Italy in great condition after weeks at sea
  • You don’t want your freight moved or handled more often than necessary

Learn more about Less than Container Load on our dedicated page on LCL shipping.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

FCL is a good shipping option if:

  • Your consignment is required in Italy by a certain date
  • You’re willing to pay for the use of an entire container, even if you might not fill it
  • Your goods are delicate, very heavy or awkwardly-shaped
  • You want your container sealed after stuffing, and for it to remain sealed until reaching your recipient

Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL shipping.

Air Freight

  • Choosing air shipping to get your freight from South Africa to Italy is a good option if:
  • You have an urgent delivery date
  • Your freight takes-up three pallets at most
  • Your cargo has a short shelf-life and needs to reach your consignee quickly
  • Your goods are very valuable and require airport-levels of security
  • Your supplier and consignee are both based closer to an international airport than a seaport

Learn more about Air Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in South Africa

East London

Port Facts:

  • Originally called Port Rex
  • The only South African river port still in commercial use
  • Located on the Buffalo River in East Cape Province
  • Boasts the largest export grain elevator in South Africa

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >53,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAELS.

Port Elizabeth

Port Facts:

  • Located on the western outskirts of Algoa Bay
  • Facilities include three berths for cargo vessels
  • 2.9 million tonnes of ocean freight was handled here in 2016
  • Facilities include a 22-hectare storage area

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >216,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAPLZ.

Coega

Port Facts:

  • Alternative name is the Port of Ngqura
  • Located in Nelson Mandela Bay, just 24 kilometers from Port Elizabeth
  • Coega and Port Elizabeth are linked by a railroad
  • This is South Africa’s newest port—container operations began in 2009
  • Part of the Coega Industrial Development Zone

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >630,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAZBA.

Durban

Port Facts:

  • Durban Harbor (as it’s also known) is one of the busiest ports in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Handles a greater volume of cargo than any other port in South Africa
  • Ideally located for shipping from India, Australia, the Middle East, and Far East.

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2.5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZADUR.

Cape Town

Port Facts:

Located along a busy shipping route in Table Bay Known as ‘The Tavern Of The Seas’ Second only to Durban in terms of the volume of containers handled The port’s container terminal has six deep-sea berths Handles more fresh fruit than any other port in South Africa

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >888,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZACPT.

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Italy

Ancona

Port Facts:

Situated near San Marino on the Adriatic Coast The port’s container terminal occupies a 5,000 square-meter site Infrastructure includes ultra-secure storage facilities for dangerous goods. The quayside is being extended from 333 meters to 600 meters

Owned By:Central Adriatic Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITAOI.

Genoa

Port Facts:

  • Italy’s biggest port
  • Third-largest port in the Mediterranean
  • Spans 22 kilometers of coastline in northern Italy
  • Houses two container terminals
  • Serves as a natural gateway to any destination in Northwest Italy

Owned By: Genoa Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITGOA.

La Spezia

Port Facts:

  • Italy’s biggest container port
  • Serves as a gateway to Northern Italy and Central Europe
  • Situated between Genoa and Pisa
  • Infrastructure includes 11 container gantries and over five kilometers of quayside
  • Direct access to Italy’s major road network for easy onward distribution of goods

Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITSPE.

Naples

Port Facts:

  • A major Mediterranean seaport
  • Serves the city of Naples and Southwestern Italy
  • Capacity to process 25 million tonnes of sea freight annually
  • Infrastructure includes 38 berths and 11 kilometers of docks

Owned By: Port Authority of Naples.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITNAP.

Venice

Port Facts:

  • Italy’s eighth-largest sea freight facility
  • Infrastructure includes 163 berths and 23 cargo terminals
  • Serves the northeast of Italy
  • Construction of a new container terminal is scheduled to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2027

Owned By: Port Authority of Venice.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ITVCE.

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in South Africa

Port Elizabeth

Airport Facts:

  • Only five minutes from the city of Port Elizabeth -Handles 800 tonnes of air cargo every year
  • Facilities include two runways and 13 parking bays for freighters
  • Ideal airport of origin for any supplier or manufacturer based in Eastern Cape Province

Italy Airports Served: None.

Port Elizabeth to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: PLZ

Johannesburg

Airport Facts:

  • Also called O. R. Tambo International Airport
  • Located 26 kilometers from Johannesburg
  • Africa’s busiest air cargo facility
  • Ideal if your supply chain moves goods from Pretoria, which is only 46 kilometers away

Italy Airports Served: Rome.

Johannesburg to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: JNB.

Durban

Airport Facts:

Opened in 2010 and is located 35 km north of the city The airport cost $900 million to build Alternative name is King Shaka International Airport Facilities include logistics warehouses as part of the Dube TradePort trade zone

Italy Airports Served: None.

Durban to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: DUR

Cape Town

Airport Facts:

  • The fourth-busiest airport in Africa
  • Located 20 kilometers from central Cape Town
  • South Africa’s second-busiest air freight hub
  • Linked to the N2 freeway for easy road access from the hinterland

Italy Airports Served: None.

Cape Town to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: CPT.

Airports of Arrival in Italy

Rome-Fiumicino

Airport Facts:

  • Also known as Leonardo da Vinci International Airport
  • Italy’s premier airport, occupying a 16,000 square meter site
  • Europe’s eighth-busiest airport
  • The airport’s huge air freight terminal is called Cargo City.

Connected Airports in South Africa: Johannesburg.

South Africa to Rome-Fiumicino Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: FCO.

Milan

Airport Facts:

  • Situated 50 km from Milan
  • Italy’s busiest air cargo facility
  • Sixth-biggest cargo airport in Europe
  • Located within 300 kilometers of Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto, and Emilia Romagna

Connected Airports in South Africa: None.

South Africa to Milan Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: MXP.

Why Ship From South Africa to Italy With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight’s website makes international trade easier. Our platform simplifies ocean and air shipping from South Africa to Italy, and any other global logistics movements required by your business.

You can manage and track all shipments on a platform designed to take the hassle out of shipping.

Other benefits of using Shipa Freight include:

  • Quick quotes
  • Fast price comparisons
  • Online booking
  • Online Payment by card or wire transfer
  • 24/7 access to a customer support team
  • We handle the complicated world of compliance and customs clearance
  • We’re powered by Agility Logistics, a world leader in freight forwarding

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

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