Buy a car in Germany
Autotrader: Convenient Automobile Buying For People In Africa - Used Cars From Germany - Auto Export To Africa - Shipping rates - auto transport

Car Export to Africa: Mercedes Benz 190, Nissan Patrol , Toyota Hiace, RAV4, Land Cruiser, Corolla, Camry, C-class, van, minibus, Diesel. Ghana, Nigeria, Angola

shipping documents

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For every international trade transaction some documents are required.


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LHD only !
You should know that all used cars from Germany have left hand steering. You won’t find any RHD vehicles on the German market.


For the export of a car you will need the following:

 1. The car document or title. In German: Kraftfahrzeugbrief. Every car comes with this document. Never buy a car without this documentation! This document includes all details of the car (VIN, day of first registration and all technicial details) and the name of the last owner. The holder of this document is the owner of the car.

 2. A customs export declaration. In German: Ausfuhrerklarung. All goods which are exported to a country outside the European community need such a customs document. If the added value of the goods and shipping costs is higher than 3.000 Euro, a German customs inspection has to be performed before the goods (your car) can be comitted to the free trade zone in the port area. This special form is required and entitles the customs officers to perform a physical inspection of the car (however, most of the time they don’t even want to see it). In any case, this customs form must be duly stamped by the authorities before the car can be delivered to the port.
Ask the seller and the shipping agent if they can handle this for you! Regardless if it is a car, machinery or any other goods, you will need this document! Shipping agents will charge you for issuing such paper (about 20 Euro). The document is important for German exort statistics and VAT tax refunds. The exporter will get this document, it will not go with the car.

 3. The shipping document, named Bill of Lading or just B/L: This document will be issued by the shipping line after the boat is loaded. The B/L shows the name of the shipper, the recipient (consignee), the ships name, description of goods, quantity, weight, measurements, port of loading, port of delivery.
The shipping agent will not surrender the B/L to you, unless he has received full payment for the transportation.
Please note: After the ship arrives at the port of destination, you are required to hand the original B/L to the respective agents or authorities. Without the B/L you won’t get clearance for your car to leave the port, even if all other documents are present and all fees/duties have been paid!

 4. A commercial invoice, issued by the seller. It must show the description of the car, the VIN, the value, weight and measurements, terms of sale (incoterms), port of loading. For some countries such an invoice must also show a certificate stamp of the Chamber of Commerce indicating the origin.

 5. Inspection certificate. For some countries (e.g. Angola, Kenia) cars have to be inspected before shipment and a certificate has to be issued. This is called: Clean Report of Findings and cetifies that the car is in working order and conforms to the numbers and descriptions listed in the commercial invoice.

Document courier service

Documents should arrive at the recipients before the ship arrives.
I always send the transport documents by courier services like DHL, FedEx or others to my clients. This will cost in between Euro 50,- to 80,-.
Please note: The contents of such envelopes is strictly limited to documents. In case other things are to be sent (keys or spare parts), the parcel would have to clear customs. That can be complicated, takes longer and is more expensive.

All courier services offer a kind of tracking system, the status of the envelope can be followed online.

Have you heard of: FOB, CIF, CFR, ex works...? That are international accepted terms of trading, called INCOTERMS.

Incoterms is an abbreviation for International Commercial Terms which were first established in 1936 by the International Chamber of Commerce for the most common used terms in foreign trade. Parties (buyer and seller) to a contract are often unaware of the different trading practices in countries around the world and Incoterms are essentially a set of standard rules to help facilitate trade and avoid problems. For strict and detailed interpretation, you should refer to the newest publication of Incoterms (Link). Or just ask your local chamber of commerce or any other trade organization.

The most common terms in the used auto export business are:

Free On Board (FOB) – The seller (exporter) is responsible for delivering the goods from his place of business and loading them onto the vessel at the port of export as well as clearing customs in the country of export. As soon as the goods cross the “ships-railings” (the ship’s threshold) the risk of loss is transferred to the buyer (importer). The buyer must pay for all transportation and applicable insurance costs from that point, and must clear customs in the country of import. An FOB transaction will read “FOB, port of export” in the commercial invoice. For example, assuming the port of export is Hamburg, an FOB transaction would read “FOB Hamburg”.
An FOB-price means the price is including the delivery to the port of departure and onto the vessel.

Cost & Freight (CFR) – The seller (exporter) is responsible for clearing the goods for export, delivering the goods past the ships rail at the port of shipment and paying international freight charges. The buyer assumes risk of loss once the goods have crossed the ship’s railing, and must purchase insurance, unload the goods, clear customs, and pay for transport to deliver the goods to their final destination.
For example, CFR Lagos would mean that the seller of your car will deliver your car to the German port and arrange the shipment to Lagos. Marine insurance is not included.

Cost, Insurance & Freight (CIF) – The seller (exporter) is responsible for delivering the goods onto the vessel and clearing Customs in the country of export. He is also responsible for purchasing insurance, with the buyer (importer) named as the beneficiary. Risk of loss is transferred to the buyer as the goods cross the ship’s rail. If these goods are damaged or stolen during international transport, the buyer owns the goods and must file a claim based on insurance procured by the seller. The buyer must clear customs in the country of import and pay for all other transport and insurance costs in the country of import. A CIF transaction will read CIF, port of destination. For example, assuming that goods are exported to the port of Freetown, a CIF transaction would read “CIF Freetown”.
CIF Freeport means the seller of your car will deliver your car to the German port and arrange the shipment and the marine insurance. Please keep in mind that on ro/ro ships a “full insurance” is not possible.

ExWorks (EXW) – The seller (exporter) provides the goods to the buyer (importer) at the seller's premises. The buyer is responsible for all transportation costs, duties, insurances, and bears the risk of loss of goods immediately after the goods are purchased and placed outside the factory door. The ExWorks price does not include the price of loading goods onto a truck or vessel, and no allowance is made for clearing customs.
ExWorks means you buy a car from a seller's yard, meaning that you are responsible for all further transports.

In case you want more detailed information about the Incoterms, please use this link: