Cargo Palletization Policy


Following the controversy generated by the cargo palletization policy, many shippers, importers, Freight Forwarders, stakeholders, and industry stalwarts have continued to throw questions around this policy, in search of answers to guide their own business decisions. Concluding from the past few weeks, the most frequently asked questions and responses are as follows:

What is the palletization policy about?

The policy is an initiative of the Presidential committee on ease of doing business in Nigeria which stipulates that all containerized cargoes coming into Nigeria must be palletized. This is to assist officers of the Nigerian Customs Service in providing an easy and faster way to physically examine containers being brought into the country.

What trade category does the palletization policy apply to?

The palletization policy is only applicable to all containerized cargo being shipped into Nigeria (i.e import cargo)

When is the palletization policy expected to be implemented?

The government has announced 1st January 2018 for the enforcement of the palletization policy for all containerized goods coming into the country. The policy will apply to all Nigerian bound cargoes departing various ports of loading/origin. Goods that have already been loaded for shipment into Nigeria prior to this date will not be affected by the palletization policy.

What type of pallets are acceptable?

At the workshop where the subject matter was extensively explained, it was stated that pallet dimension is 40’ x 48’ and has a capacity to carry goods as heavy as 1,000kg. However, we have not been officially notified on the approved size, weight capacity and nature of the material to be used as pallets.

Which goods are exempted from palletization? Items exempted from palletization are categorized by:

  • Weight: Example includes heavy metals such as flat steel sheets, aluminum in coils.
  • Mobility: Refers to commodities that can roll by itself such as motor vehicles, mobile gas cylinders, firefighting equipment.
  • Container space: Having adequate space of at least 2ft between each cargo for ease of movement inside the container such as earth moving tyres.
  • Fragility: Such as large, high precision diagnostic health machines We still await a full comprehensive list/guideline from the federal ministry of finance detailing what goods require palletization and what goods are exempted from palletization.

This policy is a game changer and will impact the importing of containerized cargo into the Nigerian seaports. Notwithstanding, defaulters will be subjected to stringent and very costly penalties which include 25% of Freight on Board (FoB) value (naira equivalent) of the unpalletized goods.

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