BIETC is a mandatory document for all ports in Gabon

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    What is BIETC?

    BIETC (Gabon) is a mandatory loading document for all shipments to Gabon. It is required for Libreville, Owenco, Mayumba or any other port. It is also known as CTN and BSC. It was determined as a regulation in 2010 by the Gabon Customs Officials. Failing to present the BIETC document will lead to severe consequences and a hefty fine.


    According to this law, every cargo purchased from abroad and transported for commercial, business, in some cases, diplomatic and personal purposes require a Loading Certificate called BIETC – Bordereau d’Identification Électronique de Traçabilité des Cargaisons.

    The shipper or the freight forwarder is responsible for acquiring the BIETC waiver certificate from the authorized representative.

    • Bill of Lading – A draft copy can be used for the draft. An original copy has to be provided with the date of issue before the validation required for BIETC Gabon.
    • Commercial Invoice – HS code, country of origin, packaging type, amount of units and unit’s price have to be mentioned for each item. Also, the incoterm has to be mentioned.
    • Export Customs Declaration – Details must match with all documents if it is not cross-trade, which is mandatory for BIETC Gabon.
    Sample Gabon BIETC Certificate
    A Sample Gabon BIETC Certificate
    • According to Gabon Customs regulations, all cargo to Gabon must be accompanied by a BIETC certificate.
    • The BIETC certificate must be validated five days before the vessel arrives at the latest.
    • Depending on the continent the loading port is located in, the Gabon authorities have granted 5 to 15 days within which the BIETC certificate must be validated. The authorities are very serious about this policy. The certificate can not be validated and will be penalized if the certificate is not validated within the allocated time frame:
    1. 5 calendar days after sailing for shipments with a departure in Africa
    2. 10 calendar days after sailing for shipments with departure Europe
    3. 15 calendar days after sailing for shipments with departure America, Asia and Oceania

    Gabon FAQs

    Can I use the same BIETC number for various shipments?

    No, BIETC is unique and reserved only for one shipment. Every shipment must have a validated BIETC number.

    Is it mandatory to mention the Gabon BIETC number on the Bill of Lading?

    Most shipping agents ask exporters to acquire a BIETC certificate before the cargo can be loaded onto the vessel. This number will also be depicted on the Bill of Lading. However, in certain cases, exporters can get away without mentioning the BIETC number on the Bill of Lading.

    Is a BIETC certificate necessary for LCL container?

    Yes. Gabon Authorities require a BIETC certificate for each HBL in the LCL load.

    Is it necessary to provide the BIETC number before the sailing of the vessel?

    It is solely the shipping agent’s discretion.  Some shipping lines do ask for the BIETC number before you can actually load the goods onto the vessel. We can issue the number with draft BL. 

    When do I need to apply for the Gabon BIETC certificate after the container load is on Board?

    Depending on the continent the loading port is located in, the Gabon authorities have granted 5 to 15 days within which the BIETC certificate must be validated. The authorities are draconian about this policy. The certificate can not be validated and will be penalised if the certificate is not validated within the allocated time frame.

    Is there any age restriction for shipping a vehicle to Gabon?

    Gabon authorities imposed a rule forbidding vehicles older than 3 years to be imported into the country.

    We are working on a sale of a Caterpillar from Germany to Gabon, which was manufactured in 1988. Can we get BIETC for this?

    Normally, a vehicle older than 3 years cannot be imported into Gabon. However, CATs are not considered vehicles, so we can issue the BIETC certificate for CAT.

    What will be fine if the validation period is overdue for the BIETC certificate?

    We couldn’t know the true cost of the fine you will face if you missed the deadline for the BIETC certificate. But there have been cases where exporters faced a penalty of up to $40000 for 2 containers of Gypsum.

    The liner regulation says a penalty of 100% of the freight manifest value will be charged if the BIETC number is not submitted before loading. What is the meaning of freight manifest value?

    The shipping lines have the right to charge the shipper if any details that must go to the BL are not submitted on time. This charge is called the Manifest amendment charge and can range from 100 to 200 Euro

    Can I make amendments to a validated Gabon waiver document?

    No, Unfortunately, once validated, the BIETC certificate to Gabon can not be revised in any way.

    General FAQs

    What is GetCTN?

    GetCTN is an independent consulting firm that helps clients obtain CTN certificates in many African countries. It is an international company with offices in the USA, UK, and UAE, and its sole business is CTN certification; it is not a freight forwarder, importer, or exporter.

    How do you ship the hard copy of the certificate?

    The hard copy of the certificate isn’t necessary at all. Instead, the whole process is completed online.

    What is a Bill of Lading

    A bill of lading (BL or BoL) is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper that details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried.

    What is Commercial Invoice?

    A commercial invoice is a required document for the export and import clearance process. It is sometimes used for foreign exchange purposes. In the buyer’s country, it is the document their customs officials use to assess import duties and taxes.