Logistic and forwarding services in Serra Leone

Sierra Leone

Capital City

6,2 Mio.

National languages
English (official), Krio, Temne, Mende

Leone (SLL)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 4.401 Mrd.

GNP per person
USD 696

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 1.23 Mio

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 0.34 Mio

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Sierra Leone

Since the 1960s diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Sierra Leone have focused on debt restructuring. Switzerland provided humanitarian aid at the time of the civil war during the 1990s and supports the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone set up in 2002.

Economic cooperation

The volume of trade between Switzerland and Sierra Leone is modest. In 2011, Switzerland imported agricultural and forestry products, chemicals and rubber worth CHF 0.8 million. During the same period, exports to Sierra Leone amounted to CHF 1.8 million, comprising pharmaceuticals, metal goods, machinery and equipment.


Business language



Dimensions and weights

Metric system.


National currency Leone (Le) = 100 Cents (c).

ISO code: SLL

Customs tariff

Harmonised system.

Import control

A Specific Import Licence is required for all goods. The importer must apply for this through the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

It is valid for 12 months. Certificates of origin are required for customs clearance.

Not all importers are trustworthy and able to pay. Obtain information on this. The goods must be shipped before the licence expires. The exporter is recommended to ensure that the importer has a valid import licence. Payment transactions with foreign countries have been liberalised. An internal banking market has been established. Foreign currency transactions can also be processed via authorised exchange offices.

Standard VAT rate: 15%.

Pre-shipment inspection

Before shipment an inspection of the quality, quantity and price is required for all goods from a CIF value of USD 2000 by Intertek GB – United Kingdom IST Testing Services UK Ltd. Essex, Tel.: 0044 1708 680200.


Cargo Tracking Note

The government in Sierra Leone introduced an electronic Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) / Advanced Cargo Declaration (ACD) as a necessary security document for sending goods by sea freight in 01/04/2015. According to information provided by Delmas, registration in advance for a CTN is compulsory when importing goods via the sea from this date. The Cargo Tracking Note provides information on the loading of ships to the competent authorities in accordance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code in order to increase security in the delivery chain. The company Transport and Ports Management System SL West Africa has been commissioned with carrying out this process around the world.

Terms of payment and tenders

Standard letter of credit terms including cash with order when working with unknown importers or those that are not secure. When trading with foreign companies that have been working there for many years, transactions can also be concluded on the basis of documents against payment. Invoices in GBP are standard.

Correspondence should be in English.

Designations of origin

No special designation of origin regulations are known. “Made in …” is recommended where applicable.


Standard marking is sufficient on packages; the country of origin must be indicated on the freight packages.



Seaworthy packaging, take the high humidity into account, use watertight oil and tar paper, boxes with zinc inserts, put anti-rust paint on machine parts or grease them well.

There is a ban on misleading designations of origin.

Product samples

Duty free if they have no retail value. For samples subject to duty brought by travelling salesmen ask for deepened details.

Shipping and accompanying documents

Standard and:

a) Customs invoices (4 copies): (form: Combined Certificate of Value and Origin and Invoice of goods), English. The country of origin must be indicated on the invoice page. On the basis of Government Notice No. 832, the company name of the exporter must be printed on the invoice page of customs invoices with the full address on the second line after the word “by …”. Normally the company must appear anyway. The seal or company stamp of the exporter must also appear on the front page next to the signature. The reverse of the customs invoice must have the following signed declaration: “We hereby declare that this commercial invoice is in support of the attached certified invoice n. … and that the particulars shown on the certified invoice are true and correct in every detail”, no obligation for certification. Where applicable the manufacturer’s invoice must also be submitted but generally note if customs invoices are certified by the competent Chamber of Commerce with the following text: “We certify that suppliers’ and/or manufacturers’ invoices have been produced and compared with the consigning firm’s invoices and that the latter truly represent particulars of the goods and the selling price together with all charges up to the time of landing”. If the customs invoice only includes the FOB value, instead of “up to the time of landing” the certification text should read “up to FOB”. If the supplier is an export trader, the customs invoice (ideally showing the total FOB and CIF costs as point 8) must also show the buying commission. If no buying commission is charged, this must be expressed in a letter to the Comptroller of Customs & Excise, Custom House, Freetown. Ask the importer for precise information on the preparation of commercial invoices and customs invoices.

b) Commercial invoices only for rare cases of delivery (otherwise a) customs invoices).

c) Certificate of origin, 1 copy, for goods on the Specific Import Licence list. As the origin, indicate “Swiss” in the case of Swiss goods, or “European Union” for goods originating from UE.

d) Bills of lading uncertified; order bills of lading are possible if a notify address is given.

e) Postal packages up to 31.5 kg: 1 international dispatch note, 2 customs declaration in English.

f) Packing list if the customs invoice or commercial invoice does not give a clear overview of the type of goods and contents of the packs.