Shipping Car From USA To Benin

Shipping Car From USA to Benin With AFL


When shipping cars to West Africa, it is required to understand the laws and regulations, as each country could be different regarding its customs. The method to ship, your budget and your preference can be significantly influenced by where your shipment is destined to. But with AFL, you won’t have to worry about searching for each region’s requisite demands, as we specialize in shipping to 157 destinations globally. With our reliable partners assisting us with the shipping process in West African countries like Benin Togo, Nigeria, and Ghana, we assure to handle everything ranging from your documentation and custom process to shipping your car and dropping it at your doorstep.

Overview of shipping car from USA to Benin

Formerly a part of the Dahomey Kingdom, Benin is a West African Country bordering Nigeria and Ghana. A hub of diverse ethnicities, cultures, temples, wildlife, and landscapes ranging from grasslands to deserts, this country lies between ancient & modern civilization. Its national language is French, with other languages spoken in a minority.

Benin’s economy relies on agriculture like exporting palm oil, cashew, shea butter & cotton. The country also has a booming industry of used vehicles, which it imports from the USA and all over Europe to sell to other West African countries. On average, Benin imports more than 25,000 vehicles per month. Almost 80%-90% of these vehicles make their way to neighbouring Nigeria.

Cotonou is the principal seaport of Benin with a capacity of handling 8,000,000 annual freight and has a multipurpose terminal for handling RoRo shipping, bulk, and container storage.

Available options to ship a car to Cotonou, Benin

After verifying the information of a country’s main seaports, the next step is to prepare your car so you can have more options to select a shipping method of your preference. 

Before you ship your vehicle to another country, you should ask your mechanic to check the vehicle. For instance, your mechanic can ensure that the brakes are working properly. Any damaged parts can cause a hindrance to the vehicle’s functionality. 

Also, make sure to drain the gas tank, so it is only 1/4th full for security measures. Now you can choose a method of your preference for shipping a car to Cotonou:

RoRo shipping

If you are shipping a car to Cotonou, Benin, from the USA on a limited budget, the RoRo shipping method is the best choice. Usually, when importing cars to Cotonou, people choose to ship only one vehicle, which is driven on the deck of a ship, from the origin port, tied securely, and covered with a trampoline. After reaching the Cotonou Port, it is driven off. 

RoRo Shipping to Benin

It is the most common method for shipping cars to West Africa as it saves costs and time. As it doesn’t require cranes to load the vehicle on the deck, it saves transit time. Also, it’s more like a door-to-door service as you can drive the car off the deck and reach your home without you having to pay for extra transport.

Container shipping

This shipping method has one advantage over RoRo shipping. You can also send your goods when shipping cars to West Africa. vehicle. Nonetheless, it could be an expensive method to use as it requires leasing a container to secure your vehicle & goods. There are 20ft and 40ft containers that the shipping company usually offers. You can choose one according to the quantity & dimensions of your goods or vehicles. 

When shipping cars to West Africa with container shipping, you get two options:

FCL or Private containers

Short for Full Container Load, this method includes leasing the whole container for your vehicle & goods. You get your own space by choosing this mode of transport. Moreover, your vehicle is also more secure inside a closed container. It is also speedier.

Hiring a full container to ship to Cotonou can be pretty expensive if under budget constraints. The addition of goods & vehicles will increase the weight of the container, resulting in incurring more cost.

Container Shipping to Benin

LCL or Shared Containers

Short for Less than Container Load, this method requires you to share your space in the container with other people’s goods. 

You are paying for the space occupied by your vehicle or goods instead of paying for the whole container. It will save on cost.

Although this method is cheaper, it has a significant drawback in the form of waiting time. Your car or goods won’t be shipped unless other people’s freight fills the container capacity.

The Best method for shipping car from USA to Benin

Both RoRo shipping & Container shipping have their pros and cons, but they both can work great according to the size of your vehicle, how many goods you want to carry alongside it, and how speedier you want the shipping process to be. 

Cost of shipping cars

The cost of shipping cars to West Africa can vary because of the mode of transport and other unavoidable factors. Nonetheless, the average cost of shipping a car to Cotonou can range from $1190 to $6500.

Customs Duty

In Benin, you pay tax on imported cars which varies according to the age and engine power of the car. However, there is a duty exemption for diplomatic or temporary admission vehicles. If there is no exemption, the Benin Customs will apply approximately 50% tax on the CIF value of the car.

Requirements for shipping a vehicle to Cotonou

Like any other country, Benin also has a list of prohibitions and restrictions on imports, which are subject to change. Failure to adapt to the customs rules could result in a penalty. Moreover, the authorities can ban the items & vehicles from entering the country altogether. This could result in both a personal and monetary loss. To save oneself from this risk, it’s advisable to take the help of a reliable shipping company. You should check the customs website of a specific country before shipping vehicles, household items, or personal effects. 

Here we have included a list of things whose import in Benin is restricted or prohibited:

Restrictions on import of vehicles & goods in Benin

Benin allows the import of only one car per person. However, there are no restrictions on the age of used vehicles. Furthermore, the Bill of Lading must clearly show the chassis & engine number, cubic capacity, year of manufacture, make & model of a vehicle. 

You can import other items such as tobacco, cigarettes, perfumes & cologne in a limited quantity. You need a permission certificate to import larger quantities of these items.

Prohibited imports in Benin

Imports of certain items are prohibited in Benin, which cannot at any cost pass the borders of the country. 

The prohibited items list includes illegal drugs, hazardous or toxic materials, animals and pets, asbestos, precious metals and stones, ivory, furs, gambling devices, counterfeit money, and pornographic or obscene materials.

Documentation process for shipping car from USA to Benin

While filling out the forms for shipping documentation, you should carefully read all the details. You can take the help of your shipping company about specific clauses, or you can contact the Benin Embassy for further advice. 

For your comfort, we have compiled the list of the necessary documentation needed for importing vehicles in Benin:

For motor vehicles:

  • Non-Sale Agreement Certification.
  • Title of ownership and original vehicle registration.
  • Original bill of sale.
  • Bill of Lading/freight invoice from your shipping company.
  • Certificate of origin.

Factors influencing the cost of shipping car from USA to Benin

Cost to ship a car to Benin from usa

There are many factors to consider before shipping a car to Benin, which could result in causing a delay in shipment or increasing the cost of transport. 

Peak season

The high demand for shipping in a specific season can result in a shortage of ample containers or vessels. This can result in fewer shipping methods to choose from and a high shipping cost.

Distance between ports

Another factor to consider which could increase the shipping cost is the distance between the origin and destination port. The larger it will be, the higher the shipping cost will be.

How to find the right company for shipping cars to West Africa?

If you are looking for a seamless shipping experience where you will be provided with door-to-door service, then you are at the right place. With AFL, you won’t have to worry about your budget or fear that your priorities will be neglected because we care about keeping your preferences at the forefront by providing you with the best possible quote in the market. 

We understand that the barriers to shipping a car or goods can turn a perfect experience into a horrible one. But you need not fear it because we won’t leave you to handle everything yourself. We have experience in handling scalable shipping, and we also consider the language barrier of each country. So, together with our French-speaking agents at Benin, we will take care of your transport, documentation, and customs clearance process in minimum time.

We empathize with your busy schedule and understand that you can’t be everywhere all the time, so to relieve you, we can handle door-to-door transport of your car with no upfront charges. Our agents will pick up the vehicle you wish to ship from your doorstep in the USA and deliver it the same way to your house in Benin. 

You can also reach out to us if you have any shipping queries. Our customer service representatives are available 24/7.

To get a free quote, kindly click here!


Shipping car from USA to Benin can be a cumbersome experience if one is unfamiliar with the countries’ customs laws, and there is also a language barrier to consider. These laws are subject to change, and even a single possibility of a missed document, wrong information, or import of a prohibited item can incur a heavy penalty or a court case in some scenarios. 

Furthermore, there is also the potential risk of your vehicle being used for illegal activities as the rate of smuggled used cars from Benin to Nigeria is very high.

So, it is always preferable to hire a reliable and trustworthy shipping company to help with shipping your goods or vehicles.

FAQs about shipping cars to West Africa

How much time will it take to ship a car to Cotonou, Benin?

It will take an average of 20-30 days for a vehicle to reach Cotonou Port in Benin under normal conditions.

Can I ship a leased car to Benin?

You must check with your lender to know if they allow you to ship your car to another country or not because a majority of them don’t want to risk it.

Is purchasing Marine Insurance necessary for shipping a car to Cotonou?

We suggest purchasing Marine Insurance for your vehicle because in case it gets damaged due to a hurricane or some other outside factor during shipment, you will be able to claim the loss.


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