The Benin Customs Officials applied a new regulation, which made all the sea cargo shipped to Benin’s Cotonou port, obliged to have a BESC certificate. Although you might be using Benin only as a sea transit, it is still mandatory for you to have a BESC. Click here to find out more on transit shipments. The BESC is an obligation for the Port of Cotonou as well as all the other ports in Benin.

The regulation got implemented in 2006. Despite being a 14-year-old regulation, some exporters are still unaware of this, and they get enormous amounts of penalties and suffer from severe consequences for not having the certificate.

What is Benin BESC?

BESC is short for Bordereau Électronique de Suivi des Cargaisons which is French for, Electronic Cargo Tracking NoteECTN.

ECTN pretty much explains itself. Authorities ask for this certificate to trackmanage, and supervise the cargos from loading to discharge even before the shipments arrive at the port. The certificate contains information and details about the exporter, the importer, the value of the goods, the amount of the goods, the vessel name, etc. 

What documents are required?

Benin BESC Certificate

Benin requires 4-5 documents to get the BESC waiver certificate, which you can find in the following:

  • Bill of Lading: It contains details about the exporter, the importer, the weight of the goods, the shipping line, the vessel name, etc.
  • Commercial Invoice: It includes the details of the goods, the freight cost, the incoterm, and some other charges if there is any, etc.
  • Freight Invoice: This is only required if the freight cost isn’t on the commercial invoice.
  • Export Customs Declaration: This is a document that is prepared by the Customs Officials of the exporter country and lists the goods getting transported and has a detailed description of them.
  • Packing List: This document contains all the details of the goods, especially the total weight.

What will happen if you don’t have it? 

You must have this certificate validated five days before the arrival at the latest or the consequences won’t be pretty. The penalty in the form of significant regulation charge determined by the Benin National Port Officials is imposed to the cargo owner.

Important Notice

Please note that we have received confirmation from the Beninese authorities that for vehicles inside containers, the cargo type should be “container”.

This only goes for vehicles inside containers, so where the container number is clearly mentioned on the documents.

Please do make sure to add the chassis number of the vehicles in the goods description field for this type of cases.

Of course, vehicles that are not loaded in containers should be given the cargo type “RoRo”.


Certificate cost depends on the number of Bill of Ladings and the containers, the country of origin, the port of discharge, etc. This is why we can’t give you an exact price for the CTN. But if you share your shipment’s details with us we can provide you the best charges for your certificate. We offer free quotation.