Sierra Leone Ports Authority




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About CTN

Cargo Tracking Notes or CTN is a cargo loading procedure which summarizes detailed information about cargo and its movement between ports. Cargo tracking Note is mandatory for all shipment with a Sierra Leone Port as final destination or transit point. Shippers must get a CTN number before the cargo arrives at destination port.

Who can Apply for CTN Certificate
The Shipper/Exporter at Port of Origin is the person liable for CTN certificate. He needs to register and create an account on, get confirmation notice and therefore apply for CTN Number each time he has a shipment to Sierra Leone.

A shipper may delegate the responsibility for the CTN’s request to a third party or agent, but the agent must absolutely be in the country of origin or boarding .



The SL Cargo Tracking Note regime will apply to all shipping sectors but there are different provisions according to each of these sectors. The regime and the responsibility differ from each shipping sectors.


The cargo information that a ship operator or its representative must submit in advance to the Port Authority representative – both in case of import and export – is made available on the website:

c-1- Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)

In case of import of goods, the ship operator or its representative must declare cargo information in advance to the web platform https://ctnslpa.slin the form of an “Entry Summary Declaration” (ENS), except if an ENS exemption would apply from government decision.

The “Entry Summary Declaration” (ENS) consists of all relevant cargo information that must be submitted in advance. The ENS will allow SLPA to carry out a risk assessment of the cargo to be imported in SL and the ship that carry the cargo.

The ENS will not replace the traditional manifest in each port of discharge. However, it is possible that the traditional manifest includes all relevant information for an Cargo Tracking Note but the manifest must in addition also include further specific information as determined in the national transport/legislation.

c-2- Exemptions to ENS

For maritime transport, an ENS does not have to be submitted in case of pure intra-Sierra Leone shipping services, i.e. goods are carried onboard ships that operate services solely between ports located in SL. (ISPS Code must be respected then).

c-3- Exit Summary Declaration

In case of export of goods, the ship operator or its representative must declare cargo information in advance to the web platform https://ctnslpa.slin the form of a declaration for export, re-export or outward processing. The form is of an “Exit Summary Declaration” (EXS).

In such case, SLPA can provide the custom service with Advance Cargo Declaration information if there is a need.

This declaration must contain the relevant cargo information and it will allow the Ports Authority office of exit to carry out a risk assessment of the cargo to be export to abroad.

c-4- Exemptions to EXS

For maritime transport, a customs declaration for export, re-export or outward processing or an EXS does not have to be submitted in the following cases:

c-5- Empty containers

The following rules apply to empty containers:

-  Cargo Tracking Note – in the form of an ENS, for export, re-export or outward processing or an EXS – shall be required if the empty container is carried under a transport contract.

- However, there is no need for Cargo Tracking Note in case of a repositioned empty container that is owned by the carrier (or ship operator) himself. (The clearing is enough).


d.1 - General

- The liability to declare the required cargo information in advance is, in principle, with the carrier or his representative. In maritime transport, the carrier is the ship operator and the carrier’s representative is typically the ship’s agent.

- The ship operator is therefore the person liable to declare cargo information in advance. He must ensure that such declaration is done.

d.2- A third party submits cargo information in advance

- A third party can only do advance cargo declaration provided that he has advised the carrier (ship operator) thereof beforehand (knowledge) and the carrier (ship operator) has agreed thereto (consent). The “knowledge and consent” are cumulative requirements in order to proceed with a third party filing. How the carrier’s (ship operator) knowledge and consent to a third party is to be evidenced and under which conditions and terms, are subject to contractual arrangement between the carrier and the third party.

- However, in case of third party filing, the carrier (ship operator) remains the ultimate liable person. This means that the carrier (ship operator) will have to be sure that an advance cargo declaration was made. It is for this very reason that he must be advised beforehand and have agreed to a third party filing. Indeed, in case a third party would have failed to submit the relevant cargo information in advance, the carrier (ship operator) will be held liable and a penalty will be imposed upon him and not upon the third party. For this very reason, it is suggested that a carrier (ship operator), if he agrees to advance cargo declaration done by a third party, he has evidence (be it in electronic or paper form) of the fact that third party has eventually done the necessary declaration in advance and in due time.

- In case of a third party filing, the third party will be liable for the content, accuracy and completeness of the information that he has filed.

- In case of “vessel sharing arrangements”, Cargo Tracking Note must be done by the bill of lading issuing carrier and not by the ship operator.

- In containerized shipping – both deep-sea and short sea – a third party (typically a freight forwarder) is expected to declare cargo information in advance before the ship operator. The freight forwarder can only do so provided that the ship operator has been advised thereof beforehand (knowledge) and that the ship operator has agreed thereto (consent).

d.3 – The EORI number for SL CTN

- In Europe, The person who declares cargo information in advance must include in his declaration – be it an ENS or EXS – his so-called “Economic Operator Registration and Identification” or EORI number. If it is the ship operator, he must include its EORI number. If it is a third party (freight forwarder), that party must include its EORI number. The same principle is applicable in Sierra Leone.

- The EORI number is a kind of ID number of a (shipping) company, which allows the SLPA to identify the company concerned. The use of an EORI number has become mandatorily in the EU as from 1 July 2009.

- The EORI application process differs according to whether the declarant is established in or outside Sierra Leone. Relevant information can be found at

d.4 – Movement Reference Number (MRN)

- If an Advance Cargo Declaration has been done, the carrier or the ship owner, who made this declaration, will receive from the representative of SLPA a kind of confirmation number. This receipt is called the “Movement Reference Number” or MRN.

- MRN is a unique number that is automatically allocated by the web platform that receives an ENS or EXS declaration. It must be issued immediately upon receipt of that ENS declaration or EXS, and successful validation of the declaration.

- The relevant SLPA representative will send an MRN to the person who declared the cargo information in advance. This is, in principle, the carrier (ship operator) or his representative.


Advance cargo declarations must be done electronically. To that end, a ship operator or its representative will have to establish a computer system that allows him to interface with the computer system of the SL CTN system at


The Port Authority will analyze the cargo information received in advance with an aim at identifying potential serious safety and security risks. There are three different risk types which require a specific treatment


In case of import of goods, a ship operator will also have some additional obligations. He will have to submit an “Arrival Notification” (AN) and a “summary declaration for temporary storage”. In some cases of diversion of the ship, a ship operator will have to submit a “Diversion Request”.