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    10 Tips for Seamless Shipping to Nigeria (Imports and Exports)
    Updated On: 13 Feb 2023 | 2,211 Views

    10 Tips for Seamless Shipping to Nigeria (Imports and Exports)

    10 Tips for Seamless Shipping to Nigeria (Imports and Exports)

    10 Golden Tips for Seamless Shipping (Imports and Exports)

    Are you at the middle of discussion with your international supplier, and worried about how to ship and deliver your shipments to Nigeria without a hitch? I strongly advise you to read these 10 tips for seamless shipping to Nigeria, designed for importers and exporters. 

    For over a decade, I have been privileged to be involved in the international logistics processes in several sectors of the economy: including Manufacturing, Medical /Pharmaceutical, Oil and Gas, Agriculture, Mining and Construction.  From my experience, most unsuccessful and problematic shipping (imports and exports) occur because of improper planning, either by the importer or some other enablers within the value chain, including freight forwarders in Nigeria. 

    In the course of my service to these sectors, I’ve spent considerable time to understand the peculiarities of their freight transporting, airport / Seaport customs clearing processes, and the major components of their international logistics needs.

    Today, I’ll give you 10 tips that are fundamental to seamless shipping; freighting, clearing and delivery of imports into Nigeria and export shipments. I call these the 10 Golden Tips for seamless shipping. 


    1.      Good knowledge of the goods being shipped (imported/exported).

    2.      Clear understanding of origin and destination regulatory requirements.

    3.      Consult/Appoint a competent and professional freight forwarder

    4.      Develop your shipping budget - Set overall buying and delivery budget

    5.      Clear and reasonable agreement with your supplier/manufacturer

    6.      Pay right

    7.      Select an optimal shipping mode for your consignment

    8.      Plan for the arrival of your shipment

    9.      Learn from every shipment experience

    10.  Let your freight forwarder do some international negotiations

    1. Good Knowledge of Goods being Shipped (imported/exported)

    Knowledge of the items you are importing/exporting will support your investment in no small measures. I always advise importers/exporters to know all the components of whatever they are shipping into Nigeria or exporting. It helps them not only in safeguarding their investments, but also in optimizing their marketing and distribution efforts. Most important, we must understand the Nigeria Customs’ classification of these goods.

    2. Clear Understanding of Origin and Destination regulatory requirements, including customs H S code:

    Not taking your time to understand this point can be likened to being penny wise pounds ignorant. It’s essential that you ask your suppliers to update you on their country's export requirements and regulations as they relate to the goods you are buying from them. This will afford you the benefit of processing relevant freight and clearing documents well in advance before the goods are ready for shipment.

    Processing export and import permits and/or exit documents may take days, and in some cases weeks in some countries. It will therefore help to plan well ahead so that your goods are not unnecessarily delayed from origin due to lateness in processing exit documents.

    3.   Consult/Appoint a competent and professional freight forwarding agent

    One of the valuable enablers in international delivery is a freight forwarder. You need a professional freight agent to help you deliver your import/export to the final receiver/ consignee. You need this pre-shipment consultant for better interpretations of; steps, incoterms and customs HS codes. A professional and experienced freight forwarder will advise you on how to achieve cost effective, safe, and speedy delivery of your shipment(s).

    One of the best ways to enjoy a seamless delivery is to provide your freight agent with a packing list / purchase invoice issued by the international supplier. This will allow the freight agent to study the Classification of your imported goods by the Customs and then offer his expertise to deliver the best value for you and your import. Your freight agent will also advise you on Government compliances / regulations, duty calculation, right HS code selection, and other port agencies invoices..

    4. Develop your shipping budget - Set overall buying and delivery budget: 

    I have seen importers who buy first without considering the impact of other important elements like international transportation, destination trucking charges and customs duties/levies. I have seen many shipments abandoned at the ports because the importers failed to properly develop a budget plan that will capture purchase cost, transportation and delivery costs. My advice is simple! Get your freight agent involved before making any payments to your international supplier.

    5. Sign a Clear Reasonable agreement with supplier / manufacturer: 

    Understanding the nature of the quote or invoice that your supplier issues to you is very important in international trade. Establish before-hand all the components of the pricing from your supplier so that there are no ambiguities from day one. Although experienced importers would be quite familiar with incoterms which define the responsibilities of sellers and buyers in international transactions, new/infrequent importers need to have a clear understanding of the tasks, costs, and risks to be borne by buyers and sellers in their transactions.

    When all is considered and right, endeavour to sign a clear Sales Contract with your supplier.

    6. Pay Right:

    International trade is fraught with unscrupulous individuals and fake entities. It’s therefore important to ensure that you’re dealing with authentic organisations and duly authorised individuals. One of the ways you can do that is to co-opt the assistance of your freight forwarder to do background checks and verification of the potential supplier(s) you are dealing with, especially if that is your first transaction with them.

    7.   Select an optimal shipping mode for your goods

    Decision on the mode of shipping is normally be guided by four main factors, though other peculiar factors may be considered by the importer/exporter.

    1.      Weight/volume of shipment. This is a major input in the freight cost. Many-a-times, importers needlessly pay higher cost of freight because they do not understand how to minimise costs in the packaging of their items. To know more on this, read, xxxxxxx

    2.      Nature of goods being shipped- Not all shipments can be shipped as general goods. Some goods, irrespective of available budget, must be transported via Air freight, and others can go by sea because of their nature or large size.

    3.      Time sensitivity- Time sensitive shipment (import / export) must be treated as such. This means that some shipments (especially those needed urgently to complete production line and those that are categorized as perishables), because of the time, would only go by air freight transportation.

    4.      Importer’s budget. This is why some importers would rather use Air consolidation service for shipment or use groupage shipping for some deliveries.

    8. Plan for the arrival of your shipment and take delivery efficiently:

    Planning for the arrival of your shipment is of utmost importance for fast and seamless freighting, clearing and delivery of your goods. The defiance of this rule has led to cost overruns for many cargoes. From the moment the goods are paid for, an importer should ensure that the funds required for clearing the goods and where the items will be stored are properly provided for. This will prevent demurrage issues and attendant costs which many importers face from time to time.

    Irrespective of which shipping mode- Air freight shipping (express or consolidation), or Ocean freight shipping (Container or groupage), it is very important to know the estimated time of arrival of cargo with any of the mentioned shipping modes. Sometimes your freight agent would have to speak with your supplier before he can be affirmative as to when the cargo should be expected by the final consignee. With the knowledge, planning to take delivery is a step made easier.

    9.  Let your freight forwarder do some of your international negotiations/interface

    This is old good wisdom. If you have appointed a very competent and professional freight forwarder, you can rest assured that they are experienced enough to help you anticipate and proactively resolve any issues that may arise in the freighting and delivery process. Part of this will invariably be negotiations within the value chain. The knowledge and experienced of your freight forwarder will help you save a lot of money in your international trade activities. 

    You may then ask – how to identify a professional freight forwarder? The answer lies in the following factors:

    i. How knowledgeable is the freight forwarder in international logistics?

    ii. How organized is the forwarder? An individual or an organized corporate body? Do they have a well functioning system in place?

    iii. How dynamic are they? Sometimes in logistics, things are not as planned. Are they dynamic enough to adapt to changes in the interest of the importer/exporter?

    iv. How transparent are they? Do they have an open and transparent communication system in place?

    10. Learn from every shipment experience

    Every shipment and delivery has its own peculiarities especially in an environment like ours. Therefore, stay in touch with your freight and clearing agent to analyse what was done right and what was done not-too-right. This will give you the benefit of learning from past mistakes to avoid them in the future, and consolidating on the right steps taken.


    Observance or defiance of the above 10 golden tips for seamless shipping may be the huge difference between a seamless delivery of your shipments or a delayed, costly, and problematic delivery.

    About the Blogger:

    Adetayo George-Adewoye is a freight broker and logistics processional. Adetayo introduced pre-shipment consulting services into the shipping industry in 2012. He has offered high-level consulting service to medical / pharmaceutical sector, oil and gas multi-nationals, agricultural sector, Mining, and construction industry, manufactural, to procurement experts. Adetayo George-Adewoye is an award winner in the field of logistics, a member of the Lagos Chamber of commerce and industry, lions club international and freight net logistics network.

    12, Joseph Odunlami Street, Off Thomas Salako Street, Ogba Bus Stop, Ikeja, Lagos