CTN – Cargo Tracking Note may seem a rather strange term to most importers. Especially so, if you were not around the logistics industry in the year 2009 when CTN was first introduced into Nigeria. At seeing the abbreviation – CTN, some would think it’s a short form of container. Others may look at it as representing carton. Yet a few, with medical background could have perceived it as Clinical Trials Network or something else.
What really is the CTN all about? Why was it introduced and later suspended in the Nigeria logistics space? Is there any hint CTN is to be brought back to Nigeria? This article is information-packed. It is one of those articles you wouldn’t like to miss at all. Unless, you are playing a passive role around the import-export value chain, otherwise, read and savour this piece.
WHAT IS CARGO TRACKING NOTE – CTN?
Believe me, most personnel who have been around the international logistics industry have not heard of the term CTN before. This is rightly so because CTN makes no sense of any kind to a lot of countries in the world. However, the case is quite different around West African countries and even Central Africa. Cargo tracking note is of very high significance in these regions. This is to the level that failure to obtain CTN could mean forfeiting the cargo. Really, this is a serious issue here.
The cargo tracking note is actually a marine certificate, containing unabridged information about the cargo. Information contained in the CTN includes the intended movement of the cargo within ports. Various countries have different names for the same document. For the republic of Chad, South Sudan, Libya, and Guinea Conakry, CTN is known as ECTN. Guinea Bissau goes with the name CEE. Some other countries say BESC, BSC, FERI, CNCA, BIETC, etc. Whatever the acronym or abbreviation, the purpose remains the same.
IMPORTANCE OF CARGO TRACKING NOTE
The CTN gives encyclopaedic information of exporter and importer. Also, the document shows shipping methods, type and value of the cargo transported. Equally listed in the document is cost of the freight as well as the name of the ship. Hence, CTN benefits the country as a whole in terms of security and finance. The security comes in the form of thorough information about the goods and all the parties involved in the transportation chain. Thus, security personnel are better equipped to do logistical monitoring in any event.
The financial benefit to the nation is unquantifiable. With the cargo tracking note, under-declaration of commodities is brought to the lowest, if not eliminated. What this means is that the government will have more revenues to build roads and infrastructures for its citizenry.
Other benefits of the cargo tracking note include:
- The cargo tracking system helps to keep logistical statistics for future use.
- It helps the Customs Authority to take advance look on what is about coming. Thus, the authority can deny any cargo entry into its border well on time.
CARGO TRACKING NOTE IN NIGERIA
Let me tell you a little about Nigeria and the container tracking note. Electronic cargo tracking note was originally introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in 2009. Almost all stakeholders in the maritime condemned the scheme at that time, leading to its suspension in the same 2009. Why the condemnation you might ask, considering the enormous benefit to all?
The reason was that CTN was not free of charge. Before its introduction, the NPA had assured importers that the scheme would come at no extra expense on anybody. In reality though, the regulation was expensive. So, there were widespread cry all over the industry. Consequently, the scheme was suspended in November 2009.
SUSPENSION OF CARGO TRACKING NOTE IN NIGERIA
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) suspending the scheme stated:
“In essence, no shipping line is authorized to demand for Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) as a condition for cargo shipment to Nigeria. This directive takes effect this day, 9th of November 2011. All shipping lines operating in Nigeria are to adhere strictly and ensure compliance.”
Attempts to reintroduce the cargo tracking system in 2015 by the Nigeria Shippers Council were again resisted.
WILL NIGERIA CUSTOMS RETURN CTN IN 2019?
My answer is yes if you ask me. Indications are high that the scheme is not dead in Nigeria. Of course, suspension does not mean cancellation. Last year, the Customs Boss expressed it clearly that the hope of commencing the scheme 2019 is bright.
Speaking in the year 2018, he expressed: “By next year if the finances are available and we are in agreement with our technology service provider, we will start the electronic cargo tracking system even if we will begin on a small scale.
“Though we use technology in tracking cargo in some border posts, we must have the technology to monitor everything collectively.” Therefore, the Nigeria Customs is in collaboration with Uganda Customs to see to the success of CTN.
WHO PAYS FOR CARGO TRACKING NOTE?
If this question is raised in Ghana or Uganda, where the scheme is already running you will have a definite answer. In Nigeria, a question like this one is often answered with a joke (“if you ask me ‘na’ who I go ask”). We will have the answer in due course as the scheme unfolds.
Read Also: IMPORT DUTY NIGERIA: NEW LEVY
WHO ISSUES THE CTN?
I know of GETCTN, a company that handles CTN for most African countries. To begin processing cargo tracking note, and perhaps learn more on the subject, click here.
The cargo tracking note regulation is quite good for reasons of revenue and security. Like every new regulation in the industry, the CTN has some drawbacks in Nigeria and beyond. All hopes are not lost; there is strong likelihood that the scheme will soon resurface in the most populous Black Country. Furthermore, the fact that Customs Boss said it may commence this year is something to take seriously. Also, this article is meant to prepare your minds ahead of time. Finally, contact us for any concern in the Nigeria import and export. Thanks a lot for reading.