Nigerian government mandates palletization of cargo. What exactly is palletization?

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The Federal Ministry of Finance in junction with the Nigerian Customs Service recently released a new requirement for shippers sending cargo from various origin ports to Nigeria. The policy will be applicable for all Nigerian bound cargo departing from January 1, 2018 and requires all containerized import cargo to be palletized.

What exactly is palletization you may be wondering and is this a good thing for me as a shipper? Pallets are flat, structures on which goods can be stacked and easily moved around with the aid of a forklift or pallet jack. Pallets have had a rich history in cargo handling since the 1940s and have remained significant in modern container shipping due to the ease at which operators are able to transport the goods with mechanical equipment. By standardizing the container packing process, shippers may see benefits in quicker customs release times as officials are able to more easily inspect the contents of the container with modern technologies. Another benefit of palletization is the ease of movement for shippers loading and offloading cargo at distribution centers.

Yes, I can see the benefits of palletization, but as a shipper is it mandatory to do this for Nigerian shipments? The short answer, YES! However, at present there are a few types of cargo that may be exempted:

  • Motor vehicles that can be rolled out of the container with their own wheels
  • Fragile machinery that has special requirements for safely removing from the container
  • Cargo that is loaded with 2 feet clearance between the container walls and cargo to allow for physical inspection by a customs official.

While the complete list of exemptions is not yet available, a Nigerian government official has stated, “Let me also say that we have examined all concerns expressed by the trading public regarding the palletization policy of the government. The list of cargoes of goods that may be exempted from palletization, where it is absolutely necessary will be placed on the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance and Nigeria Customs service shortly.”

At Missionary Expediters, our project Leads and project Expediters are available to guide you through the unique requirements for your shipment. Please feel free to email us or comment below if you have any questions regarding this new mandatory regulation in Nigeria.