Shipping or airfreighting your personal goods into Nigeria should only be carried out after properly researching both the sending agent and the process for retrieving your goods in Nigeria. It is not advisable to attempt to do the entire project on your own as clearing with customs and other port authorities can be tedious and extremely frustrating. It is best to work with a local agent you have researched and who has an ongoing relationship with the officers of the Custom & Excise Department. Some agents will offer the whole range of services from door to door, however many do not so it just depends on your particular budget and appetite for bureaucracy.
For small to medium items, it is safe to go with recognized international names such as DHL, FedEx, or UPS. These three companies have a long history in Nigeria including established delivery networks across the country and are thus quite reliable. You should note if sending items through the regular postal system, it is likely to be taken up by the Nigerian Post once it arrives here. You will then have to go to your local post office to pick up your item.
Thinking of selling your car before your move and buying one when you get to Nigeria? You may want to think again. A brand new car in Nigeria will set you off on average 20% more than the cost from the US or UK. You may thus be better off shipping your current car to Nigeria. There are two options available to Nigerians who are looking to bring their cars back home but before delving into those options, you should know that Nigeria does not allow importation of any car older than 10 years from its manufacture date.
New and used cars earmarked for private use may be imported into Nigeria according to customs law, but subject to an import duty of 20% of the value of the car. The two options for motor-vehicle shipping are roll-on/roll-off, and shipping within a container. For ro/ro, you must ensure that all locks are opened, that the car is accessible for inspection throughout its journey, and that no items of any kind are stuffed in any of its compartments. Many people choose to ship their cars in containers simply to allow them to ship other items such as furniture and other household goods along with the car in one go. A 20-inch container can fit about 2 cars while a 40-inch container will fit four with the cost ranging from a low of $4000 to about $10000. If the costs seem a bit too steep, it is quite common for two people to share one container and your shipping agent should be able to provide you with more information on that. Officially it should take about 6 weeks for your car to arrive and clear in Nigeria but in reality this can take about 8 weeks or more.
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Before you start packing up all your personal effects into a Nigeria bound container, perhaps you should consider many of the everyday personal goods now available for purchase back home. Nigeria has recently seen a boom in local e-commerce as well international sites who now reliably deliver to Nigeria and it may be cheaper and less of a hassle to simply buy that new lamp or Nespresso machine from one of such retailers. However, before you hit ‘buy’ on that shopping cart, make sure to carefully read all delivery and customs clearance details. For some e-merchants, they retain liability for the order until it clears customs, leaving you out of the goods clearance loop entirely.