We made the decision to ship our car from Ghana to Namibia. Below we would like to share the process around the shipping with you.
Basically we shipped because of lack of time. Beginners mistake; my parents booked a trip to Namibia and we wanted to see them. If we would have crossed Central Africa we would have been in the middle of rainy season, we would have had problems with the visa for DRC and off course we had to count some time for car troubles. This means we would have to cross very quick trough Central Africa but also through Ivory Coast/Ghana and that was not what we wanted. Nevertheless, next time we would really drive the route, if we believe the stories of others it must be amazing.
We drive a 20 years old Land Rover Discovery II, without a carnet. We do not have a carnet because at the end of our trip we would like to sell the car. For shipping this is not ideal but it is doable without a carnet.
The Land Rover fits in a 20” container but with all the equipment on the roof we would have to deflate the tires.
Because it was cheaper we searched for another car to share the container with. If you inform everybody you know that you want to ship your car you will quickly find another car to ship with.
Eventually we shipped our car together with a Volkswagen T3 Syncro, with a carnet.
We preferred to ship from Ghana/Togo/Benin. Eventually it turned out that shipping from Ghana was not possible because we did not have a carnet and we would not be able to enter the country without want. From Ivory Coast was possible but for us this was a bit to early, then we would really miss a lot of countries.
We preferred to ship to Angola because we really wanted to see Angola. Unfortunately it is not possible to enter Angola with a light car older then 6 years (till 3,5 ton) or a heavier car older then 10 years from production date.
For Namibia you normally need a carnet if you import your car per ship. We have found an organization that was willing to help us with a Temporary Import Permit, as you would get this via a landborder.
Why we ended up shipping from Ghana? Because we eventually managed to receive a Temporary Import Permit.
Temporary Import Permit
For Ghana it is mandatory to have carnet to enter the country with your own car. As we do not have a carnet we tried to enter the country with a TIP. This turned out to be possible if a company pays a deposit for you.
It is very important not to sell your car because then the company have to cover the costs. As we wanted to ship our car anyways, the shipping company wanted to guarantees for us. Via other travelers we got in contact with Comexa Ghana. They guaranteed for us and arranged all the documentation for the TIP. After two days of waiting at the border we received our TIP and we could enter Ghana and ship from there. After all it turned out that this arrangement with the TIP cost us $300. So something to think about.
To ship into Namibia you also need a carnet but there are options to receive a TIP. Unfortunately with this TIP you can only stay for 30 days in Namibia with your car. After these 30 days you will have to exit the country and if you enter again you can get a TIP for longer. Note that you not use all of the 90 days of your visa when flying in to Nambia. As you enter ask for maybe 40 days, so when you exit and re-enter Nambia you have another 50 days left.
Our shipping agent in Namibia, Maritima Logistics cc Namibia, arranged our TIP. We have paid around €75,00 for this service.
It was a lot of work to find shipping agents who were able to help us. Depending on the kind of company we have requested offers. A company in Togo we clearly only requested a offer for Togo, a RoRo company only a offer for RoRo etc. Of course we did not always sent the correct question to the correct company. There are many companies they replied with a very kind answer why they could not help us (they do not ship within Africa, no private shippings, could not help without a carnet, car is to old for Angola etc.). These companies were not able to help us but they might be able to help someone else in another situation. Many of the companies introduced us to other companies, that's how we eventually found our agents.
Besides that there were some companies who did not respond at all, which was really frustrating. But as they did not reply to us it might still be possible that they can assist someone else.
We also had some companies who sent us an offer but since we did not have a carnet they eventually decided it was to complicated or according to their information not possible.
After a long time of searching we found Maritima Logistics cc Namibia, we were in contact with Leonard Shidute. Since the beginning Leonard helped us very good and friendly, he always replied really fast and sent us a very clear offer. Via Leonard we received the freight of the company Maersk, who shipped our car.
After arranging everything with Leonard, we had to find an agent in Ghana or Togo who could help us on that side. Some companies have offices in more countries and can help you on both sides. Maritima Logistics is not situated in Ghana or Togo so we had to find another agent. We have received more offers from agents in Ghana, how we did that? We searched on Google Maps for companies in the harbor and reached out to them. It might be even easier to go to the harbor yourself and have a response immediately.
Eventually we came in contact with Comexa, they also arranged our TIP for Ghana. They had the best offer for us, although almost all the prices were pretty much the same.
Click here to open the document with almost all the companies we contacted about the shipping, including contact details and the reason why we did or did not use them.
The process in Ghana
When we agreed with both companies to ship the car it was the time to arrange everything. This was not as structured as we expected it to be. We agreed last minute with Comexa, so when we did we had to bring our car to the harbor the next day. When you arrive in the harbor you hand over your carnet or your TIP and they will arrange all the papers. They would like to keep your carnet and send it to Namibia but you can also ask it back so you can bring it with you yourself. You need to give a few personal details and you will receive a paper which stated that they have received your car.
Our container was not ready yet so they asked us to hand in the keys, so they would drive the cars into the container. Off course we did not choose a container over RoRo for nothing, so we decided to wait in the harbor until they container was ready. Unfortunately we had to wait for two days in the harbor.
Before we drove the cars into the container, customs came to check the cars. Off course it is not allowed to bring illegal things with you in the container. Some people said to us that it is not allowed to bring full gas bottles with you but they did not check this and did not even mention it. After they checked your car the owner of the car will have to fill in some documents and give fingerprints, you will receive a copy of all the documents and you are ready to go.
Tip: as we were with two cars, we exchanged our car keys. In case there might happen something why you are not able to pick up your car from the container, the other one can do it for you. If you have to let your car wait in the harbor in the container you will have pay a lot of money.
It all depends on which company you use how long the shipment takes. With some companies it took 40 days because the boat first goes to Antwerp, that was not what we wanted of course. From Ghana and Togo there is a weekly scheduled freight to Namibia, the shipment takes only one week.
Please take into account that the car has to be in the departure port a week before the scheduled date. Also it will take approximately a week to get the cars from the boot in Namibia. All together it might take you three weeks without your car.
Unfortunately it did not worked out like this for us. Comexa did not load our container on the boat because of “technical difficulties”. Our car left Tema a week later, so it also arrived a week later in Namibia. The information around this was really bad and we were really disappointed in Comexa.
What do you do when the car is on the boat. We decided to backpack from Ghana to Nigeria/Lagos. We had the visa for Nigeria, issued in the Netherlands, anyway. We took two weeks to get to Lagos. The flight from Lagos to Windhoek costs us €440,00 per person. We booked the flight only one week before departure so as soon as you know when you are going to shi you can book your flight and they will definitely be cheaper. The prices to fly out from Ghana/Togo/Benin/Nigeria are all pretty much the same and they all take a lot of time. Count on a flight of approximately 24 hours. From Windhoek there is a direct bus that will take you for approximately €20,00 per person to Walvisbay.
The process in Namibië
All we had to do in Namibia was picking up the car from the container. We had to hand in a few details to Maritima for our TIP but that was basically all. When picking up the cars they unseal the container when you are there so you know it was not opened
before. You will check your car and receive your TIP or they will stamp your carnet. After that is filling up with petrol/diesel and let's gooo!
Unfortunately shipping your car is not cheap. As we could share a 40” container it was a bit cheaper, if you decide to ship your car RoRo it will be even more cheaper but there will be more risks. Below you will find our invoices, the costs of both TIP's are also included. You will receive a separate invoice for the part in Ghana and one for Namibia. As we were with two cars the invoice of Namibia was split for us. Before you pick up your car from the container it is important that the freight company is paid, which normally the agent of departure will arrange for you.
For us the costs were about €2400,00 per car, all the costs around the shipment and the TIP included.
The invoices below are for two cars.
We were not really satisfied with the service of Comexa. Contacting them was really difficult, the car was not loaded on the agreed boat and it was really hard to receive any information we needed. We are informed that they do no longer work with private costumers but I am not sure about this information.
On the other hand, Maritima and especially Leonard helped us really good. He replied really quick and clear to our emails. He made it clear what we needed and informed us in time about everything.
If you would like to ship your car and you have any questions after reading this article, please do not hesitate to contact us via email, Facebook or Instagram. We are more than happy to help you out!