Essential Guide to Importing Your First Japanese Used Car to Zimbabwe

How to Buy a Car in Zimbabwe

by Bruce Nyakusengwa

In late 2015, I purchased my first ever vehicle from BE FORWARD. It was a 1980cc, 1999 Toyota Altezza, a sports-like car any man of my age could be proud of owning. For as low as US$1850, I bought the car and had it shipped to Dar es Salaam, as it was the nearest port to Victoria Falls, my town of residency.

Are you considering importing your first Japanese used car to Zimbabwe? In this article I explain my own personal experience, as well as the payment processes and total duty costs that incurred in order to have my Altezza safely shipped, picked up, and registered.

Cost to Deliver a Japanese Used Car from Tanzania To Zambia

Upon the ship’s arrival, I learnt of City Delivery from a BE FORWARD representative in Tanzania. I weighed the options of collecting the vehicle myself from the port myself, or having it delivered to any destination of my choice. I made up my mind and paid an extra US$580 to have it delivered to Tunduma, 923 km from the port.

Not only did I save myself the trip to Dar es Salaam, but I also saved quite a sum of money and time, considering the hassle picking up the car myself would have brought. The main reason I chose City Delivery was the benefits I was offered by BE FORWARD, including their Free Repair Guarantee: if anything had happened to my car, they would either repair it for no extra charge or even replace the car in its entirety. As costs can vary slightly from year to year, you can check the current clearing and delivery charges from Tanzania here.

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When I was notified about my car’s arrival in Nakonde, I was surprised at how fast it was. I collected the car from the BE FORWARD Nakonde yard, where my car was in excellent shape, mint condition, and well guarded.

The clearing process at the Nakonde/Tunduma border was swift, as it was just a matter of producing my passport and paying the reasonable acquitting and clearing fee (payable in Tanzanian Shilling or US Dollar &/ Zambian Kwacha on the Zambian side).

Then I embarked on my trip back to Zimbabwe, along with my free included reflective vest, reflective triangles, fire extinguisher, and BE FORWARD T-shirt.

How to Calculate Duty Fees for Used Cars In Zimbabwe

How to calculate the duty fees to import a Japanese used car to Zimbabwe.

Soon I arrived at the Livingstone Border, where it took me just 5 minutes and US$20 to be acquitted out of Zambia. I then proceeded to the Zimbabwean side of the border, Victoria Falls, at around 6pm. I then decided to cross over into Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls Town), to take a rest and start the clearing process the following morning. The parking at the border is well guarded overnight, and one is guaranteed that the vehicle will be in safe hands.

The following day I went back to the border, just a 10-minute walk from the town, to process the clearance. There is a certain point where importers are requested to park their vehicles as soon as they are ready to get their duties calculated, the (Physical Examination) PE Point. I parked my car there, and opened the hood for the officials to check the vehicle including its engine number, chassis number, and condition. For the process to commence smoothly, it is advisable to have the following documents/requirements handy:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Original TT copy
  • Export Certificate
  • Invoice
  • Pro Forma Invoice
  • Passport & copy

Once you submit these documents, the official will  then begin the valuation, comparing the information on the papers submitted and what is on the vehicle, to be certain that it is indeed the right vehicle being imported into Zimbabwe. Depending on the workload (cars to be cleared), it usually doesn’t take more than 45 minutes for the final duties to be calculated. For my Toyota Altezza, they calculated as follows:

CIF – US$1850 (Final Cost to Dar es Salaam) + Port Charges – US$300 (Standard Clearance Fee at the Port) = US$2150 – US$200 (rebate)

Total Duty was calculated at US$1950

 NB: These are early January 2016 calculations
*Subject to change

How to Get a Car Number Plate in Zimbabwe

Harare in Zimbawbe. Import quality Japanese used cars to Zimbabwe with BE FORWARD.

After paying the duty on the counter (no agent required), one will then need US$20 for Insurance & US$10 for Road access. After all is in order, you request, fill in and submit a Customs Clearance Certificate (CCC) form for one to be able to register the car with the Zimbabwean Central Vehicle Registry (CVR).

In the case whereby the engine number can’t be located, one will have to, after clearance, take the vehicle to any Vehicle Inspection Depot (VID) nationwide where they will locate the engine number (for US$20) and issue you with a document known as the Certificate of Location, which you will then need to submit to the port of entry together with your CCC application form and a Verification Certificate you will be issued by the port of entry. From there, you will be given the CCC, which is issued at no cost.

In Zimbabwe, you are given 2 weeks (14 days) to drive an unregistered vehicle, but only when one is processing the registration of that particular vehicle, otherwise it is illegal to do so. For registry at CVR, the following documents are required:

  • Police Clearance (issued at the Zimbabwe Republic Police CID Dept.)
  • Customs Clearance Certificate CCC
  • Declaration form & receipt of duty payment
  • Insurance (the one obtained at the port of entry)
  • Copy of ID for the owner of the vehicle…as on the CCC
  • Number plate application form (provided)
  • Registration fee of US$140 (Private cars) *Government to revise the cost
  • Bill of Lading
  • Export Certificate
  • Invoice
  • Pro Forma Invoice

After submitting, you will be given your number plates and an official will stick the third number plate on your windscreen. These days, there are now agents across the nation who can assist in obtaining your new number plates without having to drive the car to a town where there is a CVR office, at an extra charge.

Last but certainly not the least, you’ll be needing to buy vehicle and radio licenses which go for roughly US$20 & US$10 respectively, and then you are done. Enjoy your new Japanese used car thanks to BE FORWARD!

This article is written by BE FORWARD Supporters ID 19593 Bruce Nyakusengwa in Zimbabwe from his experience. What is BE FORWARD Supporters? Click here to join!

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