Why Cargo Importation into Nigeria Can Go Wrong

Unregulated Freight Forwarders In The Nigerian Logistics Space

Beyond importing cargoes faster, safer and at a lower cost, a thorough understanding of import requirements in a country like Nigeria is a lot more affordable than the cost of damage control, when and if an import process goes wrong. The question then is, why would an import process go wrong? At what point can it go wrong and why? Even when it does, what can be done to salvage the situation and what cost?


The Reason Cargo Importation Can Go Wrong

Yes! The cargo import process can go wrong for either some human-induced reasons or some natural causes. Below are some of the many reasons the import process can go wrong:


Engaging the Wrong Agent: The primary role of an import or forwarding agent should be educative enough for the importer to understand the comprehensive requirements of the import process. So, engaging the wrong import agent will translate to a limited or sketchy understanding of the requirements. This will lead to very costly errors, ranging from documentation errors, undervaluation, wrong classification, poor information management to poor cargo handling.


Documentation Errors: Erroneous information in your shipping document could also lead to costly consequences, ranging from Customs queries, fines, confiscation of cargo, to delivery delays.

Documentation errors can also result in wrong cargo routing. Just recently, a Turkey-bound cargo was wrongly routed to Nigeria from France. The consignee in Turkey had to contact a Nigeria partner who recovered the shipment from the wrong consignee. The cargo was eventually re-sent to the right consignee in Turkey.

Implication: The implication is double charges, resulting from double handling


Operational Failures: This could come in the form of cargo loses, resulting from poor handling or packing of sensitive cargoes or outright damage.

In a country like Nigeria, operational failure can come in the form of delivery delays resulting from port congestion, multiple examinations and re-examination of cargo, even after it has been released.

Recall that on April 25th, 2019, the Nigerian Customs issued a circular, authorizing the Comptroller General’s “Strike Force” to conduct 100% re-examination of suspicious shipments right inside the ports and even confiscate cargoes where necessary.


Wrong Classification: Wrong classification usually arises from inaccurate or outrightly wrong allocation of Harmonized tariff codes, leading to wrong cargo description – in terms of type, weight, commercial value of cargo. This will ultimately lead to under or over-valuation and payment of the wrong duties or tariffs. This will lead to costly Customs queries, fines or delays if eventually discovered – which is often the case.


Force Majeure: Bad weather, riots, technological or energy black-outs, strike or industrial lock-down are some of the many natural factors that can make importation into Nigeria go wrong. In July 2019, Maritime Workers Association of Nigeria embarked on strike which lasted for almost a week and for the entire duration of this industrial action, there was a total shut-down of activities at the port. Weeks before that, Aviation workers also took an industrial action that affected the delivery of airfreight for a few days.



While there may not be so much that can be done to eliminate natural occurrences, the need to create zero room for human-induced errors in the entire importation process in more pressing than ever.

Fortune Global continues to demonstrate absolute commitment to offering the best import services and helping our clients and partners across the globe with up-dated information on the requirements for importation into Nigeria with no room for avoidable errors at the appropriate cost.


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