Shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa

Shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa with AFL


Shipping cars to West Africa requires an understanding of the region and adherence to its countries’ current customs rules and regulations. If you are shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa, you would require the assistance of a shipping company as taking care of the paperwork on your own could become a hassle. If you are unfamiliar with the current laws, AFL can assist you with customs clearance and documentation. Our company specializes in sending vehicles and goods throughout West Africa with its shipping partners worldwide. We ship to all West African regions like Ghana, Togo, Senegal, and Nigeria and can provide you with a memorable shipping experience.

Introduction to Sierra Leone, West Africa

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country situated on the West Coast of Africa, bordering Liberia and Guinea. This country has seen a massive recovery since 2002 after the civil war destroyed its economy in the past. 

Sierra Leone has a free economy that relies primarily on exporting diamonds, titanium & aluminium ore and rough wood. Also, agriculture accounts for 58% of the country’s economy. 

Sierra Leone is a trade partner of the US and enjoys a bilateral relationship with the country. It imports cars, machinery, poultry meat, and packaged medicaments from the US. Freetown is the capital and port city of Sierra Leone. It is rapidly urbanizing and accounts for 30% of the country’s GDP.. 

Popular ports for shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa

There are several ports in Sierra Leone, but the primary port location is in the busiest part of Freetown. It is named after the city and acts as the most crucial entry point in the country’s trade. The Port of Freetown (Queen Elizabeth II Quay) handles approximately 82,000t of exports and 650,000 imports annually. It also supports RoRo and container shipping.

Other major seaports include:

Popular ports for shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa
  • Pepel.
  • Sherbro Island.

Methods of shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa

There are two standard ways that you can use for shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa. These methods are usually used by shipping companies worldwide because of their accessibility. You can choose one of them according to your shipping requirements.

RoRo shipping

RoRo is the easiest, quickest, and most economical method of shipping. The vehicles need to be operational to drive on the carrier’s deck. Further, they are secured on the ship’s deck and rolled off once they reach the destination port. The main advantage of using RoRo is that you can ship as many cars and heavy equipment as you want.

Container shipping

Container shipping will provide more security if you ship a luxury car and goods to Sierra Leone. You can easily send other personal or household items alongside your vehicle. The shipping company will provide you with a 20ft or a 40ft container, depending on the size and the number of items you wish to ship. However, container shipping is more expensive than RoRo because it requires you to pay for the loading/unloading and container costs. There are further two shipping options in container transport:

Private shipping

Private shipping or Full Container Load involves leasing a container for your exclusive use. This is by far the most expensive shipping method as you’ll have to pay for renting the whole container. You can ship as many goods and cars as the capacity of the container allows you.

Shared shipping

Shared shipping or Less than Container Load involves sharing a container with another person’s belongings. The good part is that you won’t have to pay for the whole container as you share it with other people. So, this shipping method will cost you less. However, the container will only depart when it becomes full, so it may take time before your shipment reaches Sierra Leone.

Requirements for shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa

Before shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa, you must prepare your vehicle or other belongings. Pack your items carefully and have a thorough inspection of your vehicle by your mechanic. You must also ensure that your car’s gas tank is only ¼ th full. In addition, don’t place anything inside the vehicle except a spare tire or jack.

Customs & duty

You have to adhere to specific customs rules and regulations in Sierra Leone to avoid unnecessary delays.

The customs in Sierra Leone calculate the excise tax based on the tariff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In turn, ECOWAS is calculated as per the classification of goods. 

If you are shipping a car older than ten years, it will incur a 30% duty depending on its value. However, if the vehicle’s age ranges from four to ten years, a 20% duty is imposed, while a four-year or less old car will incur a 5% duty. 

Prohibitions & restrictions

Like any other country, there are certain restrictions and prohibitions on importing items in Sierra Leone. Failure to comply with the rules may result in a penalty. So ensure to check with your shipping company or the Embassy of Sierra Leone in the US to know about the current customs laws.

Coming to the restrictions on import, the Sierra Leone customs allows only left-hand vehicles to enter the country. However, there are no restrictions on the age limit of vehicles. But the levy is imposed based on their age. The customs laws also require the importer to complete an inspection form.

Prohibitions to the import of goods include ammunition, weapons, live animals, precious stones, and frozen fish. 

Documents requirements

Before shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa, you must prepare specific paperwork to clear the customs process in both origin and destination countries. Standard documentation for shipping to Sierra Leone includes:

  • Title of Ownership.
  • Purchase Invoice.
  • Bill of Lading.
  • OBL – Registration, Chassis, Engine no, Cubic Capacity, Make & Model no.
  • Residence Permit.
  • Driver’s License.
  • Insurance Policy.
  • Passport.

Factors that impact the cost of shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa

Factors that impact the cost of shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa

Several variables can cause a rise in overall shipping costs, and the price can become non-negotiable. However, an experienced shipping company would always know how to handle these costs and plan the shipping around your budget. But keep in mind that the shipping costs may still vary, and some of the variables might be uncontrollable. So, always save some extra money aside before shipping overseas. Let’s check how these variables can impact the shipping cost:

Shipment method

There are many advantages to ocean freight shipping. However, there are two standard shipping methods, and the cost of each of them differs. RoRo shipping will cost you less to send vehicles and other heavy equipment on a single vessel. In contrast, container shipping will cost more as it would require you to pay for the loading/unloading and container cost.

Fuel cost

International fuel costs are constantly fluctuating due to disputes, disturbances in oil supply, and other such events. If they rose in the global market naturally, the shipping company would need to pass the fuel price to its customer. So, your shipping cost will also drive up dramatically.

Size and weight of the vehicle

Your vehicle’s dimension and weight also play a crucial role in affecting the shipping costs. Heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, and SUVs will cost more as the customs calculate their shipping charges according to their weight. Hence, the total calculations may increase the shipping prices. If you are shipping other belongings alongside your vehicle, it will also be an additional cost.

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

Shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa, is no longer complicated with AFL. With our personalized shipping solutions and competitive pricing, we strive to make the shipping experience as seamless as possible for you. If you choose us for shipping your vehicle, you’ll get these advantages:

Processing services

Our expert agents can assist you with the paperwork process, so you won’t have to handle it independently. Due to our handling of many shipments daily, we have the proper knowledge to process your documentation and submit it without delay. We also provide insured transportation to be sure that your vehicle will be safe from your door to your destination. 

NVOCC services 

AFL is an NVOCC company offering affordable shipping prices. We have direct contact with the shipping carriers and can easily book ample space for your heavy cargo. We have the required resources and shipping partners to effectively clear the customs process and get your shipment approved at once. Our pricing is transparent, and we have no upfront costs or hidden charges. You will only pay once you receive your vehicle and goods.


We offer a hassle-free and smooth shipping experience from your door to the destination port. Our auto transport partners have made it possible to pick up your car from your house in the US and transport it to the port. From where we can ship it to Sierra Leone. If you require a drop-off in Sierra Leone, our agents can also arrange to transport your vehicle to your desired location.


How much time will it take for shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa, from the US?

The time it will take to ship a car to Sierra Leone may vary due to the distance between ports and peak season. If excluding all factors, it will take a maximum of 18 days to reach Sierra Leone. Though in worst-case scenarios, it may take more. So, it’s always wise to book your shipment 72 days beforehand to avoid any costly delay.

How much will it cost to ship a car to Sierra Leone from the US?

Shipping cost depends on the ever-changing variables that can impact it. You may have to pay more if the distance between ports is more or if you are shipping several vehicles. Purchasing marine insurance or hiring door-to-port services will also increase the overall shipping costs. Though, if you exclude all factors, the average shipping cost can typically range from $3000 to $6000 depending on the vehicle size and weight.

Which will be the most cost-effective method of shipping cars to Sierra Leone, West Africa?

International shipping companies use two standard shipping methods. Choosing one of them will depend on your needs. RoRo shipping is the most economical option for sending a car or a fleet of vehicles to Sierra Leone. The other container shipping method is a bit expensive, but it can provide an extra security layer when shipping luxury vehicles or goods.


West Africa is known as the hub for the import of used cars. However, certain taxes and duties may differ in each region and are subject to change. So, if one is unfamiliar with the current laws, it could become quite challenging to clear customs at the destination port. If you wish to ship a car and other belongings to Sierra Leone, choosing the right shipping company is necessary. Only a company experienced in transporting vehicles to the West African region can assist with your cargo. So choose wisely.


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