When it comes to imports from the United States and Europe, one of the biggest businesses in Benin will be used cars. This has been a growing trade since 2010 with more than 314,000 cars imported into the country in just one year, according to BBC News.
On a monthly basis, Benin imports around 25,000 vehicles. The vast majority of these will end up in Nigeria or some part of West Africa. That’s because it is easier to get vehicles to Benin from other countries than it is to the surrounding African countries. Benin is the beginning of a long chain that leads to used vehicles moving across the continent.
For the most part, the preferred import vehicles are those that are easy to maintain, low in cost, and easy to repair as well. Cars from Japanese manufacturers are particularly preferred. Anyone who is interested in importing used cars to Benin should consider Japanese makes and models, especially Toyota.
- The United States has a trade agreement with Benin, making imports easier.
- The Benin Republic recently reduced tariffs on imported vehicles specifically.
- Benin has a vehicle transit regime in place that is easy to follow.
- The country actually encourages the import of used cars as a way to move those vehicles to Nigeria.
- This is a stable government.
- For the most part, this is a market for cheap cars. They will not be interested in higher end vehicles.
- Because cars are regularly moved to other countries, there could be legal issues involved.
Cars can be shipped to Benin from several ports in the United States that handle container ships. These include:
- New York, New York
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Savannah, Georgia
- Galveston, Texas
Additionally, Halifax in Nova Scotia offers a Canadian shipping port to Benin. Vehicles being shipped to Africa are handled through either container shipping or roll-on roll-off, so you will need to determine the costs of these two options and then choose one that works best for your vehicle.
The only arrival port for Benin and importing cars is Cotonou. This is for shipping cars via containers and sea vessels. There are customs on various borders, but this is not the best method of moving vehicles to the country from the United States.
Cars that are shipped to Benin are handled through the Cotonou Import Expert Service, and must be cleared through customs.
- A copy of your passport
- Your visa, if you are entering the country as well.
- Detailed inventory of the vehicle signed and dated by shipper.
- Letter of transfer.
- Original Bill of Landing, which explains weight of the vehicle and include VIN numbers.
- Certificate of Title and Registration.
- Original Commercial or Purchase Invoice.
- Freight Invoice.
- Rated OBL
- Non Sale Certificate
When you are importing a vehicle into Benin, you have to state your purpose. For the most part, you will be asked to sign a declaration of non-sale meaning you are importing the vehicle for personal use. If you plan on selling the used car, then you have to disclose this in documentation.
Import Duties Taxes
The import duties in Benin are lower than in other countries in the region. That’s why so many cars enter through this country and then are transferred to other parts of Africa.
- Taxes vary depending on age of car, horsepower, and model of the car.
- No Exemption CIF is 50% of the car’s value.
- If the vehicle is for temporary admission or use, the CIF is 5.85% of the value.
If you have ever imported a vehicle to another country, then you likely know there are some formalities that have to be followed. On the same note, some countries are easier to work with, and Benin is one of these. Through this country, you only need to provide the proper documentation and pay the proper duties and fees.
However, whenever transporting vehicles from one country to another, keep in mind that you should take care when handling all the paperwork. If you don’t fill things out properly, then you could face fines or even possible seizure of the vehicle.
For more information on customs and duties, contact the Benin Embassy at:
2124 Kalorama Rd NW
Washington, DC 20008
Working with an online car auction can help make this process easier. All you will have to do is bid on a car and contact the auction house to set up shipping. Often, they will handle all of the details, meaning you just need to fill out and provide paperwork and everything else will be handled for you.