How to Import Goods to Nigeria


Well, like any other business, you can start the business on a small scale by buying your choice items from people who travel to Dubai or elsewhere themselves. If you buy directly from them, it is cheaper for you to sell and still make good money. If you have a close friend that travels to Dubai, you could also give the person money to help you buy your goods, and you can also order online. Whether you are buying from someone travels to Dubai or you are sending someone that is travelling to Dubai to shop for you, you can start the business with about N20,000 to N50,000.


There are two categories of goods for the purposes of this guideline:

(a) Merchandise and Raw Materials
(b) Personal Effects

it is no longer mandatory that the consignee engages the services of a registered Clearing and Forwarding Agent in respect of merchandise and raw materials. In such cases, the consignee may opt for self clearance as is the case with personal effects, where the owner may clear the cargo when familiar with the clearing procedure.

The consignor/shipper sends the Bill of Lading in advance of the arrival of the ship to the consignee/importer. This document contains the following vital information.

(a) The name of the ship carrying the goods
(b) The description of the goods along with their marks and numbers
(c) The date of departure from port of loading
(d) The weight of cargo
(e) The terms of contract of affreightment

The importer/consignee takes the Bill of Lading to the NPA Central Office for Planning and Information of the appropriate port for details about the arrival date of the ship and her allocated berth. This information can also be obtained from the shipping company
The importer or his agent completes the Bill of Entry and registers it with the Nigerian Customs Service.
The consignee or importer proceeds to the shipping company to effect Shipping Company Release of the goods
There, the Bill of Lading is cross-checked and compared with the ship’s manifest. After certifying the correctness of consignee’s documents, a blank form called Delivery Order (D.O.), supplied to the shipping company by the Nigerian Ports Authority, is then issued to the importer.
The consignee or his agent competes the Delivery Order and returns same and the Bill of Lading to the shipping company.
The shipping company then scrutinises the details on the Delivery Order, endorses it and withdraws the original of the Bill of Lading from the consignee or his agent. Thereafter, the lower portion of the Delivery Order is detached and handed back to the importer who holds it as evidence of shipping company release.
The main body of the Delivery Order is sent to the Marketing Department of Nigerian Ports Authority at the specific port.
The Marketing Department then raises all necessary bills through a computerised system, marries the Release Note copy of the Customs Bills of Entry with the shipping company’s Delivery Order, after which bills are authorised.

The bills are then vetted by the Audit Department after which payments are effected at designated bank.


The necessary delivery sets are then produced using information contained in the Delivery Order and subsequently transferred to the transit shed or delivery point.

The consignee or his agent then proceeds to the appropriate transit shed or delivery point to effect delivery. After loading, cargo pass is issued to the consignee or his agent who then proceeds to NPA gate for security checks and final exit.


The NPA provides various cargo handling equipment for both containers and general cargo. Roro facilities are available at the ports. Free storage period of six days from the last day of a ship’s completion of discharge are allowed for importers to clear their goods.


Ship Manifest is a summary of all Bills of Lading due for discharge at a particular port.
Delivery Order is a printed form supplied by the NPA to shipping companies for purposes of delivery of goods to the rightful owners.

Terminal Delivery Order is a document on the presentation of which a consignee or agent is authorised to take delivery of consignment at an NPA terminal, delivery point or shed.
It must be emphasised that carriage or cargo in excess of declaration on cargo manifest attracts sanction. The  things you need to know, it is no more difficult to import good into Nigeria

Written by PH

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