In 2019, Ghana was the 83rd largest goods export market for the United States. Every year, lots of individuals choose to ship different items to the African country. So, if you need something exported, you must begin the process as soon as possible.

Shipping cargo container, such as cars and household goods items to a different country, can be a true challenge. You have to consider the costs factor, but also find the best way to ship your goods. If you plan on shipping by container to Ghana, then you may wonder what this whole process involves.

Keep on reading to find out how to ship cargo container to Ghana from the United States.

What are the best Shipping methods?

When you want to ship a car or household goods to Ghana from the U.S., you typically have two shipping methods. One of them is container consolidation, and the other one is single-container shipping. You may choose one or the other depending on how many goods you have.

If you are shipping a vehicle, especially an expensive or rare one, the last thing you want is to see it damaged when it arrives in Ghana. Choosing single-container shipping offers more protection, even if the price will be higher.

Exporting cargo from the U.S. to Ghana is a complex process, yet the main steps are as follows:

  1. Bring your car or other oversize items to the U.S. port of export.
  2. Validate the export of your vehicle or items with U.S. Customs.
  3. Have your large cargo shipped to the Ghana port.
  4. Import your car or items in Ghana after arrival.

Documents Necessary for Shipping to Ghana

Since we are talking about shipping cargo overseas, then you must make sure you have the right documents prepared.

Some documents you need to export to Ghana from the U.S. include:

  • Packing List
  • Commercial and Proforma Invoices
  • Bills of Lading
  • Automated Export System Filing
  • Shipper’s Letter of Instructions
  • Incoterms
  • Operational Instructions
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Safety Data Sheet
  • Shipping Under a Letter of Credit

Obviously, each product shipped may need its own extra documentation, like government permission or special licenses. For instance, if you want to ship a car, you may need a driver’s license given to you in Ghana or an International Driver’s ID, a Certificate of Title, Form C for Ghana Customs, Original Copies of the Purchase Invoice and Insurance, and the car’s Home Delivery Value.

Choosing the right container size for exports to Ghana

Before you transport any item from the United States to Ghana, you will face the challenge of choosing the type of freight transportation. There are two options – air freight and ocean freight.

Now, both come with different prices and different shipping speeds. For instance, ocean freight is the cheapest option of the two. However, shipping cargo by sea can take 30 to 45 days. Meanwhile, air freight is pricier, yet it can bring your items to Ghana faster, usually within 3 to 7 days.

If you decide to use sea transportation to ship to the African country, you must ensure you choose a container in the right size.

When it comes to cars or small trucks, the 40ft container is often the best choice. It is spacious and will make sure your vehicle does not get damaged. But if you want to store furniture, then you can choose between the 20ft and 40ft containers depending on the amount of furniture and each piece’s size.

How much does it cost to ship from the U.S. to Ghana?

The cost of shipping your car or household goods to Ghana will vary based on certain factors, such as the shipping company and the weight of your items. On average, shipping a container overseas cost from $1,500 to $6,000.

Usually, when it comes to shipping household items, you will pay around $115 per cubic meter. However, there are also other costs to consider such as furniture assembly/disassembly services, packing, loading/unloading services, and so on.

Factors to Consider

Aside from the item’s weight and the shipping company, there are a few other aspects that can influence the overall cost of shipping a cargo to Ghana from the U.S. These are:

Certain months are busier than others. Therefore, they will come with higher shipping costs. Generally, January, February, September, and August are some of the busiest periods for freight, so if you ship your cargo during this time, you are bound to pay a higher fee for freight.

The destination port where you will have your items shipped is going to influence the final price as well. If you choose air freight, you can opt for Kumasi Airport or Kotoka Airport, which are the only international airports in Ghana. But if you choose ocean freight, you can pick the Port of Tema or the Port of Takoradi.

One of the trade barriers held by Ghana is the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) that issues Ghana’s own standards for most products such as building materials, food and agricultural products, household products, electrical goods, and pharmaceuticals. The High-Risk Goods (HRG) imports, such as beverages, pharmaceuticals, and industrial products must submit a sample of the goods to the GSA, a certificate of analysis, or a certificate of conformance from a laboratory in the country of export. The fee for registering the first three HRGs is $20, and then $10 for each additional product which is valid for one year and subject to renewal.

Ghana uses the Harmonized System (HS) Customs Code to classify goods. Taxes that are assessed based on weight, value, or volume are subject to change annually. All imports are subject to import duty plus VAT, which is calculated on the duty-inclusive value of the goods at rates held in the HS manual. Ghana also operates under the Customs Valuation Code (CVC) which is a value assessment method of the WTO. Ghana has a Destination Inspection scheme as well, where imports are inspected at the port of clearance in Ghana which is taken over by the Ghana Revenue Authority. Finally, the standard rate of duty is 20% and is determined by the tariff system that has been harmonized with the ECOWAS.

When you ship to Ghana, you will not pay just for the actual shipping, the container, and the weight of your items. There are a few additional costs that you will have to deal with. These include:

  • Quarantine fees
  • General Rate Increase
  • Container inspection fees
  • Customs taxes and duties
  • Inland delivery charges
  • Insurance for the goods and the shipping container

How long does it take to ship containers from the U.S. to Ghana?

The amount of time it takes to ship your oversize cargo to Ghana from the U.S. depends on the shipping method you’ve picked. On average, though, it takes between 30 and 45 days for the containers to reach the Port of Destination.

Bottom Line

If you want to ship cars, household items, and other types of commercial cargo to Ghana by container, you will have to deal with a long process of preparing documentation. You should also know that the procedure involves high costs. Choosing the right shipping method and shipping company can make the process smoother, less expensive, so don’t neglect this step.