Home / Services / Region / Africa / Benin

Limark in Benin

Connecting Benin across Africa and beyond

Providing Beninese businesses with unparalleled global connectivity, we bridge local enterprises to key markets across Africa through expert logistics.

Whether you need to import or export machinery, refrigerated cargo, or standard container shipments, our teams of specialists in Benin are dedicated to ensuring you have the optimal transport solution tailored to your specific needs.

From Cotonou, access to African markets becomes seamless with our vast ocean fleet. This strategic port is a crucial link for international shipping routes, facilitating easy and efficient transit to and from Africa and other continents.

Shipping to and from Benin

Import regulations and licensing requirements

Importing goods to Benin requires navigating specific procedures and documentation. Here’s a breakdown of the essential requirements:

Certain products entering Benin require import licenses or permits, which are issued by relevant government agencies:

  • Food products: Imports of food items require approval from both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health
  • Pharmaceuticals: Importing drugs and pharmaceutical products necessitates clearance from the Ministry of Health
  • Chemicals: Import permits from the Ministry of Environment are mandatory for chemical imports

Agencies involved

  • Customs and Excise Department: Main regulatory body overseeing imports
  • Ministry of Health: Regulates imports of pharmaceuticals and food products
  • Ministry of Agriculture: Oversees import regulations related to agricultural products.
  • Commercial invoice: Detailed document specifying the seller and buyer information, description of goods, quantities, and total value
  • Packing list: Detailed list of the contents and packaging of the imported goods
  • Bill of lading: Legal document issued by the carrier detailing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods

Certificates required

  • Certificate of origin: Essential document verifying the country in which the goods were manufactured
  • Phytosanitary certificate: Required for certain imports to confirm that the goods are free from pests and diseases


Procedure for securing import licenses and permits

Procedure for securing import licenses and permits

  • Application process: Importers must submit detailed documentation, including business registration and product information
  • Specifics for regulated products: Additional permits may be required for imports of food, pharmaceuticals, and other regulated products
  • Validity periods and renewals: Import licenses and permits typically have a validity period of one year and must be renewed annually

Step-by-step guidance on customs clearance in Benin

  1. Pre-arrival Documentation Submission: Submit all required documents to customs before the arrival of the goods
  2. Duty and Tax calculation: Customs calculates duties and taxes based on the CIF value of the imports
  3. Inspection and testing: Goods may undergo inspection and testing to ensure compliance with Beninese standards

Cotonou port

  • Documentation requirements: Ensure all paperwork is complete and submitted within specified timelines to avoid delays
  • Container handling: Guidelines on container pick-up and drop-off, including cut-off times, storage allowances, and potential charges

Benin prohibits or restricts various goods to safeguard public health, safety, and the environment

Charcoal export ban

The exportation of charcoal is strictly banned from Benin. Shippers and consignees are fully responsible and liable for any fraudulent attempts to export charcoal. All related fines, costs, and penalties will be at the expense of the shipper/consignee.

Regulations on Scrap Metal Shipments

Benin Port Authorities (Port Autonome de Cotonou) implemented new rules governing the movement of scrap metal cargoes:

All inbound and outbound shipments of any type of scrap material must undergo inspection for radioactive components before loading/unloading operations at the Port of Cotonou. Each scrap shipment must obtain a Certificate of Risk Control (Certificat de Contrôle de Risque) after this inspection.

For any scrap cargo found to be “contaminated”, the cargo owner is responsible for all costs related to its destruction, transport, port storage, demurrage/detention charges, and other expenses.

Export regulations and restrictions

Get a detailed guide that provides an in-depth look into every aspect of the export process to ensure your goods are shipped efficiently and in compliance with all legal standards.

VGM requirement update

Effective July 1st, 2016, the Benin Government mandates that all export containers must be accompanied by a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) certificate prior to loading. Without VGM certification, containers will not be accepted for loading at the Cotonou port.

To ensure compliance, shippers are required to submit the VGM information at least 48 hours before the scheduled arrival of the vessel at the Cotonou port.

In addition to the VGM requirement, it’s essential to be aware of other cut-off times relevant to exporting goods from Benin:

Documentation submission

Ensure all required export documentation, including commercial invoices, packing lists, and bills of lading, are submitted to the relevant authorities within the specified timeframe. Failure to do so may result in delays or rejection of the shipment.

Customs clearance

Submit all customs clearance documents and declarations in advance to facilitate timely processing. Customs clearance must be completed before the cargo can be loaded onto the vessel.

Container delivery

Arrange for the delivery of containers to the port within the designated timeframe to ensure they are ready for loading onto the vessel. Delays in container delivery may impact the shipping schedule and incur additional charges.

Charcoal export ban

Exportation of charcoal is strictly prohibited. Both the shipper and consignee bear full responsibility and liability for any violation of this regulation. Any fines and associated costs resulting from non-compliance will be at their expense.

Shipping to and from Benin

Seamless cross-border shipping to and from Benin

Reduce border complexities with our integrated shipping services to and from Benin. Our expert team and advanced technology platforms streamline Angolan import and export regulations, ensuring seamless documentation and compliance.

Whether you’re a seasoned trader or new to the Benin market, our tailored logistics solutions and personalized support guarantee the timely delivery of your goods with ease.

Our extensive network, combined with cutting-edge logistics technology, ensures that no destination is out of reach. Rely on us to connect your business to the rest of the world, leveraging our deep local knowledge and global logistics capabilities to boost your movement of goods.

Get Expert Guidance

Contact our logistics experts

Partner with experienced freight forwarders and customs brokers for seamless shipping to and from Benin. Ensure full documentation compliance with the guidance and logistics services of our team.