Sierra Leone Ports Authority




+232.750 11 203 / +232.750 11 208




Cargo Tracking Note presents a platform for collection and management of commercial and logistical information relating to the cargo and ship from the port of loading to the port of discharge.

CTN is part of the changes in global cargo security policies following events of 9/11, 2001; which led to the establishment of new protocols for tracking and screening cargo both in the United States and in foreign countries. In many countries, these protocols have been incorporated into international frameworks such as those under the World Customs Organization (WCO), and in country-specific programs such as the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (CTPAT) administered by the United States.

The justification of CTN implementation across Africa, and strictly by Customs Authorities is therefore anchored in several international conventions, programs and projects all of which forms part of:

- The ISPS code in its Part B of the recommendations
- The International program of the World Customs Organization (WCO) for the securing of goods, international trade, combating terrorism, organized crime and money laundering
- EU Advance Cargo Declaration regulations: 648/2005; 1875/2006; 312/24. 009; and
- The African Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and development (Oct 15, 2016-Lome).

How it works

The whole process to obtain CTN number is completed online by Shipper/Exporter at port of origin. It begins with shipper/exporter providing ship information, shipment information and cargo details. Then followed by uploading/attaching relevant supporting documents such as:

- Bill of lading
- Commercial Invoice,
- Packing List
- Customs declaration document at port of origin
- Freight invoice

Shipper/exporter then previews all the entries made and proceeds to make payment to generate the CTN number (pre-validation). Once payment is confirmed and CTN number received, shipper/exporter submits the CTN number together with Shipping Instructions to Shipping Line for B/L and manifest preparation. The validated CTN is then made electronically available online to shipper/exporter and Customs Authority at destination.

Shipper/exporter can view/print the validated CTN certificate for any purpose. The whole process to validate CTN number must be completed within maximum 3 calendar days for regular shipments.

Cargo Tracking Note regulations

REGULATIONS for CTN as follows:

CTN number is mandatory without which clearing of goods at the ports will not be possible. Importers must ensure that their respective shippers/exporters at port of origin have provided a Valid CTN number on the B/L manifest and on all shipping documents.

How to apply for CTN Number

To apply for CTN number, it is recommended that you assemble all the necessary documents required.
Once assembled, you would normally proceed straight to the easy step-by-step online process of supplying information and uploading/attaching supporting documents.
It’s that simple!

Can an importer apply for CTN number?

No. All CTN procedures are the sole duty & obligation of the shipper/exporter at port of origin.
CTN cannot be regularized at port of destination and importer may suffer the consequences (of delays & possible high penalties) If shipper/exporter does not comply.

We have sent all documents to our importer. Can he/she secure CTN number with supporting documents?

No. CTN processing is the exclusive responsibility of the Shipper/Exporter at port of origin.

What happens if shipment arrives at POD without a valid CTN number?

Your goods cannot be cleared, high penalties may apply, possible protracted delays with consequences for high demurrage Fees; and in some cases, confiscation of goods.

Do we have to mention the CTN number on the Bill of Lading?

Absolutely YES. It is mandatory for shipper/exporter to submit the validated CTN number together with the shipping instructions at the Shipping line for Bill of lading and manifest preparation.

In a Triangular Trade involving several parties, which party is responsible for CTN application?

Where a transaction involves several parties such as: Manufacturer/Supplier; Exporter; Trader (intermediary in a different location); Exporter; Freight Forwarder; Importer/Consignee; it is important to note that the obligation of CTN application is still that of the Shipper / Exporter at the port of origin.

However, the Trader or intermediary who will appear as shipper on the Bill of lading may also process the CTN application on strict condition that relevant required documents such as the Customs Export document at the port of origin is duty uploaded in support of the application.
The Commercial Invoice between Trader (or intermediary) and Consignee at destination must be uploaded as well.

Do I need to provide a Commercial Invoice for my household / personal cargo /goods?

Yes, you can present a Proforma Invoice based on the estimated value of your personal goods (listing each item & value) and not necessarily the exact market value at the time of shipment.