Shipping from Turkey to South Africa

The Republic of South Africa (RSA) is leading Turkey’s trade partner in Sub-Saharan Africa. Turkey’s trade with RSA is approximately 20% of its whole trade in the region. The trade volume between the two countries in 2022 was $3 billion, and exports from Turkey reached 1.7 billion. This article discusses shipping from Turkey to South Africa.

Shipping from Turkey to South Africa

Sea freight from Turkey to RSA

Sea freight is the most popular mode of transport in international trade. It is relatively cost-efficient because it allows shipping a large number of goods at the same time. Alas, it is also significantly slower compared to other modes of transport.

When shipping by sea, you have to decide between FCL and LCL transport. FCL (full container load) means that the shipper fills an entire container with his goods. LCL means that container capacity is shared between several shippers. Usually, it takes 30-50 days for goods to ship by sea from Turkey to South Africa.

Main ports in RSA:

  • Port of Durban, commonly called Durban Harbor, is the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. It is the fourth largest container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere, handling approximately 4.5 million TEU. About 60% of the total shipping revenue of South Africa comes from the Durban Port Facility.
  • Port of Richards Bay is located in Richards Bay on the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa and contains the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), the largest coal export facility in Africa. Although originally built to handle coal exports, the port has become South Africa’s premier bulk port, handling other dry bulk in addition to coal, as well as liquid bulk and breakbulk cargoes. It is also South Africa’s most modern port.
  • Port Elizabeth was first mentioned along the South African Sea coast in 1427. However, the British establishment in the 1830s marked the beginning of its harbor status. The first cargo operations of actual commercial value date back to 1927. Transnet emerged as the major operator of container terminals in this port facility.
Seaports in South Africa

Main ports in Turkey:

  • Port of Haydarpaşa is a general cargo seaport, ro-ro, and container terminal, situated in Haydarpaşa, Istanbul, at the southern entrance to the Bosporus Strait. It is the second-biggest port in the Marmara Region, with an annual cargo volume exceeding 6 million metric tons, Turkey’s fourth-biggest port.
  • Port of Mersin is a major seaport located on the north-eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Mersin, southern Turkey. As one of the largest harbors in the country, it is Turkey’s main gateway to the Mediterranean Sea. It handles over 2.5 million TEU and approximately 30 million tons of cargo annually.
  • Port of Izmir, alternatively known as Port of Alsancak, is a seaport in İzmir, Turkey. It is situated in the Gulf of İzmir. The terminal can handle more than 1 million TEU on a yearly basis.
Seaports in Turkey

Air freight from Turkey to RSA

Air freight is the fastest and the safest mode of transport. Due to airplanes’ smaller cargo space, the amount of goods that can be transported at once is limited and more expensive. Air freight is recommended for small-sized, valuable, or perishable goods like pharmaceutical products, food, or jewelry. On average, it takes 2-7 days for air shipment to arrive in RSA from Turkey.

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Main airports in RSA:

  • O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) has served as the primary airport for domestic and international travel to/from South Africa since 2020. It is Africa’s second busiest airport, with a capacity to handle up to 28 million passengers annually.
  • Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is the primary international airport serving the city of Cape Town. It is the second-busiest airport in South Africa and the fourth-busiest in Africa. The airport has direct flights from South Africa’s other two main urban areas, Johannesburg and Durban, as well as direct flights to several destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the United States.
  • King Shaka International Airport (DUR), abbreviated to KSIA, is the primary international airport serving Durban. The airport opened its doors to passengers on 1 May 2010, about forty days before the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is a key airport for domestic services throughout South Africa, serving the “Golden Triangle” between Cape Town International Airport, O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and KSIA itself, with seven-passenger and two cargo airlines offering domestic air services.
Airports in South Africa

Main airports in Turkey:

  • Istanbul Airport (IST) is the main international airport serving Istanbul, Turkey. It served more than 37 million passengers in 2021, making it the busiest airport in Europe and the 13th-busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic. By serving more than 27 million international passengers, it is the 2nd-busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic.
  • Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) is one of two international airports serving Istanbul. In 2021 the airport served almost 25 million passengers. Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is the third busiest single-runway airport in the world, after Mumbai and London Gatwick.
  • Antalya Airport (AYT) is a major destination during the European summer leisure season due to its location on the country’s Mediterranean coast. The airport has two international terminals and one domestic terminal. Antalya is one of the major airports in southwestern Turkey.
Airports in Turkey

How much does it cost to ship from Turkey to South Africa?

The shipping costs depend on many factors such as:

  • cargo’s type
  • method of transport
  • route
  • distance
  • the chosen freight forwarder.

Many freight forwarders will offer you varying prices. It is wise to compare offers from forwarders and decide what suits you the best. is a great website that gives you the possibility to do so. It allows you to receive a quote for your shipment and choose the most suitable freight forwarder.

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