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Limark in Gabon

Connecting Gabon across Africa and beyond

Limark’s commitment to Gabon dates back to our company’s inception. Today, our team is an integral part of the local logistics landscape. We provide tailored solutions for businesses navigating the complexities of Gabonese trade, offering expertise in everything from container shipping and customs clearance to project cargo handling.

Limark Gabon’s consistent growth reflects our deep understanding of the region’s unique trade complexities. Our dedicated team prioritizes reliable, compliant solutions that safeguard your shipments and streamline your Gabonese operations. Let Limark’s experience and market knowledge be your competitive advantage.

Shipping to and from Gabon

Import regulations

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

Product categories requiring import licenses/permits

Agricultural products:

  • Live animals, animal products – Import permit from Ministry of Agriculture
  • Plants, seeds, plant products – Phytosanitary certificate required

Food products:

  • Processed foods – Import permit from the Ministry of Commerce
  • Baby foods, dietary supplements – Permit from Ministry of Health
  • Beverages – Import license required

Pharmaceutical/Medical products:

  • Medicines, medical equipment – Import permit from the Ministry of Health
  • Narcotics/controlled substances – Special permits required

Chemical products:

  • Industrial chemicals – Import license from the Ministry of Environment
  • Pesticides, fertilizers – Permit from Ministry of Agriculture

Petroleum products:

Fuels, lubricants – Import license from Ministry of Petroleum

Weapons, Munitions, Explosives:

Import licenses/permits from the Ministry of Defense/Security

Precious metals, and gemstones:

Import permit from the Ministry of Mines

Vehicles and parts:

Import license for new/used vehicles from the Ministry of Transport

Prohibited imports

  • Narcotic drugs
  • Counterfeit goods, pirated materials
  • Toxic or hazardous waste
  • Pornographic materials
  • Plastic bags and some plastic products
  • Ivory and ivory products under CITES

Restricted imports

  • Used clothing/shoes (limited exceptions)
  • Right-hand drive vehicles
  • Remotely detonated weapons/explosives

Relevant agencies

  • Directorate General of Gabonese Customs (DGDG)
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Rural Development
  • Ministry of Economy, Commerce, and Recovery
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Petroleum and Hydrocarbons
  • Ministry of Mines and Geological Resources
  • Ministry of Defense and Security

Required import documents

Standard documents:

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading/Air Waybill
  • Import Permit/License (for regulated goods)
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Import Declaration (GAGU, IM8 forms)
  • Freight Insurance Policy

Product-specific certificates

  • Phytosanitary Certificate (plants, agriculture)
  • Health/Sanitary Certificate (foods, animals)
  • Radiation Certification (radioactive materials)
  • CITES Permit (wildlife trade goods)
  • Certificate of Conformity (products to standards)

Commercial invoice requirements

  • Correct HS codes for all goods
  • Detailed product descriptions, quantities, weights
  • Value and currency for goods
  • Terms of delivery/sale (Incoterms)
  • Final destination in Gabon

Packing list info

  • List of packages/containers
  • Contents of each, with descriptions and quantities
  • Gross and net weights
  • Dimensions and package markings

Bill of lading requirements

  • Shipper/consignee names and address
  • Notify party details
  • Description of goods, HS codes
  • Seal numbers for containers
  • Number of packages and types

Free time for import containers

  • 10 calendar days free demurrage at ports
  • Calculated from container discharge date
  • Demurrage charges after free time (port authority tariffs):
    • 20′ Container

Days 11-15: $25 per day

After day 15: $50 per day

  • 40′ Container

Days 11-15: $40 per day

After day 15: $80 per day

Detention charges (shipping line fees)

  • Generally, $80-$120 per container per day
  • Applies after allowed free time post-pickup

Container dwell time limits

  • Import containers must be cleared within 30 calendar days
  • After 30 days, transferred to off-terminal depot
  • Depot storage fees: Around $5 per TEU per day

Import permits required for

  • Explosives, ammunition, firearms – Ministry of Defense
  • Radioactive materials – Ministry of Mines (Radiation Protection Div)
  • Hazardous industrial chemicals – Ministry of Environment
  • Controlled products (drugs, psychotropics, etc.)

Application requirements

  • Description of goods and intended use
  • MSDS/Safety data sheets
  • Import license/authorization
  • Storage, handling, and transport plans
  • May require pre-import inspection

Labeling and documentation

  • Hazard placarding per IMDG/ICAO codes
  • Proper packaging and segregation
  • Import declaration (IM8 document)
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Handling certifications/approvals

Inspections and controls

  • Radiation scanning/detection
  • Physical inspection of documents/cargo
  • Sampling and testing of goods
  • Monitoring and verification at destination

General procedure

  • Identify relevant regulating ministry for the goods
  • Compile required documents (import contracts, product details, etc.)
  • Submit application with documents and pay fees
  • Wait for review, screening, and approval process
  • Receive import permit/license documentation
  • Some permits require additional inspections/testing

Food/Agricultural product permits

  • Apply to the Ministry of Agriculture or Commerce
  • Provide import contracts, supplier details
  • Product composition, test reports, intended use
  • Import permit fees around $75-$150
  • Validity typically 6-12 months, renewable

Pharmaceutical/Medical permits

  • Application to Ministry of Health
  • Submit product dossiers, manufacturing details
  • Site audits/inspections may be required
  • Permit fees $200-$500 based on product
  • Validity period 2-5 years

Other product examples

  • Chemicals/Petroleum – Ministry of Environment/Petroleum
  • Vehicles – Ministry of Transport- Arms/Munitions – Ministry of Defense
  • Fees vary, validity around 1 year

Customs clearance process

  • Use of licensed customs broker is required
  • Broker submits Import Declaration on ASYCUDA system
  • Provide all required documents (permits, certificates, etc.)
  • Pay applicable duties, taxes, and fees
  • Customs inspects documentation and cargo
  • Non-intrusive inspection (scanning) is standard
  • Physical inspection based on risk criteria
  • If compliant, goods are cleared and released

Import duties

  • Most goods are 20-30% based on the HS code from Common External Tariff
  • Some preferential rates for CEMAC/ECCAS member countries

Other taxes and fees

  • Statistical Tax – 2% of CIF value
  • Value Added Tax (TVA) – 18%
  • Community Integration Tax – 0.4% of CIF
  • Computer Fee – 2,000 FCFA per declaration

Inspections and verification

  • Documentary checks of HS codes, valuations
  • Non-intrusive scanning of containers
  • Physical inspection for random or risk shipments
  • Sampling/testing of food, chemicals, etc.

Port/Terminal Details


  • Port of Owendo 
    • Main commercial gateway, 9 berths
    • Max draft 10.5m, can handle Panamax vessels
    • Cut-off for docs – 5 calendar days pre-arrival
    • 24/7 gate operations
    • On-dock storage for import containers up to 30 days
    • On-site container freight station
  • Port Gentil
    • Secondary port, oil/bulk cargo focus
    • 8 berths, max draft 9m
    • Mostly exports, some import capability
    • Documentation cut-off 5 days pre-arrival
  • Air cargo hub
    • Libreville International Airport (LBV)
    • Main air cargo gateway, cold storage
    • Cargo documentation cut-off 4 hours pre-arrival
    • Limited import storage facilities
    • Agents handle on/offloading

Container operations

  • Import containers must be cleared within 30 days
  • Limited on-dock storage beyond 30 days
  • Off-dock depots provide longer-term storage
  • Depot free times ~5 days before charges

Export regulations

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.

Products requiring export licenses/permits

Timber/Forest products:

  • Logs, sawn wood, veneers – Export license from Ministry of Forests
  • Finished wood products like furniture – May require permit
  • CITES permit for endangered tree species

Mineral products:

  • Crude oil, petroleum products – Export permit from Min. of Petroleum
  • Precious metals (gold, platinum) – Permit from Ministry of Mines
  • Industrial minerals (manganese, iron ore, etc.) – May require permit

Agricultural/Food products

  • Coffee, cocoa beans – Export permit from Ministry of Agriculture
  • Certain plants, fruits, and vegetables – Phytosanitary certificate
  • Meat, fish, animal products – Health/Vet certificate

Wildlife products

  • Live animals – CITES export permit required
  • Animal trophies, skins, ivory – Permits from Wildlife authorities

Other products

  • Diamonds (rough) – Kimberley Process certificate
  • Manufactured goods – May require permits
  • Artworks, antiques – Permit from Cultural Ministry

Prohibited exports

  • Unprocessed logs and timber prohibited
  • Raw/uncut diamonds prohibited
  • Narcotic drugs prohibited
  • Arms, ammunition, and explosives strictly controlled

Restricted exports

  • Certain wildlife/endangered species under CITES
  • Currency and precious metal coins are restricted
  • Some minerals/ores subject to quotas

Export documentation

  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of lading/air waybill
  • Certificate of origin
  • Export permit/license (if required)
  • Export declaration (GAGU form)

Other certificates as required

  • Phytosanitary certificate (plants, agriculture)
  • Health/Veterinary certificate (animals, animal products)
  • CITES export permit (endangered species)
  • Kimberley Process cert (rough diamonds)
  • EUR1/GSP preferential cert (some destinations)
  • Quality/Inspection certificates

Export declaration process

  • Exporter obtains all necessary permits/licenses
  • Exporter/broker submits export declaration on ASYCUDA system
  • Provide all documentation – invoice, packing list, certs/permits
  • Pay any applicable duties, taxes, fees
  • Customs reviews documents and may inspect cargo
  • If compliant, goods are cleared for export

Sanctions for non-compliance

  • Penalties for false declarations, missing docs
  • Fines and potential criminal charges
  • Seizure of goods
  • Loss of export/customs privileges

Port of Owendo

  • Main commercial port, 9 berths
  • Focus on exports of wood, minerals, agricultural goods
  • Max draft 10.5m, Panamax vessels
  • Documentation cut-off: 5 days before vessel arrival
  • 24-hour gate operations

Port Gentil

  • Main oil export terminal, 8 berths
  • Max draft 9m
  • Some capacity for general cargo exports
  • Documentation cut-off: 5 days prior to arrival

Container operations

  • Owendo has on-dock storage for exports
  • Free storage for around 10 calendar days
  • After free time: $25/day for 20′ box, $50/day for 40′
  • Off-dock depots available for longer-term storage

Air cargo exports

  • Libreville International Airport

    • Cut-off times vary by airline (4-6 hours typical)
    • Export cargo reception and screening areas
    • Cold storage for perishables

Returning empty containers

  • Allowed around 4 hours free time to return containers
  • After free time, detention is charged by lines ($80-$120/day)
  • Terminals may also charge fines for overstaying allowance

Export duties and taxes

  • Most exports exempt from duties and taxes
  • Some exceptions like logs (3-6% duty), precious metals (5-10%)
  • Repatriation tax/withholding tax on export proceeds (5-10%)
  • Excise duties on some exports like beverages (5-25%)

Other fees and charges

  • Port handling charges ($100-$200 per container)
  • Customs clearance fees ($75-$150 per declaration)
  • Extra charges for reefers, hazardous goods, weighing, etc.
  • Administrative fees, stamp duties, security charges
  • FOB inspection/verification fees (around 0.95% of FOB value)
Shipping to and from Gabon

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Simplify Gabon trade—expert end-to-end logistics

Navigating Gabon’s complex trade regulations can be a minefield. Non-compliance often leads to costly delays and penalties. Simplify your Gabon shipments with Limark. Our extensive expertise in cross-border shipping to and from Gabon ensures seamless, compliant cargo movement from origin to final destination.

We know reliable, predictable shipping is crucial for your Gabon operations. With a proven on-time delivery record, Limark delivers peace of mind. Our dedicated team manages every step — from customs clearance to inland transportation — with precision. Strategic partnerships and streamlined processes often translate into potential cost savings for your business.

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