As any Forwarder will know, shipping to Africa has its own challenges much like any other region. One way of navigating this is to enlist the help of a specialist. We spoke to WELL to find out what we should be mindful of when attempting to tackle this tricky subject and they’ve given us a step by step guide to follow.

Shipping to Nigeria can be very complex and time intensive. There are a number of steps to the process that need to be adhered to so that the shipment arrives on time.

First and foremost there are a number of necessary documents including, but not limited to:

1. CI (Commercial Invoice) showing shipper/consignee, goods name/description, value and HS Code

2. CCVO (Combined Certificate for Value and Origin)

3. PL (Packing List)

4. SONCAP Certification (subject to HS Code but these days most products will need SONCAP Certification for imports to Nigeria)

5. NAFDAC Certification (subject to HS Code, mostly required chemicals, foodstuff, drugs/medicines, military and aviation related products, etc.)

6. MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) and DGN (Dangerous Goods Note) for hazardous goods

Once these relevant documents have been obtained there is one more key step that must be completed before the shipment can be dispatched. Prior to shipping to Nigeria, a Form M must be registered with one of the participating banks and a Form M number obtained.

It is important to remember that…

  • CI, PL, SONCAP/NAFDAC (as/if applicable) are required for obtaining Form M
  • Obtaining a Form M can take 1-2 days so allow time
  • The more line items included on the commercial invoice or packing list, the more time may be needed for obtaining Form M.
  • Your Form M number needs to be mentioned on the AWB or BoL

What happens when the goods arrive in Nigeria?

Upon arrival the PAAR (Pre Arrival Assessment Report) is processed by submitting all final and available documentation to one of the banks approved by Nigerian Authorities.

The documents required for PAAR processing are: 

  • CI
  • PL
  • CCVO
  • AWB/BoL
  • Form M
  • SONCAP/NAFDAC (as applicable).

Typically, obtaining a PAAR Certificate from the bank takes about 3-7 days however this can sometimes be longer.

Upon issuance of the PAAR customs will issue a Customs Duty Assessment that provides information on import duties and taxes payable to Nigerian Customs to enable import clearance of goods into the country. This usually takes a day to process.

Once Customs Duty Assessment is issued, the same is presented to consignee for making duty/taxes payment to Customs.

Upon clearing Duty/Taxes payment on Customs account, it takes 2-7 working days to summarise the customs clearance process at Customs and to deliver the goods to the consignee.

In summary, it takes approximately 5-14 days once the freight is at destination to customs clear any sea or air shipment and to deliver to the consignee.

From collection to the arrival port or airport the typical transit times are 5-7 days for airfreight and 30-40 days for sea freight including all document applications. Of course these transit times are just an estimate and are subject to direct flights, space availability and other factors that are beyond our control.

Overall, estimated transit times for door to door shipments are 5 – 14 days for air freight and 48-69 days for sea freight.

Of course, a specialist carrier can handle the whole process from start to finish to ensure as smooth a shipment as possible for the customer, that’s where we come in! This is just an example for a typical shipment to Nigeria, we can also handle movements to other locations on the continent depending on the needs of the customer. You can find out more at

Worldwide Energy Logistics