Carry Cargo are experts in shipping to Djibouti and here we have outlined some of the pitfalls and problems that may surface when exporting to that country.

Shipments destined for Djibouti require expert knowledge of documentation & customs procedure to avoid time consuming and costly mistakes.

The Djibouti market can, if you are not extremely diligent, be a minefield of hidden requirements which, if not met in full can delay an urgent shipment or indeed, result in confiscation of goods.

Our Export team at Carry Cargo International has a wealth of in depth experience, practical knowledge and cultural insight which combine to allow you to have confidence that deadlines will be met and customers satisfied.

From the initial drawing up of Letters of Credit through to request of necessary proofs of delivery, Carry Cargo can advise, highlight elements of risk and help exporters avoid traps.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to the border with Eritreai, which is disputed territory.



The Republic of Djibouti borders Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia and is strategically located at the strait that links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden.


Capital: Djibouti, which is also the main port


0.8 million

International Country Code



French and Arabic (official), Somali and Afar

Bills of Lading

The bill of lading must show the name of the shipper, name and address of the consignee, port of destination, description of goods, listing of freight and other charges, number of the bill of lading in the full set, the date and signature of the carrier’s official. The bill of lading may be signed by the shipper or his authorised agent. The Information must be identical to that shown on the invoices and the packages.

Certificates of Origin

Certificates of Origin (CofO) are required for EU shipments especially under the terms of a Letter of Credit. Ensure the country of origin is clearly marked on the invoice. If a CofO is requested you must check if the customer requires the Arab British Certificate of Origin or the EC Certificate of Origin format. They are obtainable from an authorised Chamber of Commerce, which will arrange to send documents to the Arab British Chamber of Commerce for certification and legalisation, if it is required under the terms of the contract. (See the EC Certificates of Origin topic.)

Special Certificates

  • Plants and some, but not all, plant products require a phytosanitary certificate. Phytosanitary controls are required for the import of certain plants, seeds, potatoes, seed potatoes, fruit and berries, plant propagation material products and peat that could present a phytosanitary risk. Further information on the International Plant Protection Convention can be found at

  • RPA Certificates of Free Sale: Products for human and animal consumption, eg food, health food supplements, milk, sugar, soft drinks, tea, coffee, pet foods, animal feed, protein crops, etc may also require a Certificate of Free Sale (CFS) — check with your customer. CFS for these goods is produced by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in the UK.
  • Exports of milk and milk products to non-EU countries must be accompanied by a Declaration Origin (Dioxin) issued by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in the UK.
  • Animals and animal products must be accompanied by a Sanitary or Veterinary Certificate acceptable to the authorities (also check prohibitions and restrictions).
  • Regulations are in place concerning the Registry and Labelling Requirement for Medical Products which may also require a Health Certificate or a doctor’s medical prescription. A Health Certificate is also required for sample medical supplies.
  • Second hand clothes should be accompanied by a Fumigation Certificate.
  • Certain chemicals will require a Certificate of Analysis.
  • For the imports of alcoholic products, the percentage of alcohol and the volume in litres must be specified on the invoice In this regard, it is advisable to use a form comprising both the English and French languages.
  • Shipments of wildlife and wildlife products subject to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) require an import permit.

Pre-Shipment Inspection

In an official statement it was declared that imports estimate at US$1000 or above must go through pre-shipment inspection in the country of origin involving the verification of prices invoice and the system of customs classification as well as quality. A PSI agent has not been named so check the contract and confirm actual requirements as soon as possible. The rules concerning PSI change frequently and exporters are advised to check the current requirements with the customer. For further information see the Pre-shipment Inspection topic.

Commercial Invoices

Two copies of the commercial invoice must be signed by the exporter and must contain the name and address of the shipper, date of shipment, name and address of the consignee number and types of containers, marks and numbers, content, weight, and the place of origin and cif value. Generally values are required in US dollars, check with your customer before invoicing in any other currency. Prior to the import entry the invoices must be certified by the importer. No special form or regulations apply but information on the commercial invoice must include: addresses of the seller and buyer; contract number; full description of goods including any trade marks; number and kind of packages with gross and net weights; prices detailing unit costs, total price and currency involved; a declaration of origin. Invoices should be prepared with an original and three copies. Facsimile signatures are not accepted by Customs.

Packing List

A packing list is recommended to assist Customs clearance containing marks, weights and dimensions and content details. No specific form required though generally should be in two copies.

UK Export Regulations

All goods must be declared to Customs on leaving the EU (generally arranged by the freight forwarder/carrier). Because of increased cargo security measures, all shipments leaving the EU require a pre-departure message to be sent to the country of destination — it is known as the ECS (Export Control System).

For goods travelling across the EU Member States to a non-EU country, the Export Accompanying Document (EAD) must be used to comply with Customs cargo security procedures. This is also the exporter’s official evidence of export. Created by Customs at the Office of Export (ie in the UK), it must be officially closed at the Office of Exit from the EU. The shipment can be tracked by the Movement Reference Number (MRN), which appears on the EAD on the Europa website (

The information required differs depending on the security status of the exporter and freight companies involved, ie whether all or some are approved under the EU’s AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) status. The export customs declaration for shipments leaving the EU is also required, giving details of the shipment including the exporter’s EORI (Economic Operator Registration Identification number — similar to the VAT No.), commodity code, value, customs procedure code (CPC), export licence requirements, and transport and packing information. Details submitted to Customs on this form must be notified to the freight company by the shipper and the shipper must check that the declaration has been completed accurately to avoid customs penalties. A copy of this official customs declaration and/or a certified transport document is required for VAT purposes.

Export Controls: Certain classes of goods are controlled under National and EU regulations. Examples are military goods, dual-use and military technology (including intangible transfer of such technology, eg by email or fax). These are all listed on the GOV.UK website under Consolidated list of strategic military and dual-use items that require export authorisation. Other goods not listed in the statutory instruments may be controlled if their end-use involves chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or the means of delivering them. Subscribers are recommended to seek advice from the BIS Export Control Organisation (ECO) website.

Note: For controlled goods moved at your instigation between countries outside the UK, consult the Trade controls (trafficking and brokering) rules on the BIS-ECO website.

Packing and Marking Requirements

Marking of Goods

No special requirements except for foodstuffs, plants, some textiles and pharmaceutical/medicines. Labels should indicate the descriptive name of the product, the list of ingredients, the name, address and the phone number of the manufacturer or distributor, net weight or volume in metric units, and instructions for storage and use. Some details may be required in the case of a new market such as the country of origin, expiry date, percentages of the predominant product ingredients.

Packing Material

Special precautions are necessary to preserve goods against the tropical climate and humid atmosphere. Materials likely to carry disease are prohibited, eg straw and hay and all wood packing must be heat treated or fumigated.

Source: Croners