Exporting Vehicles to Tanzania from the UK

The following considerations should be borne in mind when exporting vehicles to Tanzania and these can be divided into three main categories.

–  Physical shipment
–  Export documentation
–  Import procedures and taxation

Physical Shipment
There are a number of shipping companies who specialise in shipping vehicles overseas and it is good practice to use one of these rather than a conventional shipping company.  It is important that whoever is used can first ship the goods to Tanzania and secondly can offer complete insurance cover for the vehicles during transit and will contractually accept full responsibility for the vehicle whilst it is in their care.

The two most common methods used to ship vehicles to Dar-Es-Salaam from the UK are containerised sea-freight and Roll-On/Roll-Off (RoRo) sea shipments.  RoRo is generally preferred when shipping older vehicles and other types of vehicles such as Trucks, Lorries, Tractors and Vans, whose size makes fitting them into a GP container rather problematic.  However, in order to access a RoRo vessel, the vehicle needs to be drivable or trailer towable and all able to negotiate the ship’s ramp.

RoRo is a more cost effective method of shipment because there is no need for expensive loading equipment or manpower since the vehicles are driven onto the vessel.  At the moment RoRo sails fortnightly from Tilbury (normally 21 days transit) and Sheerness (normally 28 days transit).  It should be noted that the Tilbury sailings are more expensive than the Sheerness sailings, but both are less expensive than shipping the vehicles by container.  It should also be noted that 4×4 cars are more expensive to ship than saloon cars because they take up more room.  It is not good practice to ship any items inside a vehicle sent by the RoRo service, since most shipping companies will not agree to cover such goods with their goods in transit insurance.

It is possible to ship additional items with vehicles packed in a GP container, but please note such goods must be fully documented and that the following items are prohibited.  This list can change regularly, so it is important that both the exporter and importer check with the Tanzanian Authorities before shipping any products and that any additional goods sent do not contravene local Tanzanian law.  Some items may be allowed under specific conditions, but either import or export licences (or both) will need to be obtained first.

Weapons (including toys) and ammunition
Birds, Fish and Trophies, including animal skins and ivory
Currency and Securities
Plants, seeds, seedlings, bulbs and any other type of plant life
Unwrought precious metals and precious stones
Pornographic material
Gambling equipment
Insects, beeswax, condensed milk
Alcohol and other spirits.

If the decision is made to ship the vehicles in containers, then please note that a 20′ GP container can be loaded with one vehicle: a 40′ GP container with up to three, although they would be three small cars.  There are more frequent containerised sea shipments from the UK to Dar Es Salaam, but this is a more expensive form of transport due to the handling and loading costs.

There is a present dearth of aircraft flying to Tanzania direct from the UK that are large enough to carry vehicles.  In fact, since virtually all Tanzanian flights from the UK are passenger flights there are very specific limits to the size of any cargo presently flying to Dar Es Salaam.  Therefore, unless this situation changes, or the contract allows for the use (and cost) of a private plane, then any proposed air shipment would have to be planned to depart from outside the UK.

Export Documentation
If the vehicles being shipped are for sale (and not someone’s private property) then the exporter needs to provide first a pro-forma invoice since this is the document which allows the importer to notify their intention to the Tanzanian Customs Authorities that they wish to import the vehicles subject to pre-lodgement processing.  The exporter also needs to supply with the shipment a Final Invoice, a Packing List and the relevant Transport document (which is normally a Bill of Lading).  Please note that it is very important that all markings on the vehicles must correspond exactly to those documented, to avoid delays and extra charges on import.

If the vehicles being shipped are new (and not being used before shipment) then they can be exported using the direct export scheme which exempts the owner from paying vehicle tax or the first registration charge in the UK.  If the vehicles are new but are being used for a short period beforehand, then the appropriate taxes need to be paid and the vehicle registered.  Please note that the vehicle can be driven for up to six months (if owned by a UK resident) or up to twelve months (if owned by an overseas visitor) before being exported using the personal export scheme.

A vehicle is deemed to be a permanent export if it is being taken overseas for more than twelve months.  Any exports under twelve months is deemed to be a temporary export and the vehicle remains under the UK motor laws while abroad.

In all cases of exporting vehicles, the purple section (V5C/4 or Section C) of the V5 Registration document needs to be completed showing the intended date of export and only this section then returned to the DVLA.  This is a notification to the DVLA that the vehicle is being exported permanently.  The rest of the registration certificate has to be kept in order to register the vehicle abroad.  The DVLA will then issue a Certificate of Export VS61 as confirmation of the vehicle’s registration and this document and the rest of the registration certificate must be submitted with other export documents to the importer.  Please note that if the V5 is missing a new one can be applied for from the DVLA using form V62.

All used and new vehicles must also undergo a Road Worthiness Inspection and to obtain a Road Worthiness Certificate.  If the vehicles are shipped without this certificate then the importer may be fined costly penalties on import.

To assist the importer with the clearance procedures, all the above documents should be sent to them so that import clearance procedures can be completed at least seven days before the vehicles arrive.  There are two other points that should be mentioned.  It is good practice to check each vehicle’s history to ensure that everything is clear, especially with regards to any possible outstanding financing before exporting the vehicles.  Secondly, always check that there have been no changes to the duties and taxation liable at the destination port.  The charges which apply today are mentioned in more detail in the next section, but please note that these are liable to change without much notice and the information detailed in this article is an indication of costs only.

Import Procedures and Taxation
All import customs clearance in Tanzania must be completed by a Licenced Clearing and Forwarding Agent (CFA).  The documentation process is done on line and can be completed before the arrival of the goods.  It is rather important that correct and complete information is declared on the Pre-Arrival Declaration (PAD) otherwise it can be rejected.

The PAD and supporting documents must be submitted at least seven days prior to the arrival of the goods.  The supporting documents include those already detailed in the Export Document list above, but there are additional documents that need to be presented on import by the CFA and importer and these include the Import Declaration Form (IDF), Declaration Form C36, Agent’s Authorisation letter, Import permits (where required), Exemption documents (if applicable) and the TIN Certificate.  These documents are normally not of interest to the exporter/seller of the goods, unless the terms of sale are DDP.

The following rates are the present taxation rates for vehicles imported into Tanzania.  However, please note that these charges are correct at present but can change without notice, so it is very important that the party responsible for the import customs clearance and paying for the duties and other taxes, checks regularly with the Tanzanian Revenue Authority (TRA).

All vehicles with an engine capacity up to 2000 cc
Import Duty 25% of declared value
Excise Duty 5% (if the engine capacity is between 1000 and 1999 cc) of declared value
VAT 20% on the sum cost of the declared value plus import and (if applicable) excise duty costs.

All vehicles with an engine capacity of over 2000 cc
Import Duty 25% of declared value
Excise Duty 10% of declared value
VAT 20% on the sum cost of the declared value plus import and excise duty costs

Buses, Lorries, Pick-Ups, Passenger Vans
Import Duty 15% of declared value
VAT 20% of declared value plus import duty costs.
It is important that the importer checks whether there is excise duty as well.

In addition, there are import declaration fees which are normally calculated as the FOB price x 1.12 + (US$10 x number of units).  Tanzania presently has no age limit on used vehicles.  However, TRA are presently charging an additional tax of 20% on the declared value if the vehicle(s) in question are older than 10 years.

Additional Information
The Tanzanian Bureau of Standards (TBS) has, for some time, used vehicle inspectors in a number of countries such as Japan and Dubai, which are major points of origin for imported vehicles into Tanzania.  Since the UK has also been identified as a export destination shipping a substantial number of vehicles into Tanzania, the TBS is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Institute of Transport (NIT) in the UK to start inspection of imported used motor vehicles in the UK as well.  The TBS has stated that this arrangement will facilitate the smooth inspection of the vehicles using state-of-the-art equipment and machinery owned by the NIT. (April 2013)

Maria Narancic from Point to Point Export Services is an independent international trade adviser who assists organisations world wide with their international trade projects, documentation, Documentary Credits and import/export training.  She is based in the United Kingdom.  If you require any further assistance with the matters mentioned above, please do contact us by e-mail on info@point-point.com or check out other articles on International Trade on the Point to Point Export Services website at www.point-point.com.

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