How to export from Spain to Angola

Complete Guide

Following the countless questions and inquiries that we receive regarding the export/import to Angola, we have decided to make a simple guide that any new exporter can follow and have a successful first international transaction.

Let’s say you are a manufacturer from Spain, and you get in contact with an importer from Angola who wants to sell your products there.

How do you become an international exporter overnight? It’s not an easy job, but after reading this article you will be better prepared.


The first thing you need to do is to get in contact with a freight forwarder or freight forwarding company. They are companies specializing in shipping goods to other people all around the world. They will assess your situation directly, knowing how to proceed and supporting you during the process.

There are lots of freight forwarders, and you will have to choose the one that suits you more. Since you are exporting from Spain, a Spanish forwarder will probably know more about the process. You should check their quotes, as well as the services offered and the customer support before hiring one.

A few attributes that you need in a freight forwarder are:

  • Good Reputation
  • Enough experience
  • A good network of connections
  • Right services for your needs (documentation, logistics)
  • Transparent pricing structure (no surprises)

Before working with one freight forwarder, make sure to take your time to check their background. You can even contact some former clients for references about them. Do not rush deciding it, since they are a key part of the process.


Now let’s have a look at the documents that you will need. You should check the required documents with the Chamber of Commerce (Cámara de Comercio) in Spain, but will need the following:

Proforma invoice

The proforma invoice it’s a document where you provide your quote, and it will be used by the importer to arrange for financing, apply for import licenses, and more. It will contain at least the following:

  • The buyer and seller in the transaction.
  • A detailed description of the goods.
  • The Harmonized System classification of those goods.
  • The price
  • The payment term of the sale would typically be expressed as one of the 11 current Incoterms.
  • The delivery details include how and where the goods will be delivered and how much that will cost.
  • The currency used in the quote

Commercial invoice

When the importer approves the proforma invoice, it’s time to start preparing your goods for shipment. One of the most important documents, necessary for all kinds of shipments is the commercial invoice. It’s very similar to the proforma one, including most of the details of the entire export transaction and some additions, like the order number, payment information, and even the marine insurance details if you have them.

Packing list

You will also need the packing list, a very detailed list of your products. This will be used by the freight forwarder to create the bill of lading, and it might be necessary also for the customs officials.

Certificate of origin

The certificate of origin identifies the country of origin of the goods that are being exported. Usually, you will need a stamp from the chamber of commerce of the country, for which you will need to pay some fee.

Documento Único

The DU document or Documento Unico is an Import Licence in Angola.

The Documento Unico or the Import Licence is exempt if a shipment will be cleared, at the destination, under Temporary Regime. Another instance where the DU is not an obligation is when the total FOB value is below 5000 USD.

Angolan loading certificate (CNCA)

The CNCA is a required certificate by Angola, also known as CTN or BESC. You will need the following documents to acquire it:

  • Bill of lading
  • Commercial invoice
  • Freight invoice
  • Documento Único

We strongly recommend you apply for CNCA as soon as you have the required documentation, since it’s a mandatory certificate and you will face huge fines and delays if you don’t have it validated at least 5 days before your cargo arrives at the port. The process to apply is simple and easy if you do it through GetCTN, by just sending the documents.

Shipper’s letter of instruction

The SLI contains all the information needed to move the goods, including who is responsible for the documentation, who to contact for questions, delays…etc

You must provide it to your freight forwarder, and it might be necessary to also include a Power of Attorney giving them power over your goods.

Your freight forwarder will be responsible for the following documents:

  • Delivery notes
  • Forwarders Cargo Receipt
  • Shipping instructions for the Bill of lading
  • Marine insurance
  • Cargo inspection certificates

The shipping line or carrier will provide the rest of the required documents:

  • Bill of lading
  • Manifest
  • Freight invoice
  • Loading list
  • Stowage plans

Properly speaking, the only documents you will need to export your goods to Angola are the ones mentioned; click here, but to get them you must have all the previously mentioned.

Apart from all of these documents, you will also need specific certificates depending on what you are exporting (dangerous goods, quality certificate…)

Other things that you should keep in mind:


The incoterm is a 3 letter code that establishes the rules of the transaction accepted by both the exporter and the importer. While with some incoterms, exporters are responsible for the whole shipment process, with some, the exporter has to do nothing but prepare their cargo at their facilities. You need to define:

  • The responsibility of the shipment
  • Who is responsible for the maritime transport
  • When the importer starts being responsible for the cargo

Thus, you should be aware of the various incoterms and which one to choose when exporting to avoid additional charges that you don’t expect. For example, while CIF (Cost Insurance Freight) or CFR (Cost and Freight) might be the safest and the least risky ones, EXW (Ex Works) or FOB (Free on Board) would be the cheaper and riskier options.

We would suggest that you don’t take any chances and use CFR or CIF. But if you want to save money EXW and FOB are not that bad of options. You must check this with your freight forwarder as they may have a close incoterm in their contract.

Marine insurance

You should check with your freight forwarder, but usually, there is no insurance included. The good side of it is that marine insurance is not expensive, being around 1% of the total value of the cargo. They will cover any damage to your goods, according to the policy that you acquire.

We recommend you hire insurance depending on your cargo and its value but keep in mind that transporters can’t control weather hazards, an encounter with pirates, and other conflicts that can damage your cargo. You may find more information about how to choose marine insurance here.

Inspection of the cargo

The importer may require an inspection of the goods from SGS, Intertek, or another inspection agency, making sure that he is buying the quality products that he is looking for. They will generate a certificate approving the cargo, and it must be enclosed with the other shipping documents.


You should also keep in mind the logistics of the shipment. For example, if your cargo is not enough to fill a full container (FCL, full container load) and you are going to use an LCL (less than container load), you can contact another exporter to use the same container, since an FCL is usually cheaper and you can share expenses. Your freight forwarder may help you with this also.

As we said, you must check with your chamber of commerce before starting a project like this, but once you have all the documents clear the process will go smoothly.

Transit period

This is also an important matter. Depending on how quickly you want to send your cargo, you have several options. First of all, you should choose your departure port. This requires some logistics since you should choose the port valuing the distance from your warehouse, the inland transit time, and other situations.

The most important ports in Spain are the following, where you can find carriers go

ing to Angola regularly, at least once a week:

Valencia: The most important port in the Mediterranean Sea. You have different options to ship from this port, with an estimated transit time of 22 days. The main route destination is Luanda, and the principal carriers are:

  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Maersk
  • MOL
  • MSC
  • ZIM

There is no direct route from Valencia to Angola, and you will be able to choose how many transit stops you would like to have depending on your urgency and your budget.

Algeciras: Our recommendation if you are shipping from the peninsula. The main destination is Lobito port, and it will take from 14 to 19 days to get there. The principal shipping lines are:

  • MSC
  • Maersk

Las Palmas: If you are lucky enough to manufacture your goods from Las Palmas, you will save some time and money with the shipment. You can get your goods to your destination port in Angola in an estimated time of 13–16 days. The principal carriers are the following:

  • Maersk

You can always use this website to check the estimated transit time for the chosen port, as well as the shipping line, estimated cost, and more interesting information.

Usually, the freight forwarder will include the inland transport of your goods to the port, so you will get the best quotes from them.

You need to know that this is an estimated transit time, and your cargo may have delays in several parts of the process. It needs to pass the controls at the customs border, and transfers between ships if there are… so you should be aware that it will probably take more time.


We have had a look at the main options and documentation that you will need to have to start exporting. You can apply this to any country where you want to export with minimum changes.

A good summary of what you need to take care of would be:

  • Get in contact with a freight forwarder and with the chamber of commerce
  • Gather all the required documents
  • Choose an Incoterm
  • Hire a marine insurance
  • Take care of the logistics of the shipment

Remember, get in contact with experienced companies that know how to deal with all kinds of cargo, and don’t hesitate to ask them anything. From this point, you can do your research and begin with your export project. Good luck!

Lucas Santos GarciaAuthor posts

Avatar for Lucas Santos Garcia

With years of experience in the shipping industry, I am now dedicated to enhancing maritime trade in Africa and improving the quality of life in countries that need it. I have worked across various departments in this sector, building both professional and personal relationships in numerous countries.

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