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Home » Importing & Exporting » Freight Shipping to Landlocked Countries – Considerations and Challenges

Freight Shipping to Landlocked Countries – Considerations and Challenges

Freight Shipping to Landlocked Countries.

Sea freight is the most cost-effective shipping method for larger shipments. Around the world, however, there are a number of countries that are “land-locked”. This means that all their borders are land-based and they typically have no direct access to a seaport.

The number of landlocked countries (and countries in general) in the world varies from time-to-time. There are regions which will become autonomous and recognised as their own country. The reverse also happens. Also, not all countries are recognised as independent by all others. There are currently between 44 and 48 landlocked countries in the world.

Shipping to landlocked countries will be more frequently required for certain continents more than others. Africa and Europe both have a considerable number of landlocked countries (Africa 16 and Europe 15). South America, by comparison, only has two.

The Challenges of Shipping to a Landlocked Country

The obvious issue of sea freight shipping to a landlocked country is that they have no seaports.

Airfreight shipping is one alternative, however, for larger shipments that is usually cost-prohibitive.

The remaining alternative is to ocean freight a shipment to a neighbouring countries seaport, then transport overland. This opens up many options, but also creates numerous challenges. These can include;

  • Multiple possible routes to the final destination. Which seaport will be the best entry point?
  • Additional customs clearances and inspection requirements. Initially the country with the seaport, then any land borders crossed.
  • Arranging additional road or rail transportation. It is sometimes possible to arrange this through the sea freight shipping companies, but not always.
  • Extended shipping container return times. This can open up the possibility of detention/demurrage fees.
  • Border conflicts.

Freight forwarders such as us have experience in getting your shipments to wherever they need to go, land or sea. We understand the unique challenges involved in shipping to various countries.

Shipping Regions for Landlocked Countries

Each continent around the world typically has its own challenges to consider. Having said this, certain individual countries add additional complexity to the shipping process.

Shipping to Europe

Europe is one of the more highly regulated and controlled markets to ship to. The most common considerations for shipping to landlocked European countries will be routing. For example, which seaport will be the best starting point for cross-country transportation?

Landlocked European countries include Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Switzerland. They also include the former Yugoslavian states such as Serbia and Macedonia.

Shipping options to the Slavic countries are opening up. There is greater availability of inland shipping terminals and to-the-door deliveries, however, there are specific rules and regulations to consider. Currently, much shipping to these countries happens via Greece.

Shipping to Africa

Much of Africa has rules and protocols in place to facilitate cross-border shipping of goods. We have experience with the protocols for shipping to Africa.

One main consideration with shipping in Africa is knowing the regulations for the countries being shipped to. Flouting rules and mis-declaring cargoes adds considerable risk to your shipments.

Landlocked African countries include Zimbabwe, Botswana and Ethiopia.

Shipping to Asia

Some of the most challenging countries to ship to in Asia are the “stan” countries. These include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Weather is not the least of the issues exporters encounter when shipping to these countries. Extreme cold weather can delay shipments for considerable periods. We recommend purchasing your own shipping containers when shipping to this region to avoid possible substantial demurrage fees.

Other issues are encountered with shipping to Afghanistan, for example. Current embargoes mean there are restrictions on how or what is shipped there.

Other landlocked Asian countries include Nepal, Laos and Mongolia.

Shipping to South America

There are only two landlocked countries in South America; Paraguay and Bolivia. Both typically ship via Brazil.

Shipping to Paraguay often happens via a Brazilian river system but is dependent upon the river system running.

Import and Export into Landlocked Countries

Shipping to and from landlocked countries is typically more expensive than to those with ocean ports.

Whilst there are plenty of import/export trade opportunities for these countries, transportation can be more difficult. The additional cost of rail or road transportation needs to be closely considered.

Having said that, in the vast majority of cases, where there is a will there is a way. We can find it for you.

Contact us now to discuss your shipments.