Commercial invoice is, along with the Bill of Lading, one of the most important documents in the Cargo Tracking Note application. The obligation comes with its own difficulties as there are countless key details that must be in accordance with requirements from officials and congruent to other supporting documents of the application. 

The importance of correct Invoice can’t be undermined as it may lead to the successful CTN application, refusal or even rejection. In this post we try to put light onto complications involving Commercial Invoice while making CTN requests. 

CTN stands for Cargo Tracking Note. The system is in practice in 24 Countries in Africa. The same certificate is referred as BSC, CNCA, FERI, BESC, ECTN, BIETC in different countries.

Primary Details Required on the Invoice

Unless otherwise stated below, there is the prerequisite information that must take place on the Invoice submitted as a supporting document for waiver certificate. 

  1. Total FOB value must be clearly shown and equal to the sum of all rows representing cost of goods.
  2. Incoterm is compulsory. Besides, depending on the agreed shipping term, the additional cost comprising the term needs to be shown. Here are some examples. 
  • FOB: if the ocean freight cost is not included in the deal, the invoice with FOB values is sufficient. However, the ocean freight invoice must be presented separately. 
  • CFR: FOB and freight cost needs to be stated separately
  • CIF: FOB, Freight and Insurance must take place on the invoice.

Other information on the terms can be observed in the following page

Acceptable Currencies

The invoice can be in any currency of preference. However, when inserting the details into the CTN system, we can only choose from selected currencies. The conversion is applied according to the present exchange rate. 

Invoice for Cross-Trade Shipment

In the transaction where 3 parties are involved, there are 2 separate invoices raised concerning the shipment. Usually this type of cross-trade or triangle transactions involve Manufacturer, Reseller and Consignee. Although it will contain no details of the actual exporter of the cargo, we need the invoice that is issued from the reseller to the importer in the destination country. Example the case where manufacturer A is selling goods to reseller B, who is shipping the goods directly to importer C. In this scenario the invoice from reseller B issued to importer C is applicable to CTN application.

Invoice for Shipment of Personal Effect:

The authorities still require Proforma Invoice to obtain CTN certificate for personal or charity cargo. The value of the goods can be estimated and doesn’t have to reflect the market value. Here is a link for Google Sheets Proforma Invoice form which you can download and use for your consignment. Example of the Commercial Invoice Document for Household goods is below.

Invoice Requirement of Specific Countries

Certain country CTN procedures mandate specific details of the shipment to take place on the Commercial invoice

  • Madagascar & Ivory Coast

For Madagascar and Ivory Coast BSC, the mandatory details of the Invoice are HS Code, Incoterm, Country of Origin and Payment Method.

  • Libya

The Libya CTN application can be filed only if the Commercial invoice has been approved by the Chamber of Commerce in the origin country. 

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