Importing Timber with Sabie Poles: Step-By-Step-Guide

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When you import timber from South Africa it can be a great way of supporting forest sustainability while enjoying all the other many benefits. However, there are many risks too. That’s why it is important to be well-informed before ever considering such an option. Otherwise, you could end up not receiving your product or sit with large financial losses.

The timber that is imported from South Africa is used for many applications. Today we will be discussing Pine and Eucalyptus, they are mostly used in construction because of their exceptional qualities and they are more cost-effective compared to other wood.

Furthermore, we will be discussing everything you need to know about timber importing including the risks, advantages, and a step-by-step guide on how to successfully import timber from Sabie Poles.

Understanding the risks to import timber

It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the potential risks before you import timber from any country. This is because there are illegal loggers and untrustworthy suppliers and exporters that must be avoided.

To help you understand better we have enlisted a few possible risks associated with importing timber:

Quality risks

Buyers may face quality risks when purchasing timber from an unreliable supplier/exporter. The timber may not meet the required specifications or standards, or it may not be of the quality that was promised. This can result in additional costs, such as having to pay for replacement timber or repairs.

Legal risks

This can include the risk of purchasing timber that has been illegally harvested or exported, which can result in legal penalties or the seizure of the timber. Buyers may also face liability if the timber is found to have been harvested or exported in violation of environmental or labor laws.

Logistics risks

This can include delays or damage during transportation, which can result in additional costs or delays in the completion of the project. Buyers may also face the risk of not receiving the timber on time or in the condition they expected.

Financial risks

This can include fluctuations in pricing due to changes in the global market, as well as the risk of non-payment or default by the exporter. Buyers may also face currency exchange rate risks if the timber is purchased in a currency different from their own.

When purchasing from a reliable supplier, the risk of importing timber is relatively low. Reliable suppliers such as Sabie poles often go the extra mile to ensure their clients receive their quality products, on time and hassle-free.

Why you should import your timber through Sabie Poles.

Over time, we have established ourselves as a dependable provider of top-notch CCA-treated and untreated poles and timber. This has contributed significantly to the formation of enduring partnerships with our clients in the area.

Top-quality poles and timber

Throughout the years, we have devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to research and development. We want to guarantee that we offer only the finest quality timber products.

Our efforts include using the appropriate species of wood, planting and harvesting at the ideal time, manufacturing, and properly treating the wood to ensure it possesses the strength and durability needed for various applications.

Our team has a wealth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to selecting the right timber for a particular application

We supply multiple CCA-treated and untreated poles and timber products all in one place. Thus, you will save them costs and time.

Additionally, we will go the extra mile for our clients by procuring other related hardware required which is available in South Africa but not in other neighboring countries.

Fully certified

At Sabie Poles, we take great pride in our ability to export CCA-treated wood and timber products successfully.

To ensure a smooth export process, we hold all the necessary compliance certificates required for exporting. These certifications demonstrate our commitment to quality, safety, and the environment. We have the following certification:

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Certificate for Export.

This certificate grants our clients duty-free and tax-free access, along with statistical and risk assessments within South Africa. By having this certification, our clients are only responsible for their own country’s duties and taxes. This makes the export process much simpler and more cost-effective.

South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) since 1996.

This accreditation confirms that our products meet all necessary requirements for CCA-treated timber. This is for local sales as well as exporting to other countries around the world. We have never compromised on quality, and our commitment to meeting these standards has earned us the trust of our clients.

South African Wood Preservers Association (SAWPA) Certificate.

Regulatory authorities, construction professionals, and consumers recognize the SAWPA certificates as a mark of quality assurance.

They ensure that the timber products are treated in accordance with industry standards and are suitable for their intended application.

National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) Certificate.

This certification is required for various products, including timber and wood products, to ensure that they meet the government’s safety, health, and environmental standards.

Reliable supplier of poles and timber

Our team is made up of highly experienced professionals who are committed to making the export process as efficient as possible while also ensuring that all necessary regulatory requirements are met.

We understand that timely delivery is critical to our customers. This is why we prioritize processing and shipping all orders as soon as possible. Our team is dedicated to providing dependable and timely service to all of our customers.

Furthermore, we have a strong ethical stance on forest sustainability. We recognize the importance of preserving our forests for future generations. We also strive to always source all of our products ethically and responsibly.

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond our own operations, as we collaborate with our suppliers to implement environmentally friendly practices throughout our supply chain.

The import processThe step-by-step guide

Import Timber

Placing an order to import timber requires careful planning and research, negotiation, and coordination with a trusted supplier and shipping company.

Sabie Poles have been exporting CCA-treated poles and timber since 1999. Over the years, we have developed a deep understanding of the unique requirements of national countries and international countries.

Below is a step-by-step guide to help you get on the right track to importing top-quality timber.

Step 1 – Identify your timber requirements:

Timber can be a fantastic material for construction. This is true only when used in the appropriate environment and for the right purpose.

Two main types of timber are used for building: softwood and hardwood. Softwood is typically treated to protect against wood-destroying agents, which makes it more durable. While hardwoods are naturally durable and generally don’t require treatment.

To ensure that you select the right timber for your project, it is crucial to identify specifications such as species, dimensions, quality, and grade.

We supply softwood namely Pine (structural and furniture grade) timber, Eucalyptus poles (hardwood). We’ve recently added a new range of hardwood decking products. They are Massaranduba, Red Balau, Yellow Balau, Itauba, Garapa, and Red Grandis.

Specifying the correct grading class is extremely important as each grading class makes the timber suited for a specific application.

(click on this link to view our products: Products.)

Step 2 – Request a quote:

After identifying your specific requirements such as the specie, dimensions, and treatment class, you can contact Sabie Poles to request a quote.

Ways to contact Sabie Poles:

Danie Boshoff is our sales representative and exporting coordinator. He has been with Sabie Poles for 5 years and has over 20 years of experience in exporting. He is available through the following Channels.

Phone (call/Whatsapp): 072838 3828


When requesting a quote, it is also important to inquire about any additional costs. This includes the shipping costs, insurance, and any other fees that may be associated with the delivery of the products.

Step 3 – Discuss the import terms

The next step is to obtain an import permit. It is typically acquired by the Department of Agriculture in the destination country.

The permit process usually involves submitting an application that includes information about the timber products to be imported. This can include the species, volume, country of origin, and intended use.

The government agency may also require additional documentation or information to verify the legality and sustainability of the timber. An example would be proof of legal harvesting and certification.

The purpose of a timber import permit is to prevent the illegal trade of timber and to:

  • Protect the environment from the negative impacts of illegal logging.
  • Promotes sustainable forestry practices.
  • Support local communities that rely on the timber industry for their livelihoods.

IMPORTANT: You will not be able to import timber without a timber importing permit.

Step 4 – Finalize the payment

Before the process of loading timber products for export begins, it is crucial to complete the payment process. Payments can be made through SWIFT or IBAN, which are widely used secure international transfer systems.

It is highly recommended to maintain a record of the payment process and any associated documents, such as invoices or receipts. These documents serve as evidence of the financial transaction and can be used for reference or legal purposes if required in the future.

Ensure that you also provide the importing permit with your proof of payment.

Step 5 – Inspect the products

Inspecting products beforehand helps to prevent any disputes or issues that may arise due to products not meeting expectations.

Many clients choose to hire inspection companies, such as SGS, to conduct these inspections on their behalf although, it can become very costly. These companies have trained and experienced professionals who are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to thoroughly inspect the products and ensure that they meet the client’s desired specifications and quality standards.

All our poles and timber products are CCA treated according to the SANS (South African National Standards) 1288 and SANS 457 regulations under the SABS Inspection Authority. These specifications set out the permitted preservatives’ required retention and penetration levels, as well as seasoning requirements.

Step 6 – Arrange for shipping to import timber

After confirming your order, it is crucial to arrange for shipping. When selecting Sabie Poles to be your trusted supplier, you have two options: we can handle everything on your behalf, or you can arrange the shipping yourself.

However, choosing to manage the shipping process independently can pose a considerable risk, resulting in increased costs and delivery delays.

Additionally, there are other rules and regulations that must be followed, such as customs regulations or environmental laws.

You can rest assured that our sales and exporting coordinator (Danie) has all the necessary expertise to manage these factors and ensure that your poles and other timber products are delivered to you without any unexpected difficulties.

Trusting Sabie poles to handle the shipping.

We have found that Road Transport and Ocean Freight is the most effective method for exporting large volumes of timber while keeping costs low. Our dedicated team works closely with reliable export agents to ensure your timber shipments are delivered securely and punctually.

To guarantee a successful export process, we implement the following procedures when exporting timber overseas:

Timber Sustainability in South Africa

Import Timber

One of the key challenges facing the timber industry in South Africa is illegal logging, which can lead to deforestation and habitat destruction. To combat this, the country has implemented regulations and enforcement measures to prevent illegal logging and promote sustainable forest management practices.

In addition to addressing illegal logging, the timber industry in South Africa has also made efforts to reduce its environmental impact through initiatives such as reforestation and responsible use of natural resources. This includes practices such as reducing waste, using renewable energy sources and minimizing the use of harmful chemicals in timber processing.

These include certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

If you buy and import timber from a trustworthy supplier in South Africa, you can be assured that the poles and timber are harvested sustainably. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about running out of poles and timber materials as these building materials are harvested in a controlled environment.

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