Q&A with FATS

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This week’s Beyond Ports focuses on Durban and beyond. Project Cargo Weekly (PCW) spoke with Caron Harris, CEO of Forwarding African Transport Services (FATS)


PCW: When did you establish your company in South Africa?

FATS: FATS was founded in July of 1992.

PCW: How many employees does FATS have and who are the owners?

FATS: We have a staff compliment of 15 and is owned by Caron Harris.

PCW: How is inland transport to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana generally organised? By truck, train, or barge?

FATS: Inland transport to these 3 destinations as well as Malawi, Swaziland & Lesotho is most efficiently arranged by road (truck).

PCW: Is it possible to do customs clearance at the destination?

FATS: Destination clearance is generally undertaken by the consignees clearing agent and FATS can undertake all movement on DDU terms.

PCW: Which entry port in South Africa is the most ideal?

FATS: Durban is the ideal entry port into South Africa and is commonly known as the “Gateway” into Africa.

PCW: What kind of documents do you need in order to arrange the inland transport efficiently?

FATS: The following documents are required:

  • BOL
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Consignee contact details
  • Destination clearing agent contact details

PCW: What are the advantages in doing transhipment via South Africa instead of Mozambique?


  • The port of Durban is classified as the most efficient sea port in Africa thereby reducing unnecessary port delays, like congestion.
  • The balance of the necessary infrastructure development in South Africa like roads and telecommunications is well established and not at risk of causing delays.

PCW: Are there some specific aspects of onward carriage that insurance companies don’t cover?

FATS: Insurance is underwritten by Lloyds of London without limitation, but needs to be applied for on a per-consignment basis.

PCW: What is the realistic estimated transit time from Durban port to the typical inland destinations?

FATS: Ex-Durban the transit times are as follows:

  • Harare, Zimbabwe – 5 days
  • Lusaka, Zambia – 9 days
  • Lilongwe, Malawi – 9 days
  • Gaberone, Botswana – 3 days

PCW: What kind of advantages do you offer in handling transhipment compared to other companies offering the same?


  • FATS has been an industry leader in handling cross border cargo since its inception in 1992
  • FATS has strategic partnerships with transporters and border agents ensuring the seamless flow of cargo
  • FATS has it’s own “Road Bond Facility” to facilitate Removal in bond (RIB) or Removal in Transit (RIT)

PCW: Do you have a few suggestions regarding the handling of projects into ZZB with transhipment via South African port?


  • Ensure you plan well in advance
  • Be prepared
  • Have all your documentation in order
  • Ensure the consignee is ready to receive the cargo and has the financial resources to settle all destination charges

Interview subject: Ms. Caron Harris: Caron.Harris@fats.co.za


Caron kindly provided the following recent photos of project cargo in transit.