How to Obtain a CTN for African Shipments: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you are planning to ship goods to Africa, you will need to obtain a CTN (Cargo Tracking Note). A CTN is a mandatory document that is required by many African countries to monitor and track cargo movements. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of obtaining a CTN for African shipments.

Step 1: Determine the Required Countries

The first step in obtaining a CTN is to determine which African countries require this document. To see a complete list of the required countries you can visit our Country Requirements page. Currently, countries such as Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Ivory Coast, and Senegal require a CTN for all inbound cargo. And countries like Benin require CTNs for in-transit cargo (cargo that will arrive in Benin but be taken to its final destination in another country such as Togo). It is important to note that requirements may differ among countries, so be sure to read the required documents and procedure on AfricaCTNs specific page for your destination country.

Step 2: Gather the Required Documents

Make sure you have all the correct documentation, some documents are provided by the shipper, others by the consignee and the BL is provided by the Shipping Line. Find out more information on what a bill of lading is here.

Step 3: Provide the Necessary Information

To obtain a CTN, you will need to provide the necessary documents to AfricaCTN. You can email them to or upload them to our CTN Dashboard. This information typically includes the exporter and importer details, the type of cargo being shipped, and the port of loading and discharge. You will always need to provide the bill of lading and commercial invoice.

Step 4: Receive Draft and Invoice

Within 2 hours of the submission of your documents you will have a draft and invoice. The draft is an unofficial CTN that you can look over, mark up, request changes and finally approve when all the information is attached. You will also receive our invoice containing the Tariff for your cargo tracking note and any other documentation fees that the country requires. All the communication and documents will be handled through email or automatically by our Dashboard.

Step 5: Pay the CTN Fees

After providing the necessary information, you will need to pay the CTN fees. The cost of obtaining a CTN varies depending on the issuer and the destination country. It is important to factor in these costs when planning your shipment. There are plently of instructions on how to pay, wire transfer, Zelle, PayCargo just to name a few.

Step 6: Validate the CTN

Once you have provided the documents, paid the fees and approved the draft. AfricaCTN will issue the validated copy of the CTN. This document will need to be presented to the relevant authorities at the port of loading and discharge.

Step 7: Include the CTN with Your Shipping Documentation

Finally, it is important to include the CTN with your shipping documentation. Failure to provide a CTN may result in fines or delays in clearing your cargo.

In conclusion, obtaining a CTN for your shipments is a mandatory requirement in many African countries. By following this guide, you can ensure that your cargo meets the necessary requirements and arrives at its destination on time.

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Effortlessly upload your documents and seamlessly track the progress of each CTN. Access the history of all your CTNs in a single location for easy reference.


We take pride in being the authorized agent for 15 African countries. We also provide dependable CTN services to all African nations that require a CTN.


AfricaCTN is the only provider of cargo tracking notes that actively utilizes artificial intelligence to improve the speed and accuracy of CTN submissions.


We offer unparalleled customer service and will guide you through the CTN process. Call now, and we will provide you with the assistance you need.

“As a pioneer in the CTN industry, AfricaCTN has been committed to providing efficient and reliable service for over 15 years. Our success is rooted in our extensive experience and dedication to meeting the needs of our valued customers.”
Chris Russell