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Importing a Used or Salvage Vehicle from the United States into Togo

By Mike Richards Updated: 06/22/2022 Posted: 11/25/2016

One of the smaller nations in Sub-Saharan Africa. There is a sizable demand for the salvage vehicle market from the United States and elsewhere in Togo. This country is home to one of the larger container ports for the region. It is an important conduit in the trade of both new and used vehicles for the region at large.

Because of this, many have found themselves interested in purchasing used and salvaged vehicles in the United States, which can then be imported into Togo. If you’re one of those people, there are several important things you should know before embarking on this mission.

For one, you will need to understand the process for clearing your used U.S. vehicle through customs in Togo. Also, you need to understand what import duties and taxes are applicable. As well as the potential difficulties you might encounter when importing used vehicles into Togo.

We’re going to cover all of this and more below!


Purchasing Used Vehicles at U.S. Online Car Auctions

When you’re looking to get the best possible deals on used cars in the United States, there’s only one place where you should look: online used car auctions. Through online auctions, you can gain access to auctions that were previously available to those with dealer licenses only. Because of this, you might find that you’re able to save nearly 80% on the cost of a used vehicle!

As if those savings weren’t incredible enough, the convenience is even better. Set up an account to get started. Just as you would with any other online retailer. In addition, you’ll be required to make a deposit that corresponds to 10% of what you wish your potential maximum bid to be. For example, if you only want to pay up to $5,000 on a used car, then you only need to make a $500 deposit to get started.

After your account is created and funded, the real fun begins. You’ll have instantaneous access to a database of used car auctions taking place across the country. An auction agent or broker will be assigned to you. He/she can offer guidance throughout the process. Your attention is also drawn to used car auctions that aren’t available online. Because of this, you do have the best prospects for finding precisely the right vehicle for your needs at a price you probably won’t believe.


Shipping a Used or Salvage U.S. Car to Togo

Togo is one of the smaller African nations. As such, you may have to be flexible when it comes to choosing a port from which to ship your car from the United States. Once you’ve located a port, though, you will then need to choose your shipping method.

In essence, there are two major options when it comes to shipping used cars to Togo from the United States. The first is container shipping, which offers the greatest degree of protection for your used vehicle (or vehicles), but which is also rather expensive. The second is RORO shipping.

Ro-Ro is cheaper. It also has some (albeit minuscule) risks.

If you are not already familiar with RORO shipping, let us explain. Your used vehicle is rolled onto the ship at your chosen port of departure and rolled off once it arrives in Togo. Thus the RORO acronym. There is less labor involved in doing this. Shipping companies can pass on a massive amount of savings to you.

As mentioned though, there is a small risk. The vehicle is not protected from the elements by a container. The damage may occur in transit. In addition, you will also be entrusting the ship’s crew to handle your vehicle with care when they are rolling it on and off the ship. Still, instances of damage occurring because of either of these factors are few and far between, making RORO shipping an attractive method for most individuals importing used U.S. vehicles into Togo.

There are two major ports in Togo to which you can ship your used U.S. vehicles. The first and largest in the Port of Lome, which serves as the country’s sole container port. If you’re availing yourself of the RORO shipping method, then you might also consider the Port of Kpeme.

To learn more about the Port of Lome, you can consult the official website for the Port Autonome de Lome here. This website is only offered in French.

Important Note: If you are importing a used vehicle into Togo along with other personal belongings, then the vehicle must be shipped separately from other personal belongings.


Clearing Your Used Vehicle Shipped to Togo Through U.S. Customs

To clear your used vehicle through U.S. customs, you will first need to gather the appropriate documentation. In addition to standard customs forms, this documentation should include your used vehicle’s Original Certificate of Title along with one of the following:

  • A Certified Copy of the Original Certificate of Title OR
  • Two (2) Complete Copies of the Original Certificate of Title

The above documentation, along with your vehicle, must be presented to U.S. customs at your chosen port of departure at least 72 hours in advance of your ship date. To find out where this will be exactly, simply contact the Port Director.

After U.S. customs agents have received your documentation and your vehicle, they will conduct a thorough review. In addition to inspecting the vehicle and verifying that nothing has been stowed away inside of it, they will also look over your documents. In doing so, they will check to see that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your Certificate of Title is the same VIN that’s present on your used vehicle.

If your used vehicle passes the above review, it will be cleared by U.S. customs and then subsequently loaded onto the ship. Should you have any additional concerns about this process or if there is anything unique about your circumstance, please consult this guide put together by U.S. Customs and Border Security.


Import Restrictions for Used Vehicles Imported Into Togo

There are no notable restrictions placed upon the import of used vehicles into the country of Togo. Imported used vehicles can be of any age, and they can also be either left-hand or right-hand drive vehicles. While Togo does not place any restrictions on the roadworthiness of imported vehicles, such vehicles must meet the bare minimum of safety and emissions standards.

These safety and emissions standards are not exceptionally rigorous, though, and they mostly pertain to motorcycles and diesel-fueled vehicles. To learn more about these standards, you can consult the website for the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), which oversees standards in Togo and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.


Getting Your Used or Salvage Vehicle Through Togo’s Customs

Especially when compared to its neighbors, the process for clearing a salvage vehicle through Togo’s customs is incredibly straightforward. You merely need to present the appropriate documentation for the vehicle and pay the requisite import duties and taxes (covered below). For documentation, you will need to present Togo’s customs agency with:

  • The Vehicle’s Original Certificate of Title
  • The Vehicle’s Original U.S. Registration
  • Purchase Invoice (Or Proof of the Vehicle’s Value)
  • The Original Bill of Landing
  • Non-Sale Certificate*

* This applies if you are taking advantage of breaks in import duties and taxes that are afforded to diplomats and those working for international organizations operating in Togo. These breaks are covered in the next section.

For more information about clearing your used U.S. vehicle through customs once it arrives in Togo, you can consult the official website for the country’s Directorate General of Customs right here. In addition, you may was to contact the Embassy of Togo, which is based in Washington, to address other questions you might have about the customs clearance process. You can visit the official website for Togo’s embassy in the United States here.

Finally, you may wish to consult this overview of customs rules and regulations for Togo that was put together by the International Trade Administration.


Import Duties and Taxes for U.S. Vehicles Imported into Togo

Although high compared to other countries in the world, Togo’s import duties and taxes for used vehicles are quite reasonable when compared to its neighbor, Nigeria (more on this below). When calculating these duties and taxes, Togo uses the CIF value of the imported used vehicles. CIF stands for “Cost, Insurance Freight” and reflects the total value of the vehicle, plus the cost of shipping and shipping insurance.

Individuals importing used vehicles into Togo will have to pay import duties and taxes that total 53.5% of the used vehicle’s CIF. Individuals who are working for international organizations that operate in Togo need only pay duties and taxes equal to 3.12% of the used vehicle’s CIF. If you are importing the vehicle as a diplomat, you will be able to import your used vehicle duty free.

Should you have any additional questions about import duties and taxes for used vehicles in Togo, please consult the Directorate General of Customs here. Additionally, you might also contact the Embassy of Togo in the United States here.


The Used Car Market in Togo

According to statistics tabulated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the import market for used vehicles of all types in 2014 is $506 million. Of this, nearly half (47%) was comprised of the import of motorcycles.

This is a figure that’s significantly greater than the number of imported passenger vehicles. It comprised 17% of the market overall. Interestingly, the third-largest segment of imported vehicles for Togo in 2014 was delivery vehicles.

The overwhelming majority of imported motorcycles, both new and used, came from Asia.

China owns an 81% share of that market overall. They have dwarfed the second-largest exporter of motorcycles to Togo, Thailand. Which only accounted for 14% of the market. For those looking to export used motorcycles from the United States to Togo, this is not great news.

However, when one turns their attention toward passenger vehicles, things are a bit rosier. The majority of imported new and used cars originate in Europe. With Belgium-Luxembourg being the single largest exporter from Europe. The United States owns a significant 39% stake in this market. Unfortunately, this market dominance does not carry over into the delivery-vehicle segment. Which is dominated by Europe and China. In 2014, for example, the total import of delivery vehicles from the United States was only valued at around $31,000.

Broadly speaking, Togo is similar to other neighboring countries when it comes to preferences for used passenger vehicles. The people of Togo look for vehicles that are durable and easy to repair. Asian and American makes and models are popular, and replacement parts can be easily acquired. If exporting salvage vehicles from the United States into Togo, give deference to fuel-efficient and popular vehicles. Rather than less inefficient or more luxurious models.


Potential Difficulties with Importing Used Cars into Togo

In recent years, the import market for used vehicles in Togo has been affected by protectionist trade regulations in Nigeria. There, import duties and taxes have skyrocketed, leading to the creation of both grey and black markets for used vehicles. In fact, the smuggling of used vehicles from Togo and Benin has become a significant problem for Nigeria. The government there has been taking steps to crack down on those markets.

Because of this, you should be scrupulous if you’re seeking to import used U.S. vehicles into Togo for business. While there are certainly legitimate markets for such vehicles, there are players who may attempt to take advantage of your imports for illegal purposes. In recent years, some importers of used vehicles into Togo and Benin have found this out the hard way, with the government of Nigeria impounding vehicles for tax evasion that have been illegally smuggled over its borders.

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