Importing Used Clothing to Africa

Used cloths business is a highly lucrative business worldwide. Millions of tons of the items are shipped annually.
The secondhand clothing industry is facing serious challenges in many African countries. This is because the industry impacts negatively on local cloth merchants, textile industries, tailors and fashion designers.
Some East and West African countries have put an outright ban on the commodity. African countries that propose a ban on used cloths importation include Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya.
There is an outright ban on used cloths in Nigeria however the market is still thriving. To start the business you need seed funds and a foreign supplier. Other requirements are import documentation, incorporation and destination markets.
bales of used cloths
Exporters of Second hand Cloths
The major exporter of secondhand cloths is the United States of America accounting for over 3.8 billion sales worldwide. Other markets for used cloths are China and Canada.
Second hand Cloths Markets
Apart from African countries there are other importers of secondhand cloths. Secondhand cloths markets are found in Asia, Australia, Sub Sahara Africa, South and North America.
In fact there are over 40 countries that import used cloths. Investors should find such markets and make sure they work within the law.
How to start a cloths store business
Comprehensive List of Secondhand Cloths Markets
Here is a comprehensive list of secondhand cloths markets for importers/exporters. Popular destinations are Uganda, India, Nigeria, Ghana, El Salvador, Guatemala, Liberia, and Poland. Others are South Africa, Turkey, Kenya, Pakistan, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.
  • Uganda
  • India
  • Nigeria
  • Ghana
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Liberia
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • Turkey
  • Kenya
  • Pakistan
  • Republic of Congo
  • Sierra Leone.
Cloths Collection
The core businesses for some companies in the U.S are used cloths export. They collect the cloths from highbrow areas, charities and private collectors.
They process the cloths for stains, rips, holes and discoloration. They are then sorted into 3 grades and multiple categories.
After sorting they are packaged into plastics bags and arranged into bales. Once an order is processed they load them into containers for shipment.
Used Cloths Selection
The collecting agents grade the cloths into several categories or bales. This is usually base on gender, quality cloths and age grade.
Clothing types include female cloths, male cloth and mixed cloths. Categories are shirts, t-shirts, dresses, shorts, gowns, jackets, blouses and underwear.
They are usually graded into AA, A, B, C categories. The standard bales sizes are usually about 100ibs-1000ibs.
  • Children’s cloths
  • Female cloth
  • Male cloths
  • Mixed cloths
Used Cloths Shipment
The used cloths are shipped in 40 feet containers or boxes. They ship according to buyer’s specification and requirements.
They load 44,000-55,000ibs about 25 tons per container. Most shipments are not only cloths but used shoes, accessories and household items.
Used Cloths Importation Business
  •  Write a business plan
  • Source funding
  • Incorporate the business
  • Find foreign suppliers
  • Contact local markets
  • Ship the merchandize
  •  Clear the goods
  • Sell directly to wholesalers/retailers


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