Container shipping to Africa & ECTN certificate

When shipping a container to Africa, some additional documents and special procedures are often required depending on the destination country.

Many of these special requirements refer to imports, but some of them should be included in the export documentation. This is the case of ECTN (Electronic Cargo Tracking Note).

The ECTN document is also known as Bordereau de Suivi Cargaison (BSC) or Loading Certificate or Waiver, depending on the country. This certificate contains information about freight or cargo, and it is used by authorities in some countries to control imported goods before they reach the destination port.

ECTN documents are official marine documents that contain full details about the exporter / importer, shipping method (containerized, groupage, etc), type and value of goods being transported, name of vessel and cost of freight for the shipment. These waivers are filled by the importer or exporter and must be filed before the cargo arrives at its port of discharge. The time frame and duration needed to get the certificate validated vary immensely. Shipment will be penalized and ECTN will not be issued if the certification deadline is missed.

The shipper submits their documentation (BL, commercial invoice, GUCE Tracking e-force form or DI and ID) for verification at the CNSC reception desk. After scanning the documents, the ECTN form is finalized by the CNSC Port Agent. The shipper pays for the ECTN at the CNSC’s cash desk and the ECTN becomes available.

The ECTN number must be included in all documentation related to the cargo being transported. The BL (Bill of Lading), which contains information about the container or loose cargo, must also contain the ECTN number.

You will surely need this document, if you’re thinking about sending your goods to any of the destinations below:

  • Algeria – ECTN
  • Angola – CNCA
  • Benin – BESC
  • Burkina Faso – ECTN
  • Burundi – ECTN
  • Cameroon – BESC
  • Central African Republic – ECTN
  • Chad – ECTN
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo – FERI
  • Equatorial Guinea – ECTN
  • Gabon – BIETC
  • Ghana – CTN
  • Guinea Bissau – CEE
  • Guinea Conakry – ECTN
  • Ivory Cost – BSC
  • Liberia – CTN
  • Libya – ECTN
  • Madagascar – BSC
  • Mali – BSC
  • Niger – BSC
  • Nigeria – ICTN
  • Republic of the Congo – ECTN
  • Senegal – BSC
  • Sierra Leone – ENS/BSC
  • South Sudan – ECTN
  • Togo – CTN

Any shipment that arrives in the port of any of these countries without the CTN or ECTN (Electronic Cargo Tracking Note) will not be cleared until a CTN or a valid ECTN is sent from the port of loading. The receiver assumes responsibility for risk demurrages and storage charges. Charges that are not covered by the CTN will be fined and charged to the importer. There is also a high risk for fines if the document is not filed 10 days after the ship has departed.