Shipping a car to Nigeria

Image credit: Unsplash Nigeria is the most populous and the largest economy in Africa. It is also the third-highest importer of US cars in the world, after UAE and Mexico. Thousands of cars are shipped from the US to Lagos, the largest city and chief port in Nigeria, every year. Have you also been looking […]

Image credit: Unsplash

Nigeria is the most populous and the largest economy in Africa. It is also the third-highest importer of US cars in the world, after UAE and Mexico. Thousands of cars are shipped from the US to Lagos, the largest city and chief port in Nigeria, every year.

Have you also been looking for ways of shipping a car to Nigeria? If yes, then you have come to the right place. This article covers everything that you should know about shipping a car to Nigeria. From shipping costs to the time taken, all your queries about international cars shipping from the USA to Nigeria will be answered. So, read on.

  • Why Nigeria?
  • Overseas car shipping methods
  • Documents needed
  • Cost of shipping a car to Nigeria
  • Transit time to Nigeria
  • Age of car than can be exported to Nigeria
  • US ports shipping to Nigeria
  • Buying and shipping a car from USA to Nigeria
  • Things to keep in mind before exporting a car to Nigeria

Why Nigeria?

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Due to a lack of domestic vehicle production, Nigeria is highly dependent on importing cars, especially from the US to meet its local demands. Passenger vehicles made up for the second-largest imported item in 2014, after petroleum and bituminous materials.

As per the National Bureau of Statistics, between October 2018 and September 2019, Nigeria spent a whopping N1.08 trillion on importing used cars. Going by these numbers, there is no other country better to export cars than Nigeria.

What are the overseas car shipping methods you can opt for?

Essentially, there are three ways you can ship a car overseas. RORO shipping and Shipping Containers involves sending the car via the sea route. If you want to send the car via air, you can opt for Air Freight.

RORO Shipping

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Roll On Roll Off or RORO shipping to Nigeria is one of the most cost-effective and, therefore, the most popular methods of shipping a car to Nigeria. The car is driven onto the ship and then secured with clamps, straps, and ratchets. Cars that are in running condition are best suited for this shipping method. If the car cannot be driven and needs to be towed onto the ship, you may incur additional charges.

Car Shipping Containers

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Using shipping containers is another popular method of shipping a car to Nigeria. It involves shipping the car in a large protected metal container. This method of shipping cars overseas is costlier than the RORO method, but it is comparatively safer too. The heavier your vehicle, the higher the shipping costs.

Air Freight

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Shipping your car aboard a freight aircraft is another way to ship your car overseas. However, this is an extremely costly method of shipping, and in some cases, may cost you more than the cost of the car itself. Although this method is the speediest and the safest, the exorbitant costs make it quite an unpopular choice when it comes to shipping a car to Nigeria.

Considering the costs, shipping a car to Nigeria through the RORO or Shipping Container method is the optimum choice. However, for those on a tight budget and looking for cheap car shipping to Nigeria, the RORO shipping method is perhaps the most affordable.

What are the documents you will need for shipping a car to Nigeria?

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You will need a lot of documents for shipping a car to Nigeria. The good news is that, if you choose the right shipping company, they will handle all the documentation for you. However, you will need to submit a few documents to your shipping company timely for them to go through the customs procedures.

You will need to submit:

  • The original Certificate of Title and two notarized copies of the same.
  • Depending on the port of origin, you may need to submit the Bill of Sale or a notarized copy of the same.
  • If your car is brand-new, you may need to submit the original Certificate of Origin.
  • A Shipper Export Declaration
  • A copy of your US passport
  • A Declaration of Dangerous Goods

What is the cost of shipping car to Nigeria?

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So, how much does it cost to ship a car internationally? There is a huge variation between international automobile shipping costs. If you take the sea route the cost could vary between $700 and $7,000. However, air transport is far more expensive than sea transport and may cost you anywhere between $5,000 to $40,000.

Shipping costs also depend on several factors. The first factor that determines the cost are the dimensions and weight of your car. The larger and heavier your car is, the costlier it will be to ship overseas. Shipping a small car to Nigeria will cost you a lot less than shipping a truck or an SUV.

The method of transportation you choose to ship the car and the destination port in Nigeria will also have an impact on the overall costs.

The location of your car in the US and how far it is from a major seaport will also have some bearing on the overall costs. The cost of shipping a car from Los Angeles to Nigeria will be different than shipping a car from New York City to Nigeria.

The cost of shipping a car from the US to Nigeria is on the higher side because Nigeria is one of the expensive countries to ship a car to. In fact, shipping goods to Nigeria by sea from the US is one of the costliest in the world. The distance between the US and Nigeria is a major reason behind these high shipping costs. Another reason is the lack of accessible ports in Nigeria.

Even though Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, it has very few functional ports. Whatever ports are available are quite inefficient, and the slow pace of inspections and offloading add to the congestion and bottlenecks at these ports.

What is the estimated transit time for shipping a car to Nigeria?

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The average transit time for shipping a car from the US to Nigeria can vary between 2 to 4 weeks. The time will also depend upon the distance between the ports in the US and those in Nigeria. For instance, shipping between Baltimore Maryland US and Tin Can Island port in Lagos Nigeria takes between 2 to 3 weeks. However, shipping a car from Freeport Houston Texas to Lagos Nigeria will take 4 weeks or more.

If you are wondering how long to ship a car from the USA to Nigeria, you will need to consider the distance between the ports. In case your car is farther away from the nearest seaport, you will also need to take into account the time taken to deliver your car to the seaport.

What year of car can be shipped to Nigeria?

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15 years is the age limit for cars imported to Nigeria. Any car, van, or pickup truck that is older than 15 years will not be allowed entry by the Nigeria Customs Service.

If you are shipping a car to Nigeria, check its manufacturing date to ensure that it is less than 15 years old.

Which US ports ship to Nigeria?

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If you are looking for US ports shipping to Nigeria, here is a list:

1. Baltimore, Maryland

2. Boston, Massachusetts

3. Freeport, Texas

4. Galveston, Texas

5. Jacksonville, Florida

6. Newark, New Jersey

7. New York (NYCT)

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9. Providence, Rhode Island

10. Savannah, Georgia

11. Wilmington, Delaware

How to buy cars from USA to Nigeria?

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For someone in Nigeria buying a car in the US may seem like a daunting process. However, it is a lot easier than it seems.

By following these simple steps below, you can buy a car and ship it to Nigeria.

1) Register with a car auction site

There are many car auction sites available on the Internet. You can register on any of the auction sites, but Copart, AuctionExport, and IAAI are the most popular. In fact, many car dealers in Nigeria buy cars from these auction sites and then sell them in the country. You can choose any auction site of your choice, but be careful of the fraudulent ones. Ensure to check the authenticity of the website before registering.

Registering on these car auction sites is also not very difficult. You may need to enter your details and upload certain documents, such as your Nigerian ID and your driver’s license, and you are done. Make sure to provide only valid IDs during the registration process to prevent problems in the future.

Most auction sites offer free registration. You get access to ongoing auctions and online bids after completing the registration process. However, to participate in online bids you may need to pay a fee.

2) Pick your car

After registration, go through the list of the cars available on the website and take your pick. Usually, these websites have a pretty good collection. From SUVs to sports cars, you can buy all sorts of cars on these websites.

Extremely high tariffs in Nigeria often prevent people from buying a new car. Therefore, the used car market is flourishing. In fact, used cars make up 95% of Nigeria’s automobile market.

When going through the list of cars on the auction sites, look for words such as “clean title” and “salvaged.”

Salvaged cars are those that have been involved in some accident. These sites also allow you to choose the level of salvage. The more damaged the vehicle, the cheaper it comes. Clean title cars are usually the ones without any dents or damages, and are of course, costlier than salvaged cars.

Look for more details on the car such as primary damage, secondary damage, odometer, and so on before placing the order.

3) Place the order.

After you have searched and found your ideal car, you can proceed to place an order online. If you have the budget, you can click “Buy” and place the order. Those who have a tighter budget may choose to wait for a live bid. If you are among the highest bidders, the car may well be yours.

4) Pay for the car

Making payment for the car online is pretty seamless and can be done through all major debit or credit cards, or wire transfers. Many auction sites also accept alternative payment options such as Western Union and Money Gram.

5) Ship the car from the US to Nigeria

Now that you have bought a car, you need to think about shipping to Africa. Here is where you will need the help of an international shipping company, specializing in shipping cars to West Africa.

There are many companies that ship cars internationally. A quick Internet search could help you come up with a list. AFL is the best international car shipping company in the US and can help you import any vehicle, container, construction, or mining equipment to Nigeria. AFL will handle all the documentation and customs requirements and get your car safely to its destination.

What are the things to keep in mind before shipping a car to Nigeria?

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Before you export cars from the USA to Nigeria, you should be aware of the regulations stipulated by Nigerian authorities. The guidelines offer insight into what is allowed and what is not.

First of all, ensure that any car that you are exporting to Nigeria is less than 15 years old from its manufacturing date. Nigerian Customs Service does not allow residents to import any vehicle that has surpassed this age limit.

Importing right-hand drive cars is also prohibited in Nigeria. According to the National Road Traffic Regulation of 2012, the country prohibits the registration or licensing of any right-hand drive vehicle.

Check the price of shipping before exporting a car to Nigeria. You may want to consider the distance between the car and the nearest port, the distance between the port in the US and Nigeria, among others to calculate your overall cost.

AFL is one of the most affordable shipping companies for all your car shipping needs from the US to Nigeria. If you are considering shipping a car to Nigeria, request a quote today.


When it comes to shipping a car to Nigeria, doing it on your own can be tough. You need to handle all the documentation, inspections, and complicated customs procedures. However, working with an international shipping company such as AFL makes your shipping experience smoother and hassle-free. At AFL, the quote is personalized to cater to your specific international car shipping needs. Request a quote today.


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