How to Export Truck Parts to Africa

Over the last decade, exporting has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Technological advancement in various areas of logistics has made it easy for businesses of all sizes to get involved in the exporting business.

Africa is largely a developing continent, and due to its size and geography it relies extensively on heavy duty machinery such as trucks to haul large loads of goods from one part of the country to another. As the African terrain can be very rough and rugged, trucks are known to breakdown quite often, and this necessitates a large volume of exports of truck spares and replacements to the continent.

While some African truck repair shops carry all the necessary truck parts to get the truck up and running, sometimes, the parts are not in stock and need to be imported from another country. Below are two ways that we export truck parts to Africa with relative ease. I say relative, because some regions and shipments have been fraught with problems, so we will also cover some of the potential problems you may encounter when exporting to Africa.

Air Freight

Technological advancements and the declining cost of air transport have allowed exporters of truck parts to easily send the ordered parts from one country to another within a matter of days. Buyers need not wait for weeks on end to get the parts they require, they can simply ask the seller to send the parts via air and receive them in 3 or 4 days.

While using air freight as a primary mode of transportation is a good way to export, it is also a very expensive one, particularly as compared to using land and sea freight. Sending something via air freight can run up hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in shipping costs. The general rule of thumb with air shipment is the heavier and more fragile the item, the more it will cost to ship. Since most truck parts are quite heavy, be prepared to pay a significant amount of money to send the part via air.

As the exporter, you are always able to charge the buyer for the air shipment; however, be sure that they are given the option of having the part sent via an alternative method.

Ship Cargo

Exporting goods via the sea is perhaps one of the oldest modes of international transportation. Shipping cargo can be dated back at least several centuries. It is because of ship routes established back in history that we are able to so easily navigate the seas.

Most exporters send very heavy truck parts via ship cargo. Ship cargo is also used if there are a number of truck parts being exported (in bulk). Sending truck parts via ship cargo is usually less expensive than sending it via air cargo, however; it does have its disadvantages.

While technological advancements in the field of logistics have enabled sea shipment companies to purchase fuel powered ships to transport goods, the shipments can still take a great deal of time to reach their destination. Depending on the country of export, a shipment via the sea can take anywhere between a week and three weeks to arrive at its destination.

Sending truck parts via ship cargo can also increase custom costs. As Africa is still a developing country, there can be a lot of customs issues at its ports, as well as corruption, which can lead to expectations of bribery, among other issues: The truck parts may sit at the docks awaiting clearance for days if the process is not sped up with a little “persuasion”. For this reason I would try to choose your destination, and indeed entire shipping route, carefully when you are making arrangements to export to Africa, as some countries are more prone to corruption than others.

There is also the issue of instability, be it social, economic or ethnic strife and conflict that can affect the cost of exporting to a given country, and this should be considered carefully. Bad social conditions or conflict can freeze cargoes in place, incur unforeseen costs, slow supply lines, or even cause cargoes to ‘disappear.’ For this reason, try to plot an export route through stable countries wherever possible.

These are just a few of the issues we have come across when exporting truck parts to Africa, and these are equally valid concerns when exporting anything to the African continent.