All You Need To Know About Clearing And Forwarding In Nigeria

Clearing and forwarding is a service-based business of inter-meditating between a dealer and the purchasers of the freight. It deals with import and export. A one-way chain where a service provider services as the link between the dealer and purchasers of imported products- delivering this service to their doorsteps.

Simply put, clearing is the business of settling imported freights from the ports, creating the connection between the sender (dealer) and purchasers, and forwarding deals with transporting the purchased products to the receivers.

Essentially, C&R eases the process of stress for the receivers while ensuring the satisfaction of the dealer.

Clearing freights in Nigeria requires quite the process. One will have to undergo several processes.

Here’s a list of organizations, both federal and private that requires the clearing process before any freight can leave the port.

  1. Valuation: Custom valuations have to be cleared with documents of ownership that validates the authenticity of every claimed freight and its content. 
  2. NDLEA: The national drug law enforcement agency has to clear out and verify that claimed freights do not carry any illegal drugs.
  3. Custom Investigating Unit: The custom investigating unit has to investigate the authenticity of the documents before declaring the freights clear and ready for evacuation.
  4. Tally
  5. PM provost marshal
  6. Enforcement 
  7. Police
  8. DMI
  9. Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON)
  11. State Security Service, SSS etc.

Clearing And Forwarding Agents

As previously stated, Nigeria like most countries carries strict rules regarding custom clearance. These clearings require the services of people or companies that will undergo the process of clearing these complex processes to ensure the received freights are cleared and distributed to the buyers. The companies or people who operate these duties are known as clearing agents.

Duties of A Clearing Agent

Here is a list of some responsibilities of a clearing agent

  1. Arrangement of documents

One of the most important duties of a clearing agent is the arrangement of transfer documents at customs for the release of particular freights. Here is a list of the most important documents required by a clearing agent:

  • Bill of Entry
  • Bill of Lading
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing list of goods
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Import license of the consignee
  • Insurance certificate
  • Letter of Credit (L/C)

Other duties of a clearing agent include calculating and settling value-added taxes and avoiding increasing charges by ensuring the freights are released from the ports.

Payment of Tax: The process of clearing freights from ports involves various clearance processes from diverse organizational bodies (both federal and private). Custom duties are being paid to federal agencies upon freeing the freights. A clearing agent is then tasked with the duty of calculating the cost of the custom duties and paying them in order to free the freights.

In the process of clearing these freights, value-added taxes have to be settled as well. Various degrees of taxes have to be paid to clear freights from ports.

Basically, forwarding agents are in charge of ensuring the smooth transportation and delivery of freights from the port to the buyers after they have been cleared. Clearing and forwarding agents work hand in hand. Most organizations offer both services.

Some of the duties of forwarding agents includes:

Transportation And Delivery Of Freights: Forwarding agents are tasked with the basic duty of ensuring the safe delivery of freights or their content to the destination of buyers through whichever mode of transport that guarantees safe delivery.

Most times, a buyer might be situated on the far side of the country, say Kaduna state, and the freights arrive in the Lagos port. Having cleared these freights from the ports, a forwarding agent is then tasked with securing transportation and safe delivery of these products down to Kaduna state from the port.

Packaging And Distribution: Freights are known to carry all types of products. Ranging from very solid mechanical machines to equipment with fragile frames. It is up to the forwarding agents to find a method of securing these valuables and repacking them according to their type, use, buyer and quality.

A single fright might have over a dozen buyers who are interested in the various content it carries. Segregating and packing the goods for each and every customer (buyer) is an additional duty of a forwarding agent.

Choosing Of Routes: As illustrated in the example earlier, some buyers might be based in different locations from the landing port of their freights. A forwarding agent is then tasked with the duty of ensuring the best routes of transport that guarantee the quick and safe passage of the freight.


Not all air and seaports are available for clearing and forwarding within the country. Here is a list of the accredited ports for clearing within Nigeria

Akure Aiport, Akure;

Akwa Ibom International Airport, Uyo;

Benin Airport, Benin;

Ilorin Airport, Ilorin.

kaduna Airport, Kaduna;

Magaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar;

Maiduguri International Airport, Maiduguri;

Makurdi Airport, Markudi;

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Airport, Bauchi;

Sultan Saddik Abubakar Airport, Sokoto

Warri Airport, Warri

Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos

Yola Airport, Yola

Zaria Airport, Zaria

When it comes to clearing and forwarding of international freights, few air and seaports have the access and privilege of receiving these freights. Usually, international seaports are accredited are the ones located at the port of oceans. Here is a list of internally accredited seaports.

  1. Lagos Port Complex Apapa, Lagos State;
  2. Calabar Seaport Calabar, Cross River State;
  3. Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos State;
  4. Delta Seaport, Delta State
  5. The Delta Port

Airports on the other hand are readily available but not all of them make the list. Here is a list of international airports eligible for international clearing and fowarding in Nigeria:

  1. Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu
  2. Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano
  3. Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos
  4. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja
  5. Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt

GIGTLC is an organization that offers excellent clearing and fowarding services across the world.

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