Shipping to and from South Africa?

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Custom Stopped Container Representation Service

In the situation where your container is stopped and detained by Customs (South African Revenue Services, SARS); SAPS (South African Police Force) or the NRCS in South Africa, and you do not have representation for the inspection at the depot, MAERSK can arrange with one of our trusted vendors to be present and represent you at the depot for inspection. By using this service, the safety and integrity of the cargo is kept intact, where photographs will be taken at each stage from breaking of seal – completion of inspection, creating complete visibly and peace of mind.

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 Inspection 1st day - Customer Rep (20’ & 40’) Inspection 2nd day & any day onwards - Customer Rep (20’ &40’)   MAERSK Admin Fee
 R630.00 (ex VAT.)  R350.00 (ex VAT.)  R450.00 (ex VAT.)
  • First day of inspection is R630.00 (ex VAT.) for a 20’ & 40’ Container;
  • If it is a full unpack, the 2nd day and any day after is R350.00 (ex VAT.);
  • MAERSK will add an admin fee of R450.00 (ex VAT.);

Important to Note: Additional charges apply in the rare instance when an Official request a full sort or inventory to be done on a shipment. The added rate for sorting and inventory is R530.00 (ex VAT.) per day per 20-foot container, and R980.00 (ex VAT.) per day per 40-foot container. Extra labour is needed to assist with the physical sorting and taking inventory of the cargo. 

The assigned customer’s representative scope will include:

  • Arrange to meet with officials at the inspection site and conducting the physical inspection with the officials;
  • Be present at the breaking of seal;
  • Be present at opening of container doors;
  • If just a tailboard is required, doors will be shut with new seal;
  • If unpack is required, once unpack is complete on warehouse floor, the representative will conduct a packing list with the relevant officials and depot officials, ensuring nothing goes wrong;
  • Step-by-step feedback will be provided to Maersk, creating visibly in the instance of any damage or stolen cargo – document will be shared with customer once container is released;
  • Once inspection is finalised, the duty of the repetitive is complete at this stage and will leave;
  • The representative will follow up with the relevant authorities, it will typically take 1-3 days to get release;
  • Furthermore, a report document will be forwarded to the customer with the findings of the inspection.

The Rationale Behind This Service:

In the absence of a representative for an inspection of your stopped container, it will often result in massive delays, as officials refuse to open the container for inspection without customer representation, resulting in weeks and sometimes months of storage incurred by the customer. By using this value-add inspection service MAERSK is offering, you as the customer can have representation on the day of inspection with feedback and photo updates of the progress. Once the inspection is complete, the representative will follow up with the authorities to get release of the container as soon as possible. This is saving customers a significant amount of money in storage, which would otherwise be incurred.

If you have any questions on the inspection service, please feel free to get in touch with

Customs House Brokerage

Core product

Export Customs Clearance Transit Documents
Standard full export customers clearance process A transit document allows the free movement of containers through South Africa and African countries around Southern Africa
  • Export entry declaration
  • Act as intermediary between traders and Customs in Customs clearance process
  • EDI capabilities to any port exit in South Africa
  • Transit entry declaration
  • Act as intermediary between traders and Customs in Customs clearance process
  • EDI capabilities to any port entry/exit in South Africa

Additional Custom House Brokerage services

  • Refund Claims
  • Value determinations (DA55)
  • Tariff determinations
  • Special attendance / Customs supervision
  • Other Agency Hold release facilitation
  • Obtaining certificates of Origin
  • Vouchers of Correction
  • Ex bond clearances
  • Lodging Provisional Payments 
  • Consulting and Dispute Resolution

What is required to complete Customs House Brokerage? 

  • Registered importer on Record is always required for import and export clearance.
  • Cargo destined to BLNS countries require a Foreign Principal and Registered Agent registration.
  • Commercial documents required for clearance would include:
    • Commercial Invoice
    • Packing List
    • Clearing Instruction
    • Certificate of Origin / EUR1 (if applicable)
    • Bill of Lading
    • Any relevant permits ie ITAC import permits on second hand / used goods

Note: Damco does not facilitate clearance on personal effect shipments.


Q: What is the Pricing / Cost of these services?
A: Please refer to the pricing schedule shared with you.

Q: What can hold up my Customs Clearance?
A: A variety of reasons can hold up a clearance, to name a few but not limited to, would be awaiting mandatory documents, awaiting payment, customs holds, Port Authority holds and vessel delays.

Q: What is a Deferment Account?
A: A deferment account is an account registered with customs, which allows the customer to make Duty & VAT payments in a secure way. This initiates a smoother, quicker customs clearance, avoiding additional delays.

Q: What if I do not have a Deferment Account?
A: Customer can apply for their own account by contacting the local customs authority directly or elect to make use of the Damco deferment facilities * this is subject to a % transnational charge, and credit checks may be required.

Q: What is an Importer code and how do I get one?
A: An Importer / Exporter code is a unique reference number issued by Customs to Trader and is required to import or export goods. This is a one-time application. More information can be found upon

Q: What is a classification number HS Code?
A: A classification number is a unique 9-digit code that relates to a specific product and determines the amount of Duty payable

Q: Why do I need to provide a classification number HS Code?
A: It is the importers/Exporters legal responsibility to ensure the classification of their products are correct. However, if they are unsure please contact Damco, who can assist in an advisory capacity only.

Q: How will I know when my shipment has cleared customs?
A: Our team will email the customer with clearance paperwork as soon as the shipment has been released from customs and is free to leave the port.

Q: Who can I contact regarding my Customs Clearance?
A: Please contact your Customer Service Representative.

Q: Who will invoice me for my Customs Clearance?
A: Damco will raise an invoice for all Customs and Port entry related costs.

Q: I have a query regarding my Customs Clearance Invoice, who can I contact?
A:Damco invoice please contact in her capacity as Customer Care Manager and escalations to in his capacity as SCM & VAS Manager.

Abbreviations & Explanations

CHB = Customs House Brokerage
VAT = Value Added Tax
EORI = Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification
HTS = Harmonized Tariff Schedule
AEO = Authorized Economic Operator
POA = Power of Attorney

Value Protect

Click to access Value Protect

Always Safe Never Sorry. While we always do our utmost to take good care of your cargo, things can go wrong. Therefore we are glad to introduce you to our new solution to keep the value of your cargo protected from logistics-related risks. Value Protect provides alternative carriage terms that offer higher recovery limits on claims. At competitive prices and all in a single place.

Cargo Restrictions


  • Hazardous classes 1, 7 and 9, are all subject to approval before acceptance. 
  • No acceptance of Used Tyres 
  • No acceptance of Non DG charcoal
  • No acceptance of Asbestos

Weight & Measurement

Specifically for 20’ Containers:

24 TONS Maximum Payload for road haulage (inclusive of container tare weight)

22 TONS Maximum payload for railed containers (exclusive of container tare weight)

Specifically for 40’ Containers:

28 TONS Maximum payload for road haulage (inclusive of container tare weight)

29.4 TONS Maximum payload for railed containers (exclusive of container tare weight)

Overweight containers are subject to a fine imposed by the Government. Requests for movement of overweight cargo can be obtained from your nearest Maersk office.

Effective 1 July 2016 the Shipper (or its representative agent) will be required to include the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) when submitting the pre-advise via NAVIS.  The Navis update will update all Maersk systems and no further system updates is required from the Shipper. 

Special Cargoes - No restrictions on movement of containers to inland points and are subject to rates supplied by our Intemodal Dept and can be contacted thru your nearest Maersk Customer Service Teams.

Bill of Lading Clauses - No special clauses/restrictions apply.

45' Containers - No acceptance of 45' containers in South Africa.

Customs requirements - Customs documents (Cargo Dues + Bill of entry) are mandatory for Bill of Lading issue.

Export Detention Tariff

Charge associated with extended use of the container after agreed transit agreement. The following charges are penalty surcharges when agreed free time has been exceeded and appear on applicable export shipments from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

EXPORTS Free Time 20' Dry
per day
20' Reef
per day
40' Dry
per day
40' Reef
per day
20' Special
per day
40' Special
per day
Inland location to CPT, DUR, PLZ &EBS 10 days USD 50 USD 90 USD 92 USD 179 USD 90 USD 179
Inland location to Inland location 5 days
Coastal location to CPT, DUR, PLZ &EBS 5 days
South African coast to Mozambique & Hinterland 21 days
South African Coast to Mozambique & Hinterland (TBL)> 45 days
Maersk Spot Export Detention Free Time 20' Dry
per day
20' Reef
per day
40' Dry
per day
40' Reef
per day
20' Special
per day
40' Special
per day
Inland to Inland 14 days USD 65 - 135 - - -
Coastal to Coastal 10 days

The charges listed are effective:  01/04/2019 –31/03/2020

Verified Gross Mass


Click to access: Navis-Registration-Form - Please complete the registration form and send to

Click to access: Navis-User-Guide

Remote Container Management (Reefer Customers)

Remote Container Management (RCM) interface turns your reefer container into a digitally connected device capable of transmitting its location, power status, temperature, humidity and air supply

Click to Access RCM

PPECB (Reefer Customers)

The Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) is an independent service provider of quality certification and cold chain management services for producers and exporters of perishable food products.

Click to access PPECB

Contact us

If you want to speak to a sales person about a new shipment or if you have a question about your existing shipment, you can email us and we will respond within the next two days. If you have a more immediate question, you can search for help online.