I recently had the privilege of sending a beautifully restored Jaguar to the United Kingdom. The man who had lovingly restored the car watched my staff gently push the vehicle into the shipping container and begin to secure it. As the container doors closed I saw a brief wave of anxiety flash over his face, as this beautiful vehicle passed into the care of the shipping line and out of our control. There is a strange bond that develops between a man (usually, but not always, a man) and a vehicle. After many years in the international moving industry I have come to respect this bond and have developed a little formula that I use when providing advice on sending vehicles overseas. There are also particular considerations to and from South Africa.
The three key considerations are
1. Import regulations
2. Financial viability
3. Emotional attachment.
The Jag was a no brainer. The regulations were well researched and these aspects mostly organised before it came into our care, it was a very valuable vehicle, and the owner was in love. If you let the third consideration take over the first two, it can be an expensive bureaucratic nightmare, and you will rue the day that you ever embarked upon the exercise. Following is my wisdom, for what it is worth, on sending vehicles between Australia and South Africa.
Importing Vehicles into Australia
Before you send a vehicle into Australia you must have a vehicle import approval. Do not let the vehicle leave South Africa without this unless you have large piles of money that you want to give to a bond store operator like myself. For the application forms go to http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/ and click on ‘vehicle imports'. The main purpose of the import approval is to check if the vehicle is compliant with Australian standards. If you do not get an import permit the best case scenario is that you will have to pay some storage before it comes through, the worst case is that they can order your vehicle for re-export or destruction; yes, destruction. Either way it will cost you thousands in storage fees while you work out your permits.
The magic formula for costing your vehicle move is: shipping costs + duties and taxes + relative loss.
1. Shipping costs vary greatly so these are just ballpark kind of figures. The most economical is if you are already sending your household effects in a 20ft container and you can upgrade to a 40 ft container and include the vehicle. It may add another $3,000 to $4,000 to the shipping costs. In a sole use container it can be about $7,000 to $8,000. It is cheaper to send a vehicle as non-containerised roll on roll off (RO RO), but it is not recommended by many international movers. South African ports, in particular, are known to be careless with vehicles in their care.
2. Duties and Taxes: Every country has their hand out when vehicles enter, and Australia is no exception. Many of my clients find it worthwhile to import vehicles. However, the taxes can make importing vehicles prohibitive, especially vehicles that attract luxury car tax. I recently had a client trying to import a valuable vehicle and my broker Cargo Network International, did the following calculations, which proved it not to be a viable exercise:
Customs Value(CV): $100,000
Import Duty @ 10%of CV: $10,000
International transport and insurance (T&I): $2,000
Sub Total Value: $112,000
GST (10% of Value of Taxable Importation (VOTI)): $11,200
Sub Total Value $123,200
Luxury Car Tax (LCT) = (Sub-Total Value - 57180.00): $66,020
LCT Payable = (66020 x 10/11 x 0.33): $19,806
TOTAL PAYABLE (Duty + GST + LCT): $41,006
As you can see, if you can fathom this, the tax keeps getting accumulated on the tax. You will need to take into account that high value new cars purchased in Australia (above $57,180) are also subject to luxury car tax so they are expensive to purchase within Australia. With the shipping costs the $112,000 vehicle cost around $157,000.
3. Relative Loss: You need to research what the car sells for in South Africa and what it will cost in Australia to buy a suitable vehicle for your requirements. A popular site for second hand private vehicle sales in Australia is http://www.carsguide.com.au/ or http://www.tradingpost.com.au/. For new cars you can use a broker like http://www.aussiecarbrokers.com.au/.
If you have worked through the first two factors, then and only then, consider that it may be a comfort for you to have your vehicle with you in a strange new land. These things can really matter in adjusting, but not that much if you are broke and stressed. Your money and sanity may be more of a comfort.
If you have done all the sums and sought a quotation on the shipping and advice on duty, and have decided to send your vehicle, the last thing you should do is clean it like it has been contaminated by invisible radioactive material. They say no man is an island, but Australia is, and consequently has spared itself of a lot of the diseases that are in the rest of the world, particularly in relation to the cattle industry. It is a really good idea to check out the AQIS website (www.aqis.gov.au) when shipping anything to Australia.
Exporting vehicles to South Africa
So you are thinking about taking her back to the homeland as a souvenir of your time in Oz? It can be worth it; often it is not. But here is the deal. We may as well use the same formula:
1. Import regulations
2. Financial Viability
3. Emotional Attachment.
Rolland Pucher from Roebuck International Freight in South Africa has kindly helped me with much of the following information.
1. Import regulations
When importing into South Africa you will need a letter of authority (LOA) from the NRCS and an import permit. You can get more details as http://www.nrcs.org.za/. In the search facility type ‘vehicles and components letter of authority' and you will come up with an information page with forms and contacts.
If you are a returning South African resident, you must comply with all four of the following to be able to import the vehicle duty and VAT free:
1. The vehicle is owned and used for 12 months (registered in exporter's name)
2. The owner originally emigrated from South Africa
3. The owner obtained permanent residency status overseas
4. The owner is returning to South Africa permanently
2. Financial viability
Again we use the same formula: Shipping costs + duties and taxes + relative loss. For the first two points I will use a test case. Recently one of my clients asked me to investigate the possibility of sending a Honda Odyssey back to the South Africa and asked me to investigate. Roland did the sums for me. The vehicle was valued at R120,000. A 35% depreciation would be applied if owned under two years, bringing the value to R78,000 for dutiable purposes. The VAT was calculated at R15,360, general duty R2,106 and advelorem duty R2,846. With the additional shipping costs of around $3,000 the client decided it was not worth it.
Again it is worthwhile looking at what your car would sell for on http://www.carsguide.com.au/ or http://www.tradingpost.com.au/. Then check out similar websites in South Africa for the purchase price.
A word on insurance.
Before I sign off it is important to add a word on insurance. A lot of companies, like my own, sell insurance for vehicles moving internationally. It is important to read the product disclosure statement before making a decision on insurance. There are a few things for which to keep an eye out. Some insurance policies will not cover vehicles unless they are in closed containers, so roll on roll off is excluded. People often want to know if they can put things in the vehicle. The general rule is no, but some carriers will allow things like bedding and soft objects that will not act as a missile in the vehicle or be themselves damaged due to insufficient packaging, so don't forget to raise these issues with your shipper. Make sure you sign off on the condition report before it goes in the container and don't forget you can usually also insure for the shipping costs as well.
Christine Chehade, who holds a first class honours degree from Griffith University, is director of Ocean Sky International and a specialist in international moving and logistics.