Note: It is important that you initially enquire with your respective freight forwarder on what items are prohibited/restricted on their carriers (both air & sea) to each country destination. There may also be additional documentation, duties and specific licenses required for certain goods. For items, less than 10kg it may be best to use a reliable parcel delivery service rather than a freight forwarder.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. Bordered by South Africa in the south, Botswana to the west and southwest, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique to the east and northeast. Top imports into Zimbabwe are mineral fuels (oil included), cereal, machinery and vehicles.
How long does it take for goods to arrive?
For most countries in Africa, transportation by sea freight usually takes between 3-6 weeks depending on the type of service provided (e.g. door-to-door or door-to-port) and the distance between the origin and destination of goods. As Zimbabwe is a landlocked country, sea freight arrives outside the nation before making its way through road and rail transport. The port of Beira (Mozambique) is the major gateway for sea freight destined for Zimbabwe.
Air freight takes between 2-10 days, hinging on whether an express or economy service is selected as well as the type of delivery (door-to-door, door-to-airport etc). Flights from UK to the cities of Harare and Bulawayo are relatively frequent leading to deliveries to these locations arriving faster than others.
How much would it cost to send goods?
Again, this largely depends firstly on the type of transport mode chosen for shipment. As Air freight is much faster than sea. This is reflected in prices. Type of service and destination also play a significant factor in price charged. A door to port service will have a lower collection rate than a door to door however you will have to get an agent in Zimbabwe to arrange custom clearance and delivery to your final destination. Destinations closer to either Air or sea ports will attract lower charge per kg, as it takes less mileage to get goods to final point.
What can you send?
Most of the restrictions and controls in place are done in the interest of the Zimbabwean public. Some controls are meant to protect the environment against the destruction of faun, flora and extinction of endangered species. Among prohibited items include flick knives/lock blades and Skin lightening creams containing hydroquinone and mercury. Restricted items which may be common with businesses include agricultural produce, plant and wildlife products. Check the full link of prohibited and restricted items on the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority website.
What documents do I need?
Firstly, parcels should be labelled (ideally each within the consignment) clearly. Addressing parcels to Zimbabwe is relatively straightforward. Documents required for shipments usually include:
- A customs invoice/ packing list form
- Air Waybill (Air Freight)
You can find further information on exporting at the UK Department of International Trade’s guide: embargoes and sanctions on Zimbabwe.