Import and Export: The Basics

Import and export are two of the most important activities in business. They can make or break a company, and they are a source of great income for many businesses. However, there are many misconceptions about these two processes. This article will clear up some of those misconceptions and provide some basic information about how to import and export successfully so that you can use your business to help other people.

 The Import/Export Process

 The first step in the import/export process is to determine what needs to be imported or exported. This step can be difficult because it involves understanding what materials are needed, where they will be used, how they will be used, who will use them, and how much they cost. Once the need for an item has been determined, it will then be necessary to find a company that can provide that item at a reasonable price.

 Once you have located a company that can provide your product or service at a reasonable price, you must then gather all of the information regarding the product and its specifications (e.g., size). This information should include any special requirements such as special packaging or handling instructions that may be needed when transporting your items overseas.

 After gathering all of the required information about your items, you must then decide whether or not it is worth going through with an import/export process on your own or hiring an outside company to do so for you. If you decide against hiring someone else, then you must follow all of the appropriate steps required to complete this process yourself correctly.

Determining what needs to be done and organizing it into a plan is crucial in achieving success when importing and exporting goods legally and safely.

Step-by-step guide for Exports out of Nigeria


  • Identifies forwarding agents (Forwarder)
  • Open a letter of credit with the importer
  • Takes out cargo insurance
  • Provides all logistics services (if shipped on a free-on-board basis) up to the port


  • Acquires Regulatory Certificates
  • Organizes transportation to the port
  • Organizes inspections by NCS, SSS, NDLEA, or other government agencies. 
  • Duty payments, if applicable
  • Payments to Shipping Companies (e.g., freight)
  • Space is booked with a shipping agent
  • The payment of terminal operator fees.

Shipping Company

  • Brings in Vessel
  • Pays Ships Charges
  • Pays NPA Charges
  • Issues Bill of Loading

Terminal Operator

  • Handling of terminals
  • Getting Cargo Loaded
  • Prepares rent and handling invoices

Reciever’s Agent Abroad

  • When armed with B/L, the following actions are taken:
  • Organize an inspection
  • Charges port and shipping fees.
  • Cargo is transported to the importer

Step-by-step guide for imports into Nigeria

In Nigeria, there are several steps involved in the importation process. Several steps must be taken by the importer before the importation:


You must register a company name in Nigeria so that you can have a Certificate of Incorporation/Registration in Nigeria.


You must register with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and present an up-to-date tax payment proof so your company will receive a Tax Identification Number (TIN Number), along with a valid email address.


Choose a Nigerian bank that will act as the Authorised Dealer Bank (ADB). This is the bank that will process the Form M / Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), which will also mediate between Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the importer, and other authorities.

When the above is completed, the importer can import into Nigeria. To do this, the following steps must be taken:

Step 1: Importers need their Regulatory Certificates, such as the Product Certificate (PC), for items that are regulated.

Step 2: The importer activates the PC on the single-window online interface.

Step 3: Upon opening a Form M on the Nigerian Trade Platform, the importer attaches the required documents, such as the Insurance Certificate, the Proforma Invoice, and the Product Certificate (when the item is regulated by SON), and submits it to ADB.

Step 4: The ADB reviews/validates Form M, after which the NCS receives it.

Step 5: The NCS either accepts or rejects Form M, depending on whether it has been properly filled out or if some information or documents are missing.

Step 6: If the Form M is accepted by the NCS, the importer forwards a copy to his exporter, who will then contact Cotecna, the International Accreditation Firm, with the Form M, the Final Invoice, the Bill of Lading/Airway Bill, and the packing list, for the issuance of the SONCAP Certificate.

Step 7: On the Nigeria Single Window for Trade, the importer activates the SONCAP certificate and requests the PAAR.

Step 8: The PAAR is issued and the importer commences the clearance of his goods.

Step 9: Shipping Company; Submission of import manifest to customs/NPA/Terminal Operator brings in a vessel, pays ship charges, pays NPA charges, and Issues bill of lading.

Step 10: Terminal Operator; Terminal Handling/Weighing, Loading of Cargo, Issue bills for handling/ rent and delivering the goods


Professionals at TGL have years of experience in exporting and importing. The company has been providing the best services to its clients by following international standards. Our team is highly skilled and knowledgeable about the industry. We have a dedicated team who works hard to fulfill the needs of our clients. We provide great quality services that help us in achieving goals.

Getting started with your exporting and importing business will be a breeze with our experienced professionals!

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