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Ocean and Air Shipping from South Africa to the Netherlands

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Meat, fish, fruit, and juices are among the products businesses most frequently export from South Africa to the Netherlands. In 2016, bilateral trade between the nations totaled over $3.1 billion.

If your business is one of the many importing from South Africa to the Netherlands, you’ve landed on the right page. It’s full of information to help you ship more successfully.

You’ll find details about ocean and air shipping from South Africa to the Netherlands here, plus facts about seaports and airports, and guidance on customs clearance and shipment timings.


Know Your Options for Freight From South Africa to the Netherlands

Flags of South Africa and Netherlands to show Shipa Freight capacity to ship from South Africa to Netherlands

Shipping freight from South Africa to the Netherlands can be done by air or ocean. To help you choose which is best for your business, this page outlines the pros and cons of each mode of shipping.


Ocean Freight From South Africa to the Netherlands

Less than Container Load (LCL): With LCL shipping, your freight will share a container with other goods, and you will only pay for the space you use. Many companies find LCL offers the most cost-effective option for smaller shipments, and consignments that aren’t urgently required in the Netherlands.

Full Container Load (FCL): Despite its name, full container load shipping does not require you to fill your container. You can choose to wholly or partially fill the container you rent. Obviously, it makes commercial sense to load as much as you can.


Air Freight from South Africa to the Netherlands

For the fastest delivery of freight from South Africa to the Netherlands, nothing beats air freight. But it is also the most expensive form of international transportation.


The Cost of Shipping Cargo From South Africa to the Netherlands

Calculator to represent the cost of Shipa Freight's quotes

Freight forwarders’ quotes for international shipments are calculated by analyzing a combination of the following:

  • The distance between the port of origin and port of arrival
  • The kind of goods that are being transported
  • What type of service, i.e. port- to-port, port-to-door, door-to-port or door-to-door, is required
  • The weight, volume, and dimensions of the consignment

Your cargo’s weight can affect your choice of air or ocean shipping:

  • Many businesses find that goods weighing more than 100 kg are usually shipped more cost-effectively as ocean freight. That’s because air freight is often more expensive for heavier goods.
  • When looking to ship goods in the 35 kg to 100 kg weight bracket, it’s often the case that quotes for air and ocean shipping will be similar. Our advice in that situation is to go for the quickest!
  • Consignments weighing 35 kg or under aren’t something freight forwarders will quote for. Instead, you should approach international couriers to get a price for your shipment.

How Long Does it Take to Ship From South Africa to the Netherlands?

It’s over 9,000 kilometers from South Africa to the Netherlands. Air shipping is the quickest way to import from South Africa to the Netherlands. It typically takes five to eight days for a consignment to reach its destination.

Shipping a container from South Africa to the Netherlands by ocean takes longer. On average, 15 to 25 days is required for an FCL export from South Africa to the Netherlands. LCL shipments take between 20 and 30 days.


How Long Does It Take to Ship by Sea From South Africa to the Netherlands?

Many ocean freight shipments from South Africa enter the Netherlands via the port of Rotterdam. Typical transit time for FCL freight from Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth to Rotterdam is 15 to 25 days, while LCL shipments can take between 20 and 30 days.


How Long Does It Take to Ship by Air From South Africa to the Netherlands?

You should allow at least five days for your air freight to reach the Netherlands from South Africa, and be made available for collection or onward transportation from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Shipments from Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, or Cape Town to Amsterdam typically complete in five to eight days.


Customs Clearance in South Africa and the Netherlands

All commodities you want to export from South Africa to the Netherlands will have to satisfy customs rules and regulations. Customs officials in both nations are likely to insist on the following documentation:

  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)

The documents list page we’ve created features examples of all the paperwork listed above, so you can take a closer look at each. The list isn’t exhaustive, and you may need additional licenses, certificates, or permits to accompany your consignment.

Without a doubt, customs clearance is one of the most complex aspects of international shipping. Often, businesses will enlist the help of a freight forwarder. It’s something your business should seriously consider if you want to avoid unnecessary delays affecting the process of importing from South Africa to the Netherlands.


Ocean or Air Shipping From South Africa to the Netherlands?


Ocean Freight

If there’s no rush for your goods to reach port in the Netherlands or your consignment is large, you’re likely to find ocean shipping is right for you. The sea freight shipping process requires a freight forwarder to book the services of an ocean carrier. They will transport your goods in a shipping container from South Africa to the Netherlands aboard a cargo vessel.

Your goods are likely to ship in a 20ft or 40ft standard container, although your forwarder will advise if they require one of the other types of containers available.

Either way, there are two modes of ocean shipping that you must choose between—FCL or LCL. We’ll go into more detail about each later on this page. But to summarize the key difference between the two here, with FCL shipping your goods will be shipped in a container used exclusively for your goods. LCL shipping entails your goods sharing a container with products belonging to other shippers.

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


Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL is often the best way to send your goods in a shipping container from South Africa to the Netherlands if:

  • The consignment is no bigger than six pallets
  • There’s no urgency for your goods to be in the Netherlands
  • The goods are safe to be shipped in a shared container
  • Air freight is out of the question

LCL might be best avoided for transporting ocean freight from South Africa to the Netherlands if:

  • Your consignment is expected in the Netherlands on a specific date
  • Your goods are high-value/delicate and might be damaged during shipping in a shared container
  • Your goods are perishable—perhaps flowers or food—and need to reach your consignee quickly
  • You want your freight to be handled as little as possible

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:

  • You need a predictable arrival time in the Netherlands
  • You’re happy to pay for an entire container, even if you don’t have enough freight to fill it
  • You’re shipping goods that aren’t suited to sharing a container
  • You want to seal your container in South Africa and have it remain sealed throughout shipping

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


Air Freight

Air shipping is the fastest way to ship freight from South Africa to the Netherlands. But there are other benefits too:

  • It’s ideal for consignments occupying no more than three pallets
  • It’s great for fragile or perishable goods that need transit time to be as short as possible
  • It’s best for high-value goods that need airport-levels of security
  • It’s cheaper to insure air cargo than ocean freight
  • It’s handy when supplier and/or consignee is located closer to an 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


Port Elizabeth

Port Facts:

  • Situated on the western edge of Algoa Bay
  • Its three berths for cargo vessels extend for a combined total of 925 meters
  • 2.9 million tonnes of sea freight was processed here in 2016
  • Storage areas cover a 22-hectare site

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >216,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAPLZ.


East London

Port Facts:

  • Formerly known as Port Rex
  • South Africa’s sole commercially-active river port
  • Serves the East Cape Province
  • Infrastructure includes the biggest export grain elevator in the country

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >53,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAELS.


Coega

Port Facts:

  • The newest port in South Africa—first opened to container traffic in 2009
  • Known locally as the Port of Ngqura
  • Is just 24 kilometers from Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay
  • The ports at Coega and Port Elizabeth are joined by a railway

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >630,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAZBA.


Durban

Port Facts:

  • Also known as Durban Harbor
  • One of the Southern Hemisphere’s major ports
  • No port in South Africa processes more ocean freight
  • Ideally located for exports to the Middle East, Far East, India, and Australia.

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2.5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZADUR.


Cape Town

Port Facts:

  • Situated in Table Bay along a popular international shipping lane
  • Only the Port of Durban processes more containers in South Africa
  • Facilities include six deep-sea berths
  • Renowned for handling more fresh fruit cargo than any port in the country

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >888,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZACPT.


Cargo Port of Arrival in the Netherlands


Rotterdam

Port Facts:

  • Europe’s largest container port
  • Located in the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta
  • Covers a massive 12,700-hectare site
  • Easy accessibility for even the largest cargo vessels
  • A vital logistics hub for global shippers

Owned By: Port of Rotterdam Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >14.8 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: NLRTM.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide


Airports of Origin in South Africa


Durban

Airport Facts:

  • Situated 35 km north of the city of Durban
  • Also called King Shaka International Airport
  • Features logistics warehouses as part of the Dube TradePort trade zone
  • Good airport of origin if your supply chain moves goods from Cottonlands, Tongaat, Verulam, and Umdloti.

Netherlands Airports Served: None.

Durban to the Netherlands Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: DUR


Port Elizabeth

Airport Facts:

  • Just three kilometers from Port Elizabeth city center
  • Around 800 tonnes of air freight is handled here every year
  • Facilities include two runways and 13 parking bays for air freighters
  • Ideal for supply chains requiring the movement of goods from Eastern Cape Province

Netherlands Airports Served: None.

Port Elizabeth to the Netherlands Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: PLZ


Johannesburg

Airport Facts:

  • The busiest air freight facility in Africa
  • Sometimes referred to by its official name—O. R. Tambo International Airport
  • Located 26 kilometers outside of Johannesburg city center
  • Ideal port of origin for manufacturers or suppliers based in Pretoria, just 46 km from the airport

Netherlands Airports Served: Amsterdam.

Johannesburg to the Netherlands Cargo-Only Operators: Martinair, Saudia Cargo, Singapore Airlines Cargo.

IATA CODE: JNB.


Cape Town

Airport Facts:

  • Africa’s fourth-busiest airport
  • 20 km outside of Cape Town
  • Connected to the N2 freeway for easy access from inland areas
  • Infrastructure includes two runways and two terminals

Netherlands Airports Served: Amsterdam.

Cape Town to the Netherlands Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: CPT.


Airport of Arrival in the Netherlands


Amsterdam

Airport Facts:

  • Known informally as Schiphol Airport
  • Europe’s third-biggest cargo gateway
  • Located 9 km southwest of Amsterdam
  • Serves 23 scheduled air-freight operators
  • Boasts six runways and temperature-controlled facilities to keep food and flowers fresh

Connected Airports in South Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town.

South Africa to Amsterdam Cargo-Only Operators: Martinair, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Saudia Cargo.

IATA CODE: AMS.


Why Ship From South Africa to the Netherlands With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight’s online platform makes international shipping easier for all kinds of businesses. Our website is simple to use and a great place to get quick quotes for international ocean and air shipping from South Africa to the Netherlands. The site gives you one place to manage and track all your international shipping in a way that simplifies your supply chain.

Other business benefits Shipa Freight brings to the table include:

  • Easy registration for new shippers
  • Fast quotes based on real-time rates
  • Simple-to-compare prices
  • Online booking and payment
  • 24/7 customer support service
  • Management of customs clearance processes and compliance

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

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