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10 Important Things to Know Before You Clear Your First Cargo in Nigeria

10 Important Things to Know Before You Clear Your First Cargo in Nigeria

If you are considering working with a freight forwarding agent to ship your products and materials, you should first be aware of what clearing your first cargo in Nigeria entails. Considering the high levels of corruption, bureaucracy, and red tape that exist in the shipping industry there, it’s no wonder why so many international companies elect not to conduct business there. However, if you have a product that is in demand and are willing to invest time and resources into building lasting relationships with potential partners and contacts, you can navigate this process with more ease than others may have experienced. Here are some things to know before clearing your first cargo in Nigeria.

Licensed Customs Broker

When you first begin sending shipments to clients in Nigeria, you will first have to seek out a licensed customs broker for assistance. This is because you will need to apply for an import license through this company which will then be approved through the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to clear your first cargo in Nigeria. The Nigerian customs regulations are extremely complex and require a licensed customs broker in order to facilitate the process.

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS)

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is the government entity that is responsible for regulating the import and export of goods that are brought into or taken out of the country. The NCS is notorious for being extremely corrupt and is well known for demanding bribes and other illegal activities. However, in order for your first cargo in Nigeria to be cleared and released, you will need to work with this government agency to get your shipment released.

Exportation and Importing License

Depending on the type of products or materials that you are shipping to Nigeria, you will have to apply for an exportation license or an importation license accordingly. Each license will have a specific cost which will vary depending on the product and the type of shipment you are conducting. Further, when you are working with a licensed customs broker, they will assist you with obtaining the appropriate licenses that are necessary to clear your first cargo in Nigeria.

How to Clear Your First Cargo in Nigeria

The first step in clearing your first cargo in Nigeria is arranging to have your shipment arrive at the designated ports. This could be either the Lagos Port Trust or the Port Authority in the city of Calabar. Depending on where your supplier is located and the shipping route you are using, your shipment will arrive at one of these ports. After your shipment has arrived at one of the ports in Nigeria, you will need to contact your customs broker and provide them with the necessary details of your shipment. After this is complete, the customs broker will then use the information provided to file the necessary documents and begin the clearance process. After your first cargo in Nigeria has been cleared, it will then be released from the port and transported to the destination address of your client. However, you will need to be aware that this process may take a considerable amount of time. Some shipments have been known to be held up at the ports for months and months due to various issues.

Customs Duty and Tax on Shipment

While you can rest assured that you will pay the appropriate taxes and fees when you are clearing your first cargo in Nigeria, the fees are extremely high. In fact, they are some of the highest in the world and can eat away at your profit margin. The government shares the revenue they receive from these taxes and fees with the licensed customs brokers and the Nigerian Customs Service. This means that there is a great deal of incentive to increase the amount of revenue that is brought into the country.

Clearing Process of your first cargo in Nigeria

When you are clearing your first cargo in Nigeria, you will have to navigate several layers of bureaucracy and paperwork. You will have to provide documentation that proves the value of your shipment and the nature of your products. You will also have to provide information about the shipper and details about your company. As mentioned above, the process is long, frustrating, and may be hindered by corruption on the part of the officers conducting this process. If the customs officers conducting your clearance decide that they want a bribe from you, you will either have to pay the bribe or your shipment may be delayed. As frustrating as this process is, it is important to remain calm and try to remain as patient as possible.

Tips for Clearing Your First Cargo in Nigeria

Stay calm and patient – The clearing process can be extremely frustrating. Be sure to remain as patient as possible and try to not let this process get the best of you. Build relationships with your partners – In order to work with the right people and build long-lasting relationships that can benefit your business in the future, you will need to be patient and invest time and resources in those people. Building trusting relationships with your partners will help to expedite the clearance process and make this process a bit easier. Keep a record of your communications – While it might be tempting to send angry emails or make phone calls to people who are holding up the process, this won’t help anything. However, if you keep a record of all of your communications, you can reference them later if you need to take the next step. You don’t want to be known as the impulsive person who always jumps to conclusions.

When to Consider Hiring a Freight Forwarder in Nigeria?

Hiring a freight forwarder in Nigeria can be a great idea if you want to clear your first cargo in Nigeria as quickly as possible. Freight forwarders will be able to help you expedite the clearance process and navigate the bureaucracy and red tape that is inherent in this process. As you can see, clearing your first cargo in Nigeria is a long and frustrating process that requires patience and determination. If you are able to navigate this process with an experienced freight forwarder, it will be significantly easier and the process will be much shorter.


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