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Cargo Tracking Note – what is it and where is it used in shipping?

cargo tracking note - shipping and freight resourceThe Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN), also known as Bordereau de Suivi Cargaison (BSC) and other names depending on the country, is an official marine document that contains information relating to the cargo and its movement between ports.

This document is required to be submitted to the shippers’ councils in most countries of Africa. Every cargo exported to these countries, whether it is commercial, personal or charity, must have this ECTN certificate.

It is simply impossible to clear the cargo from the customs zone without a valid certificate covering the whole of the shipment.

The shipper or his agent or the forwarder is responsible to secure the ECTN from several authorized representatives. In most countries, it must be validated at least 5 days before the vessel arrives at the port.

The Cargo Tracking Note number must be shown on all documentation related to the cargo shipped under that note. The shipper and/or forwarder should provide the certificate number to the ocean carrier at the loading port (Loading agent) for inclusion in the manifest and bill of lading.


CTN Requirements

In order to issue the ECTN, you will need the following documents:

  • Bill of lading
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Freight Invoice (Mandatory if the freight value is not mentioned in the commercial invoice)

Also, depending on the country, they might ask for other specific documents, like the following:

  • Documento Unico (DU)
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • Packing list
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Export Customs Declaration

The agent will tell you exactly what documents you need, and also when you have to deliver them. 


CTN Application Process

The process to acquire the certificate is very simple. Here is the steps you need take to complete application:

  1. You need to send the scanned copies of the required documents to the agent
  2. The agent will then issue an invoice and provide you a draft copy of the ECTN certificate for your approval of the shipment details
  3. Once the draft is approved and the agent has received the funds they will pre-validate the certificate and deliver the ECTN number.
  4. You will receive the ECTN number on the validated soft copy of the certificate soon after. 

cargo tracking note process


Important Notes

The ECTN certificate is mandatory for all sea-borne cargo to countries where it is required, being obligatory for containers, bulk, RORO, and others. Besides, there are certain countries that require CTN for other types of transportation.

You will need to apply for BSC and FERI to Madagascar and DR Congo respectively if you have air-shipment to these countries. In terms of the Road shipments, FERI is required for all consignment by road. 

Below you can find the countries (in alphabetical order) that require this certificate, what name they use for it, and a reference for the agent that can help you issuing the waiver:


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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiarhttps://www.shippingandfreightresource.com
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


    • This kind of certificate is used only in those African countries. Other countries may have a similar certificate, but with another name, description, procedure, and issuing agency.
      What country are you interested in?

    • Hello Manorom,

      You don’t need an agent in your country to issue the CTN certificate for Niger. You can apply for it online, and approximately 24 hours after you send the required documents you will have the certificate ready. If you want more information about the documentation you can check this page https://getctn.com/niger-bsc where you can get it quickly.

  1. Cargo Tracking Notes and Loading Certificates and the like are simply a big con-job. Notice how they only exist for third-world African countries, where exporters to these countries are charged a fee for a totally useless and pointless certificate, I wonder how much of that fee then gets paid as a kickback to officials in those countries via tax havens.

  2. Hello,
    I’m based in china How can i be a ctn certificate supplier
    If you can please inform me about the process.

  3. Hello,

    I am from Bangladesh a freight forwarder, cargo will go Ghana and need CTN number in Bangladesh for shipper

    Please advice contact detail in Bangladesh.


  5. Hi,

    How do i get CTN for goods leaving Nigeria for Guinea Conakry.
    Also what is the rate for alcoholic beverages(20ft container).

  6. Please i am an agent at the trma port,my shipper request CTN number that is difficult for me to get,can i get help

  7. Please am a freight Forwarder in Ghana currently, my shipper request for CTN which i find it difficult to provide as per the request.
    Kindly help me out .

  8. Hello Manaadiar, Your answer to my question is not clear. Who is the shipper? Me or the company shipping my container? How does the average lay person who is not in the shipping business know how to obtain a CTN number? This is very confusing.

    • If you are exporting the goods, then you are the shipper.. The company that is shipping your container is the carrier.. You could appoint/consult a freight forwarder in your country who may be able to assist with your issue..

  9. Who is responsible for getting the CTN number? I just loaded a 20ft container, gave all the items in the container, etc..and then my shipping company asked me for a CTN number. I called my agent in Benin and he says the CTN number should be obtained by the shipper and not by the clearing agent. My shipping company seems to have no clue what they are doing. What are my options???

  10. I required ECTN issuing agent for Cotonou I have shipment from Nhava Sheva to Cotonou (Benin), Please advise which
    agent issues ECTN in Mumbai

  11. I have to ship 20×20′ box fm La Spezia port / IT to CFR Onne’ port.
    Can you kindly let me know if CTN Certificate must be issued in italy and an Agent in Italy to whom I can ask the relative charges pls?

    many thks

  12. I required ECTN issuing agent for Cotonou I have shipment from Nhava Sheva to Cotonou (Benin), Please advise which
    agent issues ECTN in Mumbai

  13. Dear Mr Hariesh
    this certificate CTN , i should buy it from agent or freight forwording to import in Goods to the above counrty that you refer
    that mean i have to deal with freight forwarding that have this certificate to import the goods or only buy the certificate , not deal with carrier direct

    Thanks to confirm or i misunderstanding


    • Hello Hassan, for each CTN there is an issuing agent appointed by that country’s shippers council only for the purpose of issuing this CTN.. Anyone that needs a CTN must approach this agent only.. This agent is independent of the carrier or freight forwarder.. They are a separate entity..

  14. HI,

    I am Thang, from Vietnam. I have a shipment from Haiphong port to Lago, Nigeria, load on CMA-CGM
    Carrier requests to advise CTN but I do not know I will contact who to have it in Vietnam.

    Pls help & advise me if you know.

    Thank very much for your kind support.

    Best regards,
    Bui Van Thang

  15. Hi, I have a sea shipment ( container) from Malaysia to Burkina Faso and wonder if anyone can helps to advise any ECTN agent/representative that I can contact around here –

  16. hi we have a shipment 12x40OTIG ex SIN TO PORT GENTIL. Our customer is asking us to fill out the ECTN for them and one of the requirement is CARGO MANIFEST NUMBER. Shipment was booked with CMA and we ask them for this info, but they say they don’t have it. Where can we get this information?

  17. Hi all,
    Can you pls advise on the following: we have a party of goods approaching Republic of Congo as a part of LCL. Our forwarder’s agent issue ECTN for the whole container listing goods inside.
    And the consignee denies that ECTN saying it’s not correct and they will be fined.
    Shipping line insists they did everything correctly.
    appreciate your help.


    • yes they are the same thing. there are just acronyms for the same thing in two different languages.

  18. There is also Cargo Tracking Note for GABON, they call it BIETC (Bordereau D’identification Electronique de Traçabilité de Cargaison : French)

    You can visit http://www.cgcworld.com;

    here is a document for help : http://www.cgcworld.com/fichiers/fichierslies/GUIDE%20UTILISATEUR%20ANGLAIS.pdf

    the big idea about their agent is : you choose an agent according to departure of cargo, that means the origin of the cargo;
    you have just to have account at cgcworld.com and their you fixe the origin and automatically they give the actual agents that you can contact; generally CGC representative Europe is the most available agent for most country.

    here is a list of other documents, you will need the agent liste, because you’ll need their emails to ask them for confirming your order to purchase the Note
    http://www.cgcworld.com/dossier.asp?DOSS_CLE=279 —> choose this file “MANDATAIRES_CGC_ACTUALISE_NOV 2011.xls ”

    Good luck every one; I hope I gave enough information about this one, and pleased to be one of this community
    thanks Hariesh for this blog 🙂

  19. Hi,
    We have an account in ccc.cg, but we need an agent to confirm our account in order to prepare ECTN for Congo; we usually use it for cargo departed from Malaysia.

    Any help pls?

  20. Does a BSC cert for Cote D’Ivoire cover multiple shipments for the same consignor / consignee – or does a BSC cert need to be raised for every individual shipment?

  21. Hi Guys,

    I need this Cargo Tracking Note for Benin / Cotonou from Turkey. I load the goods with CMA, but have no idea where should I go to get issued this document.

    Note: I contacted with Mitchell Cotts Maritime- Benin, but have not received a reply yet.

    I appreciate if you recommend an another place that I can get this document.


  22. When exporting to Burkina Faso, when should one give shipping line ECTN reference number? before vessel sail or after vessel sail. can someone assist

    • Hello Thomas, I would say earlier the better.. You should do it at the same time as the bill of lading because you need to show the bill of lading number in the ECTN, so as soon as you get the BL Number from the line you can apply for the ECTN..

  23. understood from above that for shipment to Ivory Coast ECTN and BSC are same thus will have no issue upon arrival at destination. Thx to confirm as my Management Team have some doubt.

  24. Can you please let me know who would be issuing CTN for cago leaving port of Vancouver, Canada, I have three containers going to Senegal. Thanks for any info you can provide me.

    • Hello,

      We Can Issue That If You Are Intrested Sir Contact Us: +225 04602222

      Mer-Invest Transit
      Abidjan, ivory Coast.

  25. Dear Sir,

    Please confirm me what is the agent name in Pakistan, Dubai or Bangladesh can issue the CNCA certificate for shipment to Luanda Angola.

    Thanks in Advance.

  26. Please note that DIAMOND SHIPPING LLC (DUBAI) are authorized to issue CTN’s for 8 Countries which is mentioned below. NOTE : Cargo which will be loading from UAE.

    1)Nigeria 2) Senegal 3)Niger 4) Mali 5) RCA 6)Guinea 7) Guinea Bissau and 8)Cameron

    Also note that for Nigerian shipments now CTN’s are not required.

  27. Thanks for the information. But Diamond shipping issues CTN only for Nigeria. not Cotonou region. I got to know that no body will issue CTN for Cotonou in Sri lanka. But you can get this CTN no online from India or pakistan.


  28. C.N.C.A.-Conselho Nacional de Carregadores de Angola

    C.N.C.A. is the Angolan government agency that regulates the implementation of Decree No. 19/94, dated 28 January 1994, published in the Statue Book of Angola D.R., May 1994.

    The following is a summary of the National Council of Angolan Shippers’ regulation:

    All cargo destined to Angola has to have an import license and every bill of lading has to be accompanied by a loading certificate.
    Only the C.N.C.A. or its agents have the authority to issue loading certificates.
    Each bill of lading must have a corresponding loading certificate.
    Without a loading certificate, cargo will not be cleared.
    Each loading certificate has a specific serial number that is duly signed, dated and stamped by the authorized C.N.C.A. agent.
    To receive a loading certificate, the shipper has to pay the following Harbor Data Processing and Loading Certificate Fees:
    20′ Container US$100.00/container
    40′ Container US$200.00/container
    Bulk/conventional US$5.00 per w/m
    Loading Certificate fees US$60.00 per bill of lading

    The above charges have to be collected at the moment that the cargo is loaded.
    Penalties for failure to comply with these regulations can result in a fine of US$5,000.00 per incident and a doubling of CNCA FEES.

    One such office in India issuing CNCA is as below

    Dolphin Chartering Services Pvt Ltd
    DIRECT NO: 022-28368827
    PHONE NOS:67105905,67105906, 67105907, 67105908


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