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International Freight Forwarding Companies:
If you are moving personal effects to Gambia from the UK, USA or the EU, there are a number of overseas freight forwarding companies who specialise in shipping household goods to Banjul by sea and air freight.

Among these specialised, worldwide relocation firms are AGS Frasers, Redcoat Express UK / USA, Global Shipping Net who can handle freight services to Gambia by offering personalised household collection, secure warehousing storage and overseas shipment of residential items to the Port of Banjul or door-to-door to your residential abode in Gambia.

If you are forwarding a large quantity of household personal effects then the advise is to go for an international removals company that can send personal household belongings by sea freight to the port of Banjul as this would be the cheapest option. On the other hand if you simply need excess or unaccompanied baggage delivered then you may want to consider sending your personal possessions by air freight service instead.

If you are moving your household goods by sea, your belongings will be packed into large containers which might manage to fill a full container load called FCL. They are most often made of metal, that are usually loaded at your house. They are then transported to a port where they are then loaded on to a container ship. Once your personal belongings have arrived in the Gambia, the container is unloaded and must go through Customs checks and paperwork processing. International movers will be able to help you with the custom forms and are responsible for clearing your goods from the Port of Banjul.

Please not that, if you send your furniture by ship, bear in mind you will be without furniture if you arrive well ahead of your belongings.

Packing Tips:
Be aware that items can and do get stolen or go missing on route to Gambia. Most of the time it is the smaller items that are stolen when packing boxes get damaged. To reduce the risk of this happening you should pack the walls of the box with larger items and place the smaller ones towards the middle.

If you decide to relocate by air cargo, this is a quicker but more expensive choice. It would be necessary to pack your personal belongings into smaller boxes. You will still have to go through the Customs checks at Banjul Airport.

Advice on Choosing a Freight Moving Company to Gambia:
You should find at the bare minimum 3 separate moving companies who are experienced with international moves, and consider your options thoughtfully. Do not just consider the price that a removals firm quotes you, you should also consider the full range of services they offer as well as security.

1) What type of insurance does the firm offer? What is covered by the policy? Ask to see their insurance copy documents and read the small print. Are you covered by the policy until your goods are cleared from the port.

2) Ask about the companyís experience, how long have they been in the international removals business and do they have clearing agents in Gambia?

3) Write down the logistics of the removal. What time will the pick up van arrive? Approximately how long will it take to complete the loading process?

4) Does the firm have any references and can you contact their former clients?

5) Is the company a member of any of the recognised trade associations?

6) Find out where your items will be stored prior to international shipment to Gambia and what is the security situation at their storage depot.

7) Ask your removals company about all the required Customs forms. Will they handle this for you and fill out all forms? Are they authorised to do so?

8) Do ask about what restrictions the Gambia has. Do your own research on this and make sure that it tallies with the information you are provided with.

9) Does the quote inclusive of all charges, for example destination port charges and destination customs clearances? You tend to find that this is where a low quotation from one company might turn out to be not so good, if these charges are excluded from the firm's fee.

Shipping Cars to Banjul:

Take your time and do a lot of research on this issue. Importation taxes on vehicles, for example, can vary dramatically depending on the year and model of the car. Here in the Gambia cars are left-hand drive while in the UK cars are right-hand drive so you should consider selling you vehicle and flying over to Amsterdam over a weekend where you can buy a cheap second-hand car and pay for shipment through Rotterdam en route to Banjul.

You may also want to consider buying a car in Gambia as this would save you the hassle of going through customs clearance at the port.

How To Pack Boxes:
1) If you are using used boxes, ensure you cover over all print on the boxes with brown adhesive tape, otherwise you can use plain moving boxes or wooden removals crates.

2) Ensure that there is adequate padding for fragile items. Every box should be filled to full capacity to minimise internal movement. Avoid using newspaper to fill any gaps. Sometimes double boxing with foam in between the voids is a good method for quite fragile goods.

3) Do not pack any hazardous materials or restricted items such as aerosols, alcohol, and even perfume. If you are not sure of any item that might be restricted for shipment, please contact your shipping agent.

4) All boxes should be closed and sealed with sturdy adhesive tape.

5) Label each box with your full name and the shipping address in Gambia. Be sure to number your boxes e.g. 1 of 10, 2 of 10 etc.

Note: This list is not exhaustive. These are just some of the tips when packing crates and boxes for international removals to Gambia.

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How to Get to Gambia?
If you are an expatriate leaving from the UK to Gambia on a charter flight you will fly from Gatwick airport (or possibly Manchester) to Banjul. The flight takes about 5 hours 40 minutes. Brussels Airlines flies to The Gambia via Brussels (you need to change plane at Brussels Airport). Once you have cleared immigration in The Gambia there are porters available to help you with your luggage - using a porter will speed your passage through customs. It is helpful to inform the Customs Inspector that you are coming to work in Gambia. A porter will take your luggage to your waiting vehicle in the car park and will expect a tip, $1 should suffice.

What do I need to do before I go?
You must have a full current passport. Most EU and Commonwealth citizens can obtain a visitorís visa stamp in their passport on arrival. This will be restricted (usually to 14 or 28 days). For US citizens and French Nationals a visa is required before arrival in The Gambia. Other nationalities should check with their nearest Gambian High Commission or their travel agent.

What should I take if I intend to stay in The Gambia?
In the UK one can obtain VAT exemption for the majority of items that are purchased for export outside the EU.

Please inform the retailer if you are planning to export the goods to The Gambia so that VAT exemption forms are completed at the time of purchase.
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