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Limark in Cape Verde

Connecting Cape Verde across Africa and beyond

Providing you with seamless access to Cape Verde’s island markets, ensuring effortless import and export of goods.

The Cape Verde archipelago, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa, presents unique logistical complexities for international trade. As an island nation, it relies heavily on efficient sea and air freight for its imports and exports.

Limark specializes in overcoming these geographical challenges. Our expertise in maritime and aviation logistics provides seamless cargo transportation to and from Cape Verde, ensuring vital connectivity for this island economy.

Shipping to and from Cape Verde

Import regulations

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

All commercial imports into Cape Verde require an import license issued by the General Directorate of Customs. The application for an import license must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Bill of lading or airway bill
  • Packing list
  • Certificate of origin
  • Import license application form

Port and terminal information

Cape Verde has four main ports for commercial imports:

  • Porto Grande (Mindelo, São Vicente Island)
  • Porto da Praia (Praia, Santiago Island)
  • Porto Novo (Santo Antão Island)
  • Porto Inglês (Maio Island)

These ports are equipped to handle containerized cargo, bulk cargo, and roll-on/roll-off operations.

Demurrage and detention charges

Demurrage fees are charged by the port authority for containers that remain in the port terminal area beyond the free period allowed for import clearance. Detention charges are fees imposed by the shipping line for containers that are not returned within the agreed-upon free time.

To avoid these charges, it is crucial to clear your cargo through customs and retrieve your containers from the port promptly.

Container Drop-offs

Most shipping lines and freight forwarders offer container drop-off services, where the container is delivered directly to your designated premises for unpacking. This service may incur additional fees but can streamline the import process and reduce demurrage or detention charges.

Documentation needed

To clear goods through Cape Verdean customs, you will typically need to provide the following documents:

  • Bill of lading or airway bill
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Certificate of origin
  • Import license

Any additional licenses or permits required for specific goods

Customs clearance processes

Once your goods arrive at the port of entry, you or your appointed customs broker must submit the required documents to Cape Verdean customs for clearance. The customs authorities will review the paperwork, assess any applicable duties and taxes, and inspect the cargo as necessary.

Import duties, taxes, and other fees

Cape Verde imposes import duties and taxes on most commercial goods entering the country. The rates vary depending on the type of goods, their origin, and any applicable trade agreements.

In addition to import duties, you may be required to pay:

  • Value-added tax (VAT)
  • Excise taxes (for certain goods such as alcohol and tobacco)
  • Port handling fees
  • Customs clearance fees


No specific restrictions apply to general cargo commodities. However, hazardous cargo that falls within the following classes are subject to prior approval before booking acceptance at the origin:

  • Class 1: Explosives
  • Class 7: Radioactive materials
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous goods (e.g. dry ice, lithium batteries)

All hazardous cargo shipments require submission of proper documentation and compliance with relevant regulations for safe handling and transportation.

Special cargoes

Out of Gauge (OOG) Cargo

Oversized or over-dimensional cargo is only accepted after prior approval of the dimensions. It is recommended that over-height cargo does not exceed 2.9 meters to ensure safe loading and discharge operations.

Less than Container Load (LCL) and Break Bulk

These types of cargo are not accepted for shipment to Cape Verde ports.

Weight limitations

Standard maximum payload restrictions apply based on the equipment type and vessel capacity. Shippers must provide accurate cargo weight details during booking.

Container types

45′ Containers: These containers are not accepted for shipment to ports in Cape Verde.

Other Container Types: All other standard container types (20′, 40′, etc.) are accepted subject to availability and line/port operational capabilities.


No special Bill of Lading clauses or restrictions apply. Both Sea Waybills and Telex Releases are acceptable at the Port of Praia, provided the consignee has at least one copy of the original Bill of Lading for customs clearance purposes.

For the Port of Mindelo, local customs authorities do not accept Sea Waybills. Therefore, either a Telex Release or the original Bill of Lading is required for customs purposes.

Please note that all cargo shipments are subject to applicable local rules and regulations at the origin, transshipment, and destination ports. Consult with our representatives for the latest updates and specific requirements.

Customs clearance advice

It is the overseas buyers’ responsibility to check that they can import the goods they are buying from the origin country. We recommend that exporters check with their Cape Verdean buyers that they have a local import customs broker who can advise the buyers on the customs documentation requirements for importing the products you are shipping to Cape Verde.

The buyers’ Customs Brokers can advise on:

  • Local Cape Verde import duty and taxes
  • Customs HS tariff classifications
  • If any prohibited or restricted goods
  • Full documents required from shippers

This will avoid any issues of trying to import goods that Cape Verde Customs will not allow to be imported and thus prevent wasted storage or other costs having to ship back to the origin country.

Depending on the goods, the Cape Verdean buyer may require an import license; it is the buyer’s responsibility to check if this is required before importing the goods into Cape Verde. The buyers’ local Customs Broker should check and advise on this.

No pre-inspection is currently required for goods importing by air or sea to Cape Verde. However, please check before importing as local regulations can change.

Please note that the above information advice on special requirements for shipping to Cape Verde is current and may change from time to time. We suggest that this is re-checked with the Cape Verdean buyers’ Customs Brokers before shipping, in the event of changes to any Cape Verdean import unique special requirements or new documentation regulations/requirements in place at the time of shipping to Cape Verde.

Export regulations

Navigating the export process can be complex. Simplify the experience by getting up-to-date local information on procedures, restrictions, demurrage, detention, container pick-ups, and and more.

Commodity regulations

While most general cargo commodities are exempt from specific restrictions, we exercise heightened vigilance when handling hazardous materials classified under Classes 1 (Explosives), 7 (Radioactive Materials), and 9 (Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods).

Such consignments necessitate prior approval and meticulous adherence to requisite documentation, labeling, and regulatory mandates governing safe handling and transportation.

Specialized cargo handling

Oversized consignments: Our expertise extends to the handling of Out of Gauge (OOG) cargo, contingent upon pre-approval of dimensions. To ensure optimal safety during loading and discharge operations, we recommend that over-height cargo dimensions do not exceed 2.9 meters.

Containerized Shipments: In alignment with Cape Verde’s port regulations, we do not accept Less than Container Load (LCL) or Break Bulk cargo shipments. All consignments must be containerized for seamless operations.

Weight considerations

Owing to the operational constraints of vessel gear, we enforce a maximum gross weight limitation of 25 metric tons, encompassing both cargo and container weight, for shipments destined for Cape Verde ports.

Equipment specifications

45′ Containers: Our services do not accommodate the use of 45′ containers for shipments to Cape Verde.

Accepted container types: We readily facilitate the transportation of standard container types (20′, 40′, etc.), subject to availability and the operational capabilities of the designated ports and shipping lines.

Documentation compliance

To ensure expeditious customs clearance at Cape Verde ports, we mandate the provision of the original Bill of Lading (B/L) or a Telex Release.

Additionally, depending on the nature of the commodity and shipment type, our team may require supplementary documentation such as commercial invoices, packing lists, certificates of origin, or permits to maintain strict regulatory compliance.

Shipping to and from Cape Verde

Expertise You Can Trust

Seamless cross-border Shipping to and from Cape Verde

At Limark, our commitment to maintaining the highest safety and regulatory compliance standards is unwavering. We ensure our esteemed clientele a seamless and trouble-free experience by adhering strictly to the essential guidelines and procedures.

Our operations are designed to meet the requirements set forth by local and international regulatory bodies, guaranteeing the integrity and security of your shipments in and out of Cape Verde. To support this commitment, our dedicated team of experts always offers guidance and assistance.

Get Expert Guidance

Contact our regional experts

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