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Shipping from China to Ghana: The Complete Guide
Do you want to import goods from China to Ghana?
Here is a complete guide that will make your importing from China easy and simple.
I will take you through customs procedures, prohibited goods, importing documents, taxes, modes and ways of shipping from Ghana.
The best part?
By the end of this guide, you will be an expert in importing from China to Ghana.
Let’s dive right in:
- Customs procedure in Ghana
- Ghana’s Import Duties and Taxes
- Ocean freight shipping to Ghana from China
- Air freight shipping from China to Ghana
- Modes of Shipping from China to Ghana
- Shipping Cost from China to Ghana
- FAQ Guide when Shipping from China to Ghana
Importing from China to Ghana
Chapter 1: Customs procedure in Ghana
Understanding what you need to do at the customs will save you a lot regarding time and resources.
From paying tax to documents that you will need, preparing in advance is very important.
This chapter takes a look at the customs requirements at the point of entry.
1.1. Top Imports from China to Ghana
The goal of every importer doing business is to increase the cycle of importation.
This implies that you have to keep importing.
This requires that you import goods that will move fast to create room and resources for further importation.
Ghana Imports – Photo courtesy: MECO METER:
But what are these goods that you will consider while you want to import from China to Ghana?
Here is a list of the fast moving goods imported to Ghana.
- This includes rice, frozen foods such as fish and biscuits.
- Sanitary, toiletries and baby care
- Furniture and home effects.
1.2. Ghana’s Prohibited and Restricted Goods
As an importer, what you bring to Ghana from China is very important.
As much as there are goods that you can import to Ghana, there are some that will not be allowed.
Importing goods that are not allowed will land you into problems with the customs.
Having to deal with the customs when it comes to such is something you don’t want to happen.
The reason is that apart from the fines that you will pay, your cargo will be seized by the customs meaning loss to you.
To avoid all these, the following are items that you cannot import from China to Ghana.
- Narcotic drugs
- Defamatory, obscene/pornographic materials
- Beads containing inflammable celluloid
- Raw coffee
- Counterfeit notes and currencies
- Contaminate goods.
- Animal and plants infected by diseases or their products.
- Goods that have fraudulent trademarks or infringing on any copyright law.
- Dangerous weapons and ammunition.
However, there are some goods you can import to Ghana bit after getting permits from government agencies.
These are the restricted goods and constitute the following:
- Gold coins and uncut diamonds which you can get a license from the ministry of finance
- Communication equipment you can obtain a permit from the National Communication Authority
- Drugs whose certificate you obtain from the ministry of health and a license from food and drugs board.
- Goods that bear a design or imitate money you obtain a license from the ministry of finance
- Duplicating keys machines, you get a license from the ministry of interior
- If you are importing evaporated milk with less than 8% weight of milk fat, you will obtain a license from the commissioner of CEPS. This also applies to milk powder having less than 26% of milk weight.
- Any gambling machine that you import you will be required to have a license from the ministry of finance.
- Live plants and animals will need a permit from the ministry of agriculture
1.3 Import process in Ghana
Having had a look at top imports to Ghana, as an importer, you need to know the import process for your goods.
This involves the following procedure:
- The first thing to do is to begin your importation business is to have your company registered. You will do this at the Registrar’s General Department.
Registrar General Department Ghana
Also to obtain a tax clearance certificate, you will register with the Internal Revenue Service.
After this, you will have to apply for the Tax Identification Number at the Revenue Agencies Governing Board.
Lastly, you will register with the customs as an importer.
Now you are good to begin your importation.
- The next step is to find a clearing agent who will handle your customs clearance details for you. Also, this is a requirement under the law.
You can hire a local forwarder or an international one who is conversant with your import details.
- After identifying a forwarder, you will have to register for Ghana’s single window.
This is an online platform that allows for the exchange of information between the government and the logistics community.
This window facilitates the customs clearance process for the goods and documents needed.
- You will have to apply for a Unique Consignment Reference. This reference identifies your import consignment.
Since it is the first document the customs will clear, you will need to obtain this document as soon as possible.
You can do this preferably after the execution of your sale with your supplier.
- The next step is to initiate the MDA subprocess. This process is crucial when you are importing restricted cargoes due to the special license
- Obtain a Certificate of Conformity
As a requirement, you will need to have a certificate of conformity for all your imports.
The certificate indicates compliance of your cargo with the relevant standards available in Ghana.
It helps reduce the importation of counterfeit goods and that your goods meet the standards set.
- Lastly, you will begin the customs clearance. This is the process of granting permission for the entry of your cargo.
The process involves ensuring that your documents are ok and that you receive the Bill of Entry from the customs.
As the calculations for your duties and taxes are going on, a risk level assessment will take place on your cargo.
If the results of your goods are positive, your goods will proceed into the country.
However, if your goods don’t meet the standards, exit verification will kick off.
This is where your cargo goods are allowed to exit the port of entry and out of the country.
1.4 Important Documents when Importing to Ghana from China
There are some documents that the customs will require from you or your forwarder.
As such, you must prepare these documents well enough for smooth clearance.
These documents include:
• Attested invoice
Your supplier will hand this document to your forwarder.
It indicates the description of your cargo and the quantity.
• Import declaration form
This is a document that your forwarder will hand over to the customs.
It contains information about the goods that you are importing to Ghana.
This information is used by the customs to evaluate the duty to pay on your cargo.
• Customs classification and valuation report (CCVR)
Ghana’s revenue authority will hand your forwarder this document.
Its purpose is to classify and evaluate the goods that you import.
• Various permits and licenses
You can obtain these documents from the relevant bodies depending on the type of the goods that you import.
Remember, in case you want to import restricted goods; you will need these permits for the goods to enter Ghana.
Learn More Here:
Chapter 2: Ghana’s Import Duties and Taxes
The cost of your cargo is not the only prize that you will pay.
There are taxes to pay when you arrive at the point of entry in Accra.
This means that you have to factor these taxes before you start shipping.
Also, as an importer, you need to prepare your customs payment well in advance.
This includes understanding what taxes and duties you will pay.
After all, you don’t want to get into problems with the customs.
Let me take you through these and how they apply to the different imports that you will ship to Ghana from China.
Ghana Revenue Authority
To start with, you need to understand that there are factors that will influence the tax and duty that you will pay.
Any import that you ship to Ghana from China is categorized based on the harmonized code.
This is a customs document that the customs uses to assign codes and categories on the different imports you make.
When your import arrives at the point of entry, the customs assess it to determine the code to assign.
This custom will use this code to determine the taxes and duties you will pay.
2. Valuation and Import Duty Calculation
After determining the code for your cargo, calculation of the taxes starts.
The calculation usually bases the import duty on the CIF value of your import
Here, is a look at the taxes that you will pay on your imports
§ Import duty
You will pay a 5% import duty on these imports:
- Motor vehicles which have an engine capacity of not more than 1900cc.
- Commercial vehicles whose HS code numbers are 8701, 8702, 8704 and 8716.
- Materials meant for use in the manufacture or exploration of natural products.
When you import the following items, you will have to pay a 10% import duty
- Raw materials
- Refrigerators, deep freezers
- Home furnishers like carpets, fans, television sets and crockery
§ Procession fee
This is a fee that you will pay when you import zero-rated cargoes.
You will pay it at 1% of the CIF value.
However, if you are importing goods for educational, agricultural and health use, you will not pay this fee.
§ Examination fee
You will pay a 1% examinations fee of the CIF value when you import used vehicles.
You will pay this on top of the other charges.
However, when you import these vehicles for use in the following area, you will not pay this fee.
- If they are for use by the head of state of Ghana
- Vehicles meant for use by the diplomatic mission.
- Vehicles meant for use for power transmission plants and machinery.
When you are importing goods from China, you will have to pay an ECOWAS levy of 0.5%.
This is a levy paid on all goods originating from outside the ecowas regional block.
§ Import VAT Rate
This is a levy that you pay when you are importing finished pharmaceutical products normally it is at 12.5%.
§ Import Excise Rate
Importing the following items will attract import excise rate at the following percentage of the CIF value.
- Tobacco at 140%
- Beer at 50%
- Imported water including mineral water at 20%.
When you import goods that the Tax Clearance Certificate does not cover, you will have to pay 1% of the CIF value.
You will have to pay this charges and evidence of payment or the TCC shown before the processing of your Bill of Entries.
Lastly, here are some of the goods that you won’t have to pay duty when you import them
- Trade samples that you will re-export
- Aircraft and accessories
- Educational materials meant for learning including cultural and scientific materials.
- Foodstuff meant for human consumption including fish.
- Machinery, plant and equipment and spare parts meant for agricultural use.
- Fishing gear and floats.
Chapter 3: Ocean freight shipping to Ghana from China
Ocean freight provides an opportunity for you to ship a large amount of cargo at a relatively lower price.
Utilizing this mode of shipping will require you to wait a bit longer since it is slower if you compare to other means of shipping to Ghana.
This chapter aims at explaining what to expect when you choose ocean freight for your shipment.
This includes the seaports in Ghana as well as the sea routes that your shipping will involve.
Not to forget the shipping companies that operate from China to Ghana.
3.1. Main Sea Ports in Ghana
There are two main seaports that you can use to ship your cargo from China to Ghana.
Sea ports in Ghana
· TAKORADI HARBOR
You can locate this seaport in the western part of Ghana.
The port’s location in the industrial district of Sekondi-Takoradi makes it an interesting import destination for your cargo.
Another incentive for you to import through this seaport is that handles 20% of all imports to Ghana.
Industries that you can focus your imports here include timber, cocoa processing, plywood, shipbuilding, and railway repair.
With the discovery of oil recently, you can cut a niche of imports for the crude oil industry.
With seaport’s proximity to the railway line, you have an ideal port for importing to areas such as Kumasi and Accra.
· TEMA HARBOR
Another seaport that you can use to import your cargo is the Tema harbor.
You can locate this port in Southeast Ghana along the Gulf of Guinea.
You can conveniently import cargoes such as petroleum products, cement, food items, iron and steel through the port.
Also, not forgetting imports such as aluminum products and textiles which are a specialty of the port.
This port serves as the main port handling cargo imports to Ghana with 80% of these cargo passing through this port.
Currently, the port is undergoing expansion to help it handle cargo efficiently.
This includes installation of cranes, reach- stackers, and ship to shore cranes.
3.2 Sea routes from China to Ghana
These are the routes that your cargo is likely to pass through when shipping from China to Ghana.
Sea route from China to Ghana – Photo Courtesy: Ports.com
· Beijing harbor to the port of Tema
This voyage starts at Beijing harbor heading to the South Atlantic Ocean through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
From there it heads to the North Atlantic Ocean and into the Gulf of Guinea before arriving at the port of Tema.
This journey takes 47 days covering a distance of 11252nm.
· Beijing harbor to the port of Takoradi
This shipment starts at the Beijing harbor heading to the South Atlantic Ocean through the Indian Ocean and China Sea.
From there, it heads to the Gulf of Guinea through the North Atlantic Ocean before arriving at the Port of Takoradi.
This shipment takes 47 days traveling a distance of 11294nm.
· Shenzhen port to the port of Takoradi
This shipment starts at the port of Shenzhen heading to the Atlantic Ocean via the China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
It then heads to the Gulf of Guinea before arriving at the port of Takoradi.
This shipment takes 48 days covering a distance of 11459nm.
· Shenzhen port to the port of Tema
This route starts at Shenzhen port heading to the Atlantic Ocean via the China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
It then proceeds to the Gulf of Guinea before arriving at the port of Tema.
This route covers a distance of 11416nm taking 48 days to arrive at the port of Tema.
3.3 Shipping companies from China to Ghana
Here is a look at some of the shipping companies that your forwarder will use to ship your cargo from China to Ghana.
· China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO)
The headquarters are in Beijing, China and boasts of having 5 of the top 10 biggest container ships in the world.
It has a total capacity of 1.5 million TEUs.
The company has a total of 1114 vessels of which 285 are container ships.
· Evergreen Marine
Evergreen Marine operates a total of 190 vessels which call at 240 ports around the world.
They have a total TUEs of 929,700.
You can locate this company at its headquarters in Taoyuan City, Taiwan.
With Hapag-Lloyd, you can ship your cargo using one of their 175 modern containers.
This company calls at 117 ports globally.
The headquarters of this company is in Hamburg, Germany.
The capacity of this shipping company stands at 916,439 TEUs.
· Hanjin Shipping
Seoul, South Korea is the headquarters of Hanjin Shipping Company which has a total of 170 container and bulk ships.
The capacity of this shipping company is 621243 TEUs.
Chapter 4: Air freight shipping from China to Ghana
With air freight, you can quickly import your cargo to Ghana from China.
Air freight is quite convenient when you are importing small quantities of your cargo or expensive items like gold.
The advantage you have is that your cargo is secure from damages and loss that is a characteristic of ocean freight.
However, with air freight, you are limited to the size of your cargo that you can import.
That coupled with the fact that it is expensive compared to ocean freight limits its use.
However, you can use air freight if you are shipping samples.
You can also use this method of shipping if you want to reduce the lead time for the arrival of your cargo.
In this chapter, I am going to take you through the various aspects of air freight from China to Ghana.
This includes the main airports in Ghana and the best airlines you can use to ship from China.
Let’s have a look.
4.1 Main Airport in Ghana
The main airports that your cargo is likely to pass through include:
Main airports in Ghana
· Kotoka International Airport
This is the largest international airport in Ghana with a capacity to handle large aircraft.
The Ghana airports company limited runs this airport.
You can locate this airport in Accra Ghana which is the capital city of Ghana.
Apart from importing to Accra, you can conveniently import to some areas around Accra.
ThisincludesOsuKlottey, Ablekuma North, Ablekuma South, Ayawaso Central, Ayawaso East and Ayawaso North.
· Kumasi International Airport
This is the second busiest international airport in Ghana.
You can locate this airport in the capital city of the Ashanti region south of Ghana.
Currently, the airport is undergoing an upgrade to be able to handle its customers effectively.
· Takoradi Airport
You can locate this airport in the industrial city of Sekondi-Takoradi.
Importing to this region is essential due to the variety of industries available.
You can, therefore, find a niche for your imports in the following industries timber, cocoa processing, and plywood.
Also, you can ship imports for use in the shipbuilding and crude oil industries.
· Tamale Airport.
If you want to import to the town of Tamale in the northern region of the country, then you need to check at this airport.
4.2 Best Airlines for Shipping from China to Ghana
There are some airlines that you can use to ship your cargo.
Here is a look at some of these airlines.
· Aerogem Aviation
This airline has its headquarters in Kotoka International airport and operates ten fleets around the world.
· Cargolux Airlines
This airline has its headquarters in Sandweiler, Luxembourg.
With a fleet of 26 airlines, it is one of the largest cargo airlines in the world.
· China Airlines
You can locate this airline at its headquarters in Taoyuan International Airport in the Republic of China.
With a fleet of 888 aircraft, you can conveniently ship using this airline from China to Ghana.
· Qatar Airways
The headquarters of this airline is in in the Qatar Airways Tower in Doha.
The airline has a fleet of 220 aircraft which enables you to ship your cargo from China to Ghana.
· Lufthansa Cargo
Another airline that you can use to ship your cargo from China to Ghana is the Lufthansa Cargo.
It has its headquarters in Frankfurt Airport.
You will be able to use one of its 17 aircraft to ship your cargo conveniently.
Chapter 5: Modes of Shipping from China to Ghana
There are a couple of ways that you can choose to ship your cargo from China to Ghana.
This depends on the resources you have, the nature and volume of your cargo.
Also, it will depend on the urgency of your cargo.
This chapter will discuss these modes to give you a clue about the mode of shipping you can choose.
Let’s have a look.
5.1. Door to door shipping from China to Ghana
With the vast business opportunities for the growth of your business, you don’t have to waste time traveling.
You can choose door to door delivery for the shipment of your cargo.
Door to door shipment is where your forwarder takes care of your cargo from your supplier’s premises to you.
What happens is that you conduct your supplier requesting for goods.
You then contact your forwarder to assist you to ship your cargo.
Door to door shipping
Once your cargo is ready, your forwarder will load your cargo from the supplier’s premises and ship them.
Your forwarder will be responsible for the customs clearance both at the port of exit and your port of destination.
At your port of destination, your forwarder will arrange for further transportation to your premises.
As you can see, this is not a mode you can use if you are new to the importation business.
One needs to have established forwarders and suppliers in China to facilitate this process.
5.2. FCL Shipping from China to Ghana
To minimize your shipping cost, you may consider shipping all your imports at once.
You can achieve this by using a full container load where you ship your cargo in one container.
This container is exclusively for your cargo.
What happens is that your forwarder will drop a container at your supplier’s premises for loading.
After loading, your forwarder will secure your cargo and ship to your destination.
There are two ways in which you can load your cargo.
You have the live loading where you have around 3 hrs to load your container before shipping.
Another way is the drop and pack method where you are given up to a week to load your cargo.
With FCL, your cargo will likely to arrive faster and in a secure method.
And by the way, you don’t have to fill the whole container if you are not able to.
Your container will be shipped with only your cargo even though you will pay for the whole container.
5.3. LCL Shipping from China to Ghana
If you are shipping small or medium quantities of goods, FCL shipping will be costly to you.
However, by shipping through LCL, you can still minimize your shipping cost.
LCL shipping is where your forwarder consolidates your cargo together with those of others for shipping.
The other cargoes need to be heading in the same direction as your cargo.
What you will pay for under LCL is the shipping space for your cargo.
The drawback of using this mode is that your cargo will delay due to the unloading of the other cargoes.
Also, the consolidating of your cargo increases the chances for the damaging of your cargo.
As though that is not enough, your cargo may get lost during shipping.
This is so especially during the unloading of cargoes during shipment.
5.4. Roll on Roll Off Shipping from China to Ghana
The increased usage of motor vehicles and like equipment creates a niche that you can explore.
But how do you import such goods from China to Ghana?
By using Roll on Roll off shipping, you are now able to import this cargo to Ghana.
Roll on Roll off refers to the shipping of wheeled vehicles using special cargo ships.
RO RO Shipping
These ships have ramps to enable your cargo to load and unload safely.
5.5. Express shipping from China to Ghana
When it comes to Express Shipping, you can import small quantities of your cargo from China to Ghana.
The advantage of using this mode of shipping is that you will have your cargo in Ghana much faster.
You can conveniently use this mode if you are importing samples from China to Ghana or you are importing expensive cargoes.
However, you can also maximize on express shipping to reduce the demands from your clients.
This is so especially if you have imported using ocean freight and it will take time for your cargo to arrive.
Chapter 6: Shipping Cost from China to Ghana
When it comes to calculating your shipping cost, there are several factors that you will need to factor in.
Some of these factors are predictable while others are unpredictable.
In this section, I am going to take you through these factors and ways in which you can minimize your shipping cost.
Let’s read along to understand
Here are factors that affect your shipping cost include
· Port of Destination
The distance between your port of origin and port of destination affects your shipping cost.
Ports that are far away from each other tend to cost more during shipping as opposed to ports that are close.
· Fuel Price Fluctuation
The price of fuel keeps changing during the shipping process.
This is due to the changes in the global oil prizes.
A good forwarder will always inform you in advance of any change in fuel price so that you can prepare.
· Terminal Fees
Another cost that will affect your shipping cost is the terminal fees.
They are fees that you will pay to the port through your forwarder for docking of the ship carrying your cargo.
These charges vary from one port to another.
• Season of Shipment
Shipping during off-peak season implies that not many importers are shipping their cargoes.
The effect is that the shipping companies will lower their charges meaning that you will ship at a lower price.
This is different when you are shipping during the peak season.
You will pay a higher charge since many importers want to ship their cargoes.
In China, the off-peak season is around March to September.
Another advantage of shipping during off-peak is that you will have enough space to ship your cargo.
• Trading Currency
The currency that you use as a mode of payment will affect your shipping cost.
A weak currency will mean that you will pay more as it changes on the global market.
A strong currency is rigid as such it can maintain value for a while meaning that you are likely to pay the agreed amount.
Always use a currency that is strong when it comes to shipping from China to Ghana
Having had a look at factors that affect your shipping cost, as an importer, it is important to reduce your shipping cost. But how do you this?
Here are ways in which this is possible.
1) Shop for a Convenient Forwarder
Before you start shipping, look for a forwarder that will handle your goods at favorable rates.
This includes comparing the different charges of freight forwarders and negotiating with them.
This can assist you in finding a forwarder that will fit your financial strength while offering quality services.
2) Consolidate your Cargo Before Shipping
Avoid shipping in bits because every shipping you make attracts a shipping cost which when you add might be more.
Always ship in bulk at once to avoid paying high shipping cost.
This will reduce your shipping cost in the long-term
3) Use Packaging Material Provided by your Forwarder
Perhaps this is something that you don’t know, but the size of your packaging material affects your cost.
Remember the weight of your cargo is a determinant to your shipping cost which includes the weight of the packaging material.
As such, always use the packaging material that is provided by your forwarder since they are international standards.
4) Include the Shipping Cost to the Prize of Your Cargo
As a business person, you don’t want to carry the burden of paying for some costs.
You have to pass them down to the final consumer of your import.
Such cost that you can pass includes the shipping cost.
You can include this cost on the selling price of your cargo thereby reducing your shipping cost.
Chapter 7: FAQ Guide when Shipping from China to Ghana
Having read this guide, you have understood how simple it is to ship from China to Ghana.
However, I know there may be a part that you need clarification.
Air China Cargo
Unfortunately, I cannot answer you right away.
But don’t worry, have a look at some of the FAQ our customers inquire from us first.
1. Why should I import to Ghana?
Ghana as a developing country relies heavily on imports.
As such, you there is an assurance of high return son your imports.
This can be as high as 30% of the total cost.
Another incentive is the fact that there is a diversity of the imports that you can ship.
This assures that you are in business throughout.
2. Can I import weapons and ammunition from China to Ghana?
According to the customs law, weapons and ammunition belong to the restricted items.
As such, you will need a special permit to import these imports.
3. How can I get information concerning custom laws and procedure
You can access this information from different sources including pamphlets, stakeholders’ meetings and online.
4. How long does it take to ship my cargo from China to Ghana?
This will depend on the method of shipping that you will use.
When using air freight, your cargo will arrive quickly in a matter of a few days.
However, if you choose to use ocean freight, your cargo might take a while to arrive in Ghana from China.
This can be in the range of one month or more.
5. What will happen if my goods don’t arrive as per the estimated time?
The estimated time of shipping is not the actual time.
Other factors may cause delays in your shipping.
This includes delays at the port, change of route, ocean tides and storms.
As such, it is important to give time over the estimated time for your cargo to arrive at your port of destination.
On top of these, always keep in touch with your forwarder to inform you of your cargo.
Also, you can track your cargo online.
In case you are not satisfied with these feedbacks, you can get in touch with us, and we will be glad to answer you appropriately.
Ghana presents a perfect business opportunity for your importation business.
As such you need to focus on expanding your business.
That’s why you need a forwarder who is reliable and will be with you every step of your growth.
A forwarder who will meet your specification.
That forwarder you can find at BanSar logistics.
At BanSar, we offer quality forwarding services that are of world-class standards.
Contact us today and let us help you grow your importation business.
Wait a minute – don’t leave before you read these:
- Incoterms 2010: The Definitive Guide
- Importing from China: The Definitive Guide
- Investment Guide for Doing Business in Ghana